October 21, 2011

Why Long Tail keywords matter to your nonprofit

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, brands, bloggers, social media managers, individuals.

JD LasicaOn Wednesday I gave a presentation with author and nonprofit rock star Beth Kanter at CompassPoint‘s “Effective Social Media Strategy and Powerful Tactics for Networked Nonprofits,” a gathering that brought representatives from 80 nonprofits to San Mateo, Calif., for workshops to help them become more social organizations.

The session that Beth and I gave centered on topic that’s too often neglected in the nonprofit sector: measurement. See the SlideShare presentation above for the gist of my talk.

While most of you have heard of Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and even a host of Twitter dashboards and Twitter influence tools, I’ll wager that few of you have heard of SEMRush, a service that spotlights the keywords your nonprofit site or blog ranks for on major search engines (OK, on Google).

Socialbrite ranks No. 1 on a range of nonprofit topics

See not only the 22-slide presentation, but also tutorials and articles that help organizations learn how to use metrics effectively.

I was surprised, in researching my presentation, that Socialbrite.org ranks as the No. 1 search result on the entire Web for anyone searching on these terms:

• Socialbrite is the #1 search result on the Web for “fundraising tools.”
• Socialbrite is the #1 search result on the Web for “sms campaign” and “sms campaigns
• Socialbrite is the #1 search result on the Web for “social media monitoring tools
• Socialbrite is the #1 search result on the Web for “social media dashboard” (though my results show us slightly lower)
• Socialbrite is the #1 search result on the Web for “corporate social responsibility examples
• Socialbrite is the #2 search result on the Web for “virtual meeting

How do we do it? By creating content that’s relevant and useful to the social change community — naturally and organically, without gimmicks. (Do your search results differ? Sometimes they do.)

As I mentioned in the talk, these kind of niche, Long Tail keywords may not get tens of thousands of people searching on them every month, but those who do search out these keyword phrases are the people you want to attract to your site. Start by using the Google keyword tool to identify key phrases that are relevant to your sector, cause or organization’s mission. Then start using them by naturally sprinkling them — only where relevant — in your titles, posts and tags — and soon you’ll see them appear at the top tier of Google search results.

That’s what you want. Nobody clicks to the second screen of a Google search result.

Then, come back and SEMRush will tell you which of those keywords and phrases your site now ranks for.

Go ahead, do a search on SEMRush by plunking in your site’s url. What does your nonprofit, social business or organization rank for right now?

May 31, 2011

How to make your tweets last longer with Twylah

twylah1 How to get more juice from your tweets with Twylah

John HaydonIf you use Twitter for your nonprofit, you’ve probably been able to meet amazing people, form unexpected alliances and find relevant conversations that you wouldn’t have found anywhere else.

But there is one big problem with Twitter.

Tweets lose juice. Fast.

tweet short life cycle How to get more juice from your tweets with Twylah

The graph above is a perfect example of a typical tweet’s lifespan. Born at noon, in the grave by 4 pm the same day.

Twylah gives tweets longer tails

Eric Kim is founder of Twylah, a tool that transforms your tweets into a custom fan page (see mine here).

With Twylah, your tweets are organized by the topics you tweet about the most and showcased on a single page where people can easily scan for content they find interesting. Continue reading

March 7, 2011

How to improve your nonprofit’s ranking on Google

social media forest
Image by Greenpeace Finland (CC BY on Flickr)


Help your supporters find their way to your organization’s key pages in the Web forest

Guest post by Matt Metten

The day or week after a website launch, someone will inevitably notice that they can’t find the site on Google, Yahoo! or Bing. This might seem funny or inevitable, given that there are thousands of websites launched each day, but it also shows a underestimation of what is required to be found online.

However, this isn’t as funny when your organization’s site has been online for a while and is still not being found. You know your website was indexed by the search engines, but it is listed on page 10 in Google – and no one will ever see it! What do you do?

There is a multibillion-dollar industry around the science of search engine optimization, so it’s not surprising that lots of Web managers are confused. What the search engines are looking for changes constantly, so unless you are committed to staying up with it all, getting ranked is going to take some help.

There is hope!

10 things to start improving your rankings right now

  1. Get an analytics tool. Ensure you have some sort of analytics tool installed on every page so you can see how people are getting to your site, what they’re looking at and spending the most and least time with, where they leave your site from the most, what keywords they are typing in to find you, what sites are referring them to you and a whole host of other data. I recommend Google Analytics — it’s free and quite comprehensive.
  3. Ensure your pages load quickly. If there is something that takes forever to load on your page (a Flash movie or some JavaScript function, for instance), your rankings will drop. Try out your site on multiple browsers, on multiple operating systems, in as many different ways as possible and keep tweaking your pages until they are running quickly and efficiently. Another great free tool is Google’s Webmaster tool. Load that up and let it help diagnose any problem areas! Continue reading
March 5, 2010

A WordPress plug-in to simplify SEO

power outlet isolated

John HaydonIf you’re using a blog to promote your nonprofit or small business, a large part of your strategy is about getting found on Google – otherwise known as search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is the practice of improving the traffic to a website from your website’s organic results on Google. If you don’t understand the value of SEO for your nonprofit, ask yourself the following question: “How would sending people to our website precisely when they’re interested in our cause impact our online fundraising?”

Simply stated, SEO is about getting more high-quality leads with your blog.

What is WordPress SEO?

Most nonprofits know very little about WordPress SEO. What are title tags? What is a meta description? And how important is the prevalence of keywords?

On top of this, blogging is only 1 percent of your job. You also manage your Facebook Page, organize events, write the email newsletter and explain what Twitter is to board members.

CopyBlogger SEO

Last month, Brian Clark (@CopyBlogger) announced the Scribe WordPress SEO plug-in (yes, that is an affiliate link). I purchased the plug-in as soon as it was announced for four reasons:

  1. I write 12-20 blog posts a month.
  2. About 30 percent of my clients find me through search. Getting higher rankings on Google means more business.
  3. My time is extremely valuable. Amen, if SEO can be streamlined.
  4. Brian Clark is a leading authority on SEO copywriting and publishes CopyBlogger. In short, smart cookie.

The Scribe SEO WordPress plug-in is not free, so I don’t recommend it if you’re only writing two to three posts a month or have SEO expertise. I also wouldn’t recommend it if your primary goals for blogging do not include ranking higher in Google searches.

If you are interested in Scribe, I’ve included a few screenshots of how I used it for this blog post.

WordPress SEO score

Scribe gives you a ist of recommendations to improve the findability of your content on major search engines. You can also reanalyze the effects your edits have on the content analysis SEO score.


Google SERP preview

Scribe allows you to see how your title tags and meta description will appear on Google:


Scribe also gives you instant feedback about what SEO elements need to be completed in your blog post.


If you want to learn more, visit ScribeSEO.Com.

January 12, 2010

How to optimize your most visited blog pages

Group of business people on a chart

Welcome to the 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media. Today guest contributor Michael Martine will offer tips on how to optimize your most visited blog pages.

Guest post by Michael Martine

Are you leaving money and opportunity on the table? You might be if you haven’t optimized your blog’s most visited pages. You should know what the most popular pages are on your blog and look for opportunities to optimize them for better reader engagement and conversion.

This is what web analytics is really for — not just visitor counts. What is working on your site? What isn’t? Analytics will tell you by revealing patterns of visitor behavior so you can make better content and conversion decisions. One thing nearly any analytics program, such as the free Google Analytics, will tell you is what your blog’s most visited pages are.

Take a look at your blog’s “top 10.” Are you surprised by which pages are the most popular? I hope not, because that means you’re having trouble matching your blog’s content to your goals (expect a couple of surprises in there, though). For example, my analytics told me that one of the most popular pages on my blog is the post How to Add a Blog to a Website.

Because of this post, that exact phrase and its derivatives are common searches that land people on that exact page. This was deliberate: it’s what search engine optimization (SEO) is for and why you should learn about it. Without the content there, no searches about this topic would ever reach me. Continue reading

June 30, 2009

SEO: 9 tips for optimizing a nonprofit site

Search Engine Optimization isn’t black magic, so get your site to shape up

Guest post by Dennis Yu
CEO, BlitzLocal

Dennis Yu, SEO expert

Dennis Yu, SEO expert

Most people treat Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as black magic. While there are unethical methods to inflate your search engine rankings — cloaking, doorways pages, link farms, “google bombing,” dupe content poisoning, keyword stuffing, and so forth — these tactics are short-lived and can even get you banned. Folks who employ these tricks (also known as “black hat SEOs”) are in a cat-and-mouse war with search engines, as loopholes are being exploited, found and closed.

Most experts will tell you not to play this risky game — your long-term strategy is to write lots of good content. If it’s good for humans, it’s good for robots. And much of what SEOs charge for is good old-fashioned webmastering.

So ask yourself these questions:

1Is your code clean? Run it through validator.w3.org and see. Search engines are finicky and fragile. Cut and paste whole content blocks and paste them into the search box to see if they’re being indexed.

2Does your site load fast? Check average load times with free external monitoring services, like host-tracker.com and spyfu.com. Could your images be reduced in size? Optimize your code to run faster and cache where possible. You want pages to load in under one second for an average connection.

3Are you using dynamic pages? Do your urls have question marks or equal signs in them ( www.mysite.org/?sessionid=123&contentid=3456 , etc…)? You can typically have one or two variables in the url, but it’s best to have static pages where you can. Descriptive urls are better for the user and can result in portions of your url being bolded (a good thing) when they match terms in the user’s search. CRM (Constituent Relationship Management) and CMS (Content Management System) vendors such as GetActive/Convio and Joomla have issues with dynamic urls but are working to make their packages SEO-friendly.

4Do you have a Flash landing page? Or perhaps Flash navigation? Search engines cannot see beyond flash, as they look only at text. Do it in CSS. Use the Lynx browser or do a “view source” to get an idea of what search engines see. Don’t put up brick walls to search engines.

5Do you have multiple versions of your homepage? For example, http://www.mysite.org and http://mysite.org), which is also known as the “canonical” issue. To prevent diluting your rank, choose one version and permanently redirect all others to that one. See Matt Cutts’ advice.

Continue reading