25 OCT 2019 Nic Rowen (RA) 0
People use search engines millions of times a day to get their questions answered and their needs met in the span of just seconds. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the handy process that enables the most relevant, high-quality information to ideally sift through to the top of a user’s search engine result pages (SERPs).
The good news is, there are proven measures you can take to help push your nonprofit’s website closer to the top and increase its online presence, which we will share in a moment! But first, let’s get clear on…
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the process of earning organic (AKA unpaid, unsponsored) traffic from search engines. By following SEO best practices, you are telling search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo that your website is a credible authority in your industry — leading these search engines to recommend your site in people’s search queries.
The main goal? To get your nonprofit’s website ranking as close to that coveted #1 rank in a user’s search results as possible — because as we all know, most people never check beyond that first page!
What Are On-Page Elements (& Why Should You Care)?
Google runs using an extremely sophisticated algorithm, but of course that doesn’t mean it can "read” your website the same way you or I do. On-page elements are aspects located directly on your webpage(s) and affect how Google "crawls” or understands the content on each of these pages.
These on-page elements help not only Google "read” your page and what keywords it should be ranking for — they help actual users understand your webpages too. Win-win, right? Now let’s take a look at 6 of these on-page elements that you should be updating every time you create a new page or blog post.
#1. Title Tag
The title tag of your page appears in the SERPs as clickable blue text (or purple, if you’ve visited the webpage before):
Your title tag also appears in the tab at the top of your internet browser, like this:
Title tags are a massive factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. To optimize yours, be sure to create a unique, relevant title tag for every individual webpage. Your title tag should include your target keyword(s) you want your website to be found for (ex. "breast cancer” or "animal welfare”). Whenever possible, try to place your target keyword as early on in your title tag as possible.
You may want to consider what the call to action (CTA) of your page is and include that in your title tag (ex. "donate” or "volunteer”). Plus, ensure the title tag is within 50-60 characters so Google doesn’t slice off half your title!
#2. Meta Description
The meta description is the text underneath the title tag in the SERPs:
Relevant, descriptive, curiosity-inducing meta descriptions result in higher click-through rates (CTRs), which naturally helps your organic ranking.
Give each of your webpages a unique meta description that gives the user an idea of what they’ll find when they click through.
When searching for the information they need, most people are quickly skimming through a page’s text at lightning speed. If they don’t immediately see how your content might be useful for them, you can bet they'll hit that ‘back’ button and disappear to some other site with more clearly laid out information.
This is why the headings (and subheadings) in your content are so important! They structure your writing, make it obvious to your reader at a glance what they can expect, and pinpoint the value of what your page is all about for the search engine algorithms.
Remember that target keyword in your title tag (from #1 above)? Try to use that same keyword in your headings so that search engines can understand that that keyword is highly relevant to the page content — and by extension, significant to the user performing a search query.
Additionally, you will want to ensure your headings are coded properly. Your primary heading at the top of your page should be coded with an "h1” tag, whereas subheadings can be coded as "h2” or "h3” tags.
#4. ALT Text
ALT text is short for alternative text and is used to describe images:
Search engines can’t "see” what’s in your images, so you need to use ALT text to explain what your image represents if you want the search engines to boost your page’s ranking in SERPs!
ALT text is useful for the user too — if for whatever reason your images don’t display properly on a user’s screen, the image’s ALT text would show up instead. Again, your target keyword(s) should make an appearance here to optimize your page for the search engines.
#5. Internal Linking
Finally, are there any opportunities to plug your other relevant content and blog posts into your webpage? By linking internally to other pages of your own website, you showcase to search engines that more of your content is relevant.
Of course, don’t over do it (as this will make your page look spammy and can be a turn-off to readers). But in moderation, internal linking can help keep your bounce rate low by encouraging users to stay on your site and consume more of your content.
We’ll insert our own little example here… ;-)Read: https://www.lifelinedesign.ca/blogs/the-seo-experts-nonprofits-need-to-follow-heading-into-2020