The Small Nonprofit Podcast: What is SEO and how to get it right with Rachel Di Martino

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So often we focus on how our website looks, but not how it functions. Specifically, a lot of small nonprofits we come across don’t understand how to get found online.

That’s where SEO is crucial. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, helps your website show up in the search results on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. In this episode, digital media specialist Rachel Di Martino, founder of Geek Unicorn breaks down what SEO is, what audience clues to look for and steps you can take to get that top result on search engines!

Ever wonder how certain websites show up higher up on the page when you search something up? Better yet, ever wonder how your organization can reach that coveted first place spot? There are ways your organization can become the best fit for the information people look for - and it starts with understanding what you want to do with your website.

Aligning with your audience’s goals

When your audience searches for something online, they are intending to look for specific information. They usually have a goal in mind or a question to answer. You need to understand those questions and answer them on your site.

Once you know their goals, you can more easily align them with your own goals and what journey you want to offer your website visitors.

Brainstorm and research the words and phrases people commonly would use to search for the information you provide.

Once you’ve come up with this list, Rachel recommends using Google Trends to view statistics and information about how often those words are searched and what other similar keywords people are using.

Don’t forget to also look into some of the questions you get asked a lot, popular news stories within your niche, and what people are talking and asking about related to your organization. These are great indicators of what people are searching for and what consistent themes your website should have.

)n-page and off-page SEO

Beyond understanding who your target audience is, you also need to know what they think about your work and how they want to find you. How can we do this? By focusing on the two distinct parts of SEO - “on-page” and “off-page.”

“On-page” are actions you can take to increase your SEO standing. This includes ensuring your website is desktop AND mobile friendly, especially since it’s common for people to search on their mobile devices. You also need to make sure you have “HTTPS://” in front of your URL to ensure that the website is secure. If you forget these two steps, other sites will be preferred over yours which will push your website further down the list.

Your overall content structure is also an important factor to consider. It’s easy to overload our websites with many categories and topics - but this can actually hurt us! Becoming an industry leader means being known for one overarching topic that covers 3-5 smaller key components. Be sure to strategize and upload new, relevant content to keep your audience coming back!

“Off-page” focuses on the clues that your audience leaves about their user experience. Rachel recommends using Google Analytics to see how long people are spending on your website, how many pages they clicked through and if they returned to the website. These clues can help you figure out what your audience is looking for and how your website can become more helpful for them. The better your user experience is, the more people will go to your website and the higher Google will rank you on the search page.

I’ve got my content...what now?

Now that you’ve got your content, it’s time to market it! Partner up with influencers that can refer their audience members to your website link or use your email newsletter or social media accounts to keep members up to date. Unsure of where to push your content? Meet your audience where they are.

You also want to monitor its performance and make sure that everything is running smoothly. Rachel starts with connecting your website to Google Analytics to find your most popular pages and making sure that they don’t accidentally get deleted or lost. Try speaking with a web developer to ensure that your website prioritizes page speed, that your website has HTTPS and SSL certificates installed and geo-locating microdata to ensure that your website is SEO friendly. And of course, you can check out Rachel’s SEO Cookbook for step-by-step tutorials for more help!

Listen to the full episode now on our Small Nonprofit Podcast landing page!

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Resources from this Episode

The Good Partnership Guide
CharityVillage Fundraising Articles
Google Analytics
Google Trends
The Small Nonprofit: DIY Marketing with Avery Swartz
Geek Unicorn Website
SEO Cookbook
Website Builders - Weebly and Wordpress

Listen to more episodes of the Small Nonprofit Podcast

You are going to change the world. We can help. Running a small nonprofit is not for the faint of heart. With limited resources and fueled by a combination of caffeine and passion, small charity leaders are unsung heroes. The Small Nonprofit podcast, by CharityVillage and The Good Partnership, gives you down-to-earth, practical and actionable expert guidance on how to run a small nonprofit. From leadership and law to fundraising and finance, we’ve got you covered. Forget comparing your organization to the big shops, we’re creating a community of nonprofit leaders who are going to change the world, one small nonprofit at a time. Click here for more episodes!

Your Hosts

Cindy Wagman spent 15 years as an in-house fundraiser at organizations large and small before founding The Good Partnership – a boutique fundraising firm focused on small nonprofits. She has worked in social justice, health, arts, and education organizations. She has overseen and executed everything from annual campaigns to multi-million dollar gifts. She became a Certified Fundraising Executive in 2009 and received her MBA from Rotman at the University of Toronto in 2013.

With more than ten years of experience in development, staff and stakeholder management, strategic thinking, partnerships, board governance, and program development, Aine McGlynn is a diversely talented, self-starter committed to finding creative solutions in unexpected places. Aine holds a PhD from U of T and has a history of academic publishing, along with her decade of nonprofit sector experience. She is a practitioner-scholar focused on how to help nonprofits build their capacity to be successful at fundraising.

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