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SEO for Nonprofits that Make a Difference – 9+ Tips You Must Know

SEO for Nonprofits

According to the M+R Benchmarks report, 38% of all visits to nonprofit websites were generated through organic traffic in 2022. Unfortunately, it’s common for many small or new nonprofit organizations (NGOs) to struggle to make their mission visible online. 

Getting your nonprofit’s mission to stand out on the internet can be a tricky task to achieve. You need innovative nonprofit marketing strategies to attract organic traffic and reach wider audiences. What works for a business might not work for a nonprofit.

That’s where SEO can help. 

SEO is just as important for nonprofits as for any other type of organization. As search engine algorithms change, SEO strategies must adapt. Achieving a high ranking can make you easily discoverable in search engines and increase traffic and donations.

Let’s start by defining why prioritizing SEO for nonprofits is a smart investment.

What Is SEO for Nonprofits?

SEO for nonprofits refers to the standard practices of web optimization that help improve website’s ranking on search engines for specific keywords. 

Google and other search engines use various factors to determine SEO, some of which are not disclosed to the general public. 

Your supporters are looking for answers that your nonprofit can provide. By utilizing SEO, you can create content that addresses their inquiries, increasing your website’s visibility in Google search results. 

That’s why nonprofits should prioritize SEO, like social media and email marketing, to avoid missing out on potential donor dollars.

Do Nonprofits Need SEO?

By optimizing your website for search engines, you can improve your content’s position on the search results page, increasing the likelihood of it being seen by people browsing the results. 

That leads to more visitors and greater chances of raising funds online for your nonprofit organization.

If you need more evidence, consider why people use search engines to search for keywords that could be related to your non-profit organization. 

For instance, if someone searches for “nonprofits near me,” it is safe to assume they are interested in getting involved with local organizations like yours.

Due to budget constraints, nonprofits must rely on SEO to succeed in search. Though it demands hard work and effort, the rewards are worth the investment.

10 SEO Best Practices for Nonprofits

Many people think that SEO is a complicated discipline. Yes, it is difficult for those NGOs that don’t have any SEO experience. But, with the right strategy, patience, and a little effort, it’s very possible to perform well in search. 

SEO strategies for nonprofit organizations can be simpler than other types of websites. This is mainly because nonprofits serve missions and communities that are not highly competitive. 

Unlike eCommerce stores and news sites that have to compete for every click and keyword, nonprofits stand out by bridging essential gaps in their reach and impact.

To help your nonprofit get the top spot in search engines, we’ve collected a list of best SEO practices for nonprofit organizations. 

Understand Your Target Audience

You should understand your target audience before creating an effective SEO strategy for your NGO. 

SEO should be reader-focused, not search engine-focused. Keep your target audience (clients, volunteers, and donors) in mind when creating content to optimize your site for their searches naturally.

Understanding your audience requires thinking like them. It can be challenging to avoid assumptions, so conducting primary and secondary research about our audience is crucial for a successful campaign. 

Different generations may have different donation preferences; younger people are more likely to donate to causes they care about. Older people may be more cautious.

Part of understanding your audience requires an understanding of their search intent. 

This refers to what people seek, regardless of their query or keywords. By creating content that focuses on delivering what people want while keeping in mind their intent, you can naturally incorporate the keywords and search terms they are likely to use when looking for your content.

Good keyword research reveals the terms and monthly volume of search queries. However, remember that keyword data should be tempered by your own knowledge of your audience and their search intent.

Create High-Quality Content 

Search engines are becoming more intelligent with each passing day. Their primary objective is to provide their customers with the most relevant results, so they frequently change their ranking algorithms. 

To optimize your website sustainably, you must create exceptional and relevant content that answers your customer’s questions. Engage with them and ask what they want to know. 

When creating content, it’s important to share what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and why it’s essential. 

You can share stories about your mission, reasons for existing, and the results you’ve achieved, such as stories about the animals, people, or organizations you’ve helped. 

Testimonials can show people the positive outcomes of your work. 

To showcase the value of your non-profit organization, think and come up with ways to quantify your cause effectively. You can always find data that can support your cause and encourage others to support you.

For instance, if you help people with domestic violence, you can present the number of people you have helped over the years to demonstrate the impact of your work. 

Use infographics to help people better understand and visualize data about your cause.

Include your educational and statistical keywords in your content to serve search intent. Add branded keywords to your list, including your organization’s name, corporate events, programs, or services.

Remember that Google prioritizes content showcasing your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness for a particular topic. 

To achieve this, you can update your existing content, ensuring it’s relevant and accurate, and even consider allowing other experts or writers to create content for you. 

Following these guidelines can improve your chances of ranking higher in Google search results.

Invest In On-Page SEO

Make sure your content adheres to the E-E-A-T standards, along with the best on-page practices. That includes optimizing your content to ensure it is easily discoverable by others. 

Whether launching a new website or maintaining an existing one, keeping SEO in mind while structuring and creating content for your website is crucial.

Here’s what you can do to master the art of on-page SEO:

  • Identify and include the right keywords for your nonprofit organization. Use keywords close to your mission and content. For example, if you work in a blood donation hospital, you should target high-intent keywords like “donate blood” or “blood donation” to attract more people to take a specific action. These keywords can also include brand names, geographic locations, scheduling, and appointment queries. 
  • Optimize your content for keywords. Once you define your target keywords, include them in your website and blog articles to perform and meet the needs of the people looking for them. Use keywords in key places, including title tags, heading tags, meta descriptions, URLs, image Alt tags, and within the content on the page.
  • Maintain heading hierarchy. Headings are essential for guiding search engines through your content. That helps organize your content for better navigation and understanding. Each header should serve as a summary of the following text.
  • Include internal links to other content on your site. Ensure that your important pages and valuable articles link to each other with relevant anchor text. Add three to five internal links throughout the piece. You can improve your content discovery and search engine rankings by helping your audience and Google understand your content better.
  • Create a clear and organized URL structure. That involves creating user-friendly and SEO-friendly links that effectively communicate your website’s main topics and subtopics. You can improve the user experience and make it easier for users to understand the content on the page. 
  • Write strategic title tags and engaging meta descriptions. Include keywords that match search intent. The text should be descriptive but limited to 150-160 characters.

On-page SEO factors impact how search engines interpret your webpage. These elements are minimum requirements to make your page easy for search engines and people to read and understand.

Improve the User Experience 

Suppose you want to achieve long-term goals such as enhancing your audience, getting more supporters, and gathering donations. In that case, the first step is to provide the best possible user experience. 

Doing so improves your website’s credibility and makes it easier for search engines to index and rank your pages. 

Google considers good page experience as a ranking factor. That means that your website’s loading speed (LCP), interactivity (FID), and visual stability (CLS) are key factors that contribute to a positive page experience. 

A good page experience is essential for both desktop and mobile users.

Consider implementing these practical tips to enhance the user experience on your website:

  • Make your website easy to navigate and include a clear sitemap. As your website grows, update the main navigation with new content and ensure it remains relevant and easy to use. 
  • Increase your website’s load speed. Optimize images by making sure their file size is less than 1MB. Remove duplicate or unused images from your media library and reduce the number of redirects. Enable browser caching for faster loading on subsequent visits. Check your web page’s speed score and identify areas for improvement using tools like Google Page Speed Insights and GTMetrix.
  • Optimize your nonprofit website for mobile. Google rewards mobile-optimized websites by boosting their rankings. To ensure your website is mobile-friendly, it should have a responsive design and fast loading speed on mobile devices. Voice search on mobile is on the rise, so optimize for it. Use Google’s mobile-friendliness test to ensure your website’s compatibility with mobile devices. Create Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) to deliver fast mobile content. 

Additionally, Mariano Rodriguez, founder of LawRank, says:

“One way to determine if your website is user-friendly is by inviting volunteers to perform simple tasks, such as donating or registering for your newsletter. 

While performing these tasks, ask them about their experience and thought process. It is often best to ask them to narrate their thoughts while navigating your website during the test.”

5. Build High-Quality Links 

External backlinks are a valuable asset for improving the credibility of your content, making it more SEO-friendly in the eyes of the larger community.

As a nonprofit, do you collaborate with other nonprofits? Do you have blog articles that would be useful to the audiences of those nonprofits? These are great chances for your website to earn backlinks from other websites.

Quality links from authoritative, high-ranking websites are vital to improving your ranking. Trustworthiness is increasingly essential for Google’s ranking algorithm. When navigating through SEO strategies, partnering with a reliable B2B SaaS SEO agency can significantly enhance your efforts.

Here are a few tips from me to speed up the process of acquiring quality links:

  • Invite industry experts to write guest articles and share them on their channels.
  • Contact related websites and request a mention and link to your organization.
  • Collaborate with other organizations and contribute articles to their blogs on nonprofits and related topics.
  • Request backlinks from your corporate partners and sponsors.
  • Ask news websites to include a link to your website when featuring your organization.
  • Participate as a guest in podcasts, or YouTube shows relevant to your expertise.

6. Optimize for Branded Search

Branded search refers to queries containing words and phrases associated with your non-profit organization. 

Ranking first for your nonprofit’s brand name is crucial. Many non-profits like Greenpeace or WWF are recognized by their name, so make sure that you can be easily found when people search for your organization.  

Take a look at an example of an optimized page for branded search. When you enter the query “UNICEF logo” in search results, you will see the following page

This page gets the first page of Google for the keyword phrase “Unicef logo.” However, it fails to completely satisfy the intended purpose of the search query, as this page tells the history of its logo. 

The main takeaway is to collect a list of branded keywords that people use to search for information about your organization. Focus on producing quality content targeting those keywords and ensuring your website’s structure is well-organized. 

You can use Ahrefs or SE Ranking to find branded keywords for nonprofits.

7. Promote Your NGO Locally

I love pets and used to help abandoned dogs and cats find homes or even adopt them. In my recent example search query of “animal shelters near me,” I realized the importance of local search results. 

Many organizations underestimate the power of Google Business Profile and its huge value for local SEO rankings. 

If you want people to find your organization on Google Maps, add the complete information via Google Business Profile

No matter whether you have a specific location or different locations, ensure to optimize your GMB profile and benefit from its new features. 

For example, you can use multiple attributes: identity attributes like “black-owned” or “Asian-owned” or common attributes like “pet-friendly” or “wheelchair-accessible entrance.” 

Adding Attributes to your Google Business Profile improves local search appearance and attracts a particular audience to your NGO.

Real-time communication has become increasingly important for people who want to engage with nonprofit organizations. More and more volunteers and donors prefer using online methods like chat to connect with them. 

If you meet their needs, you could take advantage of opportunities to increase exposure and receive more donations.

Google now offers a chat feature that enables people to text your phone directly from your GMB profile. That gives an excellent opportunity to stay connected with your target audience and fulfill their needs.

You can also use other local listings like Bing Places, Apple Maps, and Yelp to provide donors with nonprofits near the donor’s location and share important information. 

Encourage supporters to spread the word about your nonprofit on these sites or other online listings.

8. Make Your Nonprofit Website Accessible

Many nonprofits often make the mistake of overlooking accessibility when designing their websites, which is a shame. 

Website accessibility is crucial for ensuring your website is user-friendly and inclusive for all visitors. It can also enhance your SEO performance by providing a better user experience.

While some content types may fall short of accessibility standards, making your site accessible isn’t an all-or-nothing concept. 

Instead, it is a spectrum on which organizations can improve their standing. Even minor adjustments to improve accessibility can significantly boost the user experience over time.

For example, You can add descriptive alternative text to images, ensure sufficient color contrast, and make your website keyboard accessible.

Using user-friendly text with relevant keywords helps search engines associate your links with suitable topics. Unclear text may cause missed link-building opportunities.

9. Stay Current on The Latest SEO Trends

Staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and strategies is crucial in SEO, even if that means coming up with new ones.

Repeating the steps above as frequently as possible is essential to generate substantial, high-quality information about your cause. 

Experiment with different methods each time and assess how to improve your outcomes. There are limitless possibilities for promoting your nonprofit organization through SEO.

Here are some tips to make your website fresh:

  • Ensure your website’s security with an SSL certificate to avoid cyber attacks. Most hosting providers offer free SSL certificates, but some may require a small annual fee. Contact your hosting provider to set up SSL as soon as possible.
  • Connect your website to Google Search Console and monitor your Core Web Vitals score. Identify poorly performing pages and optimize for better page experience.
  • Adding schema markup to your web pages can help them appear as “rich results” and enhance the visibility of your website in Google. These rich results can include featured snippets, frequently asked questions, star ratings, opening hours, and reviews. Schema markup can make your website stand out on the search results page and increase the click-through rate.
  • Track your success. You can use popular SEO tools such as Google Analytics to analyze which content is ranking well and which requires improvements.
  • Provide clear CTAs for a better user experience. Tell your audience what they can do once they visit web pages. For example, donate or support your cause.

Improve Your Nonprofit’s SEO to Reach More Supporters and Donors 

Investing in SEO is a long-term strategy that yields valuable benefits, but it requires patience and time to reach your target audience. 

SEO, with other nonprofit marketing strategies, helps attract more supporters, new members, and donors to your website. 

You can benefit from additional channels, including social media outreach, email campaigns, and mobile-optimized donation forms, to achieve even more outstanding results. Conduct thorough research, as there is a lot to gain from studying other organizations.

You don’t need to be an SEO expert to improve your nonprofit organization’s search visibility. Use the tips in this post and do your best to get it right.


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