In my previous post, I praised charity: water‘s digital strategy. Once you type”water donation” in the google’s search bar, you immediately understand why I said so. They are a top search result because they understand how SEO (Search Engine Optimization) works. A Seach engine is the most trustful news/information source for many North Americans. According to 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, 63% of public trust in Search Engines for general news compared to 57% in Traditional Media and 43% in Owned Media.
So the question is how you can become discoverable when people search information that is relevant to your organisation. Filling out your site with a bunch of trending but irrelevant keywords or hashtags won’t work. But SEO can. There are small things you can do immediately and improve your traffic and conversion (or donation). At the end of this blog, you can get a good sense of how SEO can help your digital engagement, and eventually your fundraising.
1. Create quality online content
Your site’s content is not only for site traffic or conversion. It helps your Brand to tell stories. And it should also help your audience to achieve their goals. The goals varied: from just doing shopping to getting some pro-tips to getting involved in your organization.
If 10 years ago marketers were not paying enough attention to digital, today they’re not paying enough attention to content.
– Scott Donation, DigitasLBi
So for your content creation, the first thing you need to ask is:
- Who are my audiences?
- What are they looking for?
- What kind of story do you want to tell and how?
So how we could know our audience? You may have already been using donor survey or focus groups, or writing down notes from informal conversations. Or you may have access to some key demographic or transaction records collected by other departments of your organisation. Another way is GoogleAanalytics or even Google Analytics 360. You can track down what kind of people are visiting your landing or donation page.
Once you find your audience, you have to figure out what they are looking for. Keyword Search is one way. Another way is customer/donor survey. You can also learn from what kind of content your competitors are offering.how do they curate their contents and engage with their audiences on online?
Last but not least, as we all know, stories are what inspire your audience to emotionally connect with your brand at a deeper level. Stories are what people want to hear. But it doesn’t mean any stories work. You have to understand what kind of stories would serve better for what kind of goals/ or would suit to what kind of medium.
Oh and don’t forget to align your headline with the content. If you cannot satisfy the visitor’s expectation, they just simply leave the site in seconds, and your bounce rate goes up, which leads to the total failure of your SEO.
2. Keyword Search
Your quality content is not going to be noticed unless you make it discoverable. To improve your web page’s SEO ranking, you may need to keep keywords in mind, so that the Google’s web crawler understands the main focus of your piece and rank your web page higher. But you don’t need to stuff all the keywords into your content in a way that is not natural and authentic. Quality content is a king here.
There are several tools available to find the keywords your reader must be looking for. If you are using Google Adwords, Google’s keyword Planner is a good place to start. There are some other free tools available such as Answer The Public. If you can afford to invest a bit in SEO, you may use Moz’s freemium Keyword Explore or ashref . But, before using those tools, consider which terms and keywords you would like your organisation to rank for. Use Google’s keyword planner to understand popular searches related to the terms you believe your potential donors to be using.
3. Backlinks and Internal Links
Google optimization is based on the premise that the more people that like to your website, the more valuable it must be and the higher ranking it deserves in search results.
– Nicole Sorochan, Convince & Convert
As we all know, in the online world, more popular you are, higher you will be ranked in the search results. Backlinks from another site are measured by Google’s system called Page Ranks and increase your credibility(namely, popularity) as a source. The more backlinks to your site from credible websites, the more credible your pages will seem in the eyes of a search engine. So how can you build backlinks? Well there are some low hanging fruits you can try immediately.
- Links from your own Social Media profile and posts: Linkedin, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook. All those are legitimate optimisation tools.
- Google Places
- Google+ Profile
- Media Release: Don’t forget to use any events or news to get publicity and generate online contents that contain backlinks.
- Influencer marketing: Invite Bloggers and influencers to join your campaign or blogs, and provide some media kits to encourage their social media/web posts.
Anchor text is another thing to be considered. It’s the name for the specific words linked to another page. Search engines assess anchor text to check if the content of the article matches what the link suggests the page will be about. The search engines have generally minimized its importance, but accurate anchor text can still help your reader to find relevant information and see the authority in your content.
Backlink’s location is also important. If your external/internal links are located in the footer or the navigation pane, the search engines may consider it as manipulation to trick the reader or SEO, and your site might get an algorithm penalty. If you want to learn more about how internal links work, this Rand Fiskin’s article may be a good read. There are some free tools to count the number of your backlinks such as monitor backlinks.
4.Call to action
In the end, your content is a first step in inspiring your audience to take an action. You need to implement/repeat the customer engagement cycle below to get them further involved in your organisation and to help them become an advocate for your cause.
More people engaged, stronger your online presence becomes. It means, without a “Call-to-action” items that encourage your customer’s continued commitment, your SEO won’t be complete. This chairty: water’s video below will show you the power of “Call-to-action” content and why charity: water is successful at achieving a high web traffic, a strong online presence and the rapid growth. Not only is SEO essential for any organisations to have a strong online presence; it will also help organisations to be found by an audience, to inspire them with a right content, and to have them take an action. And of course, raise more support!
Extra tips Those are some fundraising software/information providers who can help you better understand online giving and SEO.