SEO Basics for Nonprofits

For some people, three little letters can instill fear, cause a shortness of breath and create a panic attack. S-E-O. 

Humans are a funny breed. When we don’t know or understand something, sometimes we automatically deem it as scary. I know I’ve been guilty of this thought process, but once you understand what’s going on, you feel silly for ever having been afraid.

Every single organization wants more people to know about their mission or more people donating to their cause. The answer to those issues is Search Engine Optimization, but why are we so afraid of it?

SEO has the potential to help you reach more people, get more donations and have your voice heard. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert to succeed. Here are some basics your organization can follow.

Make Meaningful Content

It’s been said before—putting out content just to put out content is pointless. If you have a real message and real content that the masses should see, it’ll be evident. If you can consistently put out great content, people will want to share it. SEO can help you get that meaningful content out. SEO can’t, however, produce a miracle if content isn’t there.

Add Descriptors to Your Website

Default settings when you build your website don’t leave much room for your site to be found online. That’s why personalization is key. Websites have title tags and they’re important for SEO because they are the descriptors of your site. They show up at the top of tags and in search results. Find out how these are managed in your website and make sure you’ve personalized every inch. Your search engine rankings will thank you later.

Set Focus Keywords

Most people struggle with keywords. The best advice I’ve ever received about keyword optimization is to think about what people would actually go to Google (or any other search engine) and type in. It’s easy to mistake this for a jargon phrase or keyword.

If an average person wouldn’t go to Google and type in a highly technical term, ask yourself what they would type in. Instead of typing in “volunteer retention” our readers are probably typing in “managing volunteers” or “keeping volunteers.” It’s important to think about these phrases before you start writing content. Then you can make sure to work them into your content and be mindful of those phrases or words when you’re writing.

Link Where Possible

Adding links into your content can be a great SEO booster. If you have related content from the past, make sure you’re bringing it up in your current content. As an added bonus, it helps add validity to your words. For example, here are a variety of SEO tools your organization can be using. See what we did there?

Dig Deeper into SEO

The great thing about learning is that online resources are plentiful. These are a few articles I would recommend if you’re looking to get even more serious about your SEO strategy.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that if these SEO articles came up at the top of my search, they must know what they’re talking about. Now get out there and make sure your message is heard.


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

May 29, 2015

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