If your nonprofit organization wants to connect with your target participants online, incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) best practices in your website copy and blog writing is essential. For the uninitiated, SEO involves inserting particular types of text data into website copy and generating hyperlinks from other related website in order for the programs that create the search engine listings–called “crawlers”–to rank your website higher in search engine results for the terms and phrases your audience is researching.
Writing successfully for the Internet requires understanding that you are actually serving two audiences: the reader and the search engine crawler. Creating meaningful copy that resonates with your first audience, the volunteer, while also appeasing the second audience, a computer program, can be daunting. Cater only to the first audience, and you will write brilliant pieces that no one reads. Cater only to the second, and you will produce robotic writing full of sentences and phrases that will not appeal or convince real people to contribute to your cause.
Here are some easy best practices, however, that will make that process much easier and turnkey as you position your organization to make an impact online.
1) Identify your top 5 organic keyword targets:
Use Google’s AdWords Keyword tool to research the terms your audience is using to find information about your area of focus. Type a couple of phrases you would use to describe your core services, and the program will return additional search terms that searchers are using to find information. Pick 5 keywords with a solid amount of monthly traffic that are highly relevant to your industry. You will attempt to rank highly for these terms by creating Web content that matches them.
2) Use target keywords in the titles of blog posts and Web pages:
The “title tag” of a piece of content is one of the most important factors that search engines use to rank pages (hint: it’s the text that shows up at the top of your browser). When you write articles for your blog or create new Web pages, be sure to use one of your target keywords in the title.
3) Use target keywords in the body of blog posts and Web pages:
After the title, search engines analyze the body text of Web pages, so you need to add the target keywords here as well. You want to aim for a “keyword density”–the number of times your keyword is used divided by the total words on the page–of about 3%. Make sure to use the keywords naturally and artfully, so that your copy does not appear awkward or cumbersome to the actual reader.
4) Write a “Meta description” for each page that uses a target keyword:
Using your sites CMS, access the meta description field and write a brief sentence about the page using a target keyword. These meta descriptions should be no longer than 160 characters, and they should be unique for each page on your website. If you have trouble finding the meta description field, look in the SEO section of your CMS or ask your web company.
5) Use a target keyword in the “anchor text” of links on your site:
Once you have finished incorporating the above steps in a blog article or Web page, go to another page on your site and find the target keyword you are using in the new piece Place a hyperlink on the target keyword back to the new piece. For example, a link to this page would be “Event Fundraising.” This practice signals to the search engine that the page is very relevant for the keyword you are targeting.
If you incorporate these simple tips into your Web copywriting, you will see a marked increase in the organic search performance of your site. More of your target visitors will find your content by reaching your page when they search for your target keywords, and that will increase your nonprofit’s performance.
Through Event 360’s experience implementing and customizing event websites using Blackbaud Sphere and Convio TeamRaiser, we’ve learned a number of important lessons. If you would like to learn more about Event 360’s Blackbaud or Convio services, please contact a member of our event fundraising team.