When people want to find something on the internet these days, they do a quick Google search or a Yahoo search. These search engines seek to offer the best responses to people’s searches, with hopefully the most appropriate results at the top of the results page. Given how rarely people venture beyond the first couple of search results, it is crucial for your organization to be at the top of people’s search results.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your website to rank as high as possible in search engine results for particular keywords or phrases. Optimizing entails communicating your website’s value to search engines so they’ll boost your online visibility. SEO can sound complicated for rookies, but luckily there are simple tips to consider that can easily boost your end game, maximizing your organization’s social impact.
SEO: Onsite and Offsite
SEO has two components: onsite and offsite.
- Onsite SEO relates to content, product, and services included on your organization’s site.
- Offsite SEO relates to backlinks from other credible sites boosting your rankings and increasing your exposure. While stellar content is crucial, it’s only half the battle. Your organization needs a proactive strategy to attract backlinks to your site in order to connect to a larger audience and ensure your stellar content is generating the outcome you deserve.
What You Should Know About SEO
1. Focus on Quality
Creating quality content means writing or providing something of value to the reader. While the internet has made publishing and sharing easier than ever, the result is that it’s harder to be heard above the noise. It’s never been more important to produce content that is differentiated and focused.
To differentiate your content, consider the interests of your target audience: what would they find valuable? Individual stories and content piece are more likely to resonate with readers than large newsletters with hundreds of components. As you create your content, remember factors that entail good quality:
- Written for a specific audience
- Simple language that is easy to read
- Topical content that is organized
- Written with a specific intention
- Be original in your approach to the subject
2. Incorporate Keywords
Write content with a keyword, or set of keywords, tailored to your audience in mind. One tool to consider using is Google’s keyword tool, which makes keyword selection to optimize your content fast and easy. Before using the tool, make a list of terms and keywords you might like your organization to rank well for. Then use Google’s keyword planner to learn more about popular searches related to your list of terms. This will give you ideas for keywords to focus your content on, and new angles for your content that you might not have thought of.
3. Organize with Headings
Titles and subheadings can constitute another helpful cue to search engines. Using keywords in headings shows search engines that the keywords are important and relevant to the greater context of the piece. The search engine uses this information to help assess whether the page is relevant to the user’s search query.
4. Be Smart with Anchor Text!
Another opportunity to enhance your readers’ experience is through hyperlinks. They provide an opportunity to cite information credited to another source and linking to that source. Hyperlinks generally appear as blue underlined text to indicate to your reader and search engines what the page you’re linking to is about.
The specific words used to link to another page are called anchor text. Search engines assess anchor text to see if the content of the article matches what the link suggests the page will be about. This information helps determine the relevancy of a page to a user’s search.
For effective anchor text, consider these tips:
- Use anchor text that is accurate and descriptive
- Avoid generic anchor text like “click here”
- Keep it short (a phrase, not a sentence)
- When possible, use your keyword in the anchor text
5. Images Are Another Opportunity to Use Text!
Everyone loves pictures; consumers are more likely to engage with brands that have images along with an online presence.
Unfortunately, search engines can’t decipher images like a person can. Instead, you should provide translation to search engines through alternative text for the image. This text appears to any user who is unable to view the image, and it lets search engines know what the image includes, giving them an additional opportunity to boost your site’s rank in relevant searches.
6. Don’t Forget to Ask for Backlinks
Backlinks to your site increase your credibility as a source. Measured by Google’s system called Page Ranks, the more backlinks to your site from credible websites, the more credible the search engine will deem your pages to be.
Consider requesting them when you’re featured in local news articles by reaching out to the news outlet. Be sure to clarify the benefit to that organization by informing them that it’s helpful to their readers who might want more information about your organization. It’s a win-win!
7. Make a Google+ Profile
Google+ is an often overlooked platform that nonprofit organizations serving local communities should recognize can boost their local rankings. Creating a profile is quick and easy, and will result in your organization appearing on the right-hand side of the search results when people search for your cause and location. Once you have created a profile, you can create a listing using these easy steps and improve you NGO’s online presence:
- Claim your organization
- Add a photo of your business location
- Include hours of operation
- Include a summary of your organization
- Track the review section
While your organization’s overall SEO strategy should be constantly evolving to account for changes in the keyword landscape, these tips are a solid start to improving your web presence and reaching to your growing audience. Good luck!