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podcast: what is SEO and how to get it right with Rachel Di Martino

So often we focus on how our website looks, but not how it functions. Specifically, a lot of small nonprofits we come across don’t understand how to get found online.

That’s where SEO is crucial. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, helps your website show up in the search results on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. In this episode, digital media specialist Rachel Di Martino, founder of Geek Unicorn breaks down what SEO is, what audience clues to look for and steps you can take to get that top result on search engines!

Ever wonder how certain websites show up higher up on the page when you search something up? Better yet, ever wonder how your organization can reach that coveted first place spot? There are ways your organization can become the best fit for the information people look for - and it starts with understanding what you want to do with your website.

aligning with your audience’s goals

When your audience searches for something online, they are intending to look for specific information. They usually have a goal in mind or a question to answer. You need to understand those questions and answer them on your site.

Once you know their goals, you can more easily align them with your own goals and what journey you want to offer your website visitors.

Brainstorm and research the words and phrases people commonly would use to search for the information you provide.

Once you’ve come up with this list, Rachel recommends using Google Trends to view statistics and information about how often those words are searched and what other similar keywords people are using.

Don’t forget to also look into some of the questions you get asked a lot, popular news stories within your niche, and what people are talking and asking about related to your organization. These are great indicators of what people are searching for and what consistent themes your website should have.

on-page and off-page SEO

Beyond understanding who your target audience is, you also need to know what they think about your work and how they want to find you. How can we do this? By focusing on the two distinct parts of SEO - “on-page” and “off-page.”

“On-page” are actions you can take to increase your SEO standing. This includes ensuring your website is desktop AND mobile friendly, especially since it’s common for people to search on their mobile devices. You also need to make sure you have “HTTPS://” in front of your URL to ensure that the website is secure. If you forget these two steps, other sites will be preferred over yours which will push your website further down the list.

Your overall content structure is also an important factor to consider. It’s easy to overload our websites with many categories and topics - but this can actually hurt us! Becoming an industry leader means being known for one overarching topic that covers 3-5 smaller key components. Be sure to strategize and upload new, relevant content to keep your audience coming back!

“Off-page” focuses on the clues that your audience leaves about their user experience. Rachel recommends using Google Analytics to see how long people are spending on your website, how many pages they clicked through and if they returned to the website. These clues can help you figure out what your audience is looking for and how your website can become more helpful for them. The better your user experience is, the more people will go to your website and the higher Google will rank you on the search page.

I’ve got my content … what now?

Now that you’ve got your content, it’s time to market it! Partner up with influencers that can refer their audience members to your website link or use your email newsletter or social media accounts to keep members up to date. Unsure of where to push your content? Meet your audience where they are.

You also want to monitor its performance and make sure that everything is running smoothly. Rachel starts with connecting your website to Google Analytics to find your most popular pages and making sure that they don’t accidentally get deleted or lost. Try speaking with a web developer to ensure that your website prioritizes page speed, that your website has HTTPS and SSL certificates installed and geo-locating microdata to ensure that your website is SEO friendly. And of course, you can check out Rachel’s SEO Cookbook for step-by-step tutorials for more help!

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The Small Nonprofit podcast is produced by Eloisa Jane Mariano