Let’s just say this right from the start: SEO (search engine optimization) is HARD. It’s complicated, involves a lot of different elements you may or may not have time for, and could be someone’s entire job at your organization.
But, as the communications pro in your office, it’s likely up to you to at least understand some of the basic concepts of SEO.
Much of SEO success is about how your website is built, rather than the content on it. Your website page loading times, how the website looks on mobile devices, and how accessible it is all go into your page rankings. Website building for nonprofits is no longer a DIY job, and hasn’t been for quite some time. Budget to get professional help with redesigns.
But of course, the content does matter very much too, along with how often it is updated. Those things are more likely in your control now.
So what’s a good approach to content that will be SEO friendly? Let’s look at three acronyms you’ll see when exploring SEO best practices for 2023 and beyond.
Who is BERT?
BERT came on the scene in 2019 and stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what any of that means. It’s basically a natural language processing technique that helps Google figure out what you are really looking for by better understanding nuances in our language choices.
What you do need to know is that BERT means your page content should be more conversational in nature. It also means Google is much more interested in niche, specific, valuable content that gets at the true meaning behind search phrases, rather than just a bunch of keywords stuffed on a page.
EAT is the Good Stuff for SEO
EAT stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. These concepts are all interrelated and overlapping, but here are some ways to think about each of them.
- Expertise: This is the knowledge shared on your site. Is your content current, in-depth, and complete?
- Authority: Is your site’s design and architecture professional? Are your credentials for speaking on the topics in your content clear? Your organization as the content creator is as important as the content itself. This is where your About pages come in. It’s especially critical for any YMYL content — Your Money or Your Life. In other words, if you are sharing content that could affect people’s health or well-being or that could cost them financially, you have an ever higher bar on authority to meet.
- Trust: Trust is about transparency and others demonstrating their trust in you by linking to your content and sharing it.
You can learn A LOT more about EAT with great examples of High EAT and Low Eat in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
ROT is the Bad Stuff for SEO
ROT stands for Redundant, Outdated, and Trivial. It’s a lot easier to act on ROT than EAT!
- Redundant: Too much repetition
- Outdated: Old content
- Trivial: Meaningless content
Get rid of this content by deleting outright, redirecting the old pages to better pages, or rewriting the content.
More SEO Advice
Those are some big important SEO concepts. If you are ready for a lot more on SEO for your nonprofit’s website, we recommend the blogs and resources at