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023 – How Non-Profits Can Use SEO in Ways That Will Boost Donations

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The main objective of any non-profit website is to attract an audience and convert visitors to donors, volunteers, activists, or even email subscribers. The best way to achieve this is through search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO helps your site rank higher in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and others. As a result, you get more traffic, more donations, and more awareness for the cause you’re representing.

In this episode, David will talkI about how to make it as easy as possible for search engines to find your website, so listen on!

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Episode Transcription

The main objective of any non-profit website is to attract an audience and convert visitors to donors, volunteers, activists, or even email subscribers. The best way to achieve this is through search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO helps your site rank higher in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and others. As a result, you get more traffic, more donations, and more awareness for the cause you’re representing.

If you want to know more about how to make it as easy as possible for search engines to find your website, listen on!

Before we get into the podcast, I want to take a moment and mention that I’ll be running my free, live, and interactive webinar titled “Optimizing Your Non-Profit and Charity Website For More Impact, Donations, and Traffic” on November 3, 2021 at 3pm Eastern time.

I’d love for you to join me – attendees of my past webinars have all left with some nuggets and insights that have helped them at their non-profits and charities.

If you’re interested in attending the free webinar, head over to wowdigital.com/webinar and register.

I have 3 bonuses for attendees:

  • Participants will receive our eBook “3 Simple Words to Increase Your Donations by 20%”
  • One attendee will walk away with a $3,800 prize package!
  • If you’re CFRE or working towards becoming CFRE, you’ll earn 1 CFRE Continuing Educational Point!

What is SEO?

If you are not aware, SEO is a specific technique or approach to website optimization. Its goal is to improve your website’s visibility in search engines. To do so, your website needs to be completely optimized. When your website is optimized for SEO, it will come up as a result of more searches, higher search engine rankings, and get more traffic.

What does it take to be optimized for SEO?

You need to do your research. Make a plan and start executing it.

It is highly advisable that you build a comprehensive website and start researching and optimizing your website for search engines before you make changes. Build links and establish authority. Use link building as part of your strategy. In fact, Google now considers links to be the way to rank.

How Do Search Engines Rank Websites?

Search engines, like Google, Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo!, are made up of millions of automated computers and applications that crawl the web and gather up every bit of data they can about everything that’s out there. Their goal is to return the best possible results to you and your visitors, based on the relevancy of your website. They do this by calculating the factors that are most important for a particular search, like relevance and popularity. A popular search query can translate into millions of people searching for it, so this is why search engines rank high importance.

The point of being able to rank high in search engines is not only to attract more visitors, but also to eventually convert them into actual supporters of your cause.

Why Do Non-Profits Need SEO?

Search engine optimization is important in three different ways:

  1. It helps non-profits to rank higher when potential visitors are searching for related keywords, as well as helpful phrases.
  2. It helps non-profits to attract visitors.
  3. It helps to establish your organization as a credible source and also offers a good reputation.

We’ll look at each of these and explain how they can be helpful for non-profits and the reasons why they are important.

Why Do Search Engines Need SEO?

Search engines provide a useful service to the public. However, it is important to note that SEO isn’t a secret formula that will make you a big number one in search results.

What Are The Key Factors I Need To Consider When Planning My Non-Profit’s SEO Strategy?

The first step is to identify your website’s key factors. Why? Because as you may already know, SEO is all about understanding your niche and the main audience that you need to attract. A lot of search engine optimization (SEO) experts compare SEO to eating kale – it’s a long-term goal that you have to grow into, just like it would take a long time to lose weight. With SEO, you don’t want to make quick changes that will yield a quick, temporary benefit and won’t help your site improve over the long run.
We have our Wow Content Accelerator Workshop™ that we run with clients to help identify the keywords, topics, and together we’ll plan out the content, frequency, and channels to be used for the entire year. It’s just a few hours of time, but will make your content routine much easier to run nearly on autopilot.

If you’re interested in the workshop, just reach out to me by email at [email protected] and we’ll get you booked in. As an added bonus, if you mention this podcast episode, you’ll get 30% off your session!

What Is The Best Way to Start Ranking Higher?

When it comes to SEO, it’s a process of getting the maximum number of views possible. You need to constantly update your website to make it discoverable by as many search engines as possible. That means your website needs to be up-to-date with all the latest changes.

If you know what your website offers and how it can be best explained to the search engine, you can make the changes to your website and put in the necessary and relevant keywords. For example, if you’re a local non-profit that provides emergency food, then you can optimize your site with keywords like “food pantry”, “emergency food pantry”, and “food pantry near me” to try and reach as many people as possible searching for it. In a case like this, most food pantries are local-based, meaning they don’t operate on a large scale to cover huge areas, instead they focus on their immediate community. So consider also adding in, what we call, local SEO, for improved relevance ranking. For example, instead of “emergency food pantry”, try “Edmonton emergency food pantry”, or “food pantry near Edmonton”.

Doing this is what’s known as a search optimized website.

How Do I Choose The Right Keywords On My Non-Profit’s Website?

The first thing to do is to figure out your mission statement and choose your keywords accordingly. Non-profit organizations generally focus on providing support to one area or a specific group of people, like women, children, immigrants, people with a disability, people with illnesses, people with mental disorders, or members of a certain religion. If this is the case, it is best to choose keywords related to your mission statement.

This will help search engines find your website more easily. To do this, you have to make a list of keywords that apply to your organization, and the website itself. Keep the keywords as short as possible. You can keep your list simple, using the same core words each time.

Is SEO only about keywords?

In short, no. The long answer is, well, it depends on your take.

There’s the HTML coded keywords, which Google has said that keywords are no longer a ranking factor. However, I believe in best practices, and old-school techniques, and advise our clients (and you) to start, or continue, ensuring your website has relevant keywords for your pages, posts, articles, and other content. There’s a reason that the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress have keyword fields still in them.

Where the keywords really come into play is when you work on generating content for your website. What are the topics that you want your website to rank higher for? Use that theme, topic, idea, and synonyms to generate articles and content for your website. If you consistently create content around a few topics, you’ll start to rank higher in Search Engine Result Pages, also known as SERPs.

As I mentioned earlier, my agency runs a content workshop. We did this for ourselves too. With one particular client, We sat down, spent the time going through the workshop, and they could only commit to producing one article every 6 to 8 weeks. They had a minor increase in traffic, about 230-250 organic visitors, meaning people who found them via search and clicked through. After about 6-months of that, to establish a baseline, we worked with them to have them publish content once a month. It went up to 375 to 400 organic visitors a month. Pretty good, and because we were working with them, it wasn’t much work on their part. Here’s the best part, we said to them “what do you think would happen if we upped the frequency to weekly?” They said “let’s find out”. And here’s what happened. Over an 8 month period their organic visitor count more than 5x! and they’ve been going strong ever since.
Why? Because search engines value fresh content. Sites that have updates and new content added on a regular basis are seen as more credible, and so they start ranking the website higher.

You can do this too. You can produce content on a regular basis – maybe weekly is too often, but certainly putting up an article or about 350-400 words every 3 or 4 weeks is achievable, right?

How Do I Avoid Common SEO Mistakes?

If you are about to start a non-profit website, there are some things you need to keep in mind to avoid common SEO mistakes:

Avoid duplicate content. Putting content on the same page as the previous one will negatively impact your SEO and Google ranking. As well, having your website show up under multiple domains is a big no-no. Google has blocked sites in the past because of this tactic. Having more domains showing the same content is never a good idea. If you want to register multiple domains for your organization, simply pick the main one that you want the site to show up as, and then forward the other domains to there.

Putting content on the same page as the previous one will negatively impact your SEO and Google ranking. Avoid using the same title tag, meta description tag, keywords, URL structure, and alt tags on multiple pages. It is recommended to put the URL structure in a proper format, avoid using too many characters, and to use descriptive keywords. A title tag should be a descriptive title, not more than 40 words. For maximum visibility, the title tag should be served in a large font and placed on the top of the website.

What about these companies that promise to rank us in the #1 spot on Google? Malarky is what I have to say to that. Nobody can guarantee that you’ll rank first. The only way to really do that is to have a paid ad, and it’s likely going to be very costly to do so. If someone is telling you that they’ll get you to rank in the top spot, ask them un what keyword? What’s their guarantee? I would even suggest telling them that you’ll pay them once you’re in the spot. I’m guessing they won’t agree to those terms, because they can’t guarantee it.

Be weary, they’ll likely use some black-hat techniques which could result in a ban from Google.

Yes, there are other search engines out there, but I would bet nearly all your search traffic comes from Google.

What Tools Can I Use for SEO?

Some tools can be used for the ‘old school’ way of SEO, in the sense that they rank you in the search results that you are looking for. For the ‘modern’ way of SEO, I’ll talk about these four tools:

SEM Rush

This platform allows you to grow your organic traffic with SEO tools and workflow, It will find national and local keywords, analyze any domain’s backlink profile – think competition and like organizations, run technical SEO audits, and track your SERP positions.

Uber Suggest

Provides you with content ideas to help get backlinks to your site, keyword suggestion for ideas and topics to write about, see the volume of traffic for those keywords, competition, and seasonal trends.

Keyword Hero

Have you ever looked at keyword details in Google Analytics data, and said: “what is (not provided)?”. This has to do with Google hiding results that came from their HTTPS version of search instead of HTTP. Keyword hero will uncover what those not provided results are, so you can have a clearer understanding of the keywords that are actually resulting in visits to your site. One word to note is that it doesn’t yet work with Google Analytics 4.


If your website is running WordPress I cannot recommend RankMath more. It will track your keywords, generate and provide you control over your sitemaps, monitor broken and missing pages on your site, create redirects, manage your open graph (OG) data for social sharing, and more.

I’ll post links for these tools on the show notes page for this episode at wowdigital.com/023.


Google keeps their algorithm confidential. No company, outside of Google, really knows their ranking factors. What I can tell you though, is that everything I’ve mentioned in this episode is tried and tested, over and over, through my agency for our clients. We’ve been able to reproduce results over and over by following what I’ve spoken about.

Non-profit organizations have unique goals, and some of the goals you want to achieve may be extremely complex. Work on producing content on a regular and frequent basis, and understand that it’s a long-game. Overnight success with SEO rarely happens.

And remember, if you’re looking to build a website that will benefit your organization in various ways, implementing an SEO strategy is one of the best ways to reach your goals.

We care about getting our non-profit and charity clients on a path to achieve their mission and help their communities. We do this through clear and effective project implementation. Do you want to supercharge your efforts? Head over to wowdigital.com/consult and book a free session with me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to having you listen to the next ones that we’ve got coming up. If you’ve enjoyed this episode please leave feedback on iTunes or wherever you listen to this podcast, I’d love to hear your feedback and it would also help others find the show.

Be sure to check out the show notes for the episode, head over to wowdigital.com, click on podcast, and search for this episode number and you’ll find all the links, details, and other information that has been discussed in this episode.

Are there any other topics that you would like to hear about? Just send an email to [email protected]. Thanks for listening to the Non-profit Digital Success Podcast!

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