What you really need to know about SEO for Nonprofits

SEO for Nonprofits

You’ve probably heard your organization’s IT nerd mutter something in a meeting about SEO strategy. You may have nodded knowingly, not wanting to give away that you had no idea and even less interest in what they were talking about.

Simply put, Search Engine Optimisation is what one does to help Google and other search engines find your site, ideally on the first page of the search. While it should not be dismissed as mere geek-speak, it doesn’t have to be that complicated either. Indeed, and this is the dirty secret the “experts” don’t want us to know: much of SEO strategy involves nothing more than sound web design, good writing, and some common sense.

Sure, many corporate websites employ teams of SEO technicians who invent all manner of tricks, hooks, and hacks so that their site appears at the top of a search.  Corporates can afford it, and at the stakes involved for them, the investment is probably worth their while. The rest of us, however, will quickly hit the diminishing returns wall. Besides, search engines are getting “smarter” by the day and thus far less susceptible to geekish programming trickery.

What to do? There are countless SEO how-to guides available, and they all say more or less the same thing:

  1. Good content is key. Update often, be topical and write well.
  2. Mind your web platform. HTML is search engine friendly, Flash is not. Out-of-the-box Content Management Systems like Joomla, WordPress, Drupal is easily found by Google because of the way they use headings and format text.
  3. Use keywords well. But don’t overdo it. “Keyword-stuffing” will get you labeled as a spammer, and search engine spiders will ignore you.

These simple tips will help create a considerable web-presence for your site.

Don’t employ SEO strategies unless they also have a real purpose to your site, and watch your analytics (site statistics) to see if your strategies are paying off. If you have a high volume of traffic, but they all leave after seeing just one page, is your strategy successful? Or is your aim to have your site visitors linger, reading more content, and engaging with your site?

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