Updates to Google`s algorithm does not usually affect charity sites but the latest big update Penguin 2 ( or 4 depending on who you read) has a couple of interesting implications. As you will know the principle purpose of these updates is to prevent webmasters cheating to get better results. They do this by getting or buying links back to their site from link farms. Typically charities rely on the Google approved way of getting links, that is by users finding pages and linking to them due to the quality or usefulness of the content. You can test if your site has been affected by looking in Google Analytics and comparing Visits in the days and weeks around May 22nd when Penguin 2 went live. Chances are, as you do not have `bad` links you will not be affected.
However, when talking about this new update, web spam guru Matt Cutts does say that from now on that Google is “.. detecting when some one is an authority on a specific space, it could be medical, it could be travel, whatever, and trying to make sure that they rank a little more highly..”. I think that this is a real opportunity for charities to get more visitors. The key is get Google to see your site as THE authority on your topics. Once they do that they will rank all your pages more highly. What to do ? Well first decide what area(s) you want to be an authority on. If you are in any doubt look in GA for your top non brand keywords and Landing Pages. If these are consistent with the focus and mission of your organisation then add more site Content around those topics.
Another things that Matt mentions is that from now on the Google algorithm “..goes deeper into the site..” So Google is looking more into your site than ever before. This continues a trend of putting more emphasis on site `quality`. This covers things like Site Speed, site accessibility, crawl errors, etc. In the past the overall quality of your site was not an issue but it is clear that Google is now taking these kind of factors into account when ranking sites. It would be a pity to have all that great content penalised because of poor site performance. Make use of your Webmaster Tools account and if you are unsure how to change things you should review your site performance with your Wed Dev team. You can get up to speed on how to use WMT by checking out the videos on the Google webmaster YouTube channel.