There have been major search engine updates that spell the end of SEO the way we've known and practiced it for years. Sites that used to rank high for their preferred keywords have disappeared to the 10th page. So are there any practical recommendations for anyone who's interested in effective SEO for nonprofits? Yes, there are.
Is The Sky Really Falling?
The sky isn't really falling. However, some major changes have occurred and you can't pretend things are the way they used to be. You have to adapt or become extinct. But is SEO something to be pursued still? Yes, for as long as search engines deliver major targeted traffic, it is to be pursued.
So What Are The Things Working Now?
A lot of things are still in a flux. However, patterns have emerged that give an indication of where Google is heading to. The recommendations given here are based on personal studies plus the insights of SEO stalwarts like Terry Kyle of Traffic Planet, Dan of Linkvana Reviews and Jonathan Leger among others...
i. Vary Your Anchor Text
There used to be a time when you were taught to focus on your anchor text. Now, the contrary is the advice. In fact, some go as far as telling you to have a maximum of 20% of your target keyword in your anchor texts. Blend in the naked url (sitename.com/exactpage.html), brand name, site name and title of target page. Now "rubbish" anchors like "click here", "visit this link" and other phrases like those are now very important.
The idea is to simulate a natural anchor text profile.
ii. Build A Natural And Diverse Link Profile
A natural link profile can't have a 1000 Do follow links and 10 No follow links. It's simply NOT natural. Google has targeted sites that have profiles that look artificial. Therefore, make sure you blend in a very high percentage of no follow links.
If you have depended on just one link type, you are treading a dangerous ground. Mix everything up. You need links from all sorts of sources: Wikis, article sites, comments, html sites, Wordpress blogs, video sites, genuine forum posts and so on. The more diversified your link profile is, the better your chances of ranking high and surviving further iterations of Penguin.
iii. Focus On Quality Rather Than Quantity
Sites with high quality links are generally going to win the day. But what do we call quality links in light of the recent updates? High pr links from highly relevant sites (NOT just pages) will do you a world of good. Links from authority sites are getting sites ranked high at the moment.
If you have been using private blog networks, you have to think differently now. You must ensure that all blogs on your network are relevant (are on topic) and do NOT have too many outbound links from the homepage. If it won't pass a human review as a genuine site then you shouldn't get a link from it.
iv. Build A Strong Social Presence
Social signals are now very important ranking factors. In fact, there are valid claims of pages that have been ranked entirely on the strength of their social presence. So make sure your nonprofit organization has a very strong Facebook and Twitter followership.
Since you already have people who believe in your cause, making this happen shouldn't be a problem. It is easy for you to get quality links from webmasters who believe in your cause. It is easy to have like-minded people contribute by leaving comments on high quality relevant blogs (with links pointing back to your site). They can also help your site by leaving links via useful postings on high quality forums.
Please, make sure NO one attempts to spam as this will be counterproductive both for your cause and for your search engine ranking.
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