Rotary clubs are important organizations that benefit their communities greatly. They engage in service projects at the local level and, on a global level, work to make the world a better place.
However, Rotary clubs cannot accomplish their goals if they are not well-known in their communities. The most effective clubs are those that regularly bring in new and prominent members, receive donations, and publicize themselves and what they are doing.
Fortunately, there are many things your club can do to make itself better known. It all starts with developing a positive online presence and engaging in proven local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
Understanding Local SEO and Why it Matters
Local SEO is simply a process that helps you make your Rotary organization more visible via search engines. It’s a way or, rather, a collection of ways or strategies by which you can bring more attention, awareness, and traffic to your organization and its website. When someone searches for something related to what you do, local SEO increases the likelihood that your organization will appear near the top of the results.
You may be wondering why this matters for your Rotary club. For one thing, when people are aware of who you are and what you’re doing, they’re more likely to promote or get involved with your events. This can mean increased donations and public attention, which can spell success for your club and its goals.
Furthermore, a positive online presence can attract the very best members to your organization. The more prolific and popular your members are, the wider their impact and your club’s impact is likely to be.
In short, local SEO gets you noticed by the people you need to notice you.
Do It With Directories
While there are many ways to improve local SEO, directory listings are one of the best. You can think of a directory as a sort of modern, online “phone book.” Any time your club’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) is included, along with some basic information about it, in a directory, that counts as a directory listing.
Being listed in multiple directories is essential for the success and visibility of your Rotary club. It makes your organization easy to find and contact. Furthermore, being listed in multiple directories increases your club’s online presence and credibility. Search engines are aware of this and, as a result, are more likely to refer people who perform relevant searches to your club’s site.
As a start, seek out local business directories, nonprofit directories, and charitable organization directories that feature online listings. Provide factual and up-to-date information about your club and its location to these directories. However, for truly great results, you’ll want to move beyond just the smaller directories.
The Power of Google My Business
Of all the directories, Google My Business is the most powerful and widely used. But, in order to make it work for you, you’ll need to create an account. From there, you can claim ownership of your club’s listing if it already has one. If it doesn’t, you can create a listing. Once you are the owner of the listing, you can manage it to your benefit.
To begin with, you’ll want to make sure all contact information for your club is up-to-date and accurate. This will help people to find and engage with your club. Other helpful things you can do via your Google My Business account include:
- Respond to reviews and questions
- Share information about your club and upcoming events
- Set up alerts to discover mentions of your club online
- Discover what search terms people used to find your listing
- Add and edit keywords to help more people find your listing
How To Make It Work For You
Creating a Google My Business profile and taking control of your listing is a great first step. But, your work isn’t done yet. In order to maximize and maintain visibility, you’ll need to regularly engage with and update your Google My Business listing.
Start by researching keywords and search terms that people are likely to use to access your listing. These might include terms like “charitable organizations” or “rotary clubs.” You can then incorporate these keywords into your business profile and description.
Similarly, you should select the primary and secondary categories that best represent your business. These simple steps can help people who are actively looking for clubs like yours to find not just any club, but your club specifically.
Add Some Images
Keywords and categories may help people to find your listing, but images will keep their interest. When you add photos from events, service projects, and other functions to your Google My Business profile, you tell a visual story about your club and its mission. That can say more than a thousand words. It can get people interested in your club and eager to become a part of it.
You’re not the only one who can share photos either. Club members and recipients of your generosity can also share their own images. Encourage anyone who has a positive experience with your organization to share pictures and reviews. You’ll be able to moderate images and respond to reviews as needed.
Publish Some Posts
Because Google My Business has grown in popularity, it’s offering more features than ever. One of the best is the “Posts” option, which allows you to create content that will appear in your club’s “knowledge panel.” This is the informative box that shows up when people search for information about your club. It can take a while for your knowledge panel to show up, but you want to be ready when it does.
For best results, create a variety of content that paints your club in a positive light. Consider publishing:
- Blog posts relevant to your club and its focus
- The latest club news
- Questions and answers related to your club
You can also make event posts to promote events you are hosting or participating in. These posts allow you to include:
- Relevant photos
- Short videos
- Event descriptions
- Event times and dates
- Links to purchase tickets, RSVP, or learn more
Keep It Up
Once you’ve built a positive online presence for your club via Google My Business, keep it up. Your listing needs to be updated regularly to keep visitors engaged. Furthermore, Google shows favor to more active profiles. Thus, the more often you update your club’s listing, the greater the likelihood of achieving higher rankings in relevant Google searches.
People who visit your Google My Business profile have the option to leave a review. Having multiple positive reviews can significantly improve your local SEO presence and boost your credibility as a legitimate organization. In turn, this can make Google more likely to promote your organization above others. Furthermore, it can give you a good Google review rating, which will show up next to your organization’s name. A positive rating can make people more likely to click on your club’s site.
Fortunately, getting good reviews isn’t difficult. In fact, the best way to get them is simply to ask for them. Ask members, volunteers, and others to leave brief, positive reviews highlighting the experiences they have had with your organization. You can even offer a small incentive, such as a t-shirt or other item, to encourage these reviews.
Citations Count Too
In addition to submitting to directories and building your Google My Business listing, actively solicit citations. Citations are simply online mentions of your club. They include your club’s name, address, and contact number or just its name and can come from websites, blogs, online newspaper articles, social media posts, and other online sources.
Some citations happen naturally. However, you should still actively request that other websites and individuals mention your club and, ideally, its contact information via their own channels.
Request citations from other organizations you have a relationship with and return the favor. You can also boost your own citations by contributing to local blogs, crafting your own social media posts, and accepting offers for interviews or other coverage.
Citations provide yet another way to increase your presence on the web, gain traffic, appeal to Google, and establish your organization as credible and worthwhile.
Solicit Help From Members and Volunteers
As you can see, effective local SEO requires consistent work and effort. But, don’t feel overwhelmed.
Start with your members. Getting them involved will help make this feasible. Even those that don’t may have a blog, a website, or a Facebook profile where they can mention and promote your club.
Reach out to volunteers for help as well. Since Rotary is an organization that brings significant benefits to online communities, people should be more than happy to assist you.
Above all else, be active in your community. The more you do, the more people will talk about your organization, both in-person and online. This can lead to citations, news stories, press releases, and more with hardly any effort on your part.
Local SEO is a beneficial pursuit for any Rotary club. Follow the advice here and seek additional help as needed. In a very short amount of time, you should see results. That’s your work paying off, not just for you, but for all the people your club can reach through its efforts.