In this basic SEO guide, you will learn the initial steps to start improving the organic positioning of your website and understand how you can make this earned traffic become your partners, donors, volunteers, and supports for your solidarity cause.
First of all let’s define what SEO is
The SEO Search engine optimization that translated into Spanish means search engine optimization is a set of marketing techniques that seek to make a website profitable by attracting traffic and converting this traffic into clients (in our case donors).
It is a relatively recent discipline like almost all digital professions and it has grown to become a basic profession for the development of communication and marketing strategy.
It is difficult to include in a single article everything that this discipline implies, so we will cover in this guide the basic aspects so that those responsible for marketing and communication of non-profit entities get, without being experts, to understand how they can develop an SEO strategy.
Search engines (such as Google, Bing, Yandex) are the basis of SEO because thanks to the digital revolution users come to them to search for all kinds of information and make purchase decisions, who has not used a search engine to get the pharmacy nearest, to buy airline tickets, shoes, clothing, various services, or to find out about social projects of interest, make donations or volunteer. Well, this is SEO, leaving first or first places in the search engine when someone requests information about a product or service that we offer.
Therefore the first premise that we have to understand is that the profitability of a business today and increasingly will be linked to the position it occupies in search engines. In particular, we are talking about Google, the search engine that has an 80% international market share. On the other hand, we have the users, they are the ones who decide what they are looking for and what words they use to carry out the search.
So we are between Google and users (potential customers and donors) and thinking about these two, we develop strategies especially understanding that the objective of Google is to offer the highest quality information to the user in order to retain it and continue to be the most widely used search engine internationally and therefore where companies invest more in paid advertising.
SEO is ultimately about knowing, on the one hand, Google (obviously other search engines but here we will talk about Google) and how it sorts the information it presents in search results and on the other hand the user and what type of searches he performs.
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Understanding the Google algorithm
The google algorithm is the mathematical formula that orders and presents the search results. Therefore if you want to position your website you have to know what this algorithm values, what factors come into play and thus work to improve the technical requirements that your website must meet in order for the algorithm to index and display your content to users.
There are more than 200 factors that we must take into account for Google to consider our page a quality website, we will not list them all but we will mention the most important:
- Domain age.
- Age of the domain.
SEO factors on page that includes optimization of content and technical aspects
- Optimized content: keyword in page titles and description, keyword in h1, keyword variants in h2 titles, description and keyword density. These optimizations can be done easily thanks to the SEO Yoast plugin.
- Page load speed.
- Mobile optimization.
- Optimized images.
- Link juice (internal links) that help the user to navigate our website.
- Friendly URL.
- Server location.
Usability and user experience factors
- Web easy to navigate, intuitive, with a logical architecture that allows the user to perform the actions we expect.
Factors off page
Off-page SEO has to do with all the strategies developed outside of our website, that is, how we capture traffic on different external channels: social networks, other websites, blogs, portals, etc. through external links.
- Number of external links pointing to the web.
- Number of domains that point to our website.
- Quality of the links.
Of course, there are many more SEO factors, in this Moz blog article we find the detail of these.
The first thing we ask ourselves is, why are the pages we see as the first answer and why does my entity not appear. Basically by Google it has considered that it is the best option, and it has done so because it has wanted to respond to the keyword put by the user in the search box offering the best possible content. That is to say, a fundamental part of what we will do to optimize and following the factors mentioned above, is to investigate and select the keywords that the user uses to find us and transmit this information to Google applying technical improvements and optimization of content on and off page.
How to do keyword research
The algorithm of Google understands keywords and users make use of them to perform searches and that is why in the positioning factors everything revolves around them so if we talk about organic positioning we talk about knowing how to determine the keywords about the ones that will support the SEO strategy . In this infographic we explain in detail the steps that must be followed to determine them.
The keyword and group of them chosen, must then be relevant to our users (not everything goes, only those words that match what our target audience is looking for) must have low competition if possible, otherwise it will be very difficult to position, and must have an acceptable search volume (long tail strategy)
Chosen the keywords that we want to position is when the creation of optimized content begins and whose purpose will be to help us position organically and thus gain traffic. without neglecting that the work of optimizing the seo on and off page factors is a constant task.
Also at the beginning of a web project, we will base the structure of the web according to these criteria of selected keywords or if we want to restructure our website, proposing a new design will be essential to do it thinking about the keywords.
Ultimately, keyword research allows us to:
- Perform optimization actions on page.
- It helps us define search patterns.
- It allows us to define the architecture of the web based on these defined search patterns.
- And finally, it helps us to develop the content strategy, which is what we will expand below.
Content development with SEO in mind
We already have the keywords to position, and we know the aspects that we have to contemplate to make technical improvements, content and off page in order to position as many keywords as we can, now the next step is to create quality content and distribute it by For example, through a blog, news channel, launch landing pages requesting donations, spread awareness campaigns, crowdfunding, or mail marketing actions.
For a blog, the most successful thing is to design a tentative publication calendar based on these detected keyword groupings, which would allow us to organize the blog into categories and tags.
How to apply SEO in a non-profit entity
Given all of the above, we can ask ourselves in the case of non-profit entities how we can apply the SEO strategy for our website. We must consider that searches for keywords such as “online donations” or all those linked to the act of donation do not usually have very high search volumes and we do not have many possible variations of words that bring us quality traffic.
For example, positioning the word “donations” that does have a more interesting search volume may not suit us because it is very general and may be the result of very wide searches such as blood donations, donations and tax deductions, etc. So we are in a sector where we do not have many long tail keywords to attract donors.
Therefore, the most suitable keyword strategy to position based on my experience consists of:
- Work on brand keywords, which means investing time and money in branding actions. Therefore, the best SEO for an NGO is to be recognized, because many of the searches on our website will come from direct brand traffic.
- Contemplate the possibility of a blog, and without considering that a blog is not the best option, at least bet on having a newsletter that allows us to position content of interest to our target audience. For example, if we provide support services to family members and those affected by a disease, it will be optimal to know what various searches are carried out by this target audience in search engines and to offer articles in the newsletter responding to these doubts or habitual queries. I have seen in many entities that I have advised how the articles of the newsletter or blog allow them to capture a lot of traffic because they are articles that answer questions from potential beneficiaries.
- Betting on inbound marketing actions, which again leads us to the blog that many entities have some suspicion. As an example, I highlight the blog of Ingredients that add Oxfam Intermón where different topics of interest for the buyer person of this entity are addressed and whose purpose is to capture leads (registrations) to work brand and even carry out mail marketing actions.
- Optimizing all the current contents of your website and optimizing at a technical level, whether or not you decide to have a blog or think of inbound as an option, it will be essential that you review the current contents and optimize them with SEO in mind. If you have a WordPress, surely the SEO Yoast plugin will be basic.
- Think about link building. Gaining traffic through external links is one of the most difficult but most rewarding tasks, it is usually quality traffic, with a low bounce rate, and which also greatly helps organic positioning.
SEO optimization of a website. Practical case
A year ago Google considerably reduced the visibility of a macro that I manage.
After a year working on it, I have now recovered the levels of traffic and income that I had, and for now this is the result of SEO optimization:
SEO optimization of an undervalued website
I first passed the Semrush audit (14-day free trial until January 15, 2020) to get an overview of the state of the site.
Nothing new on the horizon, except for three points that have been key for me:
- Fix about 600 broken external links.
- Remove nofollow from almost 200 internal links (especially in the footer, and then within the post)
- Fix internal links redirected with 301.
- Work internal linking from old posts.
- Disavow of 300 spam domains.
From here I needed a second opinion.
To do this I asked my partner Max Sánchez (if you had a website this would be a nice follow, PANOLI) to do a full manual audit.
I pass a 40-page document with a lot of valuable information that I continue to review today to gradually optimize the SEO of the web little by little.
SEO optimization of content
On this, I do not keep count, but more or less I calculate that I will have published about 50 new articles during this period, I deleted many others for thin content and optimized about 40.
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