The Emergence of Audience Optimization: A New Nonprofit SEO Strategy
Over the last month, we have examined the impact of Google’s recent Hummingbird update for its organic search algorithms and its implications for audience-oriented practices and nonprofit SEO strategy. We have discussed techniques to improve user experience as well as strategies to continue and strategies to discontinue in light of the recent changes to Google’s algorithms. In this final post, we will explore the Audience Optimization methods your nonprofit should begin to use in order to improve your site’s organic rank.
You’ve heard it from Media Cause time and time again, now is the time to get into the social media game (if you haven’t already). The benefits are exponential, and you may find yourself far behind your competitors if you haven’t learned to engage your audience. Did you know that social is important to your nonprofit SEO strategy too? Not only does utilizing social platforms provide you with opportunities to link back to your site (which can be included with content rich postings), but a partnership in content strategy will give you additional opportunities to show Google and your audience what you offer. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the clear essentials to a strong social media strategy – BUT when it comes to SEO, don’t forget who owns Google+.
The golden age of mobile is upon us, and mobile standards have spawned brand new industries over the past decade. Google knows this, and has been watching you slowly evolve your search patterns and web behavior (creepy, huh?). The near universality of mobile devices has changed the way we use the internet. For example, most people use their smart phones (and other mobile devices) to access Google as frequently as they do on a desktop computer. Also consider the millennial generation who find computing to be more efficient on tablets and phones, and prefer the cloud over hard drives. These are all elements that Google has prepared for, and continues to prepare for. That is why it is imperative to make sure your web site is mobile compatible. Formatting your site to be just as useful on a mobile device as it would be on a laptop should be of the utmost priority. If you haven’t taken care of this already, I invite you to check your mobile device bounce rate in Analytics.
You are likely already signed up for Google Webmaster Tools but have neglected to utilize this useful service which provides data, tools, and diagnostics to improve your organic ranking. Google Webmaster Tools makes a terrific supplement to Google Analytics, and it also brings red flags (inactive URLs, broken links, etc.) to your attention. Site maps are another important optimization tool, and Google Webmaster Tools offers this feature. Get signed up today (Bing Webmaster Tools is a useful resource as well).
Other Search Engines
While Google may hold the largest market share, it is certainly not the only search engine to consider. Bing and Yahoo! attract a decent audience, making a Binghoo friendly site important as well. There are some additional steps that can be taken to stay friendly to these algorithms. For instance, Yahoo! believes wisdom lies with age. The longer your domain/site has been established on the web, the greater your organic rank (so long as you keep true to traditional SEO concepts). Bing, unlike Google, has no problem with your flash based site pages so long as your meta tags are intact (told you). Additionally, both Bing and Yahoo! appreciate inbound links. I mentioned above that you ought to discontinue link exchanges, but not abandon linking strategies altogether — this is a very good reason why.
Do you know what the top search engine in Japan is? (Yahoo!) How about China? (Baidu) Did you also know that the biggest online business/industrial directory in the world is called Alibaba (also based out of China)? The world is getting smaller, and the internet is the means by which this is happening. Don’t limit your efforts to just the most immediate and obvious marketing choices — keep your eye on the (global) horizon and make sure your audience does too.
If you are not utilizing the above strategies for your site, now is the time!
2014 has brought enormous change to the field of nonprofit SEO strategy, with the focus shifting to quality content in order to make Google an audience oriented search engine. With this change to an audience oriented user experience, it would seem that the practice of SEO would be more aptly named Audience Optimization. Over the past month we have discussed several Audience Optimization tactics including enhancing user experience, previous SEO strategies that are now obsolete and thus discontinued, SEO techniques that remain relevant, and finally SEO approaches that you should consider implementing immediately. It is important that your SEO strategy evolves with the changing Google algorithms by focusing on the way your target audience uses the search engine, rather than focusing your optimization efforts on the search engine itself. Allow Media Cause to assist you in these efforts with our expert team, and March your way to a higher organic ranking.