When someone is searching for phrases like “cure cancer,” “help the homeless,” or “rescue animals,” will they find your website if it is related to these phrases? Or will your site be listed on page five, six or twenty-six of the search results? If you want your organization to be listed at the top of page one, then you’ll need to know the basics of search engine optimization or SEO.

When your website is optimized for search engine success, it means that Google can easily find keywords related to the terms a person might be searching for on your site. Although SEO can be complex, time consuming, and confusing at times, here we’ll spell out the basics so you can get found by more leads.


If you’re not sure whether it matters if your organization is listed at or near the top of the relevant search results, consider this: Most individuals do not search past the first couple of pages and in fact, 77% of searchers only select results that are listed on page one. Most people will change their search term rather than search beyond page two of the results!

What does this mean for non-profit organizations? It means that if your nonprofit is not listed at the top of Google, there is a good chance that your organization will never be found by people searching for relevant phrases. So, how can you improve your nonprofit’s search engine ranking?

If your #nonprofit isn't listed at the top of Google, it may never be found by people searching for relevant phrases. Click To Tweet

First, you’ll need to determine a list of words and phrases that you would like your organization to be listed at the top of search results for. Get inside the head of a person who’s searching for your organization when you develop your list. Chances are, they won’t search for your organization by name because they may not know you exist, so imagine the most general terms a person searching might use to find an organization like yours. What are they thinking about and what might they be looking for? Once you have your list of keywords and phrases, there are two ways to get your site listed on the first page of the search results: organic and paid placement.

Organic placement is when your website is listed in the search results that appear just under the paid ads. The websites listed at the top of the organic search results have optimized their keywords, website content, and the metadata on their site. Most of them also have content-rich blogs and other posts that relate to the keywords and phrases where they would like to be listed near the top of the results. They also post on social media sites regularly and have a inbound links from other relevant sites. First page organic search placement is complex and time consuming to achieve. It can be achieved if you take the time to methodically tend to your website. If your nonprofit doesn’t have the time and budget to dedicate to this kind of optimization, paid placement could be another option.


When your organization pays for placement, your website will be shown as an ad above or next to the organic search results. “Paid placement” usually means that your organization is paying for clicks to your website in the form of pay-per-click ads, but some advertisers choose to pay by impressions, or the number of times their ad is displayed when someone searches.

While most businesses need hefty budgets to afford pay-per-click advertising, nonprofits have a unique advantage. Google offers eligible nonprofits access to an Adwords grant valued at up to $120,000 per year to help pay for their pay-per-click campaigns. This means that nonprofits can receive $329 per day worth of clicks or visits to their website that they don’t have to pay for!

#Nonprofits can receive $329 per day worth of clicks to their website that they don’t have to pay for! @Updentity Click To Tweet

Google Ad Grants are available to most qualified non-profits, however the application process can be confusing and running an AdWords campaign can be time-consuming for nonprofits that don’t have an in-house AdWords specialist on staff. That’s why the digital marketing firm Updentity specializes in nonprofit online advertising and Google Ad Grants. Updentity can help nonprofits apply for and acquire the grant, develop an online advertising strategy, write ads, design landing pages and monitor ads for effectiveness.

For more information on how your nonprofit can achieve better placement in Google’s search results, contact Updentity for a free, no obligation consultation at 888-297-4694.