Search marketing for charities: 3 things you should know

We share our top tips for charities to get started with search marketing and drive more valuable views and clicks to their website.

Chrissy Chiu | 4th Sep 19
Image of a person searching through binoculars, representing search marketing

Behind the scenes, getting visitors onto your website is much more than just leaving it to chance. Designing a well-targeted search strategy to get organic clicks starts with careful planning.

While many charities have sought to use digital tools as a way to ask for donations, a recent Salesforce report has shown that charities may not be making the most of paid search marketing. With only 40% of respondents using paid search marketing, there is room for further uptake.

Search marketing can include both paid and unpaid search tools for digital campaigns, and includes the widely used terms Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Creating a digital strategy around what appears on search engine sites is important to gaining online presence and clicks for charity campaigns.

> See also: Charities are losing out from competition in paid search

Here are some top tips and tricks to a successful search marketing strategy:


Mastering words

Charity Digital News reports that successful sites with considered SEO strategies can increase donations, raise awareness and promote trust.

Keywords can be fine-tuned and linked in a phrase once the page is up and running. Website designers should also embed SEO words into images, to optimise not only text but pictures. Creating compelling adverts linked to key search terms can organically raise the campaign’s profile by notching up rankings in results.

Consideration of how your audience thinks is important to tailoring search marketing content and SEO language, for example:

  • What are the campaign’s precise goals?
  • What most accurately describes the website’s content?
  • What words an audience might use to find the campaign?

This blog from marketing experts HubSpot is a good guide to researching the right keywords.


Building your content strategy

Content is an important part of a charity’s paid search strategy – building materials around SEO, keywords, and links are important features in organically growing site visits in addition to pay-per-click advertising.

Backlinks, or links to other pages, can dramatically improve traffic – having other sites ‘refer’ to the page you want to drive clicks to increases search result ranking.

Once a visitor has clicked on the charity’s homepage, having a well designed call-to-action is important for converting a visitor to a donor – some tips on effective calls-to-action here.

Keeping online content new, relevant and engaging and targeted to keywords by consistently updating material keeps pages near the top of search engine results. Regularly updated content with SEO words will organically keep sites at the top of search engines – aiming to be on the first page of search results can result in a huge increase in traffic to your page.


Google as a digital marketing tool

Google should be a core component of any charity’s digital search strategy.

GoogleAds (Google AdWords) is the search engine’s advertising platform. Essentially, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising allows charities to ‘buy visits’ to the landing page, by showing adverts or campaigns on the search engine’s page. The key to GoogleAds is the bidding process – Google’s advert space is run off from auctions of keywords and relevance of the advert based on searches. Google offers charity grants for its AdWords platform

Google’s Keyword Planner is also a highly useful tool.

As reported by Charity Digital News, Google Analytics can also help charities gauge how successful their campaigns are, how visitors are reaching the site and the search terms they are using.