Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, helps increase traffic to your nonprofit’s website. By using the right SEO techniques your website will rise in search engine rankings and receive more traffic.
However, drawing an audience to your website is only half the battle. Good SEO practices ensure visitors are more engaged and prepared to donate. This means focusing on keywords, link building and content that’s specific to your charity.
Support from an SEO consultant can help bring more relevant, engaged traffic to your website.
1. Decide whether you need a pro-bono SEO consultant
SEO specialists provide valuable insights you may not know about otherwise. If you have a new site, SEO can help generate traffic and visibility. For existing websites, proper SEO can help increase brand awareness.
Look at similar websites, if they rank higher on Google then take note of what they’re doing differently. You could discuss any potential improvements with your volunteer SEO specialist.
Remember, much SEO action happens behind the scenes. If websites with less content and poor keyword visibility are ranking higher, there’s a chance your site requires off-page work. If you’re still unsure where you’re going wrong, a good SEO consultant can help.
2. A basic understanding of SEO
Having a basic understanding of SEO will help you find the best volunteer SEO specialist for your charity. This can be as elementary as knowing that SEO can help your website rank better with Google. Alternatively, this article from Google offers an informative guide to beginner’s SEO.
An important thing to know about SEO is that quick results are rare. An SEO consultant needs upwards of four months to make improvements to your site and before seeing benefits. So, make sure you enlist a volunteer SEO specialist who’s available long term.
3. Know what you want to achieve
Even if you know very little about SEO, I’d recommend having an idea about what you want to achieve via an SEO specialist.
For example, if you’re confident your site’s structure is optimised, a volunteer SEO consultant may develop a keyword or link-building strategy. If you’re starting from scratch, your goal could simply be to rise in Google’s rankings for specific key terms.
Whatever the case, most SEO consultants will complete a full site audit when they begin working with you. An audit will pick up everything from duplicated links to H1 titles that need fixing. So, if you don’t have a clear goal in mind then your SEO consultant will be able to help.
4. Research volunteer SEO specialists
Once you know what you’d like to achieve, start looking for the right SEO volunteer. There are many ways to find an SEO specialist, begin by scouring LinkedIn, Facebook groups and making targeted Twitter searches. There are also plenty of websites dedicated to finding volunteers. Try Reach Volunteering, Charity Job or Volunteering Matters to begin your search.
SEO knowledge is versatile and applicable to most organisations, so a consultant doesn’t need prior experience with charities. Similarly, many consultants work with both big and small nonprofit organisations seamlessly. The important thing is that they are knowledgeable and avoid black-hat techniques. Google sees through keyword stuffing and other underhand tactics.
5. Discuss your goals with an SEO consultant
Discussing your goals will help you decide if a volunteer SEO consultant is right for your nonprofit. Make sure they understand your goals and ensure they’re passionate about your charity’s cause.
Time keeping is also an important aspect. Amine Dahimene SEO consultant says, “When interviewing, make sure the candidate has enough time to work your website and is committed to the agreed number of hours. To keep on top of this, it’s good to have regular catch-up meetings.”
Speaking with an SEO consultant helps paint a clearer picture of your website, laying the foundations for them to create a strategy.
6. Say no to black-hat tactics
To ensure your SEO specialist will create long-lasting positive changes, there are some key things to avoid.
One warning sign is if they guarantee a #1 ranking over a short period. Whilst it’s achievable over time, this isn’t guaranteeable and big leaps in rankings normally take months.
You should also avoid keyword stuffing. This technique involves unnecessarily repeating keywords over the course of one page. Google penalises this because it’s bad for user experience and is blatantly pandering to search engines.
Neglecting technical errors is a warning sign. Good SEO specialists recognise the importance of keeping the site’s back-end up to scratch. Ignoring it completely could be detrimental to how Google views your site.
Whilst their services are being offered for free, an SEO specialist using underhand tactics could result in Google penalising your site. Avoid this at all costs.
So, what are you waiting for? Begin your hunt for a volunteer SEO specialist now.