We continue our series on Charity-Specific SEO Practices in this part 2. You can read part 1 of Charity-Specific SEO Practices here. The link to part 3 is at the end of this post.
To recap, in part 1, we looked at:
- Laying the Groundwork: Key Considerations Before Embarking on SEO,
- The Art and Science of Keyword Research, and
- Setting the Stage for SEO.
Let’s continue with point #4.
#4: Harnessing the Power of Local SEO
Local SEO is a critical player for charities in the world of search engine optimisation. It helps them forge a powerful connection with their local communities. Leveraging local SEO allows you to amplify your online visibility among those in your immediate vicinity, i.e. the people most likely to engage with your cause on a tangible, community-centric level. Let us look a bit more at the various facets of local SEO and understand how you can harness the principles to boost your charity’s outreach.
A. Optimising for Locally Relevant Keywords
At the heart of SEO is keyword optimisation. In the case of local SEO, this focus sharpens on locally relevant keywords. These search terms are the ones that people in your community will more likely use when searching for your cause or services.
For instance, if your charity is involved in food distribution in Bristol, you might target keywords like ‘food banks in Bristol’ or ‘Bristol hunger relief’. You need to understand what your local community is searching for, and then align your website content with those search terms. This alignment can increase your site’s visibility in search results, making it easier for locals to find and engage with your charity.
B. Creating a Comprehensive Google My Business Profile
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to manage how your charity appears on Google Search and Maps. A comprehensive GMB profile is a pivotal part of local SEO.
This profile can display a wealth of information about your charity, including your name, address and phone number (often referred to as NAP), operating hours, website link, details of your services and even photos. It also provides a platform for supporters and volunteers to leave reviews, which can significantly impact your local search ranking.
Keeping your GMB profile updated and accurate helps Google understand more about your charity, leading to higher visibility in local search results. Moreover, it offers potential supporters a quick snapshot of your charity, enhancing credibility and encouraging engagement.
C. Accumulating Positive Reviews
Reviews play a significant role in local SEO. They not only influence your rankings in local search results but also affect the perceptions and decisions of potential supporters.
Positive reviews can enhance your charity’s online reputation, instilling trust in potential donors or volunteers. Encourage your supporters, beneficiaries, and volunteers to leave reviews detailing their experiences. This genuine, user-generated content can be a potent tool for attracting new supporters and bolstering your local SEO efforts.
In essence, local SEO is about being seen by the right people in the right place. For charities, it’s a powerful way to connect with the local community, boosting visibility, enhancing credibility, and ultimately driving engagement on a community level. It is not just about being found but rather being found by those who are most likely to support your cause.
#5: The Content Conundrum
As some SEO experts and content marketers say, in the realm of SEO, content isn’t just the king — it’s the whole kingdom. However, navigating this kingdom requires a keen understanding of Google’s EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) guidelines, a robust content strategy, and a knack for engaging storytelling. Let us unpack this conundrum to better grasp the role of content in your charity’s SEO efforts.
A. Embracing Google’s EAT Guidelines
Google’s EAT guidelines have become a focal point in the SEO landscape. They underscore the importance of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in the content you publish. In other words, Google favours content that is created by knowledgeable professionals (Expertise), that comes from a credible source (Authoritativeness), and that is accurate and honest (Trustworthiness).
For charities, this means your content should be a reflection of your deep understanding of your cause, your established presence in the charity sector, and your commitment to accuracy and transparency. It is not just about what you say, but how you say it, who says it, and whether your audience can trust it.
B. Crafting Educational Content
Educational content that informs, enlightens, and inspires is a powerful tool in your SEO arsenal but is often ignored. You should use it to the maximum to enhance your charity website’s visibility in search rankings. This could be in the form of blog posts, articles, white papers, or even infographics that delve into issues relevant to your charity’s cause.
For instance, if your charity is involved in environmental conservation, you could publish articles discussing the impacts of climate change, tips for sustainable living, or updates on your reforestation projects. This type of content not only helps establish your charity as a thought leader in your field but also encourages readers to engage more deeply with your cause.
C. Collaborating with Experts
Inviting experts to contribute to your content can significantly amplify your organisation’s credibility. These experts could be anyone from academics and industry professionals to influencers and celebrities who support your cause.
Their contributions—be it a guest blog post, an interview, or a quote—can enrich your content with valuable insights and perspectives. Moreover, it signals to both your audience and search engines that your charity is recognised and endorsed by respected figures, bolstering your EAT credentials.
D. Catering to Local Languages
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, offering content in local languages can considerably broaden your charity’s reach and engagement. If your charity operates in regions where English is not the first language, translating your content into the local language can help you connect more effectively with the community you serve.
Not only does it make your content more accessible, but it also demonstrates cultural sensitivity and respect for the local community. This can foster stronger relationships, encourage local engagement, and enhance your reputation as a charity that truly cares.
To summarise: navigating the content conundrum requires a strategic approach that marries quality with relevance, expertise with trustworthiness, and global reach with local resonance. It is about crafting content that not only ticks the SEO boxes but also resonates with your audience and propels your cause forward.
#6: Embracing Responsiveness and the Mobile-First Approach
In the digital age, the saying, “change is the only constant,” holds truer than ever, especially when it comes to how people interact with the online world. One of the most profound shifts we’ve seen in recent years is the meteoric rise of mobile internet usage. Today, the lion’s share of web searches are conducted on mobile devices—a trend that Google and other search engines have responded to by prioritising mobile-friendly websites in their search results. This seismic shift calls for charities to not just adapt but to proactively embrace a responsive design and a mobile-first approach.
A. The Significance of Responsive Design
In essence, responsive design is a web design and development technique that creates a site or system that reacts to the size of a user’s screen. It will optimise a user’s browsing experience by creating a flexible and responsive web page, optimised for the device that is accessing it. This means your charity’s website will look and function well whether it’s being viewed on a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.
The advantages of adopting a responsive design are manifold. Not only does it offer an optimal user experience, but it also improves your website’s performance in search engine rankings. Google has made it clear that responsive design is its recommended mobile configuration, even going so far as to label it as an industry best practice.
B. The Mobile-First Approach: A Paradigm Shift
While responsive design is about ensuring your website adapts to any screen size, the mobile-first approach is about changing the way you design your website in the first place. It is a paradigm shift of sorts and involves designing for the smallest screen first and then progressively enhancing the experience for larger screens.
A mobile-first approach is more than just a design strategy; it is about acknowledging and catering to the changing browsing habits of your audience. Given that a majority of web searches and digital activities are now performed on mobile devices, your charity’s website must be primarily designed to cater to mobile users.
To put it simply, a mobile-first design ensures that your content remains accessible, legible and easy to navigate on small screens. It takes into consideration factors like touch-friendly buttons and links, easy-to-read font sizes, and content that loads quickly on mobile data connections.
Furthermore, the mobile-first approach is favoured by Google, which now follows a mobile-first indexing policy. This means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking. Hence, a mobile-first design can significantly improve your charity’s SEO performance.
To sum up, adopting a responsive design and a mobile-first approach is no longer optional for charities—it is a necessity. It is about meeting your audience where they are and ensuring your website delivers an optimal user experience, irrespective of the screen size or device type. The strategic decision to prioritise mobile-first design and online promotion can significantly enhance your online visibility, audience engagement, and ultimately, your ability to drive positive change.
We look at the next sections in part 3 of this series on Charity-Specific SEO Practices. You can read part 1 of SEO best practices for charities here.