SEO tips for nonprofits

Nonprofits are only as effective as their reach, and wingspan is often a direct reflection of donations.

More money means additional resources, so having a big fundraising program is essential to expanding the scope of your organization's mission. Traditional fundraising, however, like door-to-door canvassing, can only get you so far. That's why most charities these days have adopted an online presence.

Having some sort of platform to accept donations online is important when it comes to recruiting new donors beyond your immediate location. The Internet can take what started as local cause, like starting a community garden, and help transform it into not only a national presence but an international one, where maybe your community garden group is now organizing similar efforts in small African towns.

The effectiveness of a website, however, can be limited. Choosing the wrong words or designing a counterintuitive interface can lead search engines to ignore your site. That's why making sure your organization's website is as SEO-friendly as possible is paramount to securing more donations and growing your charitable foundation.

The cornerstone of most SEO efforts, identifying the appropriate keywords for your website is a crucial step in being recognized online. According to The Nonprofit Center of La Salle University's School of Business, after nonprofits have identified the popular keywords they want to focus on, between three and four should be assigned to every page on the site. The keywords should be evenly distributed in both content and headlines.

It sounds like a made up word, but it's actually a measurement of how easily your site is identified by search engines. Take for instance Google, the world's most popular search engine. Google operates Internet bots that browse, or crawl, the Web, generally with the objective of indexing websites.

To increase the ease with which your organization's website can be identified, nonprofits can build an intuitive interface with a clear link hierarchy. They can maintain link integrity and provide users with an understandable site map.

Search engines are increasingly placing a focus on the value of content, rather than the amount. This means generating unique, high-standard copy is imperative to being recognized. When an Internet bot indexes a website, it notes the originality, relevance and quality of the content. How the bot interprets the information will directly reflect the rank your charity's website is assigned.

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