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7 Tips To Help Your Organization Get Found

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7 Tips To Help Your Organization Get Found

Non-profit organizations can benefit greatly from exposure online.

SEO is a great way to gain organic traffic, regardless of the mission of the organization and the intent of the searcher.

Yes, there are opportunities through Google Ads grants and supporters to help drive traffic.

However, being found organically is a cost-effective and trusted way to gain long-term visibility and further the mission of a non-profit.

Most non-profits operate on lean budgets and have to be very judicious with their resources.

I have had the opportunity to work with many spanning focuses and missions aimed at healthcare, education, performing arts, adoption, orphanages, and more.

Within each non-profit, I have found tips that help regardless of most focuses and circumstances.

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From solid funding to grassroots organizations, there’s a lot to be gained by focusing on seven SEO tips to help your organization get found.

1. Develop SEO Goals

I have personally heard from and witnessed non-profit organizations spend time somewhat aimlessly. I understand the fact that resources are limited and dollars potentially even more so.

That means it is even more important to have specific, realistic goals for what SEO could and should do for the organization. Disparate, scattered efforts that are working toward a specific goal are often wasted.

A lot of non-profits have specific stakeholder groups and different goals for each.

For example, I worked with a large national non-profit organization focused on a very specific disease.

Their audience included many audiences and potential visitors including those who were just diagnosed, scared, and seeking information.

Beyond that, they had goals for advocates, donors, those engaged in events, those interested in furthering legislation, and general supporters.

All had some level of awareness, engagement, and action goals layered on top.

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With a large number of specific funnels, conversion actions, and stakeholder purposes for finding the org, engaging online, and getting to the ultimate goal, it is important to define specific goals and success metrics.

2. Create Funnels And Stakeholder Sections

Building on what I noted about the disparate stakeholders and types of goal actions, we can create paths for them and content within the website.

Non-profit sites can often be a mess. That’s not on purpose as it can be hard to work on all the content needed and to scale the website over time.

Survey your audience. Learn what they really want and what resources matter to them.

Tailor your content based on feedback and what you know about the cause.

Know that some people want to plug in a credit card quickly.

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Others want to consume long-form content.

Even more might want to learn about events and ways to connect.

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Give all of them their own path and custom journey.

My team is working currently with a large non-profit that funds a lot of worthy organizations and fosters entrepreneurship.

We have a laser focus on specific topics, content strategies, and investments to make sure that the right people are reached and that the org is positioned prominently for engagement compared to for-profit and other content sources.

3. Build Solid Infrastructure

This could have been number two, as it goes together with the funnel and stakeholder section building.

If you’re struggling with number two above, it could be because your site isn’t easy to manage.

Please note that all of the technical SEO needs are important for non-profits like they are in for-profit sectors.

On top of that, with the various funnels and goals, a solid UX and information architecture is critical.

We can’t lose people along the way or waste any precious impressions and clicks. We need sites that convince and convert users.

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We have a story to tell and need it to be told without bounces and losing people along the way due to not finding the right content and spot for them on the site.

I saw firsthand how a local non-profit benefited from this type of approach.

As a tax levy, yet independent, a non-governmental non-profit that provided grants for mental health organizations, it had a lot of technical details to share.

The org had a very specific grantmaking process. That process could be hard to understand and follow.

The org spends a lot of time and focuses on awareness in SEO as well as Q&A.

Beyond that, it was important to share how taxpayer funds are used and how it serves the broader community.

All of those funnels, plus some for politicians curious are big reasons why the funnel and rich content model works so well.

4. Invest Carefully In Content

Content can be a big, open-ended question for non-profits.

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There are a lot of really important things to say – both about the organization’s story and the voice it has in the cause.

Passions for blogging, creating resources, and telling the important story of the cause can drive a lot of great content.

At the same time, for some organizations writing can be put on the back burner when events, fundraising, and things central to the mission take the most time.

Content can be a big effort whether it is working or not and it might need more focus.

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Or, it can be lacking and need more consistency and discipline.

Regardless, a sweet spot has to be found to fuel the areas of the funnel and focus that matter for organic search.

I can think of a great example who tells their story well and also serves as a leader as a resource of information.

They serve troubled youth and are an option for parents who are out of options for their high school kids.

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They take in troubled youth from around the U.S. and have a high staff-to-student ratio serving them with love and highly skilled and accountable care.

Through their site, they share their research, expertise, and thought leadership in their space.

They also have an emotional and impactful story to share with prospective parents and students.

They do amazing work and serve a much-needed cause and do a great job of investing in content at the levels needed for those interested in stats and facts as well as they move others by resonating with their exact situation and emotions.

5. Leverage Partners For Links

In addition to technical and content aspects of SEO, non-profits need to also leverage off-page factors.

A big part of that is backlinks.

That means ensuring that all partners, advocates, and associates are helping the cause wherever they can by linking to the non-profit website.

Through natural links tied to relationships, I’m not talking about spammy or unnatural links.

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If an aligned partner or organization is supporting the cause, simply make sure that they know where to link for the best possible user experience and to cue the search engines to that association.

Beyond that, any opportunities for outreach and network growth should also be considered.

Link research into comparable organizations should be done. This can help with development efforts as well as outreach to develop more partners.

An example of a non-profit organization gaining SEO benefits from backlinks is a flagship performing arts center.

As a venue, it has several resident organizations or other non-profits who call it home for their concerts and performances.

Beyond that, corporate sponsors, civic organizations, artists, ticketing sites, and more all naturally link to the center.

Leveraging all of the specific partners and relationships, the performing arts center fully leverages the value of the links and “votes” from those other sites to benefit their own.

6. Smartly Use Social

Social media has been one of the most debated things in terms of its impact on SEO. I’m not here to foster that debate in this article.

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However, I can say that I ascribe to at least the correlation between social media activity and better SEO performance.

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Again, not here for a debate.

If you can get on board with at least correlation (not causation), then please factor in your social media activity with your search strategy.

Look at the content you want to get ranked well and get links to.

Build your social strategy around that.

Get your own social accounts to link to it and get other people to share and link to it.

A national organization that I work with that is an association of intercollegiate athletics does a great job of this.

They leverage their investments in the content to get as much mileage as possible.

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That means creating the content once and publishing it on the site and promoting it via Google Ads, social, email, and all possible channels.

Ultimately, they want organic search as well and know that as much engagement, links, and references they can get to their data, research info, and recruiting info they can get, the better it will perform organically. And, it does!

7. Plan, Measure, & Repeat

I can point to a number of great examples of non-profits owning organic search results and seeing real results from them. Most have a well-defined and intentional plan and effort in place.

It isn’t about trying harder.

It is about specific focus and knowing that there’s ROI or real, measurable impact that can come from organic search.

In so many of those successful cases, there’s planned action and tactics.

That means a regular and consistent effort in technical SEO factors, content, and knowing that SEO includes the word “optimization.”

It isn’t a one-time thing or a quick strategy.

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It takes definition, planning, resources, and sticking with it.

You don’t have competitors in the traditional sense, but you do when it comes to gaining impressions and visitors and people talking about the content that you so deservedly want and need.

Wrap Up

You have a great cause and organization.

Your mission means a lot to a lot of people.

Don’t short-change it or miss out on your chance to gain visitors who have a range of interests, goals, and reasons they should come to your site.

Use these seven tips for non-profit SEO and get the most out of your resources and continue driving your mission forward.

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Featured Image: Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock

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SEO

SEO Tips For Expanding Into German-Speaking Markets

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SEO Tips For Expanding Into German-Speaking Markets

So, you’re ready to expand into the land of wheat beer, sausage, and potatoes?

I’ve got good news for you!

With a large and affluent consumer base, Germany is an attractive market for many businesses.

But there’s one little catch: you need localization.

What’s localization, you ask?

Well, it has a lot to do with adapting your messaging to meet local cultural standards.

And while that first and foremost includes the language, it also covers traditions, humor, market expectations, and more.

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Regardless of whether you’re looking to expand into Germany or another country, you must understand your audience’s unique needs and how to reach them before you can successfully market your business to them.

So, before you go and start directly translating your English content strategy into German, you should know that adapting to German SEO is far more than just a translation job.

German consumers have different search habits, preferences, and intent than English speakers.

Simply translating your existing content strategy is only about 10% of a true German market expansion.

To succeed in German-speaking markets with SEO, you must create a German SEO strategy from scratch.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Why A German Market Expansion Is Worthwhile

Even though localization requires additional effort, Germany is one primary market that’s absolutely worth it to invest in. Here’s why:

  • The German-speaking DACH region (Germany, Switzerland, and Austria) is a thriving consumer market. Thanks to each country’s large GDP per capita, they enjoy a high standard of living – which means consumers have more money to spend on new products.
  • The DACH region has a 93% average internet penetration, which means there are 94 million internet users in the market. In a nutshell: comprehensive internet access + high standard of living = more money for your brand.
  • In Germany, 91% of internet users rely on Google for their search needs. This makes SEO in particular a powerful tool for reaching German consumers.

Important note: When expanding your business into the German market, it is essential to work with native speakers to build your SEO strategy, because that’s your direct line for understanding local messaging requirements.

Developing your SEO strategy based on your target market’s needs helps you create quality content that resonates with your audience.

It may even give you a first-mover advantage, especially if your business is in a new and niche industry.

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How To Craft A Winning German SEO Strategy In 6 Steps

Learning how to hang with the Germans at Oktoberfest may seem intimidating and challenging at first.

But with a few key steps, you can create a German SEO strategy that can immensely impact pipeline growth in this burgeoning market.

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The 6 Steps For Building A Winning SEO Strategy In The German Market

Localize your business strategy Prep your site structure Find your German competitors
Do German keyword research Localize your keyword map Localize your content

1. Localize Your Business Strategy

Let me give you a concrete example of a real business that was recently looking for help expanding in the DACH region.

Due to the U.S. and U.K. being their primary markets, international markets come second place in terms of investment but are still required to bring in high levels of new business.

After looking through their website for about 30 seconds, I noticed a major problem:

Although their website is translated to German (emphasis on the translated, not localized), their chatbot was only offered in English.

I tried typing in German in the chatbot. No reply.

It kept trying to force me to book a call with a person in the U.S.

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I then wrote, “Does this person speak German?” in the German language, but again no reply.

Now imagine this scenario for the potential German customers of this business.

They’ve come to the website from Germany, read through the website in German, and now, do you think they feel comfortable booking a call with an English-speaking salesperson in the US?

I can most wholeheartedly tell you it’s a big “no.”

That’s why it’s not enough to just translate your existing content into German.

You also need German-speaking salespeople and customer service representatives who can interact with buyers in their language.

It’s crucial to localize your entire business strategy, otherwise, your target audience will continue choosing your competitors who do offer the buying experience they expect.

2. Prep Your Site Structure

Now that we’ve gotten the business stuff out of the way, let’s move on to SEO.

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Before creating any content, you first need to check that your website is set up for multiple languages, which is most often done with the URL structure.

There are two options for this:

  • Option 1: example.com/de (the subfolder approach).
  • Option 2: de.example.com (the subdomain approach).

Whenever you have the option within your CMS (content management system) and technical infrastructure, always opt for the subfolder approach.

This helps transfer DA (domain authority) from your main .com domain to your German website, which means you’ll be able to rank for German keywords faster.

Once your site structure is set up, it’s also crucial to use href lang tags on your pages.

This way, you can assign a page to each market. By doing this, you’re more likely to appear in search results for German users looking for content in their language.

3. Find Your German Competitors

When it comes to competitors, localization is a major factor yet again.

While you may already know which websites you’re competing with in your native market, it’s important to understand that they will likely not be your organic search traffic competitors when you enter the German market.

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Let’s say you’re a marketing automation software company that wants to expand into Germany.

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SEOquake is a helpful plugin for comparing SERPs (search engine results page) in different languages and countries.

The main keyword you’d want to rank for in English markets might be “marketing automation tool.”

Here’s what SEOquake shows me as the English SERPs for the U.S.:

Screenshot from search for [marketing automation tool], Google, June 2022

Now take a look at what I get when I search for [marketing automatisierung tool], the German equivalent for that English term, in Germany:

German SERPs for “marketing automatisierung tool” using SEOquakeScreenshot from search for [marketing automatisierung tool], Google, June 2022

This difference is precisely where your opportunity for German market expansion lies.

When you localize keywords and your content to compete against local SERPs, you position your SEO strategy to generate leads and sales with localized high purchase intent keywords.

Just rinse and repeat this strategy for your main keywords and you’ll start to see trends about who your top German search competitors are.

But make sure that you follow up with these readers by offering them a buying experience that’s entirely in German.

4. Do German Keyword Research

Once you have a list of your German competitors, it’s time to do keyword research.

Keywords are the heart of your expansion strategy because that’s where you connect content to the high purchase intent keywords I mentioned above.

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To help you do your keyword research, try the following steps:

Step 1: Set your keyword research tool (here shown with Semrush) to the German market.

Example of Semrush’s keyword overview tool for German keyword researchScreenshot from Semrush, June 2022

Step 2: Using Semrush’s keyword magic tool, type in a German keyword.

I always recommend starting with a vague head keyword, because then you can view the whole related keyword cluster in a list.

Example of Semrush’s keyword magic tool for German keyword researchScreenshot from Semrush, June 2022

Step 3: Then select longtail, search intent match keywords here that have search volume and could potentially fit into your strategy based on the content you’d like to create.

Step 4: The best way to determine where and how certain keywords fit into your content is to check their SERPs by using SEOquake as I showed in the previous section.

One caveat: Semrush can be a bit limited for German SERPs data, so if you’re planning to heavily expand into Germany using SEO, it might be worthwhile to purchase an SEO tool with a more robust German database, such as Sistrix.

The key thing to remember during the keyword localization process is that you shouldn’t just translate keywords from your brand’s first language to German.

While just translating content easily leads to content that’s never even read, the process I described ensures that your content production resources focus on localized keywords that have the opportunity to rank and impact your leads and sales in Germany.

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5. Localize Your Keyword Map

After the initial keyword research is done, it’s time to build your keyword map.

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This means crafting German keyword clusters by search intent and ensuring that your German keyword map reflects your target audience’s needs across the sales funnel.

Here’s an example of how my team and I typically lay this out in Google Sheets:

keyword map using google sheetsScreenshot from author, June 2022

 

Doing this also allows you to determine which content from the original English-language website can be transcreated (translated and localized with specific keywords), and which new pages should be created in German.

Some pages in English won’t even need to be transcreated to German if your keyword research shows it’s not relevant to the German market – which is a primary reason why localization is much more laser-focused than pure translation.

6. Localize Your Content

The final step to developing your German SEO strategy is to localize your content.

For each content piece you plan to develop for your German audience, do the following:

Do your research.

Understand what Germans are searching for online, what kinds of content they engage with, and the messaging style they’re used to. One quick example is that German is often much more formal than U.S. and U.K. English.

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Repurpose your top-performing existing content.

If you have existing English content that’s doing well, consider transcreating it into German if the topic is also relevant to the German market.

Make sure to optimize it for local German keywords that have search volume and match search intent to give it the best possible chance of generating leads and sales.

Write new German-specific content.

Creating new and original content is especially important if you’re targeting Germany as a foreign market because there will be elements in Germany that don’t exist in the U.S. and U.K. markets.

When you show the German audience that you understand them by investing in content that’s specifically relevant to them, that’s a significant trust builder that brings them much closer to purchase.

Track your progress.

Track your SEO strategy’s performance in the German-speaking markets using a tool like Semrush (shown in the image below).

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Use the data to find your top content opportunities in this market and continuously update and improve your content plan.

Example of Semrush’s keyword position tracking tool for German keywordsScreenshot from Semrush, June 2022

Efficiently Expand Into The German Market With SEO Using A Proven Process

Expanding your business into new markets can be a daunting task, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding one.

When you break through to new frontiers, you open up a world of opportunities for your business.

So, don’t be afraid to venture into German-speaking markets – with the right SEO strategy in place, you can see amazing success.

More resources:


Featured Image: Stanislaw Mikulski/Shutterstock

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