Google can often feel like a black box, especially to beginners. No one knows how exactly search engines choose to show the results they do, but various sources on the web claim there are anywhere from 100-200+ key indicators that dictate how well a page will rank.
In this article, we'll break down six simple tips anyone can implement without writing a single line of code to implement best practices for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) into their next fundraising campaign:
Host your fundraiser(s) on a website with significant domain authority
Get backlinks to your fundraising page(s)
Optimize your images
Optimize your content
Configure your meta tags
Track, measure and improve over time
Have you ever noticed that the same websites appear on Google every time you search for certain things (i.e., recipes)? This is largely because these websites have strong domain authority, meaning they receive large amounts of traffic and are primarily considered a "trusted" domain by Google.
Conversely, if you just launched a website (i.e., food blog) and only have a few visitors, it's unlikely Google would serve your website's results very high.
Quick tip: One of the fastest ways to get an instant SEO boost is by hosting your fundraising campaign on a website that already has significant domain authority, such as Givebutter!
Advanced: To check the domain authority of different websites and their relevance for various keywords, try out a tool like Ahrefs.
Perhaps the most widely accepted and single best practice for increasing your search engine relevance is backlinks – receiving links back to your webpage from other websites with high domain authority.
For example, we know that Google considers many online news publications such as https://www.nytimes.com/ to have high domain authority. Therefore, if the NYTimes writes a story about your campaign and links to your webpage, it will get a big bump in SEO relevance! Remember, the backlink is the key 🔑
Quick tip: Press can be an excellent strategy to generate more awareness for your campaign. However, a hidden and often underappreciated benefit of receiving press is backlinking – which can sometimes be the difference-maker for justifying the time and effort spent on a press strategy altogether. Also, if you have any friends or connections with popular websites, adding a simple backlink can lead to a nice boost in search engine traffic.
A significant factor in determining SEO rankings is page speed, determined by the time it takes for your webpage to load. Images, videos, and other files are often one of the most significant contributors to long page load times, so optimizing them is critical!
Quick tip: One of the fastest ways to improve your SEO relevance is by optimizing your images using a compression tool like tinypng.com. You should also crop and re-size your images to use what is necessary and "name" your images descriptively using plain English.
Just as we can optimize images for page speed, we can optimize our content for keyword relevance. Google's ultimate objective is to deliver the best result possible for people searching for a given term, so ensuring that your content is well-written, thorough, and mistake-free is a relatively simple way to improve your search engine rankings.
Quick tip: Think about what search terms ("keywords") a potential visitor may type into Google, and be sure to include those in detail on your page.
You see meta tags all the time, probably without realizing it! See below for an example of Givebutter's own search result on Google, featuring our "Meta Title" and "Meta Description":
Quick tip: Use a platform like Givebutter to have peace of mind knowing your meta tags are already set and optimized to the full extent possible. Givebutter also makes it easy to customize your Meta Title and Meta Description if you'd like to change the defaults:
Track, measure and improve
This is one of the more challenging aspects of SEO and one of the most important if you are serious about improving SEO relevance over time. You could easily complete the steps outlined above, and you'd be in great shape, but SEO is an evolving process and often requires frequent tweaking to ensure ongoing success.
Quick tip: Integrate Google Analytics with a platform like Givebutter to track page visits and key events to see how your visitors interact with your content.