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How to Improve SEO Keywords for Nonprofits

3 tips to improve rankings

Today's need for SEO expertise can present a challenge for many nonprofits. Finding and resourcing the skills can be daunting. You know you need it, but who has the time and understanding?

You're not alone. Many nonprofits struggle to stay abreast of the knowledge curve. Ignoring search engine optimization, however, can impact your cause. These three tips can make a difference in improving your nonprofit website ranking and search traffic.

Tip 1: Research Keywords That Are Relevant to Your Cause

Finding the right keywords for your web pages is paramount to your nonprofit website's success in search queries. If you use keywords that have a low search volume, your chance of appearing among the top search results diminishes. Steer away from unique phrases that have meaning to a narrow audience.

Google provides a free tool, the AdWords Keyword Planner, to help you discern the best keywords.

As your sector changes, messaging and language evolves. New words become popular, and others become less effective in search results. SEO is not a one-and-done practice. It's important to monitor the trends and make adjustments.

Tip 2: Make Your Top Keywords Work for You

You may be surprised to find interesting word combinations that rank high in search results. Using them will help improve your organic traffic. Go ahead and experiment!

Once you have your keywords, what should you do?

  • Use the keywords to inform your content.
  • Write a blog, white paper, or e-book based on relevant keywords.
  • Place the keywords in your title and H1 tags.
  • Sprinkle keywords in your content.

Once you feel confident, buy the keywords and send more traffic to your content.

What's the difference between a title tag and an H1 tag?

Both are very important, but they serve different purposes. A title tag (also called the page title) appears in search engines and is what you see in your web browser's web page tabs or title bar. H1 tags appear in the body of the text, usually close to the top of the page.

When it comes to your placement on a SERP (search engine result page), you should know this: search engines focus on crawling your title tag. Therefore, search engines give more weight to your title tag, so you'll want to make it good.

Tip 3: Optimize Your Keywords for Search Engine Result Pages

Illustration of a dashboard representing optimization of keywords to improve rankings | TechSoupNow that you have researched your keywords and developed relevant content, it's important to utilize your keywords for optimal results.

For example: You're an organic kitchen providing education for healthy eating. You did your keyword research and discovered a high search volume for cooking with organic vegetables. You decided to write a blog post on choosing the best organic brands to use in preparing healthy meals.

I recommend the following format for your title tags: Primary Keyword — Secondary Keyword | Brand Name.

With that in mind, your title tag could look like this: How to Cook with Organic Vegetables — Premium Vegetables | Wow Organics. In this example, "How to Cook with Organic Vegetables" is your primary keyword, "Premium Vegetables" is your secondary keyword, and "Wow Organics" is your brand name. I made that one up.

Your H1 tag could look like this: How You Could Start Cooking Organic Vegetables. Alternatively you could use Why You Should Avoid Cooking with Non-Organic Vegetables. When writing an H1 tag, keep in mind your readers' intent. What do your readers want to learn, know, or do? Keep them in mind for an optimal experience.

As a note, Google typically displays 50 to 60 characters of a title tag. So it's a good idea to keep your title tag under 60 characters.

These tips, while just a first step, will make a difference in your organic search and page rankings. SEO is an appreciating asset. It will have value over time. The time spent on it will improve traffic and awareness, and it'll provide more credibility to your cause. And that's good!


Additional Resources for Your Nonprofit Website