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2023 SEO Benchmarks: How Do Animal Welfare Organizations Stack Up?

February 20, 2023, Mitchell Chokas

Plus, 3 Tips to Optimize Your SEO Approach

RKD Group recently released the nonprofit industry’s first-ever SEO Benchmark report that examines where each nonprofit sector stands in terms of key areas of search engine optimization. To do this, we assessed data from more than 2,500 nonprofits, including 298 animal welfare organizations.

In this blog, we’ll share how animal welfare organizations stack up against other regional causes.

What’s the big deal about SEO?

Before we dive in, let’s talk a little background. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the strategic, continual process of updating your website to boost visibility on search engines like Google. SEO involves improving your content, website architecture, HTML coding and links from other sites.

Nonprofit organizations often overlook SEO, but it can be a powerful digital tool. It’s a cost-effective way to complement and enhance your existing paid media strategies, thanks to its ability to increase brand awareness, visibility and perceived authority.

As we move through the data from our report, we’ll refer to some terms that may be unfamiliar to those who don’t work closely with SEO. Here are a few you’ll need to know for this post:

  • Backlinks: Also known as an inbound link, a backlink is created when one website links to another.
  • Domain Rating: Domain rating is a metric that shows the strength of your website’s backlink profile. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being the strongest possible rating.
  • Keywords: Words and phrases that users input on search engines to find content. When you write content, it’s important to select key words and phrases to ensure your page comes up when a user is looking for something specific – for example, “animal shelter near me.”
  • Organic Traffic: Organic traffic is all unpaid traffic to your website that comes from a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo!.
  • Referring Domain: A referring domain is when another trusted website links to yours, improving your SEO rank. Multiple backlinks can come from the same referring domain.

You can refer to our SEO terms resource for more key definitions. And without further ado, here are the findings:

Results of the SEO Benchmark Report

Domain Rating

First, we looked at domain rating, which is scored on a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 being the best).

Animal welfare organizations fall in the middle, between rescue missions and food banks. However, there is significant room for growth when compared to the overall nonprofit average.



When it comes to backlinks, quality is more important than quantity. They also directly impact your domain rating.

While animal welfare organizations have significantly more backlinks than food banks and rescue missions, a focus on quality backlinks will help improve overall domain rating.



Organic Traffic

Animal welfare organizations significantly outpace food banks and rescue missions in organic traffic, and are in the middle of the pack of the larger industry list.


Top 3 Ranked Keywords

Once again, we see animal welfare organizations take a major lead in average number of keywords ranked in the top three when compared to other regional causes.


3 Tips to Optimize Your SEO Approach

How can you enhance your scores in the key areas of search engine optimization? Animal welfare organizations are in a perfect position to prioritize SEO. Here are a few tips to optimize your approach:

  1. Image optimization

Images are some of the most powerful and engaging content animal welfare organizations share on their websites. Unfortunately, many organizations make the mistake of not optimizing their images or of uploading them in the wrong format.

Your organization can capitalize on images by adding keywords into an image’s alt-text, keeping file sizes under 1MB and utilizing WEBp or AVIF file types.

  • Target local backlink opportunities

Animal welfare organizations lead regional causes in average backlinks; however, domain rating (impacted by quality backlinks) still lags behind food banks.

Acquiring quality backlinks can be tedious, but researching and building a strategy that focuses on local media outlets and other reputable local organizations that have strong domain ratings is an easy way to establish your causes authority in the market.

  • Add testimonials from adopters

Follow-up stories and testimonials from rescues and adoptions are just the kind of content people love to share on social media. By sharing these stories on your website and on your social channels, you can boost brand visibility not only on social but also within search engines.

With these tips, you can help your animal welfare organization climb the search rankings. This will help more people find you and improve your online presence.

About Mitchell Chokas
Mitchell Chokas has been guiding organizations through the fog of search engine optimization (SEO) since 2017. As SEO Supervisor at RKD Group, he helps nonprofits maximize their website traffic through dynamic SEO strategies that adapt to the ever-changing landscape of organic search. Mitchell loves the challenge that SEO brings in trying to match the psychology behind search intent to the science of algorithms.

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