SEO for Charities: Key Steps
SEO for charities is a priority in June as the Christmas season approaches. Effective search engine optimisation and organic marketing takes time and planning; Being number one for Christmas means kicking off a campaign as soon as possible as it will allow for benchmarking, testing and growth of the brand.
The importance of SEO in the non-profit sector should not be understated. Here are the basics of how to put together an effective organic marketing campaign:
There are a number of key steps to be aware of when considering an SEO strategy.
Keyword research, paired with audience research allows you to capture a targeted audience. In terms of Christmas, this could be those looking to make a charitable donation or those looking to buy a charitable gift for a loved one. Either way, being in the right place for conversion based searching can make a huge difference in the level of donations.
Within this research consider where you currently rank, outline ranking targets based on search value to the charity and plan a campaign around these. Consider key landing pages for these terms (those which already rank) and benchmark traffic, user journeys and conversions through these pages.
Review this regularly to ensure progress is being made.
Build a Strong Platform
Successful SEO campaigns begin with a strong website. A full audit of this website, its structure, speed and coding should be carried out by an SEO specialist. From this put together a checklist of what needs to improve and how this can be done in the short, medium and long term.
Splitting campaigns to target different buying groups can greatly improve organic performance. Based on keyword and audience research it is very simple to do this at a variety of levels.
For example, a children’s charity with a national or global reach can target organic campaigns at a city or country level dependant on overall goals. At a city level, considerations could be at three main cities targeted for donations (London, Manchester and Cardiff for example). Carrying out three separate landing pages with information of services in these areas, events, donation options and local work begins to create a strong narrative of a charity invested in helping local children in the nearby area.
Beyond this, campaigns such as Christmas can vary in focus – starting now for Christmas 2015 – with further campaigns planned around this, for example Halloween or Easter. Ongoing campaigns – for example children’s charities targeting birthday donations – can be ongoing at all times.
Sharable content is increasingly at the heart of organic marketing and for charities this allows for both a growth in the awareness of issues and an increase in the reputation of the website through organic links and social following.
Content calendars, sharing buttons, social media profiles and email newsletters allow charities to connect with audiences at the right time and then allow audiences to share the content further.
User experience and increasing donation lifetime value
As with any SEO campaign the emphasis is on conversions, as ultimately conversions for charities mean donations for causes. There are secondary conversions to also consider, such as newsletter sign ups – which allow for relationships with the charity to be built over the long term.
Putting emphasis on user experience and conversion rate optimisation allows for improvement of all of the above. Analysis of user journeys to donations, the average length of time a regular donator continues and the reasons why they stop donating should all be considered.
In a digital world keeping in front of regular donators and newsletter signups is much easier, but again a structure based on campaigns should be put in place.
Regular analysis in changing donation trends is the first step in unlocking the door to longer term donators with increased value for the charity in question.