When it comes to search engine optimization, people typically think of businesses looking to increase traffic and revenue. But another segment of the population can benefit from SEO as well – charities.

The recession has caused most people to hold on to their money a little tighter this holiday season, which has negatively affected charities that rely on giving this time of year.

Marketing shift says charities should look into SEO as a cost-effective way to gauge their donor base and to eliminate the costs involved with traditional forms of marketing like mass mailings.

These suggestions are backed up by a study to be published in the first issue of the 2009 International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, which says non-profits should use online strategies like SEO to increase traffic and raise the awareness of their brand.

The research, coming from Peperdine University says search engine marketing is much more cost effective than traditional forms and can fit into the budgets of most non-profits even in lean economic times.

By making sure a non-profit or charity’s website is easily accessible when someone is searching for a pertinent term, they will build traffic on their sites according to the research.