Apr 10, 2012
Be found on the web.
There are potentially hundreds, if not thousands or even millions of people in the world looking for you, your services and products. These people use Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Youtube, Duck Duck Go and many more. Good search engine optimization can combine paid search and organic search optimization. Paid search services like Google Ads or Facebook Ads position your brand, service or product on their sites to targeted demographics. It’s competitive, and can be expensive trying to outbid others for the best online display real-estate.
For most, the best option (and an option you should be doing anyway) is organic search engine optimization. Organic search engine optimization is a more natural practice for web developers, marketeers and others to help people find you by maintaining and managing a healthy, content rich, relative and well-organized website.
Join us this year at our annual Making Media Connections Conference where we will have a panel of experts who will help guide you through understanding SEO for your nonprofit. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @npcommunicator and the #mmc2012 hashtag
For now, here are a few things you can do to help optimize your website for search engines and your users organically as opposed to shelling out cash to position your website on other websites.
Create content consistently and often
One of the single most effective things you can do to increase search results is by regularly updating your website with content.
- Develop a content strategy that is in-line with your overall strategy to plan your content development and delivery. If you’ve developed a series of documents, posts or videos, rather then publishing them all at once, consider publishing them over a period of time (once a day or week).
- Include rich content such as photos and videos that will add value to your content and ensure results will appear in other popular search categories (Google Image and Video search).
- Use a dynamic Content Management System platform such as WordPress to help manage content development.
- Create concise, unique and accurate page titles that are appropriate for your content. Search engines like Google look at your title and title tags that are used to display in search results.
- Keep in mind the audience not just search engines. Make it easy for them to find and consume your content.
Be social and share your content
Social media plays a significant role in creating in-bound links from reputable sources. By pushing content to the social web opens opportunities for other sites (creators and conversationalists) to share, refer and link to your content and website. Establishing in-bound and out-bound links to sources helps position your website and its content across the web and increases ranking based on this relationship.
- Share your posts, photos and videos on various social networks.
- Encourage audiences to link and share your website and content. If you have established relationships with bloggers and other creators and conversationalists ask them to add your site or blog to their blog roll.
- Create out-bound links on your own website or posts to encourage a mutual link and established relationship with other sites, especially to site that are relative to your content, industry or field.
Use keywords, tags and metadata
Users will search for content using keywords or tags. Search engines will use these, metadata and more to make sure the results are most relevant to the user. Most content management systems allow creators of content to add keywords and tags to pages and posts but to further optimize your site and content, ensure you use metadata to describe content on your pages and posts. Metadata literally means “data of data” and is typically embedded in page sources as descriptors. Okay, I know I’m getting a bit too technical, so think of the products you are about to buy at a store. Articles of clothing at a department store will have “tags” to help you identify, who made it and where, what it is made of, what size it is, etc… etc…
- Always use appropriate and relevant tags and keywords to a post or page.
- Add alternative titles, tags and descriptions to photos and other multimedia content embedded on a page.
- If possible, write descriptions for metadata tags on your pages.
Keep your site and content organized
Having a well-organized site not only helps your users navigate through your website but also helps Search engines. Search engines like Google use Googlebots to crawl and index websites. The easier it is for these bots to crawl your site the better your site will perform in relative search results.
- Plan out your website and consider the hierarchy of content to be displayed.
- Ensure your site is easy to navigate for your users and consider using Categories to organize content.
- Create two site maps, an interactive and visual one for your users and and XML based site map to help search engines index your website.
If this is sounding all too technical, maybe I can get some help form the SEO Rapper….
For more infomration about how you can organically optimize your site, check out the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, download: http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en/us/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf
Don’t forget to register for Making Media Connections Conference, June 14, 2012 at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema. I’ll be leading a Social Media Strategy session for your nonprofit!