In the modern media age, online reach is a challenge for NGOs too, so it's worth using every available practice to ensure that the issues, information and messages that matter to us reach as many people as possible. There are also technical tricks that you should know about, because with a little awareness you can achieve greater effectiveness. Have you ever wondered, for example, why the results you see in your browser are the ones that come up first? It's not a coincidence, you can do something to ensure that people interested in your topic find your organisation, your content, your website.

Let's see how!

SEO or the basics of search engine optimisation

Search Engine Optimization is the English equivalent of the acronym. What we need to do based on the browser algorithm to ensure that the pages and content we want to be found in the searches are found as often as possible, we will give you some technical tips and considerations below.

In Hungary, the Google search engine is used predominantly, so it is important that its search engine is well served with our settings, because these determine how many people will see our site.

A website can get visitors from search engines from two directions:

· Organic visits:

the case that doesn't cost us any money, but they find our site. This can happen if our site is strong for certain relevant keywords, so that when we type that word or phrase into Google search, our site will be one of the first to appear, and we are much more likely to attract visitors.

· Paid advertising:

the first four results in Google search will always be paid ads, followed by organic results (and then some of the sponsored ones again, and then organic results again below those).

Tip: Google offers free advertising to NGOs through AdGrants. This is similar to Google Ads for paid advertising, with some simplification. Opinions differ on how effective it can be, but as a free option it is worth trying and experimenting with.

It should be noted that the order of both sponsored and organic ads varies, i.e. the number of people who search for 1 keyword in the search engine, the number of results that come up in the list.

Step zero: get in touch with your site's current traffic data!

There are tools that you can build into your website that will give you continuous data on the volume of traffic, which content is most popular or how it is distributed over a period of time. You can query the data whenever you want, so if you're new to analytics or don't have the time or capacity, at least for changes and content that are of high priority to your organisation, see what the analytics can tell you to help you plan ahead.

Tip: Google Analytics, if you haven't used it, you've probably heard of it. It can extract very detailed data about your website traffic - from how many visitors you have, to what they're doing on your website and whether they prefer to view it in desktop or mobile view. Once integrated into the website, it will analyse data continuously from then on, and you can also ask your web developer for help with linking. You can save the reports to your own computer in a spreadsheet format so that you can split and analyse them later.

Another tip is a keyword analyser: Search Console is the most important tool when it comes to analysing your organic results. It's a free tool from Google that you can plug into your website very quickly. After logging into your Google Ads account, you can click on Performance in the left-hand menu bar for your own website to see which keyword has brought the most organic visits to your site. In addition to the number of clicks, you can also see how many impressions it has generated in the results list - i.e. how many impressions have resulted in how many clicks, and where we rank in the search engine for that keyword.

Also hear you cancClick on the Sites menu next to Queries to see information about each of our sub-sites. For example, by logging into the Search Console with a nonprofit.com account, you can see that jobs have been the most visited in the last 3 months and out of forty-five thousand impressions, almost seven and a half thousand people have clicked on opportunities with curiosity.

How do I get ahead in organic (and paid) results?

· Have a map view!

If you notice, in addition to sponsored and organic results, map results are interspersed in the search results listings, which are displayed more prominently than the others, with services that have provided a detailed description of themselves in their MyBusiness account, which is responsible for the map display. So it's worth doing this too, because it doesn't require much work, but it's a way for us to stand out in the results.

· Build on relevant keywords!

This is the soul of SEO, it's definitely worth looking into and diving a bit into keyword planning.

Tip: the most obvious solution for keyword planning is a Google Ads account, which is free to set up and available to everyone. When you log into your Google Ads account, you'll find Tools in the middle of the top menu bar, and clicking on it will bring up Keyword Planner in the left-hand menu bar. Here you have two options for searching, but typically you should use the Search for new keywords option.

Here too, we have two options:

· Look at the search volume for a given word

The more people search for a particular word, which may be related to our topic, the more we should build on that word, i.e. use it in as much content on our own site as possible. For the keyword that we have searched for, the interface shows us how many searches have been made for that word, how the search volume has evolved over the past month, and how the search volume has evolved over the year as a whole. For example, if you search for the word volunteering, you will typically see that there are more searches for it in browser searches towards the end of the year - presumably related to the Christmas charity work. We can also look at whether the word or phrase was searched for from mobile or desktop.

If you're thinking about paid advertising, you can also see the telling data on the same site about how much it would cost on average to entice a visitor to our website using that keyword.

· We look at the keywords linked to our website

We type in the URL of the website we want to monitor and Google shows us what keywords are relevant to us and what keywords are used to find us. Based on these suggestions, we can decide whether to run paid ads or simply build our website around these keywords, i.e. use these keywords in as many places as possible in our website content.

Tip: search volumes can also be downloaded to your computer using a download icon on the interface in CSV or Google Spreadsheet formats, where you can analyse them further and create various reports. Even ChatGPT can be used to explain the results to us to help us understand them better. You can also see when the keyword has the most searches during the year.

Setting up tips and analysis tools

Technical SEO is typically an area where you can start using the tools recommended below at any time to see how your site is performing from an SEO perspective. The following tools, which are also available for free, are a good way to see where else you could make adjustments that support a strong showing in search. And you can send the analyses you run in a jiffy, typically by sharing a link from the analytics page interface, to a web developer in one fell swoop, so they can interpret and improve your pages as much as possible for better reach.

Let's see what analytical tools and setup tricks you have at your disposal that you can use right now!

· Index your content!

It's very important that the pages on our websites are indexed by Google search engines. This is important because only pages that are indexed by Google can be seen by visitors. It is a fact that sooner or later all pages will be indexed by Google (except for those that are considered low quality!), but it is also worth doing this manually to prevent abuse - because where the content is indexed first, the search engine will consider it as the original source and it will be stronger from an SEO point of view, so there is a better chance that our content will be seen by the visitor.

Tip: The easiest way to see which of our content might be missing indexation is to use the Search Console tool. In practice, all you need is a Google account and your own website. If you already have a Google account, such as Analytics or Gmail, you can simply log in to the Search Console interface with that too.

By entering the link to the page (e.g. a new blog article) into the Console search engine, Console will tell you what the status is. If the URL is found in the system, then the page is indexed, i.e. the search engine has already crawled it, if not, then simply clicking the Request Indexing button at the bottom means that the indexing has already been done. It is therefore always worthwhile to always perform indexing when uploading content. In the left-hand menu bar, under the Indexing section, under Pages, you can see if there are any sub-pages that have not been indexed. You can decide that it is not important to us or that we don't want to index it, but if we want to be the first source for something, it is very important to index it.

· Use URLs that make sense!

It's important to be clear about what a good URL is. Ideally, the user should be able to see what the page is about from the URL. So it's good if it's meaningful and relevant to the content, rather than full of symbols, numbers and code. It also helps Google's bots to identify what the page/subpage is about.

· Don't forget about titles and descriptions!

In the results returned by Google search, the titles with larger font sizes are the so-called meta titles, so they are displayed prominently to users, with smaller font sizes below them to show the meta descriptions.

These descriptions are very informative for those interested. It is important to have a unique description for each title, and the same is true for images (where descriptions are referred to as ALT Text, or alternative text), they should be named, ideally at the time of use. The point is to include keywords that are important to the organisation in these descriptions, because they are all there to help the search engine find the content as easily and quickly as possible.

Tip: SEOQuake is a very useful analytics tool that can be built into Chrome. It can point out errors that need to be watched out for from an SEO point of view: if you are on the webpage you want to analyse, you can press the Diagnose button and it will display the analysis for that page. You may not be able to handle everything, but you can let the web developer know which areas the analysis shows gaps or errors. However, the analysis will also give you specific tips on what the ideal (from a search engine point of view) number of characters for a description would be, which you don't need to involve an expert to do, but just always pay attention to this and create your titles and descriptions accordingly.

Our other tip here is Screaming Frog, which is not a web-based program, you have to download and run the application. Most of the tools you should use in it are included in the free version, so it's worth looking at its analysis. In fact, it's only free up to 500 URLs, above that you'll need the pro version. It can give us a comprehensive picture of our site, where it could be improved from an SEO point of view, but what we recommend it for here is that it is very nice to list where on our website we might be missing a meta description, and it also lists for us what meta descriptions each of our pages have. The other menu items are also worth looking at, feel free to get your web developer to explore them!

· See whether your site is fast enough!

It's very important, people will simply leave if your page loads slowly.

Hint: PageSpeed Insights evaluates page performance based on 4 criteria, which you can check separately for mobile and desktop.

· Help the search engine with site crawling!

An XML sitemap (site map) is a special file that helps search engines better understand and index website content, which can improve your website's ranking in search results. This is because the file contains all the URLs of the website, including those that may be deep within the structure of the website and that search engines would not easily find in a normal crawl.

Tip: You can generate an XML file using Screaming Frog, for example, which you then upload to the root directory of the website and make available to search engines - it is worth asking a web developer for help. The Google Search Console and other search engine tools provide the ability to submit an XML sitemap so that search engines know where to find your site map.

· Share your diagnoses with the web developer!

As mentioned above, not every setup can be done without the help of a specialist, and sometimes the depth of analysis, conclusions and solutions may require extra help. What you can certainly always do is monitor with analytical tools which areas your site may need improvement. Feel free to contact the web developer because he will see that you care about the quality of your website!

Tip: GTmetrix is an analytics tool available from a browser. Simply open it and type in the URL of the website you want to analyse. Here, it simply runs an analysis and then gives you a percentage of how good the page is. It gives a sort of ranking of the pages it analyses and indicates our position. It looks at a very wide range of parameters, but rest assured - the interface has the ability to generate a link to the result of the analysis, which can be easily shared with the web developer.

· Build strong external links to your site!

The stronger the website is from a search engine point of view, the more links, but most importantly from an SEO point of view, the stronger the links pointing to our site from other websites. It is possible that not the strong website would be our target group, but from the point of view of offsite SEO it is important from what kind of strong site you get the so-called back links, i.e. where your site is linked to, so it serves us well from an SEO point of view if, for example, a national news portal links to us. If you can have a common intersection with the target group of the portal, you might try to offer a collaboration based on the analysis, so that you can link to each other's pages in certain content for a stronger presence in the search engine.

Tip: ahrefs.com is a free site where we can check what pages are currently linking to our site and how strong they are, and even find potential collaborators.

These tips and tools above will, we hope, give you the ammunition to try some of them out to attract more visitors to your organisation's website. As for the overall analysis of your website's performance, there will certainly be points where you can easily make changes yourself - for example, you can always replace a description of an image - but there will also be data that you will need a specialist web developer to interpret. The good news is that this is completely natural! But if you're aware of these aspects and analysis tools, you can certainly make your site, and therefore your organisation's reach, stronger.