As a nonprofit, you might have a digital strategy or at least you’ve considered how digital channels effect your communication strategy. I recently went to a workshop about SEO essentials for business owners. While I have considered SEO in content strategies for clients at Charity Dynamics and even before joining this team, I always seek to understand it more.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has changed a ton since its inception. In 2010, as a content writer, I was given a word count, keywords to include in site pages, blog posts and articles. After I’d write a blog or write content for pages on a new site, I’d hand over my words and a web developer would take care of the rest. This was the standard for SEO content at the time.

Since then, Google algorithms have gone through several changes. Because of that, companies and organizations have had to adapt and adjust their SEO strategy.

I am glad I was able to attend the above mentioned workshop so I could brush up on my SEO knowledge. What was discussed could and should be applied to web strategy for nonprofit organization. All nonprofits should have a solid SEO strategy.

Here are six steps to take when building your SEO plan:

1.  Offsite SEO Analysis
This is the part where you do your keyword analysis. Check out the language and keywords your competitors are using. What are they ranking on Google search and how are they promoting their site pages across digital channels? Answer these questions with a little research, then use the Google Keyword Planner and follow these helpful tips:  https://youtu.be/zFeOCCRpk8s

2.  Technical SEO Optimization
When you’re implementing your SEO keywords and data, make sure you don’t skip anything. Include relevant SEO tags in title tags, meta descriptions and heading tags. This builds your site pages beyond the content site visitors get to see.

3.  Usability Check
This is a short one, but a crucial step. Check your site on all devices. This means mobile, tablets, Android v. iPhone and more. Remember those ever-changing algorithms I was telling you about? Just a few months ago, Google implemented a new mobile update AKA “Mobilegeddon.” On April 22, mobile rankings would take into account mobile friendly sites. This means your rank on a desktop may be different from your rank on an iPhone in the palms of a potential donor.

Think about your audience. What devices are they using most? This is data you can look at in Google Analytics. Make sure your site works on all devices. We recommend having a responsive website more than anything else. Why? Responsive Web Design means your site will adjust to fit different devices, which will improve UX and rank on mobile. Plus, users will leave your site if they can’t see everything or click on buttons on their small screen. There goes a donation. Read more about RWD and UX from our all-star design team.

4.  Link Building
Link building is strategy outside of your site, to drive traffic (and actions!) to your site. Plan for inbound links. How? This is were you brush up on those public relations and take it to the world wide web. Share your links with partners, corporate sponsors, board members, local entities who are looking to build relationships. Get your landing page link on other websites and, if possible, give them a shout out, too! Another great link building practice is blogging and keeping your social profiles up-to-date. Learn more about blogging and social media, then consider your SEO strategy.

5.  Content Marketing
Make your content actionable and engaging. Again, consider your audience. What type of content are they responding to and what do they want to see more of? Content marketing is a crucial component of SEO strategy and keywords.

6.  Social Media Marketing
Your social media presence gives your Google rank a fighting chance. When you prioritize social media marketing, you increase visibility of your website. You now have your contact information, hours of operation, mission statement and links back to your website (Hello, link building!) on your social pages.

Bonus: Here’s a chart from Search Engine Land describing SEO steps with the help of a periodic table.