Often, nonprofits spend a lot of effort and money developing engaging websites, but pay little attention to the less sexy “behind the curtains” work that can make sure search engines are aware of and attracted to those sites. This is the realm of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. To learn more, here’s a guide to SEO for nonprofits.
If you’re working with a good web design firm, they will probably talk to you about SEO and offer to do some or all of the work for you–identifying keywords, writing descriptions and alt text for images, creating metadata, registering with directories, etc. If they don’t bring it up, YOU bring it up–because it’s really important for the widest possible exposure for your site. All those millions of search engine users (98% of whom use Google) need to be able to find you easily. Your goal is to be on the first page of a Google search.
Optimizing your website content for search engines is the first step; measuring results is the second. Two free tools that do that are Google analytics and WebsiteGrader, which was developed by HubSpot. Over time, track inbound links, keyword popularity, and referrals from Google search, as well as basics like the number of visitors to your site and page hits.
If you already have a website and want to see how its SEO rates, WebsiteGrader does an analysis that helps pinpoint areas where you need improvement. Some of these improvements may require tech support, but you may be able to do others yourself, with the information provided on the ratings report. Here’s a HubSpot video webinar that provides a good introduction to SEO for DIYers.