As a charity or non-profit organisation, gaining attention through your online presence is a top priority. In this SEO guide for charities and other non-profits, we’ll introduce SEO and how it can help you and your charity.
Moreover, you’ll gain valuable insight on exactly how to improve your search engine ranking and to raise awareness for your charity.
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of improving website visibility, ideally on the most relevant and high-volume keywords in your field.
This means that whenever people search for charities, your organisation is more likely to be clicked on by a prospective supporter, thus meaning you end up with the support and attention you deserve!
Why is SEO important for your charity?
Depending how saturated the market is in your area, a search for “charities in…” could return tens or hundreds of results.
And that’s what makes SEO so important for your organisation – it gives you the opportunity to spread your message far wider and maximise support from prospective patrons.
Search engines like Google use a number of factors people use when searching for a charity. The better your organisation ranks on those factors, the higher up the rankings you’ll find yourself.
In fact, over 25% of people click on the no.1 search result, showing the importance of ranking for your target terms.
SEO will help you optimise your performance on those ranking factors, so you can move towards that coveted number one spot, or at least the top 4 positions which account for the majority of clicks.
Local SEO for Charities
Another very important thing to consider for charitable organisations is local SEO. Local SEO is the process of optimising a site to appear for searches related to the local area – which is of significant help to charities.
For example, important keywords could be:
- ‘Charities in Cornwall’
- ‘Non-profit charities near me’
- ‘Best non-profits to donate to in…’
- ‘Local charities’
- ‘Fundraising near me’
- ‘UK-based charities’
You will need to incorporate these terms when creating content and pages in order to appear in these local searches.
Another important aspect of local SEO is appearing on Google Maps using a Google My Business profile.
Ensuring your Google My Business profile is up to date, adding great imagery and gathering positive reviews is a big part of appearing for local searches – a must-do for any charity!
Top Tips for Charities and Other Non-profits SEO
We’ve compiled top five SEO tips for charities and other non-profits so that you can start implementing them and see yourself rise through the rankings.
1. Target your keywords
It’s vital to have a clear understanding of the keywords and phrases that will be used to find your charity online is the first important step. Search engines like Google rank your website according to the keywords they find.
It’s important to think about keywords potential patrons may use when choosing a charity to donate to.
Keyword research is usually done using specific tools such as Google Keyword Planner and other SEO software tools, which all good SEO agencies will have in their repertoire.
Here are some SEO keyword ideas for charities to think about and include on your site when optimising your website:
- Entirely donation dependent
- Charities for [cause]
- Volunteer run
- Community-based projects
These keywords will likely also be the USPs of your organisation, so you may already be highlighting them, but – if not – include the keywords in the text and meta title/descriptions (more about that later on!)
2. Add Keywords to your Site Meta Info and Page Content
There’s no doubt that some face difficulty when first approaching SEO, especially charities and other non-profits. Your keyword research will have revealed just how many different search terms you need to be aware of.
However daunting the challenge, it is key to always start small. Optimise your site for critical keywords and then keep improving as you become more comfortable with the SEO process.
One of the best places to start is with the meta descriptions and page titles on your site.
The page title is what first appears when your charity is searched.
The meta description is the 1-2 line brief description that appears in search results.
Ensuring that each page title and meta description is unique and includes target keyword/s gives potential stakeholders a brief idea of what to expect and helps to optimise that page for that term.
To edit your meta info and page titles, you’ll need to be able to access your website’s content management system (CMS). Many charities choose to use WordPress as their CMS, which has a simple system for managing meta info.
Ensuring that each page title and meta description is unique and includes target keyword/s gives potential stakeholders a brief idea of what to expect and encourages them to click through to your site.
To edit your meta info and page titles, you’ll need to use your website Content Management System (CMS). The requirements for this differs from system to system, but is usually relatively straightforward.
3. Make sure Technical SEO is on Point
However, improving your target keywords is just the beginning of the SEO jigsaw. In order meet the current day’s expectations of website experience, you need to make sure your technical SEO is on point.
Technical SEO is all about optimising the infrastructure of your website so it’s quick, user-friendly and easy for search engines to crawl.
Technical SEO deals with the underlying structure of your website, including:
- URL structure
- Page loading speeds
- Broken links (404s)
- Image alt tags
- Site localisation
- Much, much more!
Implementing technical SEO is crucial when you’re trying to attract all-important organic traffic generated by search engines. As well as the SEO benefits, creating a highly functional and usable site is also a great way to gain support from each browser.
There are free SEO audit tools out there but it’s hard to know how to interpret these if you’re not a web developer or SEO specialist. Consider a paid SEO audit for your charity as the best way to both identify and have the issues fixes on your site.
4. Create Relevant, Useful Content
Content creation is another boundless strategy when you’re trying to excel at SEO.
Content can cover a wide range of features including blogs, FAQs, help pages, videos and more which enrich the user experience.
When creating content for your website, think about your broader audience. People searching any topic related to the work, ethos or current affairs of charitable organisations will almost all have an interest in your charity or non-profit.
So try adding well-written content around the primary focus of your organisation that add value for your potential supporters – a good place to start could be content based around common questions you get.
Here are some more blog content ideas for charities and other non-profits:
- How you could help the crisis in [location]
- What charities are doing for your local area
- Fun ways to fundraise for a charity
- Best charities tackling [issue]
- Non-profit organisations operating in [location]
Remember, it’s also an opportunity to rank for a different set of keywords (referred to as long-tail keywords) and boost your SEO.
Don’t forget to add a call to action to ‘get involved now’ or ‘donate now’ with a link to your charity’s information page. It could make or break donations or support from casual browsers already considering getting involved with a charitable organisation whilst reading one of your blogs!
5. Scale your SEO with link building
If you’ve implemented the first four tips, advanced SEO could be your next step.
For those who fid themselves in a saturated market where it can be hard to differentiate yourself against the competition, the final tip could help you make your mark.
One of the biggest factors in Google rankings is the number and quality of links from other sites that point to yours.
Think of these links like references in an academic paper – they help give the writer more credibility, and its the same with websites that can get authoratititve links from around the web.
The most successful way to build links long term is through a targeted content marketing strategy, reaching out to sites in your niche and offering to write a guest post on their site in exchange for a link back to yours.
For charities, building links can be tricky. You may not have a lot of content or a blog of your own. However, there are a number of strategies you can use:
- Guest posting on authoritative sites in the non-profit industry. Try approaching the site and seeing if you can write an informative post for them in exchange for a link.
- You may also look to approach relevant directories such as list of local non-profit organisations, well-reviewed blogs or local newspapers.
- Another effective method is through the use of digital PR – basically doing something worth shouting about, like announcing a new project or sponsorship. This carries the attribute of creating a positive reputation in your local community.
- Finally, never underestimate the power of reviews. Encouraging media outlets and blogs to start conversation surrounding your charity can demonstrate the quality of your organisation as well as earning much-needed links.
How About PPC For Charities And Other Non-profits?
Whilst SEO can take a long time to see results, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) or Google Adwords can propel you to the top of search engine result pages straight away.
For service-based organisations such as charities, you will want to focus on Google’s text ads – where you create appealing ad copy to show on carefully-chosen target keywords.
These search ads are usually quite prominent, with 3-4 results at the top of the page before other non-paid results.
Of course, you will need to pay Google for the click, as well as a PPC specialist to help create the copy for the ads, set the bid strategy and take advantage of other benefits of the Google ads platform.
Google also offer grants for non-profits which can help you spread your message for free through its ad platform, definitely something worth taking advantage of!
Confused by SEO for Charities? Search Hog Can Help
It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed about setting up the SEO for your organisation. We hope this SEO guide has helped, but if you are still confused, an SEO specialist could be your ticket to success.
If you need any help with your SEO for charity strategy, please get in touch with Search Hog today. We can help skyrocket your rankings and harness greater support for your organisation today!