For nonprofits, local SEO (search engine optimisation) is arguably one the most important things to get right. Why? It will enable your charity to recruit local volunteers and encourage members of your local community to attend fundraisers and other key events. If you have multiple target locations, great, you can prioritise them all – there’s no harm in that. What you don’t want to do is reach an audience to which you have little or no relevance.
Take an animal rescue charity for example: if you are looking for volunteers to help out at your local shelter in London, what good comes from someone in New York reading your post or page? Now, don’t get us wrong – increased visibility is nothing to be upset about. After all, this person in New York may very well make a cash donation to support your nonprofit and spread the word about your charity to others. However, if you can get location-specific content in front of the right audience at the right time, you’ll optimise your results and be well on your way to achieving your goals.
What is local SEO for charities?
In a nutshell: local SEO for charities involves optimising your online presence to help your charity become more visible in local search results. Any nonprofit with a physical presence or that covers a specific geographic area can benefit from optimising its site, social profiles and other online resources for local search.
#1 Google My Business
The first and most important step to putting your charity on the virtual map is to set up a Google My Business profile. This is essentially your online storefront – a place for your audience to find out key information about your charity including opening hours, contact information, reviews and photos. It’s free to use, easy to manage and will significantly boost your charity’s visibility within local search. So, what are you waiting for?
To ensure your Google My Business page is a help and not a hindrance to your charity, you need to regularly update your information. If your opening hours change but you forget to update them online, you could end up with one very irritated person outside your closed location.
#2 Be consistent around the web
You’ll also want to ensure your charity’s NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across the web. Not only will this prove to the search engines that the data is correct and reliable, but it will also help to improve user experience too – and we all know how important keeping your audience happy is when it comes to SEO. If you don’t, you should check out our ultimate guide to SEO for charities here to uncover top tips and tricks to help your nonprofit reach the top of the search engine rankings.
Adding key information to local search directory listings can also help to boost your local SEO efforts, but again, this should be consistent with any information listed around the web.
#3 Optimise your content
Having your location listed on your contact page and in your site’s footer simply isn’t enough. If you’re serious about ranking for local terms, you need to optimise your site for local search. And no, this doesn’t mean adding random locations to any old piece of content. When you share relevant location-specific content – be it a blog post, news update or landing page – ensure to consider optimising the following:
- The headings
- The body copy
- The title tag
- The meta description
- Alt text (images)
- URL structure
At this stage, it’s also good practice to conduct keyword research to ensure you are targeting the most appropriate keywords and search terms for your charity and given location. You can find out more about keyword research in our blog post here.
Tying it all together
These tips, when combined with other SEO best practices (learn more via our SEO blog page) put your charity in a great position to start climbing the search rankings and be seen by your target audience. If you are looking for more help with your nonprofit’s SEO, get in touch to organise a free consultation and be sure to head to our case studies page to discover how we have helped charities like yours reach the next level with digital marketing.