Your nonprofit might already have an informative website that explains your mission and includes visual proof of all the great work you’ve done over the years. But, if no one can find your website, you’ll have a tough time garnering the support you need to make your mission a reality. This is where search engine optimization can help.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of your website on popular search engines like Google and Bing. This way, you can get your website in front of your target audience and acquire new donors, increase volunteer sign-ups, boost event registration numbers, and much more. 

Use these top tips to optimize your nonprofit website and upgrade your digital strategy: 

  • Develop a keyword strategy
  • Create accessible content
  • Optimize your website for mobile

To make executing these strategies and optimizing your website a breeze, leverage a content management system (CMS) designed with nonprofits in mind. Morweb’s guide to nonprofit website builders recommends investing in a solution with built-in SEO tools that empower you to quickly and easily add meta titles, meta descriptions, and custom URLs to your pages and blog—with no coding required. Backed by an intuitive CMS, you’ll be in great shape to create an engaging website optimized for search engines in no time.

Develop a keyword strategy

A keyword is the word or phrase that your target audience is typing into the search engine. For example, a supporter might type in Google “Animal shelters near me” in hopes of volunteering for a worthy cause. Content that is relevant to and optimized for this keyword will most likely appear at the top of this supporter’s search engine results page (SERP). Essentially, the search engine is trying to show your audience what it thinks they want to see.

By optimizing your website for the right keywords, you’ll be more likely to get your content in front of your target audience. But first, you’ll need to figure out what the right keywords are. This involves carefully thinking through your audience’s goals and interests as well as your nonprofit’s goals. 

Let’s say you’re an environmental conservation organization. Rather than going after generic keywords like “volunteer” or “charity donation,” select keywords that lean into your ties to the local community and relate specifically to your mission and audience’s interests. For example, keywords like “[town/city name] cleanup projects” or “wildlife conservation volunteering” can get your website in front of prospective supporters who are likely to donate, volunteer, or otherwise support your organization. 

Once you know the keywords that you want to target, thread them throughout your content. Using your website builder, you should be able to easily feature your keyword in the following elements:

  • Title
  • Meta title
  • Headings
  • Meta Description
  • Copy
  • URL
  • Alt text

Make sure your keyword strategy makes sense for the different pages on your website. For example, an animal conservation organization might target “donate to help animals” on their donation page, while the primary keyword for their volunteer landing page is “animal welfare volunteering opportunities in [your location].” Targeting keywords that contextually make sense will improve your search engine rankings for your respective pages.

However, make sure to avoid using your keyword too frequently throughout a given page. This practice, known as keyword stuffing, can actually have the opposite effect on SEO and set your website back in its digital strategy. Weave your keyword naturally throughout your content to enhance readability and adhere to SEO best practices. 

Create accessible content

The best nonprofit websites allow people of all abilities to readily engage with their content. Not only does this help establish an inclusive culture, but it also works hand in hand with SEO. Content that is more accessible is easier for search engine algorithms to understand, helping to boost your website’s ranking. Plus, accessible content contributes to a better user experience. 

To make your content accessible, keep these tips in mind:

  • Offer text alternatives for visual elements: Not all of your users will be able to interact with your visual content like photos and videos. Make visuals accessible by using alternative text for images and offering transcripts and closed captions for videos.
    • Use high contrast between the background and foreground: Make sure your text stands out from the background by picking contrasting colors. For instance, using black text on a white background contributes to a positive reading experience, as the text will be easy to see.
  • Create a predictable content structure: When your web design differs from page to page, it’s easy for users to get confused and distracted. Instead, structure your content in a way that site visitors can easily follow. For example, including a navigation bar above the fold of each page with the text content below it makes it simple to navigate through your content.
  • Use non-technical language: Your content should be easy to comprehend by a wide audience, so avoid using technical jargon and unusual words. If you have to use an unfamiliar word, provide a definition to aid users’ understanding. 

When prioritizing accessibility, consider leveraging a website builder with a built-in accessibility widget. This empowers users to adjust your content to their exact needs. For example, they should be able to adjust your website’s font size and type and change colors to grayscale. This way, everyone can have a positive viewing experience, which will lead to an increased amount of time spent on your pages (and therefore a boost in your rankings!).

Optimize your website for mobile

Mobile optimization can have a huge impact on your website’s ability to rank on search engines. And, when mobile users have a positive experience on your website, they’ll be more likely to explore your site and take action. In fact, 360MatchPro reported that mobile users made up 33% of online donations last year, indicating that your fundraising strategy will get a much-needed boost when you optimize your donation page (and the rest of your website) for mobile. 

To create a positive user experience for mobile visitors, your website should:

  • Adjust to different screen sizes: Whether users are navigating to your website on a wide tablet or a phone as small as the palm of their hand, your website should automatically format to fit their screen size. This means that your text, images, and other elements should be easy to view and engage with from any screen. 
  • Use simple navigation: Develop a mobile-friendly navigation bar that allows users to easily tap to land on your donation page, About Us page, and other relevant resources. Plus, users should be able to tap your call-to-action buttons and be taken to the right page for their next step.
  • Have a fast loading speed: There’s nothing more frustrating than a slow website, and mobile users will be quick to navigate away from your content if it takes more than a few moments to load. To keep their attention, your pages should have a loading speed of two seconds or less.

With the help of your CMS, you can choose from an array of mobile-optimized website templates, upload your content, and hit publish. This way, you don’t have to worry about coding or manually configuring your website to create an optimal mobile experience—your website builder will take care of all the heavy lifting! 

Optimizing your website for search engines is a great way to grow your community of supporters and keep existing supporters engaged with accessible content. As you refresh your website, track metrics like time spent on page, total page views, and conversions to assess how your digital strategy is progressing and make changes as needed. By regularly updating your website and paying attention to SEO trends, you can put your nonprofit on the map! 

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