3 Simple Ways Non-Profits can Improve SEO

Working on as many SEO campaigns for non-profits as I do, I understand the struggle for internal marketing teams at non-profits to generate any traction on organic content via Google or social media. It generally comes down to not having enough time, or not knowing exactly where to invest time to see a return.

When I build SEO campaigns for non-profits, I try to focus on ROI. I get asked, “how can you improve the ROI for non-profits paying for digital marketing?” Most of the time, I see the best ROI coming from donor-centric campaigns or pushes towards new programs and services. In this article, I will talk about some really easy ways to improve or upgrade your content marketing strategy to focus on some organic content.

Why do I value organic content so highly? Once you solidify a one or two pieces of organic content, Google will reward you in high-intent traffic overtime for no continual cost. The same cannot be said about any form of paid marketing or social media marketing.

Content Marketing on Your Blog

The first step to any successful SEO campaign is building traction on your website content. If your service pages are already doing well and ranking for some important keywords, I generally move straight towards the blog. Here is my SEO process for doing content marketing with non-profits:

  1. Analyze and review current articles
  2. Look for successful pages and build Keyword Map
  3. Find Competitors that are currently winning, and see why
  4. Build Content timeline with topics that are SEO relevant to target keywords
  5. Start uploading content!

This is an ideal situation, and I can’t simply tell this information to non-profits and have them be able to do this work. There are always problems with not having enough time or not having people to do the work. That’s where I come in! For a fixed rate, I can help you create a content strategy, build monthly articles, and optimize them for SEO and Google search. Contact me!

How can non-profits improve their blog?

Just like I explained in the list above, you need to be looking at competitors and building a keyword map. Your keyword map will outline where you are at now, and where you want to be, so you have a good idea for the steps you need to take. For nonprofits, this may include looking at some of your old articles and rewriting them with a fresh take.

If you are working to do this yourself, I can even guide your team or give advice at a very low cost. I love working with non-profits! Once you are starting to upload content, and feeling good about how the topics align with your target keywords, you should move onto a structured data strategy!

Create a Schema Strategy

Once you have articles populated on your website and you’re starting to see some minimal traction through Google Search Console, you will want to start looking at some structured data opportunities.

Many of the non-profits I work with learn how to do this work themselves, even though it’s quite technical. Depending on the type of website framework you are using, it’s generally less than 6 steps to install structured data to a website post you have created. Here’s a pretty straightforward way to install structured data on Wix.

In this screenshot I’ve provided, you can see what a News Article might look like. For some of the larger organizations I work with, I’ve learned over time that News schema can be very important to see large spikes in traffic.

How can non-profits use schema structured data?

If you are interested in structured data for your non-profit website, the best place to start is with organization data.

That will allow you to connect your social profiles to your website, which will in turn assign their values across Google search. This could be valuable if you have high traffic social media but a lower traffic website.

Beyond organization data, you should add an article schema to each of your article pages. Article content is less “viral” than news content, but over time can generate some significant results.

There are several schema generators you can use online, but I do not recommend any of them as Google is always changing and updating how they read and display rich result content. I work with internal developers to build almost all of my schema code.

Once you have installed your code, you can use Google’s Rich Results Testing Tool that they recently upgraded in late 2020. This is a great way to verify Google can understand and serve your rich results across Google search. Here’s what it looks like when you pass a rich results test!

Do Backlink Outreach

As your articles grow and you start seeing more and more results in Google search console, the next step is to do some backlink outreach.

Generally for non-profit, backlink outreach can be hard, and many organizations settle with mediocre backlinks that don’t do anything for SEO. When you use a backlink company or even an SEO firm that focuses on backlinks, you should be wary of where they are getting these links from, and who is linking to you. Many times they just show you the results of their work, but don’t show you the actual links.

When I generate backlinks for non-profits, I help them understand and analyze how the specific link might be beneficial, and then I work with them to secure it.

Often times before we jump right into getting backlinks, we do a backlink audit on their website to see if we need to disavow anything before we begin. SEMRush is pretty much always the way I go.

So as a non-profit, how do I get backlinks that are valuable?

This comes from truly understanding what your target keywords are. Before any good backlink campaign starts, you should be aligning your current keywords with your target keywords to understand where you need to make progress. At that point, you can make informed decisions on what type of backlinks you should be going for.

For non-profits, there are many databases and catalogs that can give you a quick and easy way to generate a backlink.

What are the best types of backlinks?

These will come from article content when someone is taking your content and essentially reposting it or including it in their content. This can come either organically (through structured data) or can happen through outreach. If you are writing an article about a specific niche, and you see a couple of other organizations with similar articles, you should submit your article in the contact form! THere’s a chance they might be interested in adding some content to their and linking it, or at the very least just reading it.

Ask me for help!

If you are a non-profit that is just starting out and needs some help building an SEO strategy, I can provide a 2-hour SEO consultation where I walk through some of the things I talk about in this article and try to apply them to your specific niche and industry. The thing about these organizations is that they are all different and provide different resources, as well as each team is different. I want to help any type of non-profit team to be able to implement an effective SEO strategy!

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