Why Google’s Algorithm Update Was a Good Thing for Nonprofits | npENGAGE

Why Google’s Algorithm Update Was a Good Thing for Nonprofits

By on Jul 6, 2015



Google’s recent mobile algorithm update has been a very good thing for nonprofits.

Not that nonprofits have been helped by the update, necessarily.

But it has forced them to take a closer look at their mobile experience and how well their website is optimized for search engines, also known as SEO.

Mobile experience was already on the radar of most nonprofits. Google’s algorithm may have just accelerated their timelines to become more mobile friendly. (For more info what Google’s algorithm means to your nonprofit, Scott Gilman summarized it well.)

SEO, though, hasn’t been on the radar of many nonprofits, until Google’s recent algorithm update. And if it was, SEO mostly gets pushed behind other digital priorities, like email, social media, P2P and their website.

While nonprofits know SEO is important, they also almost always lack the expertise and time to work on it.

That isn’t surprising. SEO is a huge industry, where the rules and algorithms change frequently.

What was a best practice a few years or even a few months ago may no longer be true. The rise of local search, social indicators and the mobile experience are all recent examples of this.

To complicate matters further, most SEO best practices are geared to the for-profit world and dig in deeper than most nonprofits need. Even if a nonprofit staffer has time to devote to SEO, it’s difficult to identify and prioritize areas to focus on.

SEO priorities can be very different for a nationally-focused medical research organization vs. a local hospice nonprofit.

So should nonprofits continue ignoring SEO? Absolutely not.

Nonprofits that prioritize SEO can see a significant boosts in web traffic. Why? Since most nonprofits don’t focus on SEO, the ones that do have an advantage. Their website is better optimized, local SEO is stronger and social plays a more important role.

From working with 20+ nonprofits on SEO the past couple years, I’ve seen the results. One recent organization increased their search traffic by 250,000 visitors annually. 250,000!

Nonprofits often list growing their email list and raising more money as top online goals. But the overlooked step in that process is getting more people to your website.

SEO helps with that first step. In my opinion, it’s the most underutilized area of growing your email list (and eventually converting them to donors).

Get more website visitors and the rest should follow. Especially the right kind of visitors, which SEO can find.

Nonprofits may think a high ranking for their organization name means SEO is going well. But that’s missing the point. Most nonprofits already rank first for their name.

The real value of SEO lies in finding visitors who are interested in your mission, but don’t know your organization. SEO can make that important introduction.

Interested in how you’re doing with SEO? Drop me a note at [email protected] and I’ll send you a couple quick ways to improve your nonprofit’s SEO.


Mike Snusz brings 18 years of fundraising experience to his role as a Senior Team Lead on Blackbaud’s Professional Services team. He leads a team of digital consultants and works with nonprofits to improve their digital fundraising, monthly giving, email marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising programs. Prior to Blackbaud, Mike managed the turnaround of the Ride For Roswell from 2003 to 2005 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. When he’s not contemplating fundraising, Mike enjoys hide and seek, tag, and dance parties with his two kids.

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