How we grew traffic at Charitable Impact by 24.75% basically overnight
Charitable Impact is a platform that lets people, companies, or groups of people give to any of the 85k registered charities in Canada. Charitable Impact will process the donation, issue a tax receipt, and forward on a check or ACH to the charity minus its ~5% fees.
In 2012, we were trying to grow traffic. I had been reading a lot of Patrick McKenzie’s marketing tactics at the time, and realized we had a large SEO opportunity sitting in front of our noses.
The Opportunity #
We had public domain data about 85k Canadian charities. When a Canadian charity files their tax return, they file what’s called a T3010 form. This form has data like:
- the charity’s charitable activities
- what programs they run
- what countries they operate in
- who they get money from
- other charities they give money to
- and lots more data
I realized that we could use this data to create a landing page for each of the 85k Canadian charities.
Charity Landing Pages #
The key points we wanted to hit on for the Landing Page templates were:
- Title tag and meta desc with words that searchers would actually type into a search engine 2. H1 with the charity name
- Keyword rich description of what the charity does
- Logos for big charities instead of blank avatars
- Lots of internal links
- Good looking, credible page (charity on the internet is sketchy) 7. Awaytogive
- SEO optimized URLs
Here’s what the page ended up looking like:
Category Landing Pages #
I also realized we could use the categories each charity belonged to to generate what we called “Category Landing Pages” (e.g. a page listing “Homeless charities in Toronto”.)
This resulted in another 40k landing pages.
The key points we wanted to hit on for the Category Landing Pages were:
- Title tag and meta desc with words that searchers would actually type into a search engine
- H1 with the category
- Short paragraph for SEO purposes and to orient the visitor
- Lots of internal links
- Good looking, credible page (charity on the internet is sketchy)
- SEO optimized URLs (we chose “/give/to/charity_name” rather than “/donate/to/charity_name” because “give to charity_name” had roughly 3x the number of searches as “donate to charity_name”)
Here’s what the category landing page ended up looking like:
We also made all 125k pages available in
sitemap.xml so crawlers would pick them up.
I like to measure results for launched features to know if they’re working. Sometimes it’s harder to isolate the impact of a specific feature. In this case, it was easy - we just looked at the traffic to these pages in Google Analytics.
Between mid-2012 and early 2016, the landing pages accounted for 24.75% of all site traffic, and the category landing pages have accounted for 3% of all traffic.1
This 24.75% lift in traffic is effectively “found” traffic which we wouldn’t have had gotten if we hadn’t built these pages.
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