4 Proven SEO Essentials for Associations and Nonprofits

Marketers know they need to “do” SEO. But they often don’t really know what that means.

This is the simplest way to think about it:

Search engine optimization does not manufacture demand for a product or service. It simply amplifies existing demand. 

There are many fundamental nuances of SEO. This is undoubtedly why you feel intimidated to execute a fleshed out SEO strategy. But, we’re going to help you simplify how you use SEO and why it’s important.

Here are four essential tips for associations and nonprofits to drive quality traffic to your website with a smart SEO strategy that you can maintain.

1. Do Your Homework

Too many brands focus on every keyword under the sun. An organization targeting health conscious members wants to rank for healthy eating services. And fitness, digital health, supplements, weight loss, vitamins, and dozens more.

No. Your brand probably created a product or service to serve a specific, niche demand. Your job is finding the keywords that match what your target users are searching for.

Identify competitors in your industry. Ransack their website and identify the gaps in content/website/UX/UI functions.

Broken links? Weak blogs? Poor descriptions? No proof points?

Collect it all.

Then, use a tool like Moz Pro or Google’s Adwords tool to determine search terms that your audience is entering into search engines. Then, build content around those keywords. For example, our agency wanted to rank higher for the term “association marketing.”

So, we wrote a strong article covering association marketing trends in 2021. This is what we call  “pillar content” or a page covering many aspects of a single topic, with room for more in-depth articles to hyperlink back to the pillar page.

2. Create Readable Content 

SEO is nothing more than discipline, a sprinkle of research, and a dash of really good writing. It’s fine-tuning how you write and build pages to improve the reader’s overall experience.

Generally speaking, if people don’t read your content, you’ll have weak search engine results. Therefore, it’s important to consistently produce high-quality content that your audience wants.

After doing your keyword research, you should have a cluster of topics people are searching for in your market. Now you need to produce articles, videos, case studies, landing pages, infographics, or other forms of content to meet that need.

A few tips:

  • Think users first, search engines second. People wrongly assume SEO success feeds off volume. Focus on two to three insanely good, detailed pieces of content in the realm of your target keywords per week. Quality over quantity, baby!
  • Say what you mean and drop everything in between. You hate rambling fluff. So does Google.
  • Educate your market. Never assume people know what to search for to find you. Startups often build hype by speaking vaguely about innovations and features and technology. Specificity and simplicity will capture more attention.
  • Remember SEO’s built-in weakness: constant algorithm changes from Google. If anything, Google is routinely attempting to improve the user experience. The better your content, the better results you will produce on Google.

It doesn’t matter how you choose to reach people, as long as your content is valuable, compelling, and interesting.

“Don’t just create content for content marketing’s sake. You need to be creating content that people are searching for.” — Drew Beechler

3. Don’t Ignore The Details

Obviously creating great content is paramount. Now think about polishing it for search engines.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Add Meta Descriptions
  • Improve Page Loading Time
  • Use Correctly Sized Images
  • Make Sure Images Are Compressed
  • Use Legible Mobile Font Size

We use HubSpot’s brilliant SEO recommendations tool. It doesn’t hurt to create an SEO process so everyone on your team is uploading/updating web pages with best practices in mind.

4. Analyze Your Results

A critical part of SEO strategy is watching, learning, and adapting.

To measure your efforts, check-in on the keywords you’re targeting. As mentioned earlier, we have tangible proof that our ranking for “association marketing” improved in 2021. We keep a running template of words we should be targeting, how often we use them in articles, and if we’re seeing a steady increase in traffic .

Tracking your progress is the only way to improve. By measuring your progress, you will see where improvements and adjustments can be made to your strategy.

You will also find certain keywords are too popular to spend time on. Our agency isn’t going to rank for “top brand agency US.” But, we do rank well for “top brand and marketing agency DC.” This is huge for associations and nonprofits. The more specific you can get, the better.

Did you find this helpful? Don’t forget to share it with your team on social media. 

Jonah Malin's headshot

Jonah Malin

Jonah Malin is a creative marketing professional, crafting story-driven content to execute a diverse range of digital, print, and social deliverables.

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