I just wanted to make sure that you guys can all hear me and see my screen. You should see the title slide now and I’m just going to move between a couple of slides. So if you can see me and hear me if you could just let me know in the questions box on your GoToWebinar panel, I really appreciate it just so.
I don’t start presenting to the ether. All right looks like you can all see and hear me, which is great, so we’ll just give everybody a minute to log on and then we’ll get started all right. Well, thank you guys for joining me today for our mighty causes webinar on SEO for a nonprofit, that’s a really interesting topic and kind of a different one. For us, I’m really excited to get started. My name is Linda Gerhardt and I’m the senior Community Engagement Manager for Lady cause, I thing with mighty cost since 2016, and my background is in digital communications for nonprofits.
So one of the things I help with it might be cause is our SEO strategy, and that involves a lot of different things, we’ll discuss as part of this webinar. But I do have first-hand experience with SEO as part of what I do every day and I hope I’m able to share some information that’ll help your nonprofit optimize your website and rank higher in searches. Here’S a look at today’s agenda. We’Re going to try to keep this webinar as an intro to SEO and not get too lost in the weeds, because SEO is a big topic and a full-time job.
But because we know nonprofits have staff members that wear a lot of hats. We’Re going to go through the basics, give you the background. You need to understand, SEO and share some tips and some quick wins that will help. You start focusing on it at your organization, I’m just as a bit of housekeeping I’m just to keep things rolling I’ll, be taking questions at the end of the webinar. So if you think of something you want to ask, while I’m presenting just stick that question into the questions of your GoToWebinar panel and I’ll, make sure that we make time to answer your question at the end in case this is your first webinar with maybe cause Or you’re not familiar with who we are, I just wanted to take a minute to introduce the platform to you.
Maybe cause was founded in 2006 as Razoo, and we changed our name about a year ago when we became an employee-owned company, we’re one of the only platforms left in the industry that is not funded by venture capitalists and we’re a full-service nonprofit, fundraising suite, and we Have the most affordable pricing in the industry, with our new pricing guarantee, making our platform even cheaper to use than PayPal, but instead of just a PayPal button for that price, you have a full suite of products at your disposal.
Our primary customers are small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations, and since we were founded in 2006, we’ve raised over 650 million dollars for causes. On our platform, I wanted to give you a quick peek at the product suite for maybe cause which is really designed so that entry level users and experts can get just as much out of it. Nonprofits on Lady cause all have a beautiful customizable nonprofit profile, where you can tell your story: collect donations, share, photos and articles that illustrate what your nonprofit does.
We also offer peer-to-peer fundraising along with the best team and event fundraising tools on the market. So if you have an event coming up this summer this spring and you want to incorporate some peer-to-peer fundraising, we are definitely the best platform for that. Our event. Fundraising technology was upgraded at the beginning of the year and it’s better than ever. You also get a bunch of tools to collect donations such as a donation, widget and donation forms, and you’ve also got the ability to customize the checkout process so that you can be sure you’re getting the information you need from your donors.
We offer a comprehensive reporting on your donations and you have full control over your donor data. We will never contact your donors, we will never try to sell your donors, anything your donors are yours, and all we ever do is send them receipts and transactional emails, but you have full access to all of the information that they provided. We never hold it over. Your head, or you jump through any hoops to get that information if you are familiar with mighty cause and you’re an existing user or you just want to make sure that you have access to all the tools we have available.
One thing you can consider is a subscription to lady cause advanced it’s just $ 99 per month, which you can pay annually or monthly, based on whatever works best for your nonprofit and your budget and with a subscription you’ll gain access to some additional tools that will Help you take your fundraising to the next level, including our supporter CRM tool, which creates records for each donor. Each fundraiser and each volunteer advanced analytics to dig into your nonprofits fundraising metrics, and this is new and you’re, actually getting an exclusive announcement here today.
But we just launched text to give which is available to all advanced subscribers, so it’s just a glimpse of what you’ll get with the subscription to mighty cause in an overall look at the platform before we start digging into SEO. So we’re going to start talking about SEO in a very obvious place, which is what even is SEO and SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. So, basically, SEO is about being seen it’s about ranking higher in search engine results so that more people can find your nonprofit and get to your website.
You do this with a combination of site, design and content. That’S built on your website and the idea behind it is not getting anyone and everyone to your nonprofits, let’s say but getting the right people to your website at the right time for the right reasons. So, through SEO, you’ll increase the volume of traffic you get to your site, but you’ll also be working to improve the quality of the traffic you get to your site and we’ll talk a little bit more about what that means, specifically in a few slides for the Purposes of this webinar, when I say website, I mean your nonprofits own domain and not your mighty cause page because, while mighty cause has a lot of tools that you can use to have to support with your donations and it can sort of act as that.
First, online space that you have as a new nonprofit. We really own that domain, you own your domaine, so you don’t really have a lot of control over what happens on my tea cause in terms of SEO, but you have total control over your own domain. So that’s really what I’m talking about on this webinar. When I say your website, I mean something that you maintain yourself through a content, management system or CMS like Wix or WordPress or Squarespace.
Seo is a topic that really does have its own language. So before we get too deep, I wanted to take a moment to define some terms that we’ll be using in this webinar and you’ll, also see over and over again. If you do some research into SEO on your own, the first term is sir: that’s s ERP, which is a search engine results page. So, basically, when you, google, something the SERP is what you see it’s the results that are given to you by Google and it’s worth noting here that your SERP may look different from someone else’s SERP or my SERP.
These days, SERPs are very much individualized, based on what search engines and the companies who own them know about you, which is quite a bit if your Google next is key words and key words are so important in SEO that we have a whole section of slides. Just on keywords, but all you need to know right now, is that a keyword is a term that is used to describe your page and also how users might search for your page.
A keyword can be just a single word, but it can also and most often an entire phrase. So if you’re searching for some shoes – and let’s say you wanted to specifically find wide width black flats that whole paid, that whole phrase would be your keyword. It would not just be flats not be women’s flats, it would be wide width black flats, because that is specifically what you are searching for. Organic is another word that you’ll hear a lot and it’s got a very different definition than what you’ll see at the grocery store when it comes to digital marking and s, marketing and SEO Organic basically just means unpaid, organic search is your ranking on a SERP or Search engine results page that you did not pay for and is entirely based on a search engine crawling your page and deciding to show that link to a user that decided it would be useful to them and organic traffic is the volume of users who are getting To your page, through unpaid blogs, like a link in organic search results, some is something you’ll see a lot and that’s just an acronym that means search, engine marketing and that’s an umbrella term that describes anything you do to market your website and your brand through search Engines so that can include organic search and SEO, and it also includes things like Google Ads that are paid and then finally, we have spider or crawl, which are kind of creepy ways to describe the same thing.
A spider is a piece of software that crawls the World Wide Web gathering information and then the spider takes that information or that data it collects back to the search engine. Now Google doesn’t just crawl the web specifically for you. So if you’re googling, how Game of Thrones ended, it’s not going to crawl every website on the Internet to try and find that answer for you, because that requires an incredible amount of work.
So, instead, what the spider or crawler does is it stores the data in indexes so that when you do search for those Game of Thrones spoilers, it already has that data stored and can quickly pull up the most relevant book web pages for you, so that you Can find out who’s sat on the Iron Throne, it recrawled webpages and updates these indexes periodically. It doesn’t do it every hour or every day. So that’s why sometimes, if you make a change to your web page or your website, and then you, google it, you may not see that reflected immediately.
That’S because Google needs to recrawl your page and get that more up-to-date information all right. So now that we’ve got some vocabulary out of the way we’ll move into what SEO actually does. As we mentioned a few moments ago, SEO helps increase the quantity of your traffic. It basically brings more front people to your digital front door, because you’ve made it easy to find you and it also improves the quality of that traffic, meaning that the people you’re bringing to your site are the people you actually want there.
It is meaningful traffic, so, through this use of SEO, you’ll be able to help more people in your community, find your nonprofit and hopefully filter out people who are searching terms in different countries or different cities, and just looking for things that you can’t really help them With because sometimes you’ll find that with Google results too you’ll end up on a page and you’re like I don’t know what this is, and it doesn’t have anything to do with me.
Smart SEO cuts down on that experience for both you and the user, and it also just boosts your visibility being a first second or third ranking page on a high-volume search can really be a game-changer for your website in your brand and really just help. You establish your online presence if you have something in particular, you’re looking to boost in visibility, a particular page that you’re looking to get more eyes on being thoughtful about SEO, can help you get the traffic and attention that you’re looking for and finally, it helps you Market, your nonprofit without sinking lots of money into it SEO may require the help of the webmaster and maybe a few tools here and there, but it’s otherwise totally free.
You don’t have to pay for this because it’s organic placement in search engine results page or SERPs. It’S just about editing your site structure, adding a few things here and there and how you create content for your site and if you do at some point, want to decide that you want to invest in search engine marketing or SEM or get a Google Ad grant Seo provides the structure you need to really succeed at those things there are different types of SEO to and will hit on every one of these types in this webinar on page SEO is most important, and it’s usually what people are talking about when they talk about Seo and it’s exactly what it sounds like it’s the things you do on a page that helps search engines, find that page and understand what it’s for and show it to users who might be interested in it off page SEO are things you do outside of your Own website and domain like getting backlinks, which we’ll talk more about later blackhat SEO, is sort of the the underbelly of SEO.
The name comes from old westerns. You had the black hats, who are the bad guys and the white hats? Who are the good guys and black hat SEO is basically that there are always people who will want to try and figure out how to game the system and they’ll use tricks that are either unethical or unsavory or outright banned to try and stick tricks, search engines And to ranking them higher in SERPs for whatever purpose, and usually that purpose is showing them advertising white hat SEO is the other side of that white hat SEO are accepted, encourages tact, encouraged tactics that are shared by search engines that really don’t scape.
The line of. What’S allowed or try to trick users or search engines, so all of the recommendations I’ll be making during this webinar are white hat SEO, but we will provide an example or two of black hat SEO. Just so you can understand what that looks like okay. So if I haven’t totally lost you – or this seems like it’s too complicated to care about your you’re, not alone, there are for-profit businesses that get confused and overwhelmed by SEO.
But I want to explain why this is important to nonprofits, why we decided to host this webinar and really explain what your nonprofit can get out of focusing on SEO. Ultimately, what SEO is really great for is building your brand and every time I’ve hosted a webinar about marketing for nonprofits. There are always some people who are hesitant or a little confused about this one point, which is that nonprofits have a brand, but you absolutely do and for nonprofits it’s really important, because having authority being trustworthy being trusted is what gets people to use your services and Donate to your organization’s, if people don’t trust you, they won’t come to you for assistance and they definitely aren’t going to donate to you and search engines really are our primary way of getting information on any subject these days.
So if someone say interested in volunteering or donating for an organization that what you do or needs more information about the subject, your nonprofit works on, or maybe heard from a friend about your nonprofit, and they want to learn more about what you do. You’Re really doing yourself a huge disservice if your website is a mess or it’s hard to find you’ll miss out on helping people you’ll miss out on volunteers and you’ll, miss out on donors too, because your website is the digital front door to your nonprofit and search Engines are a map to get there.
The cool thing about SEO is that it’s not something you have to pay for and paying for it won’t even necessarily help you be better at it. It’S all stuff. You can do on your own or work with your webmaster on, and you really don’t need to lay out much money to improve your SEO. It’S just a set of simple tasks and different ways of thinking about presenting content and information to people that will help boost your visibility.
So sometimes nonprofits are really quick to ask about paid advertising or to lay money out for paid advertising, but SEO really doesn’t cost. You anything I can have a huge impact for your nonprofit, and your brand SEO will also help you meet people where they are and well I usually use the phrase meet people where they are figuratively. This time I mean it literally because you’re meeting them where they literally are, which is where most of us are meaning that we’re on Google or searching for information on our smartphones SEO, will help you connect with your constituency when they’re actively seeking help or information with Whatever work, your nonprofit does so, for instance, if I found a lost dog, I might Google animal shelters near me and the first results I find will most likely be the first place.
I talked to about the dog which allows the animal shelter to help both me and the dog I found and hey when I walk in your door to give you the lost dog in hopes that they can find its owner, I may leave some cash for you To donate to your work so that this dog might have a better chance of a better outcome or to give another example, if I’m looking for meals on wheels for my grandmother or another service, like that, I’m going to google it and the first results or two Are going to be places, I contact for help taking care of my beloved grandmother, so this can sound pretty technical and robotic and I won’t lie.
Sometimes SEO is a little bit technical and robotic, but this is the heart of what it’s really all about for nonprofits. You’Re, making that first contact with a human being in your community who needs your help or your expertise or your services or your guidance, and even if you’re, not in the business of providing direct assistance to the public SEO, can help. You advance your mission. For instance, let’s say you’re an environmental organization, and you mostly do policy work and political advocacy rather than getting your hands dirty.
Dealing with the public SEO can still be a huge help, because you’ll be better equipped to share information about environmentally friendly practices and common questions. People have about climate change and the ways they can reduce their carbon footprint, and you can also let them know about bills that are being introduced in ways they can get involved. So an optimized page for something lots of people search for like, for instance, if you’re the environmental organization.
You want it to share some information about recycling and how to compost that can bring a lot of people to your page. And if you set up your page correctly, it can keep them clicking to get them more information about your nonprofit and about your work. Really. One of the biggest benefits to SEO is that it brings a greater volume of people to your website and every single one of those people is a potential donor, just as when somebody calls your organization on the phone or sends an email or walks in through your Front door, you have the opportunity to convert them into donors by providing them with information, services and so on, and you have that same opportunity with every visit visit visitor to your website.
So obviously, a key part in this is having an easy, visible way to donate. On your website it should be front and center, and that’s where many causes donation widget can help. You can embed it right on your website. Best practice is to create a page that says donated page specifically for donations that contains all the boilerplate legal language you want to include, and you can just embed the widget there, but you can also embed it in that on any page, we’d like to collect donations Soon, we’ll also be releasing some new forms that are a little bit fancy and allow you to get a little bit more creative.
So keep an eye out for that, because this is a really key part of how you can convert website visitors into donors and make sure that you’re getting donors at every entry point to your organization. The final thing we’ll discuss is the benefit of lead generation, and what that means in practice is capturing information. One of the most frequent questions that I get from nonprofits is: how do I get more people to sign up for my email list and one of the ways you’ll really want to consider is through your website, they’re online, and it’s really easy for them to enter Their email address and get signed up so if you’ve optimized for SEO and you’re bringing traffic to your website, you’ll also want to install some contact, forms, pop-ups, slide ins and banners prompting people to sign up for your email list.
There are a lot of programs. You can use for that, like optinmonster, there’s lots of plugins through WordPress if you have a wordpress site, but this is another thing: SEO is great for which is growing. Your email list and capturing leads, so you can start cultivating them and hopefully turn them into donors. Alright, so next we’re going to move into how to develop your SEO strategy. The first step here is really easy.
It’S just googling yourself and seeing where you are on SERPs, try a bunch of different ways to search and see how that shakes out. You can start with googling just the name of your organization and then get a little bit broader, more realistic, for instance, if you’re a food bank in Maryland, Google, food bank in America, food banks in Maryland, or help with food MD or food pantry, and the name Of your city, I’m just about everything you can think of and just see where you land on surfs keep track of the searches you try and where you rank and, of course, if someone else is ranking higher, make note of it, because those are the pages that You’Ll need to compete with, so you will need to make your page better than theirs and right now there are pages better than yours, so you can take some notes and see what they’re doing and sort of scope out the competition and come up with a way To rank higher than them, secondly, you’ll want to take a look at your website and see where your website is and how you can improve.
For instance, are you using Google Analytics? If not, you definitely should and as a side note, you can also set up. Google Analytics for your mighty Koz page Google Analytics, helps you see where your traffic is coming from, which pages are getting the most traffic? What people are doing when they get to your page, if they’re staying there or if they’re, leaving and so on? So these are all things: you’ll want to know how people are finding you.
Are they getting to your website from Google or social media, or is most of it direct traffic, meaning that someone clicked on the link that sent them right to a specific page? So take a look at the pages you’ve set up. Are you targeting any keywords? Can you tell whether you were trying to rank for something and what are the pages that are doing the best? If you have most, sites will give you some basic analytics, but Google Analytics will allow you to really dig in and see what’s happening on your website once you’ve evaluated where your website is, you can look ahead and go deeper by investing in some tools to help You with SEO for keyword research which we’re going to talk about more in depth later in the webinar.
You can use tools like Moz, which is what we use here. Google Keyword planner is something that we also use. That’S a tool: that’s provided through Google Ads and you can use it for free. If you sign up for a Google Ads account 8:8 refs semrush. These all have funny names so make sure you get those slides. If you’re interested in any of these tools, you can even look at this slide and reference it.
As we mentioned, Google Analytics is an absolute must and one thing I cannot recommend enough. If you have a wordpress site, is the Yoast plugin, it’s a paid plugin, but it’s not that expensive and it is worth its weight in gold. What it does is it tells you, as you’re, building a page how to improve its SEO. So, while you’re writing the page and you’re building it out, it might tell you hey your keyword density is way too high.
You need to dial it back or you should put the keyword your target in your URL. It’S not there and then move it up to your first paragraph because you didn’t say your keyword until the end. It gives you that kind of feedback which is really helpful as you’re building out content, and just so you know, we have no business relationship with any of these companies, so these are just recommendations based on what I’ve used, what I’ve had good experiences with and what I have found to be helpful to me and then you’ll want to assemble your SEO dream team.
Now one of the most important people on your dream team is your webmaster, because for some aspects of SEO you will need to go into page code and if that idea, totally freaks you out you’ll want someone who knows what they’re doing to do it for you. So some of you may already have a webmaster who helped you create your website, so you already know who that is otherwise see who, on your team, is comfortable with website design and website.
Building you’ll also need someone to learn, Google Analytics and become your analytics guru and basically they’ll just need to be able to understand the metrics on Google Analytics and share it with you on your and your team. Google is really awesome on this front and they have lots of tutorials and guides that you can access for free. So you may just want to pinpoint somebody that you want to become an expert in this for your team and then you’ll need a content master.
This is the person who will actually get in do some keyword, research, write and edit copy, which is the text on your website and help optimize your old content and build new content based on the needs of what you want, your website to do, and then finally, You’Ll have a task master, who can oversee the whole SEO project and break it down into phases and specific tasks that are then delegated to your dream team members.
Now I do want to say if you’re one person, because you run a small nonprofit and you you are playing all of these roles that is totally normal and it’s totally okay. One thing I would urge you to do is if you’re a one-person show is reach out and see. If you can get some volunteer help a lot of times. We have skilled professionals and our volunteer basis that we don’t even know because we’ve never asked them for things like helping with SEO and they may be able to fill in some of these roles.
For you and get you this help for free and if you’re really feeling truly on your own, I would check with your board and see if they know anybody, because often your board members are business professionals and they may know somebody who can help you get off On the right foot and start tackling some of this SEO, so now we’re basically just going to move into what Google looks for from a website all right.
So basically, Google made its name on its search algorithm, and that is what differentiated it from all of the search engines that existed during the AOL boom. So Ask Jeeves dogpile web crawler like host AltaVista. They didn’t really organize the information that they found. Well. So you just kind of had basically a literal dog pile of websites that you could click on and you had no real idea if it was going to be what you wanted or not.
But Google found a way they developed an algorithm that helps them organize the information for users in a way that made sense that was intuitive and helped users access the most relevant pages for their search and those algorithms have grown quite a bit. They started out with PageRank which, as a bit of trivia, is not named, because the algorithm helps Google rank pages, but after the algorithms creator, Larry Page.
So if you’re ever playing Trivial Pursuit that may come in handy, they then released updates that would further refine search results. They came out and they all get. They gave them all really cute names. Google panda came out in 2011 to weed out low quality pages from search results and give priority to high quality pages, so basically cutting down on spammy pages that just want to show you advertising on Google penguin came out in 2012 and that further weeded out pages That were using black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and Google hummingbird came out in 2013.
How many were really changed: the search landscape by focusing on sites that had natural conversational, writing styles and sites that had used their recommendations to optimize their pages. That weeded out a lot of the link, farms and other blackhat websites that were using kind of shady techniques to get to get you into a page where they would show you basically a bunch of garbage. So Google made its name on providing the best search results on the web, and that is what they’re still focused on to this day.
Basically, when it comes to search Google’s only concern is how well a page answers the searchers question. If they deliver irrelevant search results, they may go to Bing, so they may use that loser and they want that user to stay on Google. So that’s the top thing they look at and they just look at how well a page answers a user’s question based on their search history based on their search term based on what’s on the page, and then they break that down into several different factors and we’ll Go into what those factors are an admitted, but that’s the important thing to keep in mind when you’re thinking about SEO they’re, really not thinking about themselves that or your nonprofit and what your needs are and what would be best for your nonprofit.
All they want is to provide the best answer to whatever the user is searching for, and that is it. You’Ve probably noticed in the past few years that Google is getting even more sophisticated and how it organizes its searches, so that often you’ll get a Google snippet. That answers a question for you right on the SERP, so that you don’t even have to click on a link to get the information you need.
The funny thing there is that it, even if you have a Google snippet, you’re, still going to get a ton of clicks, even though the information has been given and if the question was answered because and that lends a lot of authority to your page. So people are much more likely to click through and see what you have to say – and one thing I do want to note – is that Google is using machine learning and AI or artificial intelligence, and so it’s always been really hard to hack, Google searches because they’re Light years ahead of the rest of us with their technology and because of their machine learning and AI, it’s even harder to do that so stay honest here, because trying hacks or tricks is only going to hurt you, Google can see what you’re doing and they will Downgrade any pages using blackhat or shady techniques – and I just want to note here that there are definitely other search engines out there like being in Yahoo and they’re, totally valid and fine to use.
I’M just focusing on Google here, because there are the fault leaders they sort of are the industry leaders they’re the trendsetters and all the other search engines follow what they do. So if you do well on a Google search, you’ll probably do well on it being an ego who’s search as well. So that’s all great information, but what are you supposed to actually do on your webpage right? Well, here are the on-page factors that Google is looking for.
These are those things that break breaks down. What Google is looking for. First, you need to have a sitemap available to Google and a sitemap is just a file that has information about everything. That’S on your website so that Google can crawl it and get the information that it needs. Google looks at your page load speed, because if your page takes a million years to load, when someone clicks on it, it doesn’t want to waste users time sending people there, because that’s a bad experience.
They also look for a mobile-friendly design, which is becoming increasingly important with smartphones, because most of us are no longer conducting Google searches from a desktop computer, but from our phones. So if your website is website is not mobile, friendly and people need to pinch into zoom and read. What’S on your page, that’s a really poor user experience and it acts as a barrier between the user and information.
So it’s important to make sure that your website is mobile friendly and that can really just be as simple as moving to a mobile-friendly template on WordPress. Google looks for brief, descriptive, page titles. So if you look at the top of your browser and your page says, untitled, it’s not going to rank on a SERP most likely, because Google doesn’t really know what your page is about, because you didn’t tell them with a page title.
It also looks at page descriptions or met tags that tell Google and the user what is on the page. So when you google, and see a little sentence or two underneath that’s describing the content on the page. That’S because someone added a meta tag or a meta description. Google can pull that information from your page, but it may not be what you want it to be, and Google doesn’t really like to do that.
So it’s in your best interest to add that description, and it also at looks at your headings, which are your H ones and your h2s and so on and the actual content of your page, Google looks for structured data markup, that’s just to better understand your page And that’s something that your webmaster really can help you with, or you can find examples of it by googling it. It does involve going into the code and adding some things there, but they do provide pretty clear instructions.
If you want to Google structured data markup SEO and finally it’s looking at your site structure and hierarchy, it’s looking to see, basically whether your website is robust and structured in a way that will go into detail about in a minute or whether your site is kind Of thin and only has five pages, with no sub pages, basically, it’s trying to determine how trustworthy you are, how authoritative you are so, obviously the more robust your site is the higher you will rank.
So I know this is a lot of information and I’ll make sure that you get this slide deck so that you can go through this list of on-page factors when you need to a lot of these, though, are really easy winds that don’t require a whole lot Of work like adding a better title to your page or adding meta tags and adding headers or putting your keywords in your headers, if you didn’t do that the first time around, so these are really quick ways that you can improve your SEO and going forward when You’Re building new content for your website make sure that you’re taking these factors into account and building them in from the start.
Google also looks at off-page factors, and one of the biggest ones is backlinks, meaning whether your site is linked elsewhere and whether those sites are trustworthy. Google only wants to recommend good sources of information. It doesn’t want to be known for sending people to spammy sites. So this is one of the ways that Google determines whether you’re a trustworthy source of information, because if other people are linking to you and those sites where you’re being linked are also good, trustworthy websites, then they can feel pretty confident that you are a trustworthy source Of information and just the links themselves are not enough here, because, if the lis, if you’re getting backlinks through a site, that’s basically a link farm, which is a website that kind of just exists for the sole purpose of providing backlinks.
There’S, usually, you know people pay for that Google actually dings you for that and it’ll hurt your overall SEO. Things like mentions in news articles, press releases, guest blogs and so on will help your SEO as well a presence on social media. So one thing Google looks for – and I recommend doing as soon as you can is a Google, my business profile, it’s free to use and allows Google to nicely packaged together a knowledge panel about your nonprofit information.
You’Ve probably seen this before. If you take a look at the slide, you can see mighty causes knowledge panel through Google, my business, it just has general information about your business. It’Ll have any reviews your business hours, etc. So all you have to do is sign up for Google. My business verify your business and start filling out your profile. So add your business hours. Add some photos make sure your address is correct, add a phone number and that last part is important because on smart phones, when you have a Google, my business profile, people can just click a button or tap a button on their phone.
To give you a call. So it makes it really easy for people to get in touch with you and Google likes it too, because it’s more helpful for the user and the difference in a SERP with a filled out. Google, my business profile and without it, is really stark. It really and truly does make a huge difference in how attractive and prom it your business information is on Google, so this is a quick win and whether you do anything else we talked about in this webinar.
This is a simple, easy thing you can do. That will help your nonprofit be more visible in SERPs and just to be clear, you’re, not targeting any keywords here. This is just something so when somebody Google’s the name of your nonprofit and they want to find us information, you want to get to your website or they’re looking for your phone number or directions, they can easily find it and it nicely packages that, together for the User, alright, so we’ve mentioned keywords a whole bunch of times and now we’re going to dive into what keywords are, how they work and how keyword research works.
So, as I mentioned earlier, a keyword is a search term, but in a more general sense it’s a term that describes the content on your page and will help users find and understand the content on your page. A keyword can be a single phrase, a single word, but more often it’s a few words or a phrase with keywords: there’s a tough balance to strike between being broad, while not being so specific that you have a keyword, no one actually searches for, for instance, if You were running a cat rescue.
The key word cat is way too broad, but cat rescue in Denver with same-day adoptions – that has black cats, is way too specific. So you’ll need to strike the right balance of having something that is broad and can answer lots of questions, but is not so specific that you know nobody actually searches that way and, most importantly, once you choose a keyword, you need to actually build a page with Content that supports the use of that keyword so to go back to a cat rescue.
If you decide to target the word cat, it’s option on your page and then you spend half the page talking about dog adoptions. That keyword doesn’t work for the actual content on your page, so it’s not a helpful page for somebody who’s looking for information about cabbage options, so in that case you need to either edit your page. So it’s more about cat adoptions or just choose a different keyword to target and talk about adoptions.
More gem really keyword targeting is considered on-page SEO. Since it’s something that you’re going to do on the page itself. Sometimes, choosing a keyword can be really easy and obvious, but in either case it helps to use a keyword Explorer or a keyword planner during the process. The programs we talked about earlier, like Moz and SEMRush, have keyword Explorers that will show you. What pages are currently ranking for a keyword and also what the volume and opportunity is so to go back to Katz, because clearly, I’m a cat, lady and I keep bringing up cats if you are looking to rank for a page that you put together on cat Behavior you could try the keyword, cat, behavior and plug that into a keyword Explorer, but you’ll probably see that because that’s so broad it gets a lot of volume, but there’s a ton of competition from really well-established robust web websites.
So you can use the keyword Explorer to hone in on the right keyword for your page, so most of these explorers and planners track volume and opportunity, so you’ll want to find a keyword that gets decent volume. People are actually using this term to search, but also has a high opportunity score, which means that there’s room for your page to be included, because there’s not a bunch of really great pages, already ranking for that term.
Again, your your content has to be relevant here. So in your keyword, research, you may find that cat behavior is a really crowded playing field, but there’s a lot of opportunity for a page on a specific cat behavior like cats, scratching couches. So you could change up the type of content you end up making you could pivot to addressing a more specific page on cat behavior, instead of just having one general page and targeting keywords with high opportunity within the general subject, you’re looking to create content on, you May also decide that kr blog is a great place for a lot of this.
So, instead of creating a landing page, you write a blog post. Instead, the keep the thing with keyword. Research is to keep in mind what question is being asked with the keyword and how well you’re answering it. So you want to choose keywords that are questions. People are actually likely to ask, and that brings us to the types of things that people tend to ask. Google, the first and most common type is informational queries such as what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow which any Monty Python fans in the audience probably know how to answer.
These are just straightforward questions with straightforward answers. The next is navigational queries, so, for instance, if someone is looking for our blog, they may google mighty cos blog. These are straightforward, they’re, just looking to get to a specific page on the Internet and asking Google to help them find it next is transactional queries where a user wants to do something like stream Game of Thrones.
Google will find them a website where they can stream Game of Thrones. It’S very easy and very simple: next, you have commercial investigation, so if someone is looking, for instance, for the best nonprofit, fundraising platform or the best running shoes or the best gaming monitor the Google, those terms and Google would fetch them information comparing those different options, so It wouldn’t point you to a website, necessarily that sells running shoes.
If you were looking for the best running shoes, it would point you to a web page that is comparing different kinds of running shoes, and if you were to google that you would probably find that a lot of shoe companies are creating pages on their own websites. So they can sell their product, but also capture that traffic looking for the best running shoes and then finally, you have local queries which are gaining popularity as we carry our smartphones around and that’s just looking for stuff near you.
So since Google knows where you are and pretty much everything about you, you can google animal shelters near me or coffee shops near me and get a listing of what is near you with distance and directions through Google Maps so for the most part, with keyword targeting You’Re going to be looking at informational, queries and local queries, but some exceptions, because you know, for instance, if you accept blood donations, that you’re a non-profit and someone wants to know where they can donate blood near them.
You’Ll want to get them to that page. With that information, so it’s also important to keep in mind what kind of query your Optima for when you’re joined, keyword, research and then the question is once you’ve got your keyword. Where does it go? It goes in your page title in your headers and your sub. Headers, which are the bits on your page, the slightly larger, bolder text in your description in your actual content on your page, your URL, your alt text, which is the text that you put behind images for screen readers for people who are not able to read them.
So the they’ll actually be read by a screen reader and your anchor text, which is basically just another way of saying hyperlinks. If you do any editing inside of your website, CMS or content management system, which, for instance, would be something like WordPress or Squarespace or Wix. You can probably stick your keyword in these places pretty easily it’s built in to help you do that, but you can also ask your webmaster to help you do this for you, especially if you’re having a hard time finding the alt text and description so keywords and Content are BFFs they’re best friends, they have a super close relationship and they need to work closely together to complement each other.
Your keywords have to be fully integrated into your pages content so that it’s natural and it sounds like it was written by a human for a human, and it must also be relevant again. Google is looking for pages with content that best answer the questions that the users are asking. So if these things are just brand, if they don’t make sense together and don’t fully mesh, it’s not a helpful answer on a page.
So when you’re working on SEO, you’ll basically be using your keyword to audit your content or create your content and make sure that they’re totally meshed make sense together and they’re intertwined. I wanted to move on to some keyword, do’s and dont’s. The do’s are pretty simple: focus on search or intent, and relevance as we’ve talked a lot about and use your keywords to refine your content so that it answers a question better focus on providing quality content, meaning a helpful, well-written page with skimmable information that answers the Question: that’s jested by your keyword and finally diversify.
Your whole site is not going to be married to one keyword. It won’t rank for a keyword. Individual pages within your website will rank. So if there’s a keyword, you want to rank for create a new page for it or write a blog post around it. The more keywords you target, the more you will rank and the more people you will bring to your site overall and they’ll, move on to some don’ts. The biggest don’t is keyword stuffing, and that is just what it sounds like it’s using the keyword over and over again in a way that feels unnatural and robotic, for instance, if you are trying to rank for the keyword apples, if your keyword stuffing, you might write Something like apples are a terrific fruit.
There are so many different kinds of apples, Fuji, apples, Gala, apples, pink, lady apples, granny smith, apples and so on. It sounds ridiculous and that’s keyword stuffing and it’ll actually hurt your SEO, because Google sees what you’re doing and it dings you. So you want the keyword in there but present in those few key areas we talked about and you need for the content to sound. Like a human being, wrote it and it’s not something that a computer spat out for you.
Another thing you’ll want to avoid like the plague is hidden keywords. Thankfully, Google’s changes have stopped this practice for the most part, but hidden keywords are sticking invisible keywords into the page like putting the keyword a million times in white text on the page, so that it’s in the code, but it’s not visible to users. That’S black hat, and that is a big no-no. Again you really can’t fool, Google, so don’t even try and the last don’t is don’t skip your keyword.
Research without researching keywords, you’ll likely find that your pages are unfocused and they aren’t really ranking for anything because you didn’t know what term you were going for when you created the page. So make sure you do your keyword, research before you build content. Okay, so last day, I wanted to touch on actual site structure and how those relate to keywords. This is sort of advanced, but I think it’s important to go over and that’s pillar pages and topic clusters, so a pillar page is where you target those broader keywords.
Like, for instance, again cats, so you may build a page which is called a pillar page where you collect all of your content about cats, so you think of it as a tree with branches or a rustic. Russian nesting doll in that pillar. Page you’ll talk about cats and you’ll, also branch out into more specific subjects, which are called topic clusters like cat behavior and all the pages that shoot off from that about cat behavior cat adoption is another topic cluster and that’s where you’ll share.
All of your information about adopting cats from your shelter, maybe a topic cluster about cat health and answering some questions about cat health, like what vaccines is my cat need? How often does my cat need to go to the vet and so on? This is a great way to build a robust website, target lots of keywords and provide lots of information to the public and get traffic to your site and because you’ll have this rich library of information.
People will spend more time on your site because you’ll want to create a link between these pages. So, for instance, when somebody’s on the cat adoption page, they can be prompted with a link to your other page about how to choose the right cat for your family and so on, and this all helps greatly with SEO. Google is looking for this type of structure, so this may sound confusing, and you definitely don’t need to start here, but when we’re talking about a larger SEO project, this is kind of where you want to end up with this big library of pillar pages and topic Clusters based on keywords that you’re looking to target so basically that that’s pillar pages and topic clusters.
You can always email me if you have specific questions about this, because this is a little bit more complex, but if you’re already doing well with SEO. This might be the next step for you all right and to piggyback off of that big spiel about content, we’re going to talk about actually creating content for SEO. So this is basically how you build a page step by step. First, you find your keyword or keywords.
So you know what you’re focusing on. Then you come up with a short, descriptive, page title and you map out your headers, which are the bits of big text that break up your page into different sections. You’Ll want to make sure your keyword are represented in the headers, though they don’t have to be in every single one and then you’ll just start writing out your content. Long-Form content is ideal for SEO, so aiming in a perfect world, for a thousand words is great.
If you can get in at bare minimum, you want at least 300. That is the bare minimum length you need to rank on. Google, if you can get in between those numbers. You’Re good you’ll want to add some images. Don’T forget. The alt text add article if you have it make sure you’ve got some other links to other content and link out to other websites just to round out and add anchor text to your page. Following this structure, you can build a solid landing page, and this is also how I build blog posts, so this is really helpful.
The structure is very simple and it’s a format that you can easily learn: that’s optimized for a search engine visibility, so the kind of content that works is pretty universal. As we discussed content that answers a direct question tends to do really. Well, if you frequent any recipe blogs you’ll, see this a lot before a recipe for brownies you’ll, see a header that says how do you make brownies and then a paragraph that answers the question of how to make brownies you’re there for a recipe, but you’ve got It in paragraph form too, and it’s kind of confusing, but the author did that for search engine optimization and a note on recipe.
Bloggers too. That’S also why they’ll have the long preamble about all of their childhood memories of brownies before their recipe, so that they can get to that minimum word count for their blog post their recipe. So that’s actually a really great great place to learn SEO if you’re interested is check out some recipe blocks, because it’s pretty naked ly apparent on their sites. What they’re doing – and you can learn from that structure, but basically answering a direct question – is really a great way to rank on a circuit.
Moving on, you want your content to be skimming skimming Bowl because most people skin web pages, instead of sitting down to read them word for word. So that’s where headers and lists come in handy, different kinds of content, like images, infographics articles etc, can help break up the content, make it easier to read and also help with SEO, and one thing we haven’t really talked about. Much is calls to action, but they’re also an important component to strong SEO.
Where do you want the person? That’S reading your page to go next so, for instance, if you’re, a non-profit trying to get people to register to vote, a call to action would be okay. Here’S a bunch of information about why you should register and here’s a button where you can actually do it, and this is a way of keeping people on your website, because your call to action can be something else on your website like making a donation and good Content also just has a clear focus and is written well, like it came from an actual human being and not a computer.
Some things you’ll want to keep in mind for creating content, are keyword density and there is an actual number you’re aiming for with the amount of times you actually mention your keyword, and that is point two point. Five percent of your total copy, under that it may not register for the keyword and over that you could get dinged for keyword. Stuffing Yoast actually calculates this for you in WordPress and and Flags it for you if you’re under or over so Yoast can be a really helpful tool here.
You’Ll want to make sure that the keyword is in the right places like in the title. First, paragraph of the text, and so on, like we talked about and you’ll want to stay away from creating multiple pages, with the same keyword focus because you’ll essentially end up competing with yourself and again. You want to keep your copy short and scalable you’re. Not writing the next great American novel you’re just trying to impart some information in a way that’s easy to understand to the public, so think Hemingway if you want to think novelists, keep it short and punchy all right.
So I do want to talk a little bit about link building. I don’t want to get too deep into it, but this is an important part of SEO, so I wanted to briefly go into it. Backlinks are exactly what they sound like. There are links to your website or a page on your website from outside sources and as we discuss, Google looks at this to determine whether or not you are a trustworthy source of information.
So when you’re thinking of backlink strategy, first try to think of anywhere that you should be linked, but aren’t like News article where your executive director was interviewed or a partner organizations website. If you get mentioned somewhere, but don’t get a link, it’s always worth reaching out and asking for a link, because these do matter quite a bit and researching where you’re mentioned and where you should be linked and asking them to provide a link on the the page.
Where you’re mentioned can be a really great easy task for a volunteer, especially one who’s, maybe interested in working from home, so that you don’t have to spend your time writing emails about backlinks. The other side of this is finding opportunities to build your links. For instance, guest blogs are a really great way to build links, and, if you use my any cause and you’ve run a fundraiser that you want to write about, you can always contact me.
We’Re happy to publish guest posts on the mighty cause, blog conferences and networking events. Press releases. Press outreach are really great for link building, so we’ve recommend making sure that you stay in touch with local press and make your organization available to media inquiries so that you can get those interviews where you’re a subject matter expert and possibly get a link in a News article alright, so we are in the home stretch and I just wanted to quickly go through some best practices.
For you and summarize some of what we’ve talked about. First, you should know that SEO is a long game. The results are not immediate. It can take a little time to start seeing the effects of SEO on site traffic signups for your newsletter and so on so be patient. Keep track of what you’re doing celebrate your small successes and if you find yourself tempted to form this out to someone else that is offering hacks or making crazy promises about quick SEO results be very careful because some of them can be kind of scammy and a Waste of money in time SEO is something that you build over time, not something that you can do quickly to see a massive jump in traffic.
It’S more of a long-term investment than a quick payout. An important best practice is to track your progress and make sure you understand your metrics. Google offers free, comprehensive guides to SEO analytics PPC or pay-per-click vert izing, which can be extremely helpful in understanding the ins and outs of search engine marketing. So I definitely recommend taking advantage of the free resources that are available.
I do SEO SEO work here. I’Ve done it for nonprofits um and I didn’t go to school for this. This is just information. That’S freely available. It’S democratized. Anyone can learn it. The resources are free, so just you know use what’s available to you, work with your webmaster to ensure your analytics are working properly and as with any project, you want to define your goals, so you can track your progress um.
So your goal at first may just be to add page titles to all of your webpages and start writing monthly blogs for SEO, and those are totally fine goals that you can work toward. Just make sure that you actually take the time to set them. And you want to also set kpi’s, those are key performance indicators and they work with your goals. Obviously so, for instance, if your goal is more traffic to an important page on your website, then volume of traffic to that page is a KPI.
That’S the metric you’re. Looking at to measure your success so set those check on them at least monthly, and you know just make sure you’re on the right track. One thing that’s helped me. A lot is just staying on top of trends for SEO. So I know that when something is changing, if Google’s releasing an algorithm update and reading, blogs is also really helpful. Um. Some of my favorites are the Moz blog there’s this guy Neil Patel, who is so good at SEO that if you, google, literally anything related to SEO a blog post of his will pop up so he’s a great source of information, and you can kind of see The stuff in action, HubSpot semrush, they have great blogs and the Yoast blog – is also a great source of information.
And, of course I have to plug my tea causes, blog, which I run, and you can also find lots of great content there for fundraising strategy and finally, stick with my because we are focused on small to mid-sized nonprofits. So all of our tools and trainings are focused on that audience and we’re also priced for that demographic, meaning, we’re affordable and can suit any budget, no matter how small, because you can use us for free if you want to.
We also offer free monthly trainings, like this one, all the tools you need to put these tips to you, so you can get more donations and grow your nonprofit all right, so just under the wire we’re right at the end of the presentation. So I wanted to take some time to answer any questions that you guys might have. So if you have a question just type it into the questions box of your GoToWebinar panel, okay, it looks like there’s a question here: do you recommend a Google grant um? Yes, I do recommend a Google grant with a couple of caveats, so Google Grants are wonderful.
It’S a program that Google has created so that if you want to get into you pay-per-click advertising, which are the paid ads in Google searches that you see, they provide those to nonprofits for free. So you get an advertising budget through Google Grants and you just create your as an old place, those those ads in Google searches at Google’s expense. It’S a grant basically, however, this stuff that we’re talking about related to SEO.
You need to have in place first because a lot of its going to be really confusing to you and you’re going to have a hard time succeeding if you still have only five pages on your website. You don’t have page titles you’re, not using keywords and headers, because you’re going to need to use all of those things with a Google grant. So I would say the things that we talked about here today and I know it’s we just reached an hour.
So if you need to log off, please feel free, but if you want to stick around I’ll answer any questions you, what you guys might have a Google grant would be the next step after you kind of have a handle on SEO as a general concept, and You put some some practices into place to have build pages built out and keywords targeted, and you also want to think about things like page load speed, because those are things that Google is going to look at and with a Google grant.
Just like any grant. You do have certain benchmarks that you have to hit in order to keep the grant so the actually fairly high. So you want to make sure that if you get a Google grant you’re set up for success and you have a robust website where you can promote it and use that grant for all it’s worth, because it’s like eleven thousand dollars. It’S quite a bit of money. Um, okay, what website builders do you recommend um? Well, my favorite honestly from me to you is WordPress, especially if you need to be able to maintain your website on your own.
WordPress is great for that. You can have your own domain. You can self host it, which means that you don’t have to go through wordpress.Com. You could go through something like dream, host or Bluehost or GoDaddy or whatever you choose. But I I recommend WordPress, especially if you’re getting your first website together, because it’s really easy to maintain a lot of this stuff is baked into it and very easy for you to do on your own.
Without the help of you know, somebody who writes code and there’s also a lot of really excellent plugins that WordPress offers and a plug-in is basically like. The same thing is a widget. If you think about a widget, you just plug it into your website and it’s a tool, that’s good, to go and helps you do the thing that you want to do so. I really recommend WordPress for your first site, but yeah I mean there’s also lots out there, there’s Squarespace, there’s Wix.
You can also create a site from scratch. The only thing to consider there if you’re, using something like you know a CMS like Drupal a little bit more complicated. You might need some help maintaining it. So you want to choose something, that’s easy for you to maintain, but I’m a huge fan of WordPress. It’S a very user friendly. So even if you have no web design experience, you should be able to put together a pretty good WordPress site.
Alright, so there’s any questions I’ll give you one more minute to enter them in okay. So this is an interesting question. We have someone who writes a newspaper article each month, so how would we use this on backlinks? Well, if it’s something that’s almost newspapers have a website local papers, their websites might be a little bit thin, but if they’re also publishing the the monthly article to their publications website, just ask them, you know: can you please include a link to the our website, or This particular page so, depending on what they’re writing you can work with them like I’m, not sure what your line of work is.
But let’s say: if you were a food bank and you were addressing some particular side of food insecurity, you could create a page to complement that and say: hey here’s, some more information. Can you include this in the article? The other thing you could do if they absolutely do not have you know this article printed or publish on their website as well is they can ask if they can just include a link in the actual text of the article that that’s published? If it’s a print publication, you’ll just want to make sure that your your URL is pretty easy to remember you can, you know, create a shorter link.
That’S, like you know, www your nonprofit com, slash whatever your subject is so that people can easily get directed to the right place without taking up a bunch of print because they may be constrained when they’re writing that kind of thing in but just email them and Just say: hey, you know, is this published anywhere else? Are you publishing this on your website? Is there any chance? You can include a link to this particular page on on on the article that you’re writing and just see where you go, because they are probably journalists are very familiar with back linking they get asked for backlinks all the time, so just write in an email and See see, what’s what and see if you can get to include a link um? Yes, I will send the slide deck.
That’S always a question. I will make sure that you have the slide deck it’s about 4 o’clock Eastern Time, so you’ll probably get it tomorrow, but you will have access to the full slide deck. This is a lot of information guys, so I want to make sure that you have the slides to refer back to and you’ll also get a recording of the webinar. So if you wanted to share it with somebody that you want to work with you on SEO, you can share it with them as well, and I think that’s all the questions we have.
My email is Linda at my tea cause calm, so you can feel free to email me if you have any any follow-up questions for me or if you want to chat SEO or community recommendations for any tools, I’m happy to help out that you guys have been Great thanks for sticking with me for this through this really technical topic. I hope you got some helpful information and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.
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