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You’ve probably been hearing about all of the expensive work that can be done to your non-profit’s website to help it rank higher on search engines, but we have some proven starting points for you that cost virtually nothing.

Where do those keywords come from and who defines them anyways? You do. So, lets take a step back in order to take a step forward.

The evolution of the Internet and the birth and popularity of the search engine has changed the game a bit, but keywords have actually been around a lot longer. When your nonprofit was just starting, it had to define its mission, objectives, audience, etc. This is when keywords were formally documented or like most, a barrage of meetings where words rained down. Either way keywords were a foundational part of your brand in the beginning and in all your communication efforts.

Some Tips on developing keywords for your new organization or a refreshment for your existing brand:

  • Write a list of words you want your audience to associate with your nonprofit
    • Break down your audience types to have more specific results (IE: donors, volunteers, sponsors, partners, policyholders, etc)
  • Describe what your nonprofit does in a few sentences, then take out all extraneous words (the, of, you, and by) and take out conjunctions
    • If words you’re left with in this exercise aren’t in line with how you want your audience to view your nonprofit then you have a problem!
  • Repeat the last step with the mission statement of your competitor
    • Remove what’s not in line with your nonprofit’s goals
    • Put these results in your back pocket.
  • Synonyms – off to the side list out like-minded words

Before the Internet, keywords were the ones that stuck after a commercial, advertisement, or discussion about a brand (non-profit or for-profit) and were often a part of a tagline. Once your keywords are developed they should appear often in all appropriate communications to build the strength of your brand. Your internal and external communications, casual and professional office communications should be in the habit of using various keywords to the point where it’s automatic and essential. It’s like a mantra for your organization, which has the power to encourage your nonprofit to always reach for its goals and in turn constantly remind your audience (and online users) what you’re about.

Stepping up to the Internet.

Once keywords are built into your whole brand, strengthening it, you’re part of the way to having accurate and high-ranking search results on the web.

Some Tips on using keywords to strengthen your nonprofit’s search engine stats:

  • Include keywords in your main page headers
    • The main navigation can say “Volunteer,” but the landing page for the section will be much more informative and useful if it is reinforced with a keyword (IE: “Volunteer to Protect Wildlife”).
  • Include keywords in your cross-promotional links
    • Your organization might describe an opportunity to donate to help a specific cause in an internal page with a call to action “donate now” which takes the user to a specific donation page. If you want someone that hasn’t found that page, and hasn’t found that link to find that specific donation page through search engine searches (who wouldn’t?!) then its helpful for that link to read something more like: “Donate to Earthquake Victims Now”
  • Ad descriptive captions with keywords to charts, images, and graphics
  • Focus on search phrases, not single keywords, and put your location in your text (“our California office” not “our office”) to help you get found in local searches.
  • Be sure you have a unique, keyword focused Title tag on every page of your site. And, if you must have the name of your organization in it, put it at the end.
  • Content freshness can help improve your rankings and adds relevancy. Add new, useful content to your pages on a regular basis.
  • And much much more…

We at openbox9 enjoy helping think through these critical strategies, so if you’d like to talk to us about this more just give us a call, email us, or respond below to start a dialogue.

I invite you to also view our services page to see our current offerings.

Ashleigh in sketch
Ashleigh is a graphic designer with roots in fine arts, a love for all things creative, and a BFA in graphic design from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Ashleigh has a passion for design that almost trumps her passion for caring for others. Almost. She thrives finding distinct and pertinent solutions for organizations and causes.