The most important elements of SEO success for a nonprofit organization are:
- Striking the right balance of local and national SEO
- Targeting the right keywords
- Creating effective content for optimization and conversions
The First Challenge for Your Nonprofit SEO Agency: Local and National Balance
Some people assume that SEO is one big basket of techniques that apply equally to any and every sort of organization. In reality, there are many branches of SEO that apply specifically to certain types of business models.
For nonprofits, a major consideration is whether you need local SEO or a standard national SEO campaign — or a mix of both. These are some of the considerations your nonprofit SEO firm will weigh.
- Local SEO is a clear choice if your organization draws donors and volunteers primarily or exclusively from within a community or region.
- However, nonprofits with national scope may still find it very productive to add local SEO to their campaigns, as a way to target large markets where conversion opportunities are high.
- Some geographic markets, especially smaller ones, do not have enough high-volume keywords to support local SEO campaigns. In these cases, a national campaign may be a better option — especially in cases where a local SEO campaign would involve major changes to your website.
Targeting the Right Keywords
Selecting the target keywords for an SEO campaign involves what can be extremely complex research. Among the selection issues a nonprofit SEO company will consider are:
- Popularity of the keywords. The best target keyword is not necessarily the most popular. Keywords with very high search volume may be too broad, and attract click-throughs from search engine users looking for something else. Highly popular keywords may be too competitive, having been targeted by large nonprofits with hefty SEO budgets. Long-tail keywords — that is, longer keyword phrases that are very specific and relevant — are often the best choices for small and midsize nonprofit organizations.
- User intent of the keyword. For B2B and B2C organizations, keywords that have buying intent are usually the best choices. However, for nonprofits, keywords with research intent may be as good or better choices. Search engine users may be interested in learning more about a cause with which your organization is involved. After learning more about the cause on your website, they may then become interested in donating or volunteering.
Creating Content That Inspires Donations and Volunteers
With this last point about learning in mind, you can see why high-quality, informative and inspiring content is so important in a nonprofit SEO campaign. It is not enough for your content to contain the right keywords and have specific pages matching to your primary keyword targets, although these items are indeed very important.
In addition, your nonprofit SEO agency must have copywriters capable of developing content (both on your website and on other websites) that inspire site visitors coming from search engines to engage with your organization. All the search engine traffic in the world won’t pay for an investment in SEO unless your visitors become supporters of your organization.