For nonprofits, awareness is critical in order gain support, capture volunteers, and grow donations. But the question is, how do you grow that following on the web? While there are many avenues you can take in the world of digital marketing for nonprofits, we find that local SEO is a great place start.
Local SEO allows you to focus in on a specific geographical region, enabling your nonprofit to target the correct audience. It also focuses on intent. When an individual searches for “nonprofits near me” or “volunteer opportunities near me”, you’d expect your nonprofit to show up in the results.
With a solid local SEO strategy, the likelihood of your nonprofit appearing on the first page of search results increases dramatically.
What is Local SEO
Local SEO is just one facet of SEO, but it is often underutilized and under-appreciated. To put it simply, local SEO is a specific strategy and implementation used to optimize your site in order to help it rank for local organic searches.
Google’s definition of local is, “ …based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search.” You have control over 1 out of 3 of these factors, prominence.
Relevance is dependent on what the searchers intent is, while distance is based entirely on where the user is located when searching as well as their proximity to you and other relevant competitors. Working to increase your nonprofits prominence will naturally help with the other 2 factors.
Why is Local SEO Important?
It provides your nonprofit the ability to hone in on specifics increasing your chances of gaining awareness, volunteers, and donors on the web.
For a more in-depth look into local SEO, read our local SEO blog for businesses! Remember, it all starts with increasing your nonprofits web presence, and utilizing local SEO is one way to do this.
How to Increase Your Nonprofits Presence
Gaining momentum in search engine results may seem like an uphill battle,. Although it will take time, patience, and work, growing your online visibility and increasing your rankings is attainable.
Here are 3 things you should prioritize when improving your local SEO efforts:
1. Correct Name, Address, & Phone Number
Having your nonprofits name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistent across the web is harder than you may think. These 3 simple things directly affect your search engine rankings and are used frequently by them.
Google loves consistency and they certainly reward it when it comes to local SEO and your nonprofits NAP.
This information needs to be accurate on your nonprofits website. When updating listings or linking back to your website, the information you provide needs to match the NAP on your main site. This is an easy way to quickly increase your credibility with search engines.
Here are some tips when it comes to NAP:
- Create a “master” document where the correct information lives for reference
- It should be located in the footer on every page of your site
- It needs to be consistent across all platforms (like social media), listings, and mentions
- Decide from the start if you will abbreviate anything. If so, keep it that way everywhere
- Try not to change or update it often
- Decide if you will use dashes or dots for your phone number. If so, keep it that way
- Triple check before you post or make any changes, especially if you have moved or changed your contact information
Even the smallest difference in your NAP across the web can dampen your nonprofit’s internet credibility. Be sure to take your time and fix the inconsistencies as you find them. Credibility matters when it comes to search engine rankings.
2. Find, Claim, and Update Your Listings
Online directories, or listings, play a role in improving your nonprofits local SEO. Search engines go to these directories looking for relevant information to display about your nonprofit.
The goal here is accuracy and (you guessed it) consistency. The more accurate and consistent these listings are (NAP) the more credible your nonprofit is in the eyes of Google or Bing. On top of that, the more listings you have builds trust with search engines, which in turn increases your ranking in local search results.
There are hundreds of different listings out on the web and it will take some serious time for you to find, claim, and update them all. But there is hope. You can easily take care of the main ones, such as Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, and Facebook. As for the others, check out Local SEO Guides Top 55 Listings for suggestions on where to start.
3. Manage Your Reviews
It’s no secret that reviews continue to be important. Google, Yelp, Bing, and other review sites provide your volunteers and supporters with an opportunity to let the world know how they feel about your nonprofit.
When it comes to local SEO, the quality, frequency, and amount of reviews your nonprofit has, will help with your nonprofits authority in search results.
Positive reviews have the ability to drive more visibility to your nonprofit. From a local SEO standpoint, encourage your supporters and volunteers to leave reviews. Google, Bing, and Yelp reviews build trust and credibility with potential donors and search engines.
Reviews on Google and Bing are important to grow. These reviews will show up on the “knowledge graphs” in search results and help your potential donors learn more about your nonprofit. Having positive reviews featured on these graphs is a great way to capture their attention
Conversely, your nonprofit can get negative reviews as well. If this happens, a swift reply is required. Respond in a timely manner accompanied with an appropriate answer. Directing these unhappy individuals to contact you directly is a great way to manage and contain the damage that can be done by negative reviews. Responding to these reviews shows others that you are listening and want to find a solution.
Reviews, positive or negative, directly affect your nonprofit’s goals. Get a jumpstart on improving your local SEO by reaching out to your current supporters and volunteers and asking them for a review!
Your Local SEO Experts
At Intuitive Digital, we have a great team of SEO experts who are here to help your nonprofit grow in more ways than one. Being a local company ourselves, we understand the importance of appearing in local search results.
Learn how we navigate digital marketing for nonprofits and make a difference while having fun. We take pride in helping local nonprofits grow.