Choosing the right keywords for your organization can be a bit of a task, however, there are some basic questions to ask to start on the right foot.
Matching Keywords to Your Audience and Organization
When researching keywords for your organization to rank within search engines, you should be thinking of two main things and where they overlap are the perfect keywords:
Your goals and the types of keywords that are relevant to your mission
For example: an animal shelter with the goal of in-kind donations might use keywords like "donate pet supplies" or "puppy food drive"
Your audience and what keywords your audience already uses
For example: the animal shelters audience is pet lovers who may have existing pets with extra supplies to get rid of, so they might use the keywords "donate pet supplies" over "puppy food drive" meaning donate pet supplies would be a superior keyword
For your goals, think both in terms of revenue and what programs or services you provide, and brand awareness, i.e. getting more people in your prospective audience interested and knowledgeable about your organization. There are also great opportunities in using keywords that are relevant to your space or field itself for those who are unaware of your organization, as well as more specific keywords relating to your program or service.
Determining who your audience is and what keywords they’re already using will help you understand how people are coming to your site, and for what specific reasons. These keywords may include the field in which you operate, your main resources or programs, events you host, or other avenues that you use to reach your intended audience.
Without knowing and understanding all of these, you won’t be able to pick the proper keywords that are relevant to your goals, nor will you be able to capitalize on your audience or the keywords that they’re already using.
But how do you know the types of keywords to pick? And how do you properly utilize them to your advantage?
That’s where keyword categorization comes in. Keywords can be categorized into a few different types; head, medium-tail, and long-tail terms. Their search volume and overall difficulty to rank dictate where a keyword falls within these categories.
Search volume is the amount of times that specific keyword or term is searched within a certain time frame, generally a month. It may seem obvious to stick to keywords with high search volume, however, these are also the ones with the most competition.
Head keywords are where the most search volume is, but that comes with the downside of having only a limited number of keywords to utilize. These are also the most generic keywords, such as ‘charity’ or ‘food bank.’ The keywords with lower search volume, also known as medium-tail keywords, are also more specific, like ‘breast cancer charity’ and ‘food banks in phoenix,’ and there are more of these keywords because of their specificity.
Lastly, there are long-tail keywords, which are the most specific but also have the least amount of monthly searches. Examples of these include ‘breast cancer research charity’ or ‘jewish food bank in phoenix.’ Using a good mix of the three will allow you to reach the maximum number of people that are searching for information about your program, service, or field.
In terms of their difficulty to rank, head tails will be the most highly sought after, with medium-tail and long-tail keywords following. But there’s more to consider than the search volume when determining how difficult it may be to rank for a keyword. There are also generic and branded keywords, branded keywords being those that include your organization’s name, like ‘[org name] volunteer’. Generic keywords however, are the opposite, like ‘local animal shelter volunteer’ and ‘volunteer at nonprofit.’ Be sure to include common variations of both branded and generic keywords. For example, when using ‘nonprofit,’ you might also include keyword variations with ‘not-for-profit,’ ‘charity,’ and ‘NGO.’
It should be noted however, that other brands are allowed, and may already be, using your branded keywords in their SEO and/or Ads strategy.
Actually Picking Words
When you begin to actually pick the keywords for your organization, you’ll want to consider two primary criteria. Are the keywords:
Relevant? Both to your goals and audience?
And a good mix of head/medium/long-tail keywords?
This will make sure that you’re not only targeting keywords that will contribute to your goals, but your audience as well. This will help ensure that you’re getting the most out of your strategies in terms of conversions and reaching as many potential people as possible. While finding good keywords can be overwhelming, Cornershop can help. It’s important to not only pick good keywords, but optimize your site to take advantage of them and monitor progress. We offer one-off projects to help optimize your site for SEO, as well as longer term retainer engagement to help you research, implement and monitor your SEO to expand your reach online.