Getting and keeping your website at the top of search engine rankings can seem like an impossible task. Even when you manage to get on the first page of search results, a change in the backend algorithm can send you back to page three in a heartbeat.
Rather than get discouraged, know that your search engine optimization (SEO) struggles are universal and impact literally every website on the internet. However, we've put together a quick guide to figure out where your website stands with SEO today so you can get to work improving your rankings tomorrow.
Why Should Your Nonprofit Focus on SEO?
Before we get too far, let's dive into why SEO matters. And why your organization should focus your efforts and budget toward improving your SEO and search engine page results (SERPs).
First of all, when done well, SEO and high ranking in SERPs make it easier for your audience to find you. When your audience sees you at the top of their search results, your website is more likely to be visited and it builds a level of trust. After all, if Google trusts you, shouldn't they?
Secondly, search engine results are earned, rather than paid for. This means that with a great SEO strategy and implementation of keywords, you can get to the top of the SERPs without spending a dime.
Now that we've explained the benefits of SEO for nonprofits, let's get into five ways to check where your website stands.
1. Is Your Nonprofit Investing in SEO?
As we've stated, search engine results are earned rather than bought. So when we use the term "invested," we mean investing time and energy into improving your SEO. This may mean some marketing budget needs to go toward staffing and education into SEO strategies. But it's a small price to pay for the reward of landing at the top of the SERPs.
Look into your SEO strategy. Is it up-to-date or are you still using SEO the same way you did in 2008? If you're unsure, do some research into current SEO strategies and compare them to what you're currently doing. Even if you have been keeping up with your SEO efforts, you may find some areas for improvement. Every little bit helps!
Consider including SEO strategy into all of your digital marking efforts. As you know, success is inevitable when you have the whole team working toward the same goal.
2. Are You Reaching Local Audiences?
In order to rank highly in search engine results, it helps to have a local presence. This could be as simple as making sure your address, hours, and contact information are the same on Google as they are on your website and in other directories. Using Google My Business to manage how your nonprofit organization appears in search results and maps can help—and it's free!
People (and Google!) are more likely to trust your business when search results bring up a professional business profile. Be sure to include your logo, photos, and other relevant information that showcases who you are and what you do.
3. Are You Capturing SEO Metrics From Google Ads?
While Google ads are obviously not a free resource, they can provide a wealth of information. When you dive into the analytics behind Google Ads, you'll see that the metrics they track can help you do more than optimize your next paid ad.
For example, Google applies quality scores to ads based on a variety of factors that include keywords and relevant landing pages. So even though they may not seem related, SEO keywords play a part in your paid advertising as well. They also track impressions, click-through rate, and geographic and time performance data.
Taking a close look at what is working well in your ad campaigns and using those metrics to inform your overall SEO strategy could be a winning combination.
4. Has Your Website Been Audited for SEO?
If you are confident in your SEO strategy and the effort you've been putting in to improve your search engine ranking, then it may be time to have your website analyzed for SEO performance. There are many free SEO analysis tools available online, and any of them will provide you with a high-level understanding of your website's performance.
Most free SEO analyzers start with a basic website crawl to check the URL you've provided and search for basic errors. Common issues include low word count, which stems from Google's update in May. Others may include missing meta descriptions or title tag length issues.
This can be a great place to start!
However, getting the results of your SEO analysis can be a bit overwhelming. Depending on the tool, they often use technical jargon or terms that someone not well-versed in the inner workings of a website may not understand. Perhaps you're not super tech-savvy or don't know a meta description from a long-tail keyword. In that case, these tools will probably only point to problems you don't know how to solve.
5. Get the Support You Need With a Customized Approach
Are you finding SEO overwhelming? Do you feel like you could use a little extra support as you bulk up your backlinks and fine-tune your meta tags? ArcStone offers SEO auditing with the ongoing support you need to land your website at the top of the search page.
Your website will receive a deep SEO investigation from one of our in-house specialists. They will look at on-page and technical SEO to ensure that all of your SEO efforts are ready for the front page. We also provide expert consultation to ensure that your SEO strategy matches your nonprofit organization's goals. And you'll get our SEO Best Practices guide to help you maintain your spot in the search engine rankings.
SEO Is A Good Investment For Nonprofits
The relatively low-cost investment in a solid SEO strategy makes it a great way for nonprofit organizations to improve their audience reach and make a more significant impact. After all, if your target audience can't find you online, how can they contribute to your cause?