pexels-photo-218717Want to stand out from other NFPs and increase the visibility of your cause? Then you must rank high in Google’s search results.

Countless studies show that most of us only click on the first few links on the first page of the search results when we search for specific brands, words or phrases. Getting your nonprofit to rank number one is a challenging but necessary goal if you want to reach your target audience.

The following strategies will help you increase your Google search engine rank.

Understand the Connection Between Indexing, Keywords, Content Creation and SEO

Google uses programs referred to as bots to automatically read or “crawl” webpages and then ranks them using an algorithm to rate their quality. The higher that your site is ranked, the higher it will appear in search engine results. Google and other search engines also divide the content on websites into categories, or keywords and phrases, during this indexing process, which also affects your ranking.

Ideally, you will create high quality, unique content on your site that is meaningful to your supporters, that will feature trending keywords that are popular with web users, with content, layout and formats that are search engine-friendly.

Create a Blog to Increase Your NFP’s Visibility

All your content on your NFP website should use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices to increase your rating and ranking, including your landing pages. Creating a blog on your site helps you to connect with your supporters, but it also gives you a fresh opportunity to rank for multiple keywords and phrases and increase your rating with search engines.

Use SEO Best Practices throughout Your NFP’s Site

The following practices will improve your ranking and rating with Google and other search engines.

Create content that is useful for your members. When creating content, choose trending keywords and topics, and include these in the title and opening sentence so that both your visitors and search engines will know what the content is about. This will help them to be able to quickly find information when searching online.

In addition to using keywords in the title and opening paragraph, make sure that you use your keyword in your title tags, heading tags, meta tag and description to boost your rank. You should also include your keyword in the title tag of images and videos that you embed in your articles.

Include the keyword a few additional times in the body of your articles. Every 100 to 300 words will do, but avoid overusing it, so you aren’t penalised. In recent years Google has updated their algorithm to penalise sites that overuse keywords. Known as keyword stuffing, this practice can hurt your rating. Google might then cause your site to be pushed down in its ranking, or, may even delist your site altogether so that your site is omitted from search engine results.

You can improve your site’s rating and rank by including backlinks to reputable websites within your articles and other content. For example, you might cite a statistic from a scientific study published in a well-respected journal. Include a link to this site to create a high-quality backlink. Other authority sites you might consider creating backlinks to in your articles include governing bodies, credible news portals and media outlets and educational institutions. Linking to internal pages in your articles will also improve your ranking and make it easier for users to find existing content that will be useful to them.

Updating your articles periodically with just a few minor changes  will also help increase your ranking, as Google updates its search results based on the last time individual pages were updated.

Google also ranks websites based on how quickly pages can be navigated. Including a sitemap makes it easier for human visitors and search engines to find what they are looking for on your site.

Optimising your site for mobile users to make sure that everyone has the same great experience regardless of which device they use to reach your site will also increase your rating and rank, and Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher than ones that only work well on a laptop or desktop.

Sign-up for Google for Nonprofits

AdWords allows brands to boost their rank for specific keywords and phrases with paid advertising. Google for Nonprofits is a program that gives qualified nonprofits up to $10,000 a month in free ad spend with Google AdWords. This powerful tool allows you to increase your rank while also helping you to create targeted campaigns that drive prospects to your NFP’s website when they search for relevant terms.

With Google AdWords, you create individual ads and use testing and other analytics to refine your message and improve your performance over time. This will help you make the best use of your budget and inspire your supporters to take specific actions for your cause.