SEO 101: The Basics of Search Engine Ranking Noah Kibbe July 5, 2023

SEO 101: The Basics of Search Engine Ranking

SEO and You

Have you ever entered your company’s name into a search engine, only to realize it does not show up on the first page? If so, it might be time to talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is “the process of optimizing websites to increase visibility on search engine results pages” (Ahrefs).

Why SEO matters: If search engines nor the individuals searching cannot find your organization, it is likely you are missing out on some great opportunities. SEO is a great long-term strategy to drive organic traffic to your website. Unlike other marketing strategies, SEO can take some time and patience to see results.

There is a near-endless list of steps you can take to improve your SEO, but we are going to cover the basics of improving your search engine rankings.

Find your Keyword(s)

Choosing the right focus keyword(s) can have a significant impact on your SEO ranking. Your keywords essentially tell search engines where to rank your webpage. For Nonprofit Resources, the focus keywords on our homepage are — you guessed it — Nonprofit Resources. This was chosen not only because it aligns with our company name, but also with our mission: providing resources to nonprofits.

Look us up. See where we rank. Are we on the first page? Second page? Let’s see how we can raise our rank a little higher.

Raise the Bar

Your SEO ranking is affected by the type, consistency, and accuracy of the content you produce. Classy lists a few ways you can improve the content you produce:

Categorize: Segment your content to filter to different pages on your website. Nonprofit Resources filters different Blogs to each of our eight Services pages, so the content is relevant and unique on each page.
Update Frequently: Keeping your content fresh and relevant tells search engines that you are a leading expert in your industry. Consider an editorial calendar to ensure you are meeting deadlines and maintaining a consistent presence.
Use Visuals: Search engines consider videos high-quality content. Your site should also utilize still visuals to engage your viewer.

SEO Plugins

If your site is built through WordPress, you will want to purchase a plugin that helps improve your SEO. We use AIOSEO, which gives us a few suggestions to improve our SEO.

A scoresheet that rates the Nonprofit Resources Focus Keyphrase, additional keyphrases, Basic SEO, and Title. All are ranked as all good.


  • Focus Keyphrase: As mentioned above, this will determine how search engines rank your page.
  • Additional Keyphrases: These can be purchased at an additional cost and can significantly improve page ranking by providing search engines with multiple keywords by which they can rank your page.
  • Basic SEO: This section gives suggestions on how to improve your ranking such as including internal and external links, ensuring your Focus Keyphrase is included in your webpage content, and increasing or decreasing your meta description.
  • Title: AIOSEO recommends your Focus Keyphrase also appear in your Title.
There are other website builders that you can use, each with its own SEO Plugins. A free Plugin will provide some assistance, whereas a paid Plugin will provide an in-depth analysis of your webpage and provide recommendations to improve your ranking.


Accessibility can improve your user experience and SEO rankings. Alternative Text (Alt Text) is a written description of visual elements. There are several benefits to including Alt Text:

  • Users utilizing a screen reader can hear a verbal description of visuals (images, infographics).
  • Search engines can “understand” the content of images and determine where to rank them.
  • If your webpage fails to load properly, the Alt Text, which is normally hidden, can appear in its place.

The Web Accessibility Initiative says that Alt Text should be written concisely, grammatically, and with the most important information included first.

And by Search Engine, We Mean Google

When looking at your nonprofit’s SEO, your main search engine focus should be Google. Google is the preferred search engine of 92% of the world (Statcounter). Google wants to provide the most accurate results. The more accurately your keywords align with your content, the higher the ranking Google will provide.

Patience Makes Perfect

All your hard work will provide you with amazing benefits… eventually. It can take 1-2 months for your new SEO strategy to take effect. While you are waiting for your results, make note of your current page ranks. Googling yourself can be harmful to your page ranking and skew metrics; Google’s Ad Preview and Diagnostic Tool is free to use and can be changed to show search results in different regions. Check back later and see how your ranking has changed and adapt your strategy as needed.

Interested in outsourcing your SEO upgrades? We can help.

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