How To Win Your Donor’s Attention and Secure Their Gift
You’ve likely heard about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO), but do you know what it means and how it matters for your nonprofit? In this blog post, I’ll dive into that and how to make sure your nonprofit stays on top of your prospective donor’s SEO results.
What is SEO and why does it matter?
Google and other search engines need a means to rank the billions of pages they scan through—including the pages on your website. Why? They want to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for when they use a search engine. They do this through search engine optimization or SEO.
How the algorithm functions is the subject of regular scrutiny for any organization or individual seeking to grow their online business. After all, you want to make sure prospective donors and current supporters can easily find your information when they need it.
Luckily, with a little homework, you can improve your nonprofit’s virtual visibility, which will keep your donor drives, your mission outreach, and your online advertising in good health.
What is a search engine ranking?
The word “ranking” is a little misleading. It’s sometimes misconstrued as being a vast list of every website in the world. In fact, it only applies to the position of your organization’s website in individual web searches. This means that your site’s ranking changes with each search conducted.
As I mentioned above, that’s why having a great search engine ranking—having good SEO—is so important. You need to keep your nonprofit visible in as many of these independent listings relating to your industry as possible.
The better your nonprofit SEO, the nearer to the top of searches your organization will be found. Imagine you’re looking to hire a plumber. If you’re looking for someone reputable, you’re likely going to start looking at the ones who appear at the top of the search engine’s results list as their ranking will add to their credibility.
In short: When you rank well, you end up ahead of other nonprofits or causes that might be competing for your donor’s attention. That means you have a better chance of securing their gift.
How can you improve your SEO results? Bring your organization up in the search results.
In order to improve your SEO results, you need the search engines and their respective algorithms to view your website and organization as credible. That means you need to create a website with content that is informative, compelling, and unique.
Here are a few ways you can work on bringing up your website’s ranking.
Have—and regularly update—a blog with SEO-friendly content
A blog is a perfect place to put your content, whether that be articles, guides, videos, photo galleries, local news updates, or updates from your staff. The key is to have a wide range of unique content. The content also needs to include SEO-friendly terms that may end up in a potential donor or supporter’s search bar.
Having a website is like building a skyscraper. The land alone is almost invisible from even a block away, but once those floors start going up and it gets taller and taller, eyes from all over can see it easily. It’s your job to keep adding floors, so to speak: brainstorming new pages to add, bringing in interesting voices to write for your blog, drawing on local talent to create content for the site, and creating stories that engage the reader.
To get started, make a list of SEO terms that apply to what your nonprofit does and who you serve. Then think of things your potential supporters may be searching.
For example, someone in your area may be searching for volunteer opportunities with a local animal shelter. If your nonprofit has created a handful of blog posts about your volunteers and their experiences and it’s clear that you’re in their area, it’s likely you will be at the top of the person’s search rankings.
Updating your site regularly is a huge factor when it comes to having a strong ranking. Short on time and resources? An effective way to create online content quickly is to use your phone’s camera to capture what you’re doing and ask your supporters to write in with their stories of your organization and how your work has positively impacted their lives.
If you’re looking for extra support, you might want to look into hiring an SEO consultant or agency to help identify keywords and optimize your content.
Reverse engineer SEO results.
Think about the donor or supporter you’re trying to reach. What are they looking for? In what searches do you want your nonprofit to appear? With some brainstorming, you can reverse engineer that search and create content that will appeal to them and show at the top of the ranking list.
Improve your keywords.
Keywords are the terms related to your area of expertise, your services, and more. Brainstorm these terms and include them in your content either behind the scenes in the settings script of your web pages or in the text of your original content. This will attract the attention of those algorithms and prompt them to promote your post.
To find the right keywords, you should:
- Talk about your mission.
- Share how your nonprofit carries out that mission and what you hope to do in the future.
- Study the competition that appears higher in the search results rankings and see what words they include that you’re not featuring in your current content.
Write good meta description bios.
One way to help boost your SEO results is to write good meta content for the page descriptions. This is the short bio that appears beneath the search engine’s result.
The good news is that it’s not that complicated to create good meta data. In fact, most hosting platforms have made accessing the meta description function incredibly easy.
Note: If you don’t create it individually, then the search engine will take a short section from the article, blog post, or web page and use that instead. However, whenever possible, you should create your own meta description so you’re in control of hooking in the potential website visitor. In order to compete with other websites, you need a carefully crafted meta hook.
In that same vein, you need to name your pages appropriately. This requires striking a balance between the words that are commonly searched for and a way of writing them that attracts the person’s attention.
Include H1, H2, H3 headings in your content.
The sentence above is an H3. As you can see, these abbreviations refer to different size headings in your content. By using combinations of larger and medium-sized headings, you create content in a richer format. It’s another element the search engines have used as a means to highlight high-value content—which is what they want to promote to the top of the rankings.
SEO results make a significant impact on donations and the work your nonprofit is able to do.
Finally, as you start to dive into this strategy, keep in mind that SEO results aren’t an afterthought; it’s an opportunity to get seen and make a difference. In fact, it’s the backbone of online visibility and often what will help win your donor’s attention and secure their gift.