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Optimize Your Nonprofit's Web Site for the Search Engines

social_media_iconsThe whole point of having a web presence is to get people to learn more about your organization'ss mission. If all goes well, they'll become supporters and help you reach your goals. None of this can happen, however, if no one is actually visiting your web site. That's where search engine optimization, generally referred to as SEO, comes into play.

Those who are already familiar with your organization and the work you do may be able to find your site by simply typing in the URL, but what about those who don’t know you yet? How do you get their eyes on your home page? One of the best ways is to make sure that they can find you through search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

There’s no way to ensure that your site will get top billing on a search engine’s results page, but there are things that you can, and should, do to improve your rank. Using search engine optimization ensures the best chance for getting it noticed and making sure that when someone goes looking for the information you provide, they’ll be directed to you.

Here are a few tips you can use to optimize your nonprofit’s web site for the best results:

  • Include a “site map.” This is a series of links that ensures the search engines have an easy way of finding all the pages on your site so they can be indexed for users to find.
  • Use keywords. Determine what phrases you think people will most likely use when searching for your information, and include them in your site’s text. Remember that you’ll be competing against a lot of other sites, so use something somewhat specific. “Food banks in Chicago,” for example, is going to be more useful than “food banks,” as it will help drive targeted traffic to your site.
  • Use your tags. Tags are pieces of information that users may or may not see but that the search engines definitely will. The title tag, for example includes the text that shows up as the link that can be clicked in search engine results. Use keywords here so the search engines pay attention, but make the title natural sounding so humans actually want to click through to read what you have to offer.
There are tons of SEO tricks and tips that can make your site more successful in searches, but these three are a great place to start!
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