Where do I start with Search Engine Marketing?

Many folks who have attended my training and leave wondering where they should start when it comes to optimizing their site and marketing it to search engines. I understanding that everyone is busy in the non-profit world, and have created a cheat sheet of what one should do first if they have “no time”, and what task to tackle if you have more time to devote, etc.

Keep in mind all of the items on this list are really Search Engine Optimization and Marketing 101 – the absolute basics. But they give you a sense of where to focus until you’re ready for the 201 level. So here we go:

If you have no time for SEO/SEM:

  1. Collect your benchmark numbers:
    1. So starting today:
      1. how many volunteers do you have in your database
      2. how many organizations, how many referrals are you seeing per month
      3. how many referrals are you getting from search engines and other referral sites
      4. what is your number of one time visitors and returning visitors
  2. Pick some keywords. Make sure to pick a few geographic words. Put those keywords on your site.
  3. Register your site on search engines and in local search
  4. Work on getting inbound links. Start with .edu and .gov
  5. Make sure to send press releases through pr.com, and post on Reddit.com
  6. Measure your success in 6 months.

If you have some more time for SEO:

All of the above, plus:

  1. pick keywords and research if visitors are using those words by using Wordtracker
  2. Get more links
  3. Create a Flickr account, give instructions to volunteers about how to add photos to Flickr account
  4. Post on Craigslist

If you have even more time for SEO:

All of the above, plus:

  1. Create a blog for your Volunteer Center
  2. Write articles for online and email newsletters
  3. Create a sitemap file and upload to search engines
  4. Get a Google grant & post an online ad

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