4 Simple Tips to Boost Your Website’s Visibility
Nonprofit website design takes time, money, and talent. Let’s say that after investing all of that work and capital into creating an engaging website, your nonprofit has a nice homepage with beautiful design and quality content. With all that incredibly hard work, are you not seeing the skyrocket of visitors you expected? Rest assured that all good things come with time and knowledge! Let’s get into everything you need to know to get your website more online visibility through increased traffic.
- Visibility on Search Engines: How Does it Work?
- Tip #1: Create Quality Content
- Tip #2: Focus on Structure
- Tip #3: Improve Your Website Authority Through Linking
- Tip #4: Use Different Channels to Multiply Your Website Visibility
- Final Thoughts
Visibility on Search Engines: How Does it Work?
The purpose of a website is to draw more donors, members, and volunteers to your cause. To accomplish this, your website visibility depends on something called search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is a system that boosts your website’s position on search engines like Google, by optimizing your site along the hundreds of factors that these engines use to determine search position. Focusing on a few major factors can help boost your website visibility in Google (or other search engines like Yahoo or Bing).
David is ready to step up his SEO!
When you understand how SEO visibility works, you can use it to your advantage by incorporating keyword research, page speed optimization, and content creation, to increase your ranking (which in turn increases your visibility to users).
Pro Tip: Wondering how your website performs? Google Search Console may be able to help. This free webmaster tool is one of the best ways to monitor website performance. Not only does it help you to understand how Google views your site, it offers advice on how to increase performance.
Tip #1: Create Quality Content
The first way you can start getting your website seen is to create quality content that answers the questions of your target audience and do it better than the competitors on a given query. To help you figure out how you should proceed, start by typing the targeted keywords into Google to check out the best results.
Check out the example below, my target keyword is "What is Bikram yoga." As you can see, your main keyword (your entire search phrase) populates along with similar search terms that are equally popular. You should aim to include all of these terms (outside of those that are not pertinent to your subject matter) in your content to reach the widest audience.
You can also create longer and more detailed content, use images, and videos, and implement better user experience attributes to make your content easier to read.
An important thing to remember when creating content is not to get so hung up in the keywords that you forget about readability. Yes, keywords are important. However, your writing needs to make sense, flow well, and establish authority and professionalism. If your content suffers from keyword stuffing or excessive mistakes, it is a negative indicator and will be ranked with lesser-quality content (or as spam). Delegate content creation to the best writer on your team, or even hire an outside firm to handle it.
While text is the most commonly used content due to being the easiest to optimize for search engines, do not neglect branching into other formats. Images, infographics, and videos are all very popular with website visitors and can be used as inbound links for other content.
Pro Tip: When looking for keywords to tackle, you will need to find out what people actually search. There are many tools available that can help you do this, including Semrush, Semji, and others. If you are looking for a free tool to use, Ubersuggest is also very efficient.
Tip #2: Focus on Structure
Google uses bots to scan your pages. If you want to increase your website visibility in Google and rank well, you will want to help them do their job. The first rule to follow: important keywords must appear in your titles. As with the writing itself, you need to strike a balance. The best nonprofit website design gets those keywords in the titles while also keeping the writing smooth and readable.
There is a specific format to follow when writing for optimization:
Hn titles should be used throughout:
H1 being your main title
H2 for secondary titles
H3 for smaller subheaders
Keywords should be used in these page titles, as early on in your text as possible. Here is how this works in reality on our very own blog, with the keyword "Church Treasurer!"
Outside of the structure of your content, there is work to be done behind the scenes, often called metadata. This includes things like:
Meta title, which is the title that appears on the results pages
Meta description, which is a snippet of what will be found in the article and acts as a strong description to entice the viewer to click on your article
If we take another look at our yoga example, this is how the meta title and description show up on Google:
Last but not least (I promise, this is the last one) be sure to include the Alt text (also known as alt attributes or alt descriptions) for all of the images present in your content. This is a word or phrase used to help bots read images. Be sure to use them carefully: it is both useful for those who are visually impaired and can also help you appear on Google Images.
You may be asking yourself: okay that is all great information, but how do I actually go about doing it? I’m glad you asked! This all depends on what tool you are using to create your blog. Generally, you will find a section titled "Settings" where you will have a dedicated space for the meta title, meta description, and alt text.
Tip #3: Improve Your Website Authority Through Linking
Links are an incredibly important part of SEO. One of Google’s criteria for ranking is authority, which is calculated through (among other things) the links pointing to your website.
Nancy is feeling strong about her linking strategy!
Inbound links are when other websites find your content helpful enough to link to it on their own content pages. You can encourage this kind of linking by ensuring that your content is authoritative and well-written, and by promoting it on social media to generate interest.
Pro Tip: Never buy links from other site owners or spam comment sections or forums. While this may seem tempting, the quality of the links is generally quite poor, and can greatly affect your website’s reputation in the eyes of Google.
You may also link internally, which is linking to other helpful content on your own website. If you do this, make sure that your linking is "clean": create logical links between the pages of your website, and pay attention to adding the right keywords. Remember that it has to be clear for Google!
Outbound links are the sites that you link to from your own content. When working with outbound links, make sure that you are linking to sites that are reputable, relevant, and useful. If you link to low-quality or spammy sites, then that is where search engines will start to class and rank your own site.
Tip #4: Use Different Channels to Multiply Your Website Visibility
A final way to help your website skyrocket in Google’s results is to use other channels to get your content seen. This includes things like:
Ads - Especially search engine advertising, or SEA. With SEA, your paid advertisement is placed directly into search engine results and on partner websites. You will find it above, beneath, or alongside search results when a user types in related terms. Note that many nonprofits can benefit from Google Ad Grants.
Newsletter - Your newsletter should be well-designed and engaging, maximizing read time.
Social Media - Share your content on as many social media sites as you can reasonably handle, and that is relevant to your target audience. Have excellent visuals (images, infographics, or video) ready to go alongside any written content as social media sites largely attract through visual means.
Google and other search engines take into account the quality of your content through indicators such as read time or bounce rate. So use these other channels to improve these indicators.
Getting your name out on a variety of platforms may help your nonprofit gain visibility. The more known you are, the more likely people are to type your name directly into Google to find answers. Which in turn will help boost your numbers. It is a self-perpetuating cycle if you can just get it started!
Pro Tip: Also consider creating your Google My Business account. It may help increase your visibility when someone types your brand.
The best nonprofit websites use a combination of high-quality content, keywords, backlinks, ads, and social media campaigns to get more users to engage with their brand. Follow the tips shared in this article, and even take a look at some competitor websites to get a good feel for how to tackle your own page content. By increasing SEO visibility, you can be assured that your nonprofit’s hard-earned time and money will not be wasted on a website that goes unseen but rather will become a beacon for your brand and industry.
Focusing on increasing your website traffic will make the time, money and effort you spent on creating the site worthwhile. As much as we would love to believe that "if we build it, they will come," creating quality content is only the first step. Once you get a handle on your structure, link to relevant internal and external sources, and diversify your channels, you will get the search engine boost that you have been waiting for (and all of the site visitors that come with it)!
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