Want to Get Found on Google? The Reality of SEO for Nonprofits

How do you get found on Google as a nonprofit?

What’s the secret to search engine success? What’s this SEO (search engine optimization) stuff, why is it such a clunky phrase – and what do I need to do so I can forget about it?

The Secret to Amazing Nonprofit SEO

I first want to talk about the bigger idea behind getting found on search enginges, the nontechnical stuff.

Now, for most of us, our first reaction to getting found on Google is probably one of two things:

  • Either you assume it’s way too technical and complicated for someone like you to understand, because you’re not a techie, right?
  • Or maybe you’re more of the second reaction, where you think, “Oh, ok, if I just do x y and z and push this button and put these words in my title, I’ll be at the top of the search results every time, just like magic! Awesome!”

But actually… neither of those are quite right.

The truth is it’s a lot simpler than it used to be to rank well on the search engine results, but it isn’t just a one-and-done situation. It takes two things:

  • Figuring out what your audience wants, and then
  • Creating the most helpful, amazing stuff that you can for that audience.

You see, instead of rewarding people who have websites with certain keywords and metadata and know how to game the system, today Google tries to reward people who have websites people love. Simple as that.

Google looks at all the stuff that shows that your website is useful: if they stay on your pages, if people are talking about you with social media and if your website answers the questions your constituents search for.

In other words, these are ALL things that happen naturally when you create a great website!

Question to Ask About Your Website to Fix Your SEO

So instead of thinking first about the technical aspects of getting found on Google, think about these questions:

What would be the most helpful for people who visit my nonprofit’s website? What are they looking for? What questions do they have? What do they need to learn more about?

If you were visiting a nonprofit’s website, what would YOU want to find?

You’d probably want to find out about what the nonprofit does in simple, non-jargony terms, and learn who they are. You’d want to know how they help you and why their work matters. You might want to donate, or volunteer, or learn how to get to their building or when their next event is happening.

And if a nonprofit has created a website that not only answers all those questions but shows that the nonprofit is doing important, exceptional work on a daily basis, the people will stay, come back or even invite their friends.

And more than anything THAT’S what gets you found on Google.


Marc Koenig

Marc Koenig is a regular contributor of Nonprofit Hub. Marc believes smart, ethical marketing can make the world a better place, and strives to create content that helps nonprofits tell better stories, push their organizations to excel and do work that matters. You'll find him writing Nonprofit Hub featured posts, brainstorming infographics and tweeting up a storm at @npmarc - follow him and say hi!

June 12, 2013

You May Also Enjoy

Two professionals shake hands, representing a business and nonprofit partnership
Sponsorship v. Donations: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Sponsorship v. Donations: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Needing money is a common denominator among all nonprofits. We may do different things, serve different causes, or even operate in different areas of the world. However, we all need funds. Two of the tried-and-true methods for raising dough, sponsorships, and charitable donations, can cause a lot of confusion. Here’s your guide to keeping them straight and also maximizing their ability to support your mission.

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.