Nonprofits: Stop Leaving Free Money On The Table

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If you’re a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the United States and you have a website, sign up for Google Grants now.  Seriously, do it right now if you haven’t already.

Google Grants provides qualifying nonprofits with the equivalent of $10,000 per month in credit to run text ads on Google Search.  Unfortunately, most nonprofits don’t know the first thing about managing pay-per-click campaigns (and are limited by the $1 keyword bid cap) and as a result end up not using most of that credit that Google provides.  To help with this, below are five tips to get up and running quickly with a Google Grant, and to spend as much of Google’s  money as possible.

1. Go through every page of your site and pick out 3 unique keywords on each page

By every page, I do mean every page.  Have a 1000 page site?  Set aside some time each day and slowly go through each one (or have an intern do it – sorry, it’s summer and I couldn’t resist) keeping track of which keywords correspond to each page.  The great thing about Google Grants is that you’re not paying for the clicks (Google is), so the more crazy long-tail terms you can find and think of, the better off you will be.

2. Plug your keyword list into the Google Keyword Tool

Be sure you’re signed into your Google Account for this part otherwise you’re only going to get 100 keyword ideas.  Take those keywords and throw them into a spreadsheet to develop your campaigns and ad groups.

3. Build out tightly-themed campaigns and ad groups

This tip is really just AdWords 101, but ideally don’t have more than 5-10 keywords in each ad group and have the keyword in the ad text.  I also like to have as many campaigns as possible and as few ad groups in each campaign so I can play around with different campaign settings such as geographic and device targeting (which can only be done at the campaign level).  Want bonus points? put less than 5 keywords in each ad group.

4. Make your ad group/keyword destination pages as relevant as possible

Remember all that time you spent tracking down keywords on specific pages of your site?  Now it’s going to pay off.  Have your destination pages be as relevant (i.e., include the keywords that are in your ad groups) as possible, and ideally have a specific call to action on each page of your site (donate, sign up for a newsletter, etc.).

5. Use free ad extensions

Have your ad take up more real estate on search result pages by extending it with Google’s ad extensions.  These are completely free to set up, and can be extremely powerful for nonprofits of all sizes, but especially local nonprofits who take advantage of location and click-to-call extensions.

Conclusion

With the restrictions that Google puts in place on their grantees, quality score becomes even more important in order to gain visibility.  Leverage the existing content on your site and provide as much relevance to searchers as possible.  None of the above instructions cost any money, just staff time to implement.

What are your best tips for Google grantees?

About the Author

Ben Leftwich is an Account Executive with Anvil Media, Inc., a leading search engine marketing company. Ben helps Anvil’s clients increase ROI through social media marketing, PPC management, and search engine optimization.

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