Using the Internet to recruit volunteers can be tough if your website is hard to find – below Brian Honigman of LunaMetrics shares some tips for building links to make your nonprofit website more discoverable.
Guest post by Brian Honigman, LunaMetrics
Link building is an essential part of any SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Relevant links serve to bolster your site’s authority and enable it to rank highly for various searches of relevance to what you do.
This is especially important to nonprofits that typically have minimal time and assets to devote to optimizing for search engines. A nonprofits’ link building strategy should incorporate the following aspects to ensure it’s both timely and effective for bringing greater visibility to your volunteer recruiting efforts and other initiatives:
1. Reach Out to Existing Community Partners: Contacting other websites to link to your nonprofits’ site can be a tedious venture, often not returning any results. The most effective way to reach out to other websites for links to your nonprofit is by contacting organizations and nonprofits you already have an existing partnership or relationship with. If they know your nonprofit well enough, they’re way less likely to ignore your email and give you a link.
Also, the more relevant the focus of your website is to a website that is linking to you, the better when it comes to the relevancy of a link. Most likely your community partners have an overlapping interest and therefore more relevant links to your website.
For instance, the ASPCA takes part in a plethora of partnerships as a nonprofit, sometimes organically or purposefully getting links to their website from these organizations. The Animal Planet ROAR Program has afforded the ASPCA with a variety of benefits, one being a relevant link back to their website, driving valuable link juice. Both Animal Planet and the ASPCA benefit from such a relationship in more ways than one. This is certainly the type of partnership that your nonprofit can emulate and use to drive more links to your website.
2. Contact Relevant .gov & .edu Websites: Links from .gov and .edu websites are more valuable links to your web property than a regular .com or .org because the search engines place greater value on them. Websites with a .gov domain are reserved for government institutions, while sites with .edu domains are reserved for higher education institutions. A link from one of these domains has more value than links from other .com and other websites combined.
Luckily, nonprofits are more likely to get links from these types of domains due to the nature of your work as compared to a for-profit website. You should feel confident contacting websites with these domains, especially if there’s a direct relevance in mission.
For example, American Cancer Society could benefit from reaching out to HealthFinder.gov for a link to to help increase the amount of high authority links in their profile. As a best practice, give the institution you’re reaching out to specific pages on their website where you think it would be relevant for them to link to your website. On HealthFinder.gov, one place American Cancer Society could suggest would be in the sentence marked on the page shown below:
So do some research for your nonprofit and take a look at the .gov and .edu websites that are related to your focus. Reach out to them to engage in a partnership or simply request a link to your site.
3. Allow Donors/Advocates/Nonprofits to Guest Blog: Your nonprofit should have a blog that produces quality, interesting content about your cause to help encourage other websites to naturally link to this material. In addition to your own blogging efforts, be open to guest blogger submissions from donors, advocates, nonprofits and other relevant sources.
As long as the content is of value to your audience, allowing other websites to contribute their material supporting your cause is of benefit to both parties. When another organization is posting content on your website that you’ve approved, they’re likely to draw their audience to this content as well.
Guest blogging benefits your nonprofit in two ways:
It drives relevant traffic to your blog that may not have visited previously, but now might visit frequently.
The organization will share their guest blog with a link on their website or social accounts adding SEO benefit.
4. Press Releases for Your Events: Whether you’re promoting your annual donation drive, a community event, an activity to recruit volunteers or your attendance at an upcoming conference, using press release services will help get the word out there while providing quality links to your organization’s website.
Using services like PRWeb or eReleases for paid distribution of your newsworthy material is a cost effective method of driving the right eyes to your content while building quality links. As nonprofits, both Easter Seals and Ecumen have used PRWeb to promote their cause and gain links to their sites.
Brian Honigman is the Social Media Account Manager at LunaMetrics. As a Google certified partner, LunaMetrics also specializes in SEO, PPC & Social Media. You can follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Honigman.
Shari led Online Marketing and Communications at VolunteerMatch from 2010-2015. After working with nonprofits for 9 years, she moved over to the corporate sector and is now leading Inbound Marketing for a tech company in San Francisco.