If youíre trying to build your charityís online presence, donít forget about SEO. These basic steps will help ensure your charity website ranks high in search engines
By Paddy Moogan
Search engine optimisation aims to get your website listed as high as possible in organic search engine rankings, such as Google. For many companies, search engine traffic is central to their overall business success as they lead to new enquiries, but for charities SEO can often become a neglected element of a digital marketing strategy. This isnít to say that other elements arenít important, social media for example can drive lots of traffic and donations to charities. However, SEO shouldnít be forgotten about.
There are a number of positives for non-for-profits that can come from investing a little time into your SEO activity, including:
1. Increased donations
Online donations are increasing in popularity. Itís important that your website is easily found in search rankings because the more people who come across it, the more likely they are to donate to your cause which is obviously the lifeblood of a charity. This will increase the chances of reaching your business goals, whether itís supporting disadvantaged children or funding medical research. Even taking basic steps in technical SEO for example can lead to increased visibility in organic search rankings for a charity website.
2. Increased cause awareness
Over 160,000 charities are registered in the UK today that spend close to £80bn per year on their causes. SEO will drive traffic to your website, and even if people donít initially donate, they will be aware of your cause and the things that youíre doing for the community which builds your reputation. The same principle applies to other websites such as e-commerce businesses where someone may become aware of a brand, but not buy a product straight away.
3. Increased trust
SEO can increase loyalty and trust in your charity by increasing awareness of who you are and what you do. If people search for your charityís name and it isnít listed within the first few results on a Google search, it undermines your reputation. If people are searching for your charity online, theyíre already engaging with you, so itís important that they find you easily to continue to engage and eventually, donate to your cause.
This is especially important for smaller charities who are still trying to establish themselves online. Larger charities such as Cancer Research UK and NSPCC are less at risk because of the sheer weight of their existing brand awareness.
There are ways that you can help ensure your charity ranks higher than others, including:
- Choose target keywords carefully - A strong SEO strategy will revolve around keyword terms, so when youíre deciding yours itís important to think about your audience, who youíre going to engage with and how they will look for information on your charity. Itís important to choose keywords that are tightly focused on your charity and in the early days, ones that are as specific as possible to what you do. This is because targeting very broad keywords will most likely mean that theyíre also very competitive, making it harder for you to rank well.
- Target the correct area - It sounds simple, but you should make sure your website specifies where youíre located so you donít waste time trying to rank highly in areas that arenít relevant. If you focus on a particular city to generate donations to a particular local area, then itís important that you are visible for keywords related to your area.
- Create engaging content - Make sure youíre creating engaging content on your site, from images to videos and blog posts. In order to put trust in your charity and eventually donate, visitors will want to read more about what you do, the causes you believe in and how donations are spent. Take the time to communicate all of this to your audience in the form of great content.
If youíre looking to get started, checkout this list of SEO tools that can help charities over on the Just Giving blog.
Paddy Moogan is co-founder of Aira, a digital marketing agency offering SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing and digital PR services to companies all over the world