LOCAL SEO FOR NONPROFITS
Google promotes local search now more than ever before. It’s important to be found by those searching for a nonprofit in the local community. Using our local search solution, you can be sure that your organization will be visible when someone goes looking.
Being found in local search results is very important. The clients looking for your nonprofit are typically local, including volunteers, donors, and partners. Being visible locally online is critical in order to reach these key contributors. They typically fit into one of the categories below — not always, but usually:
Three Steps To Local Search Success
There are three crucial steps when it comes to optimizing your nonprofits’s local online presence. Ensuring that your name, address and phone number (NAP) information is correct for your location(s) is very important, and Google requires that this information is complete, consistent, and specific in the places the search engine is likely to find it — that is, Google My Business (GMB), the pages on your nonprofit website (preferably in a footer on every page), and other online sources that have built authority over time and make these citations available, i.e. review sites, place aggregators, and specific nonprofit directories.
Why Local Search Is Important
Local search optimization is important because it’s one way Google builds trust in your website. When your local information is consistent, Google knows that it can present your nonprofit in what it considers discovery searches.
Google defines a discovery search as the action a user takes to search for a category, product, or service that you offer, and your listing appeared. Take that out of general business context and it’s exactly the same for any nonprofit. Local search optimization allows your organization to be discovered.
You may not have heard of the Google 3-Pack, also referred to as Map 3-Pack and Local Pack, but it’s almost certain you’ve seen and maybe used it.
The local pack is a set of three results, on a map. On a mobile device this appears above all other search results. It shows only results that are near the searcher in geographical proximity.
When someone in this audience we’ve discussed searches for a nonprofit organization, they almost always use criteria that returns the 3-Pack, like “nonprofits near me” or “nonprofits in [applicable city].”
Therefore, the first three nonprofits seen will be those that Google deems best shown in the Local Pack. Being one of those organizations displayed is of great importance!
These are very simple examples of how users may search for your nonprofit locally. Understanding a user’s intent is fundamental when optimizing your online content for SEO and local search.
Discovery Search Expained
Over the years, Google has placed more and more emphasis on discovery search. It distinguishes discovery searches from direct searches. A direct search is when someone already knows you or at least knows how to find you by name. They either enter the name of your nonprofit organization in the search bar or type the URL to your website in directly. This obviously makes direct searches very limiting for those who don’t know you exist.
The Power of Local SEO With Discovery Searches
The importance and power of local SEO lies in your organization being found in discovery searches. These searches could be any number of variations of things like nonprofits near me, nonprofits in [city name], hunger nonprofits in dallas, nonprofits near dcfs… you get the idea. The power is in proximity, and when your nonprofit shows up at or near the top of those results, that is powerful!
The way we optimize your local SEO is by growing the number of discovery searches your nonprofit shows up in. This is accomplished over time and through optimizing the three steps mentioned at the top of this page along with carefully making sure your content is relevant to the audience you want to reach.
Local SEO can be impacted by several factors including the age of your web domain and its authority, the location and density of other nonprofits in your immediate area, and the number of people searching for nonprofits there. But rarely would we not be able to significantly increase the visibility of your organization online through optimizing your website using local SEO.
Local Search Optimization Is A Nonprofit Necessity
If there is a single online tactic you should implement, it’s local SEO. Whether you choose to implement local search optimization yourself or hire an expert to get it done, delaying will only cost you.
Local discovery searches impact your growth because the user’s intent is to find a cause to support in their own community.
By optimizing your local SEO your organization will show up in local searches like “nonprofit near me”, “nonprofit in [city]” or “local nonprofit.”
Not only will your organization show up in search results when optimized for local SEO but it will also show up accurately on a map displayed in search results along with the coveted Local Pack, which greatly increases the chance that a curious or intentional user will click through to your organization’s website.
Why DIY Local SEO May Not Provide The Results You Expect
Without careful planning and automation, managing local directory citations can be labor-intensive and provide lots of room for error. Even small errors in data can be detrimental to your effort and subsequently lack of trust and authority from Google.
Our Local SEO and Online Reputation Management (Review Management) solution is an all-in-one subscription that provides you worry-free management of this effort and will increase your visibility and authority in local search.