Search Engine Marketing for Non-profits

11 December 2012

We hear a lot about search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing/management (SEM), white hats, gray hats, and black hats for those hoping to exploit the internet to boost their bank balance, which is fair enough.

But, there are organizations motivated not by the bottom-line, but by the need to build a community, provide support and services, and boost donations – the non-profit organizations, or charities.

According to Dave McMahon and Charla Griffy-Brown of the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, non-profit organizations should be exploiting the strategies of online marketers to gain traffic to their websites, raise awareness of their “brand” and its aims and convert visitors into donors.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves focusing on how well a website can attract high ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs) of the main web search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft Live Search. The non-profit webmaster should focus on pertinent keywords and relevant generic phrases and then edit website page titles, text and hidden meta text, as well as image tags to accommodate these keywords and phrases. The aim not being to manipulate the search engines illicitly but to ensure that the non-profit’s website provides the best answer to a given pertinent search query. Ultimately, this will increase the number of visitors to the site.

The researchers add that SEM could also improve the workings of any non-profit organization:

By adopting SEM strategies, such as page optimization and building links with other related websites to improve search engine ranking, a non-profit will also be obliged to fine-tune its web presence according to its values and the feedback from its donors, and those who benefit from its existence.

SEM expert Kimberley Bock told me she was rather surprised to see that non-profit/enviro sites are not ranking for the kinds of reasonable terms for which everyday people are searching. While qutequte, also on Twitter, advises that it’s best not to use blackhat SEO technique, she suggests non-profit webmasters might learn a lot from the John Cow blog.

For a more technical look, Saurav Verma recommends SEO Book for more on the practicalities of search engine marketing for non-profits.

Dave McMahon, Charla Griffy-Brown (2009). Developing an effective and affordable search engine marketing strategy for nonprofits Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, 5 (1/2), 113-130

BRON: http://www.sciencetext.com



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