Digital Outreach

A nonprofit brand strategy that’s often forgotten: Branded SEO campaigns.


A buzzword like SEO is thrown around a lot when it comes to digital strategy. As a nonprofit communicator, you know you need to understand it, but you don’t often have time to dive deeper. You attempt to stuff some keywords into your website content but that’s about it.

Knowing your time constraints, I want to make sure you don’t neglect the second part of SEO – branded search – as it can help you more effectively than just keyword stuffing would.

How SEO and your nonprofit brand can work together

You may not want yet another priority on your list, but listen up: what’s wonderful about branded search or brand SEO, is it does two things at once. You get people to your website AND you build your brand recognition. Boom done.

You need to first understand how these two goals work on their own to understand how they can aid one another.

1. Branding

For one, you need to ensure people know your name. You want your nonprofit brand to be well-known and remembered so people come to you first when searching for help or opportunity to help. If you need to better understand building your brand, read this.

2. SEO

Secondly, you need to show up when people search “volunteer opportunities” or “best nonprofit for helping ____ (insert your cause here).” The route for this = SEO strategy. If you need to better understand SEO read this.

How branding and SEO work together

Besides just building up common keywords, SEO can build up your brand recognition. When people search your nonprofits name, if you don’t show up as the first result, you may want to listen up.

Brand + SEO = Brand SEO

Branded keywords are simply your nonprofit’s name. For the nonprofit, Feed My Starving Children, one branded keyword phrase is “Feed my starving children” and another is the acronym “FMSC.”

How to start a branded SEO campaign

  • Write more blog content specifically about your nonprofit, including the name in the title, URL, headers, content, etc.
  • Be sure at least some of your photos contain alt text and descriptions with your name
  • If you have time, guest blog on nonprofit blog sites (ehem, like this one!). When Google sees your name in other places, it sees you as more important and helps your own site show up sooner in rankings.

If you need to convince your Board or team members this is worth your time, here are some additional benefits of brand SEO.

  • “Branded traffic is better traffic” as co-founder of ArcStone Lisa puts it. When people are seeking you out specifically with their search query, they aren’t there by accident, just hurting your bounce rates. When they’re coming to your site via a search of your name, they will interact with it and perhaps even convert into a donor or volunteer. This fulfills your goals of conversions and even positively impacts how Google ranks your site. (Remember: low bounce rates, high conversions, high interactions = strong SEO).
  • Brand campaigns help build overall awareness. Think about it: each time your brand shows up on the first name of Google, people are seeing it even when they didn’t seek it out specifically.
  • If you have control over your brand SEO, you can reduce the potential for a negative reputation down the road. Hopefully you never run into a scandal or negative review, but if you do, it’s helpful to have your brand showing up for other reasons besides that one bad article.

If you’d like some help building out this strategy, reach out to ArcStone .