A Recipe for Search Engine Visibility | npENGAGE

A Recipe for Search Engine Visibility

By on Nov 4, 2010 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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SEO (search engine optimization) efforts can be broken into two basic categories, external and internal. External efforts are those actions that take place outside of the website and are designed to drive traffic to the site. Conversely, internal efforts include structural and contextual changes within the website that are designed to improve the relevance of site content in the eyes of search engines and subsequently . . . pull traffic into the site.

Improve your website’s visibility with search engines by adding these readily available SEO ingredients.

External SEO Efforts

Also known as SEM or search engine marketing, external efforts are essentially the online subset of a traditional marketing campaign, targeting other websites, directories, news sites, social media hubs and the web at large.

These online marketing efforts are specifically geared towards establishing your site as relevant to a topic—in the eyes of search engines—by getting links from related sites to yours. Several examples of search engine marketing efforts include:

  • Press releases written for and distributed to online PR channels – these are specific to online media in that they contain dynamic web content that may not necessarily translate to print.
  • Content contributions to popular, high traffic, relevant websites – an example would be contributing articles to other blogs, where the prominent subject is specific to the choice keyword/key term (i.e. online fundraising) of the collateral.  This transplanted material needs to also contain a link back to a corresponding page on your site that is geared exclusively toward that vary same keyword or term.  …and the link(s) pointing back to your site need to be the keyword/ key terms itself (known as Anchor Text).
  • Utilizing social media outlets like http://www.facebook.com/ and http://www.linkedin.com (among many others) to funnel traffic to your site from other high traffic channels.

In the content contribution example above, it’s worth point out that care is taken to pair complementary keywords with their target pages, like pairing cheese with wine.  An external site is chosen for a particular piece of content because it is relevant to the topic and keyword that the content is written around.

At the same time, anchor text—where the keyword(s) is the link i.e. online fundraising—will link back to your site . . . and not to your home page, but to a search engine optimized or keyword optimized page (known as Deep Linking).

Search bots, also known as web crawlers, spiders, worms and ants sound more like fixin’s for a creepy potion.  These friendly little creatures are actually computer programs that browse web sites as part of the search engine indexing process, reading the content and attributes of each page.

Mix your own batch of search engine marketing?

1 part audience segmentation
1 part content development
2 parts persistence and shameless promotion

Step 1: Know your audience.

Now go find where they live and play and nourish themselves out on the web.  Where do they gather to share ideas, relevant to your mission?  Where do they get their news, sympathetic to your cause?

Step 2:  Resolve to write.

Write about your organization’s mission, your passion, your volunteers, your proponents, and even your critics.  Write about upcoming events and write again to recap how things went. Find every opportunity, topic and angle to put your story in text.  Oh, and learn how to write a proper and engaging press release if you don’t have a PR pro doing it for you.  It’s not hard, just specific.

Step 3: Get out there.

Go directly to the destinations that you identified in step one and figure out how you fit in.  If it’s a news site, write the editor directly and hand over one of the compelling press releases that you’ve written.  If it’s a discussion group, become a member and join in on a conversation.  If it’s a social network, start networking.  No matter what you do, stay at it and keep linking back to your site.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE, helps nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising so they can focus changing the world. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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