Digital Outreach

How to find an SEO agency for your nonprofit


We’ve had several nonprofit clients reach out, asking why we didn’t warn them about an SEO issue with their site. We then explain to them, the reality is their site doesn’t have an issue, and instead an agency is merely trying to scare them into purchasing their SEO service.

Our VP of marketing Lisa told me about this scenario, and has pulled together some ideas to help your nonprofit avoid falling for this scare tactic. In the end, hopefully you find a quality SEO agency for your nonprofit.

Some of these emails are more threatening than others. The one below is pretty gentle in comparison to others but it usually goes something like this:


You can pretty much bet on the fact that this agency hasn’t actually looked at your site. They merely used a template email and plopped in your nonprofit’s name. Don’t fall for it.

First you might ask, “why do agencies use this SEO email?”

The major problem is that this email works. SEO is confusing and can take a lot of time to fix, so when people are offered an “easy solution” or “quick fix” they often latch onto it.

This stems from the evolution of SEO. At first, people used “black-hat” techniques to hack Google’s algorithms. They even sometimes worked. But Google, as per usual, has out-smarted those and now penalizes people for those. As a result, there really isn’t a quick fix.

Why these low-quality agencies don’t help

SEO is many things, but it’s definitely not something you can hack. It takes time, content and a true understanding of your audience. If a company is sending you a template email to save time, it’s unlikely they will give your website the individual time and attention it needs to develop quality SEO.

If you really need help with SEO, here’s how to find a quality SEO agency:

  1. Check to see how they map out deliverables: If an SEO agency promises #1 organic rankings overnight, they’re not being honest or realistic with you. Look for an SEO agency that sets realistic, measurable goals.
  2. They should follow modern strategies and best practices: Make sure that the agency you choose, stays current. They should be aware of algorithm updates and changes in the industry and they shouldn’t use any black-hat SEO tactics that may end up damaging your nonprofit brand or reputation.
  3. They shouldn’t be solely trumpeting where they fall on a list: Be cautious of choosing an SEO agency because they were voted “Top SEO Expert” by an organization that you’ve never heard of. These are often paid listings and require no real skills or experience.
  4. Look for a Google Partner Certification: If they are certified, they’ll have a Google Partner badge on their site. This ensures that the agency is staying in touch with digital marketing tools and has an understanding of Google Analytics.
  5. Their style should emphasize trust, transparency and communication Style: A reputable SEO agency will answer your questions and be straightforward. They won’t play games or try to trick you into an SEO program. They will always try to meet or exceed your expectations. Make sure the SEO agency you choose understands your organization and takes time to listen.

The next time you get one of these emails, don’t panic. If you are really concerned about your SEO, this email can serve as a good reminder to research SEO agencies and find a good fit for you. Your nonprofit deserves the best, so hopefully now, you seek it out!