At Mentor Digital, we are proud to work with a range of different charity organisations around the UK. As such, we have lots of experience of how to optimise websites and content to maximise SEO performance. Here we share some valuable insights on how you can boost your charity's website to connect with a broader audience and make a bigger impact.
Search is Key for Charities
Search engines are an essential resource for people who want to learn, donate, and get involved with charities. The way to unlock the full potential of search is to ensure that you have an effective SEO strategy born out of the three key areas of sound technical SEO providing a solid foundation for your website, a content strategy with clearly defined targets and goals and an outreach strategy to drive links into your content from authoritative sources. Here are the key areas to focus on:
Slow websites can be a major deterrent for users, and you don’t want someone who is wanting to make a donation or join as a member to face inertia at the key moment of transaction. Speed up your site with proper optimisation, compressed images, and efficient coding. Also, make sure you test site speed on a range of connections – if you only ever test your site when you’re sat in your office with super-fast Wi-Fi, you’re most likely not being exposed to what many of your potential customers will experience.
Crawl before you can run
Before a search engine can index and rank your content it needs to be crawled. There are various technical elements that need to be setup correctly to ensure that your content is effectively ingested and understood, from providing an accurate and optimised sitemap to ensuring that your robots.txt is on point. Web crawlers have a lot to get done in reviewing all the content on the web, so if barriers are hit during the crawling process, they’ll simply move onto your competitors’ content, so the crawlability of your content is a vital thing to get right.
Imagine walking into a messy, cluttered charity shop; you'd probably turn around and leave. The same goes for your website. Make sure it's easy to navigate across all devices, paying particular attention to mobile, given the majority of digital consumption takes place on mobile phones and Google use mobile-first indexing (meaning that they prioritise indexing the mobile version of your content over the desktop counterpart).
Signposts for Search Engines
Structured data helps search engines understand your content better through the provision of tags that state what something is, such as an article, an event, a how-to or a recipe. Providing this extra information will also impact the way in which an organic result is displayed to a user by the search engine, which can improve how intuitive the result is when shown to your audience.
“Make sure you test site speed on a range of connections – if you only ever test your site when you’re sat in your office with super-fast Wi-Fi, you’re most likely not being exposed to what many of your potential customers will experience.”
Content is Queen (or King!)
Stories humanise your charity. Share success stories, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your work. People can often connect much more easily with stories than plain statistics. Write content about your mission, the people you've helped, and the impact you've made. When you engage your audience emotionally, they're more likely to support your cause.
Keywords are key
An effective content marketing strategy begins with keywords. These are the words and phrases people type into search engines when looking for something. For charities, it means finding keywords that align with your mission. For instance, if you're a Bristol-based charity helping the homeless, "Bristol homeless support" should be one of your main targets. You should ensure that all content on your website is mapped to a specific term for which you want that content to rank, and that you avoid having several pieces of content competing with one another for the same term. Keyword mapping and planning is an essential component of your content marketing efforts.
Tell compelling stories
Stories humanise your charity. Share success stories, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your work. People can often connect with stories more than plain statistics.
Regularly posting relevant, informative content not only keeps your audience engaged but also boosts your SEO.
“Stories humanise your charity. Share success stories, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your work. People can often connect with stories more than plain statistics.”
Outreach and Links
Drive inbound links
Backlinks are like word-of-mouth referrals from other websites and links gained from highly authoritative websites can make a significant difference to the organic rankings the relevant page achieves. The more reputable sites link to yours, the more search engines will regard you as a highly trusted source of information to display in front of searchers.
Local SEO for Community Engagement
If you're a charity that has a specific geographical focus, optimising your website for local SEO is essential. Claim your Google My Business listing, get involved in local events, and collaborate with other locally-based organisations. Building local relationships can drive more traffic and support your cause.
Monitoring and analytics
Once you’re thoroughly researched content is published, use tools like Google Analytics 4 and Google Search Console to track performance. By analysing your data and making targeted improvements, you can further boost your organic traffic and uncover more content opportunities.
“Backlinks are like word-of-mouth referrals from other websites and links gained from highly authoritative websites can make a significant difference to the organic rankings the relevant page achieves,”
Make sure you choose the right Digital Agency
Delivering all of the above requires a lot of expertise and resource, which may mean partnering with a digital marketing agency is the best approach. When selecting your partner, keep these things in mind:
- Experience: Look for an agency with a track record of working with charities.
- Portfolio: Review their previous work and case studies.
- Transparent communication: Ensure they're willing to explain their strategies and progress.
- Local Knowledge: If you're based in Bristol or anywhere else, having a local agency can be a huge advantage, with increased opportunities to face to face sessions to collaborate on future SEO strategy.
The Final Word
In a world where online visibility is key, an SEO strategy geared towards the needs of charity websites is an essential requirement. By aligning your content strategy with your charity’s mission, optimising your website from a technical perspective, and attracting links to your content through effective outreach, you can reach more of your audience and potential customers and scale your organic search traffic.
At Mentor Digital, we have a dedicated digital marketing team that can help you achieve your goals via their expertise in SEO, PPC and analytics. If you would like to arrange an initial call to discuss this, don’t hesitate to get in touch.