For organizations that accept donations online, SEO is crucial

As a growing number of nonprofit groups expand their outreach efforts to the Internet through social media sites, their organizations' homepages and third-party sites, they need to keep updates to the algorithms that largely structure search engine optimization in mind. While blogs, case studies and white papers can be excellent resources to provide donors and the general public with information pertaining to charitable projects, online content is part of a larger set of connections. SEO presents nonprofit groups with the guidelines to make sure people have a better chance of seeing their content marketing messages, which is especially important for those that accept online donations.

Test different solutions
Before a charitable foundation or nonprofit organizations makes the decision to begin integrating content marketing into their overarching outreach efforts, they need to understand what has and hasn't been working with their existing strategies. For example, the nonprofit enterprise AfriKids had previously used an e-newsletter that was posted on an external site to communicate with donors and prospects, according to Aegis Media's report, "Something to Tweet About."

Using analytical tools, the organization found that a mere 1.5 percent of the people receiving the newsletter spent a significant amount of time reading it. The lesson the nonprofit learned here is that while the content may have been engaging, the channel wasn't working. One alternative AfriKids pursued was changing the format to a blog. What happened? The organization saw a 1,000 percent increase in the number of individuals taking the time to read the posts. At the same time, roughly 40 percent of those reading the content continued on to visit the organization's website. Beyond being a cost-effective alternative to newsletters, both paper-based and electronic, the blog works well within the confines of SEO best practices.

Keeping in line with new SEO updates
Blogs allow nonprofits to integrate keywords, which heavily influence the way search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo recognize content online. The more relevant the keywords are to a charity's area of focus – whether it's fighting poverty or supporting women's rights – the better chance that group will have of showing up near the top of the list of results after an individual inputs a search request. Meanwhile, Google recently introduced a new algorithm, Hummingbird, which affects the way search engine results are ranked.

In a contribution to Nonprofit Technology Network, Andrew Garberson explained the change largely took aim at reducing the amount of spam Web users are exposed to. It's also giving greater importance to those individuals and organizations with greater authority. Links have traditionally been be a key component of establishing authority. So, the more other people or groups link to a nonprofit's blog, the better SEO results it will have.

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