Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a social media buzzword: gotta have it, gotta work at it, gotta pack it in to your website or blog! And it is true that SEO needs to be a part of your nonprofit’s online and outreach strategies. Why develop a new site or even update your outdated one if people will struggle to find it, much less relevant information on it? The go-to standard for web searches (including images and videos) is, of course, Google. Even as the e-behemoth develops Android and G+ and even augmented-reality glasses, millions of us use it simply, almost exclusively, for web research.
So why not find out what the folks at Google recommend to bolster the searchability and discoverability of your website?
Fortunately, Google has created its own channel at its sibling site YouTube called “Google Webmaster Central” (Google has owned YouTube since 2006, and within a year searches on one produced results in the other). We will spotlight a few of the videos that we believe are especially helpful for the nonprofit and/or charity looking to sharpen its online success, though perhaps without planning to reinvent its communications efforts in the process.
Today, we’re talking SEO, which is to say we turn to Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Leader, who discusses “Five Common Mistakes in SEO.”
Mistake numero uno deserves special focus because it might be the one issue people striving for SEO simply assume has already been taken care of. Ask not of your colleagues ‘Can I find your site?’ but ‘Is your site worth finding?’ What information do you have that distinguishes you in your market or amongst your peers? Nonprofits are not in the business of competing against each other, but they ought to be competing amongst each other − tell the story of what your organization does that is unique, compelling, and well worth getting involved in.
Many of the other ‘mistakes’ should help put small businesses and nonprofits at some ease, because Maile points out the tendency of developers to work too hard (and presumably spend too much money) striving for ‘key word density’ and website link trees that have their place, but are not as necessary as is often assumed. If your website is often updated (especially if it proudly displays its blog), note her discussion of ‘Rich Snippets’ after about 6:45. Agility is key in the online world, and you want your updates to be displayed prominently in any subsequent Google searches!
Finally, she takes a few moments sharing some SEO ‘Do’s’ with us − things like: “Do Something Cool” and “Stay Fresh and Relevant.” These are not expectations for code jockeys or social-media gurus. They are the challenges that face your organization and its consultants, whose second pair of eyes can help you develop enthralling stories that draw followers and tweets and donations. Those subsequent networks, excited by your organization’s lively online presence will move your material still further up Google’s lists, creating a meaningful density of engaged participants and sharers, not keywords.
We’ll continue to bring you relevant information from Google’s treasure trove, and if you want to see a particular issue covered, please let us know in the comments below!