Was I glad to see Katya Andresen’s guide to search engine marketing 101(aka search engine optimization or SEO) in the most recent Network for Good e-news. Your focus on search engine positioning is critical for ensuring your audiences find your organization or program online (by making sure you show up as high as possible in search results on relevant keywords and phrases), but it’s a seemingly complex strategy to put into play. As a result, many nonprofit communicators avoid SEO like the plague.
Let me share a story: A few weeks ago, I led a workshop for 25 sharp nonprofit communicators on Writing for the Web. In addition to covering the "usual suspects" (casual tone, direct and succinct style, using storytelling to show rather than tell), I briefly reviewed basic SEO. And, although the guidelines I proposed were definitely baby steps to getting started, I was met by a roomful of blank stares — some fearful, others just not interested.
Here’s why you have to be interested in SEO:
Let’s say you are a small AIDS prevention nonprofit in Boise, Idaho. It’s December 30, and several Boise residents have logged onto Google to find a charity for a…donation/last minute tax deduction. It’s likely that potential donors will do a Google search for "boise aids charity." But if your nonprofit doesn’t pop-up near the top of the search results, these donors may never find you.
Luckily for me, there were a few nonprofit SEO experts in the room who helped me talk down their peers from the SEO ledge, and translate what seems to be a very daunting path of entry into this so important marketing strategy.
Now in today’s article, Katya clearly outlines the steps to take for using Google Grants, Google’s free-to-nonprofits SEO program. It’s a no-lose, all win investment of a very brief amount of time (to research which keywords will capture the most viewers for your nonprofit’s listing), so jump in today. Really. Today.
Thanks too to Katya for pointing to Dave Davies’ 10 Steps to Higher Search Engine Positioning, a very concise guide to what’s called "organic SEO" — how to write and design your site copy, headlines, title tags etc. so that the site or blog is search engine friendly.
I urge you to step down from the SEO ledge. SEO will boost your nonprofit’s online marketing big time. Use it for all it’s worth, and keep it powered by using Google Dashboard or another site/blog analytics tool to track which keywords and phrases site visitors are using to find you, adjusting your strategy as indicated.
P.S. While you’re thinking Web site, here are some additional strategies for Shaping Your Nonprofit Web Site to Generate the Actions You Need.
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