Like a tree with strong roots, nonprofits with local support can grow into larger, flourishing operations.
You understand the importance of local support for your nonprofit organization but what about for your marketing strategy?
Local SEO refers to a set of practices that increases the visibility of your nonprofit in both Google Maps and the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Consider the mind-boggling fact that 4 out of 5 people turn to search engines to find local information. Improving your local SEO means that more people nearby can find your organization through search engines.
To compete with other nonprofits and show up in front of searchers, it’s vital to improve your local SEO. Being listed in a nonprofit directory is a surprisingly simple way to do so.
Below, we’ll dive into the details of local SEO and the way you can make nonprofit directories work for you.
The National Center for Charitable Statistics reports that 1.54 million nonprofit organizations are registered in the United States.
That’s not exactly a wide-open space in terms of space on SERPs. If your organization is going to show up in Google Maps and on SERPs, you need to be intentional in your local SEO efforts.
A firm foundation in local SEO knowledge is the best launchpad for a successful strategy. Let’s examine how local SEO works and the factors that influence it.
A pillar of local SEO is a free tool called Google My Business (GMB). This is a sort of digital storefront that makes it easier for Google to understand who you are and what you do. The process is simple. You create a profile, verify your location, and input information about your nonprofit.
Lauren’s Kids, a Florida based nonprofit organization, has a great Google My Business profile. When we search the broad term “nonprofit Tallahassee”, the organization appears in Google Maps.
Lauren’s Kids also appears at the top of the SERP between two other nonprofits in the area.
So how did Lauren’s Kids make it into the top of the results? Google states that there are three main contributors at play in Google My Business rankings: relevance, distance, and prominence.
This element focuses on how well the local search results align with the searcher’s intent. The best thing you can do to improve this is to fill your GMB profile with detailed information. Go beyond the basics of name, address, and phone number. Add photos, include all the services your organization offers, and give a detailed description of your nonprofit.
Searches including the term “near me” or a specific city name reveal that the user is looking for a place closeby. That’s why the distance between the searcher and your business is a determining factor for your GMB profile ranking. You can’t control who is searching near you but you can ensure that details about your physical location are up to date.
Have more than one location? Explore the best ways to manage Google My Business for multiple locations.
Prominent locations like famous landmarks or well-known businesses have a leg up in this area. Google displays these types of locations in top positions for relevant local searches. Fortunately, there are ways to magnify your organization’s prominence. Accumulating Google reviews is one effective avenue.
A nonprofit directory is a useful tool for increasing prominence. To understand how, consider what these directories offer—citations.
Citations provide a simple way to increase your prominence, which leads to higher rankings for your GMB profile.
Citations are online mentions of your nonprofit that include your name, address and phone number (NAP). This information should match exactly with what’s already on your Google My Business profile. If it’s already present on your GMB profile, why do you need citations? The short answer is that citations increase your trustworthiness (and local SEO prominence) in the eyes of Google.
By gathering information about your organization from across the web, Google can verify that your business is legitimate and is more likely to display your information in search results.
Take a look at this citation of a nonprofit organization in Phoenix, Arizona. With this mention, Local First Arizona appears more credible to search engines so ranking for local searches is easier.
Nonprofit directories to list your organization in
As part of a nonprofit, you know it’s action that brings about results. Now that you understand the power and importance of local SEO, it’s time to work on improving yours. To bolster your local SEO, obtain citations in multiple nonprofit directories.
Don’t have time to search out a directory of nonprofits? We’ve got you covered. Here are eight reputable sites to get your organization listed in as you pursue this digital marketing idea for nonprofits.
The Better Business Bureau is open to businesses and nonprofits alike. Because it is a respected source of information, the BBB has standards that your organization must meet in order to become accredited. A listing in the BBB directory is a great way to earn a citation and signal trustworthiness to search engines. You can learn more by contacting your local BBB office.
GuideStar is like the Yelp of the nonprofit world. There are over 1.8 million listings in this behemoth of a nonprofit directory. Your nonprofit is likely on this list. But you can visit the directory to ensure your information is up to date and to get it listed if it’s not.
This directory of nonprofits is geared towards donors who want to ensure their contributions go far. The organization offers a tool that allows users to calculate the impact their donations will have when given to a particular charity. The Life You Can Save has a board of experts that determines what charities to add to their directory. You can learn more about the selection process here.
If you are in the nonprofit technology space, this directory is ideal. Fast Forward labels its directory as “The Most Comprehensive Database of the World’s Tech Nonprofits”. Searchers can filter organizations by location, product platform, founder demographics and more. Fast Forward has received major media attention thanks to its partnerships with major technology companies including Google.
Idealist is all about inspiring others to make a positive impact in the world. The platform connects volunteers to the causes they care about. Once you become an administrator of your organization’s Idealist profile, you can post volunteer opportunities to the site. If you’re in need of helping hands, consider getting listed in Idealist.
Facebook has amazing resources for nonprofits including a “donate now” button that you can feature on your organization’s page. While this is not a directory in the technical sense, it is a place that people can search for you and where your information is prominently displayed. So make sure that your organization’s Facebook page is up to date and posting regularly. You may even be featured on Nonprofits on Facebook, an account run by Facebook dedicated to fostering social good.
Another great nonprofit directory is Charity Navigator. This directory has been around for nearly two decades and accumulates 10 million web visits each year. Charity Navigator is an accredited nonprofit organization by the Better Business Bureau. Beyond the listings, Charity Navigator also rates organizations based on specific standards.
To get listed in this directory of nonprofit organizations, you must become a member of America’s Charities. According to the company services page, America’s Charities helps nonprofits “manage and leverage their corporate and donor relations [and] facilitate their participation in public and private sector workplace giving and employee engagement programs.”
Local SEO is not something you can set and forget. It takes a conscious effort to manage citations and build your reputation online.
By partnering with an SEO agency, you can leverage the knowledge and expertise of professionals who understand how to increase your visibility. You can focus on your core mission while SEO professionals work behind the scenes to improve your reach. With a solid nonprofit SEO strategy, you can reach more people and increase support from donors.
We invite you to schedule a consultation to learn how local SEO can increase your organization’s effectiveness and how Markitors can help you achieve your goals.