What’s the best SEO advice for nonprofits? Do nonprofits even need SEO?

Yes. Nonprofits should care about SEO. Essentially online donations are e-commerce, so best practices apply to nonprofits.

Why should Nonprofits Care about SEO?

Donation sites are e-commerce. They need to be treated in the same way. You wouldn’t put an online store up and then not optimize i? Would you?

SEO isn’t black magic or wizardry. It’s really just intentional writing for your audience. It means being found. It means writing quality content that solves problems for your customers.

For nonprofits, SEO means answering the “why” to your current and potential donor base. What is your mission? Who are you serving? Why are you working so hard for your cause? Why should I donate? Who is my audience? What does my donor base care about?

SEO Tips from John Locke

Our friend John Locke of Lockedown Design, and co-host of WP-Tonic Podcast has a real-world SEO series on his site. I specifically reached out to him for some of his insight for nonprofits as he often develops sites for nonprofits and specializes in e-commerce and SEO.

Here is some of what he tweeted:

I lean heavily on Google sheets. I’ve been using these to grade content after audit exported from Google Search console & analytics. Also, test your keywords before you commit to writing. Make sure people are actually searching for what you want to write about. Tighten up your URLs. Tighten up your page titles. Excessive words don’t necessarily help those.

If you can get the page in question to page one in Google, the featured snippet can be anything off that first page. If you have bulleted numbered lists, those seem to show up more often as featured snippets at the top of page one of Google.

Most sites, 20% the content gets the bulk of the traffic. The other pages can be combined, improved, or deleted. If a page doesn’t bring traffic, like one or two visits in six months, it’s not doing much good anyway. Combine or improve. Anything that could be potentially back linked, shared, doesn’t necessarily need to be about your core offering, is valuable.

This is something I’m really beginning to implement in all content now. Break things up. Make it beyond easy to scan. Ideally, every sentence on the page can be tweeted — 140 characters or less. Web attention span is less than reading a book. The Yoast blog is on fire lately. So much great SEO knowledge is coming out of there.

If you look at blogs like Neil Patel or Brian Dean, notice how they do short sentences as paragraphs. This is the bucket brigade. Easily scanned. Draw people in at the beginning of the article. Don’t put huge paragraphs on the page.

The more you can publish, the better. But going in depth, and having a definitive article, the most thorough, is best. The advice a few years ago was to publish all the time, but it just led to a bunch of disposable 300 word articles. Without a doubt, the stuff that gets the most traffic is the most thorough on a subject.

Publishing is only the beginning of the battle. Promoting content and getting it seen is most of the work. Momentum starts somewhere. If you have a piece of content that you really want to promote, spend a little on Facebook boosting, Twitter promoted posts. Google reads traffic. The more traffic and engagement (comments, shares, dwell time) a page gets, the higher they will push it up.

Recap of #NPChat: The Best SEO Advice for Nonprofits

We had a great chat today with some engaged SEO pros and people involved in nonprofit marketing, volunteerism, and website development.

I hope you enjoy the recap.

Q1. How are you currently involved with a nonprofit?

Q2. How do you define SEO?


Q3. How do you determine your keywords?

Q4. What tools do you use to optimize your content?

Q5. What are your strategies to reach your audience?

Q6. How often do you publish?


Q7. What are your favorite SEO tips and tricks?

And that’s a wrap!

We’d love to have you join us every week on Wednesday at 10:00 am Pacific Time.

On April 26 2017, we will be talking about LinkedIn for nonprofits.

See you there.

About Bridget Willard

Observing human behavior and predicting it is what makes the way I approach content management different. I mirror your voice in my social media management. I analyze your dreams when I consult. I think deeply and respond appropriately. I have time to work on your business. Do you?


  1. Beth Staub on April 21, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Brilliant Bridget. Simply brilliant! I hope more people involved in non-profits see this as it is a crucial tool for successful fund raising.

  2. Carol Stephen on May 19, 2017 at 7:08 am

    So sorry I missed this one! But it was nice to be able to read through the comments!


  3. […] for GiveWP but they decided not to keep it going. I posted the recap on my own blog for an example. Here’s one of my recaps for SEO for Nonprofits. Embedding tweets in your blog is a great way to give them a longer […]

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