Panda, Penguins, and Hummingbirds oh my. If this menagerie means anything to you, then you probably have at least one foot in the world of search marketing. These pet names that Google assigns to algorithm updates equate to proclamations that the rules of engagement for search have been edited. These changes always represent challenges and opportunities, and one Google’s latest moves may be an indirect opportunity for nonprofits to grow their support.
Based on the data that is coming out of analytics, Hummingbird, has finally directed Google’s attention to the quality of inbound links. In fact, their scrutiny has been so harsh many experts are saying this marks the end not only of link building but SEO entirely. But while inbound links have taken a beating, they are still an important part of the search marketing picture. Their role and value have changed, and this opens up a window of opportunity for non-profits to benefit.
Site owners for non-profits will typically offer an outbound link to donors and supporters. These were often considered as insignificant because these sites are often technically lacking and don’t have huge traffic numbers. What they typically do have is very seasoned domains that carry authority. While they are far from the top tier of inbound links, they do fill a nice spot in the hierarchy, and search marketers are taking notice.
So where is the opportunity for non-profits?
If you manage a non-profit’s website, make it easy for the people who want these links to get them. Offer to include a link structured like these sponsors would like it, with specific anchor text, and make it an easy transaction for them to support your organization. I know, I know, this sounds like you a purchased link, but it’s not. It’s more like a gold star for helping the greater good. Business is supporting a non-profit, and that organization is acknowledging them for doing so. It’s all good, and so far Google seems to agree. I have seen great inbound links from non-profits, and there are many organizations out there that would like to participate.
If you operate a non-profit, make sure your link policy is clear and establish a tiered sponsorship system. Tier one might get you a link on a page full of donors, but tier two might get you your own page with a description of your business that includes a structured link and serves as a sales pitch for visitors to the non-profit site. (An example would be one of our sponsorship pages with Loudoun Lyme here)
From volunteer fire departments to food banks, there are countless opportunities for businesses and non-profits to partner. The charitable organization gets some much needed financial help, and local businesses get to bolster their brand by associating themselves with worthy causes and get a little link love along the way. It’s a classic win-win, and all it takes is a little creativity.