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GSuite Gmail on your domain Best Practices

Adding GSuite Gmail to your domain

Once you’ve purchased a domain to represent your brand, organization, or small business, you’re going to want to associate an email service with it. One of the big benefits of owning your own domain is that you appear more professional by not emailing customers from an address “@gmail.com.” There are many ways to accomplish this, most hosting services or domain providers will try to sell you theirs, but for simplicity, ease of use, and familiarity, nothing beats Gmail.

But how do you get a Gmail address without it being @gmail.com?

Good news: it’s easy! It’s called GSuite from Google and creating your first email address takes only minutes. Check out the pricing and plans available at https://gsuite.google.com/. Pricing is basically $5 per month per user. However, you typically don’t need to start with too many users. You can create a single user with multiple aliases for things like “info,” “sales,” or “support.”

Once you’ve signed up for the service, you need to verify ownership of your domain. This will be done by uploading a text record (TXT) to your DNS server. Whichever domain registration service you used will have an option to add records to your DNS. Google will give you the exact text to paste in, and then will be able to verify your ownership. After that, they’ll give you another record to upload called a mail exchanger record (MX). Again, it’s a cut and paste from Google and within minutes your email is up and working.

You can associate multiple Google accounts on a single mobile device, switching seamlessly between them on your Gmail mobile app. GSuite also comes with a host of other benefits like file storage/sharing, contacts, and calendars that can be shared across users. As your business or organization grows, you can add new users ad hoc.

Even though the process is simple, it can be intimidating if you’ve never worked with DNS before. Contact us to help you get your email up and running so you can connect with new contacts in a professional and polished manner, through your very own branded email account!

Conversion funnels Google Ads

Knowing your Conversion Funnel

Knowing your AdWords marketing conversion funnel can help you forecast new volunteers or donations for your charitable organization. It can also help you identify if there are any issues along the funnel that you can focus on and fix. Doing so is a fairly simple equation, but first you need to know each step in your conversion funnel.

Conversion Funnel Stage Definitions

  1. Impressions – the number of times your ad showed to a user searching on Google
  2. Clicks – the number of times your ad the user clicked to arrive on your website (not exactly the same as a visit, but close enough for big picture)
  3. Engagements – the number of times a user completed a goal on the website. This depends on what you are tracking in your Google Analytics, but could be anything from visiting the donation page to clicking through to learn more.
  4. Conversions – the end goal. In this and many cases, that represents a successfully completed donation through the website.
Conversion Funnel

Here is an example of a real conversion funnel from a client last month. Obviously, your ads will not get clicked every time they are shown. Google AdWords will report this for your account, or for specific campaigns and ads – even down to the keyword level. Compliance regulations dictate that you must maintain at least a 5% click-through ratio (CTR) for participation in the Google Grants program. Likewise, every time as user clicks your ad, they won’t necessarily engage with the website. You can also monitor Bounce Rate in your Google Analytics to see what percentage of users leave the site immediately after the page loads. Finally, not every visitor who engages with your site will ultimately leave a donation. You can pull the numbers for each step from Adwords and/or Google Analytics and calculate the percentage of users that proceed through each level of the funnel.

How to use funnel data

You can use this information to estimate how many donations you are likely to receive based on the top of the funnel. With these conversion numbers, you would not mathematically expect a single donation until at least 3556 impressions had been earned. Even with 100,000 impressions, the number of donations would only calculate out to 14.

You can also monitor the conversion rates between each rung of the funnel.

  • Unusually low percentage of clicks – investigate your ad copy, keyword sets, and targeting options.
  • Very low level of engagement – redesign landing pages and evaluate body copy.
  • Low conversion rate – test your user experience to be sure there is no friction discouraging donations.

If everything looks healthy, you can put all of your efforts into growing your total number of impressions. The more you put into the top of the funnel, the more you can expect to get out! Need some your conversion funnel analyzed and optimized? Call us today!

Meta descriptions impact CTR Search Engines

Metadata Description can increase CTR

What is a metadata description? It’s a blurb about your page that tells a user what it is about, what they will expect to find, or what you want them to do when they arrive. Google often displays Metadata descriptions on the search results page just below your HTML Title. Here’s an example from the homepage of Dijon Marketing today:

metadata description

Here, we’ve explicitly set the metadata description to read, “Dijon Marketing specializes in digital marketing for registered 501(c)(3) charities – hosting, domain registration, email, web design, SEO, PPC, and more!”

How Metadata Descriptions Impact Search

In doing so, we hope that users who are searching related queries will see this description and want to learn more about the digital marketing offers we have. You’ll notice in this example, the words “Dijon Marketing” are in bold. That’s because the Google query used to pull up this result was “Dijon Marketing.” Google highlights where your query shows up in the results. This additional formatting helps you determine which result is most relevant to you at this exact moment.

If we had searched “domain registration” or “digital marketing for registered 501(c)(3) charities,” these terms might be highlighted in the metadata description. Keyword: might. Something else might happen when you alter the query to test your site’s performance on Google. The metadata description can change entirely. Google reserves the right to interrogate your page and try to find the best blurb it can compared to the user’s exact query. It might grab the first sentence of a paragraph, a heading, or piece together its own description from content on your page. In general, that’s a good thing! It can help people who don’t know your brand yet discover you and click through to your site.

The ultimate goal of the metadata description is to increase the click-through ratio, or CTR, to your site. Calculate CTR by taking the number of times someone clicked on your site divided by the number of times you were shown as a result.

Best Practices for Writing Metadata Descriptions

  1. Always manually populate the metadata description. Don’t rely on auto-generated or leave the field blank.
  2. Think about the description as an advertisement, an enticement, or a call to action.
  3. Place the most important or impactful language towards the front
  4. While Google has played with the length of characters they will show (from 160 to 320 back to 160), aim for around 160 characters. If you run on a bit long, Google will truncate you in the display and all that hard work after the “…” will be for naught.
  5. That said, a good description is better than a short one, so don’t fuss too much over exact character counts.

Need help identifying the right keywords, verbiage, and content for your metadata description and beyond? Contact us!

Knowledge tiles on page 1 Search Engines

Knowledge Tiles: Use Quick Answer to Jump to Page…

It may be difficult for a brand new company or organization to make it to Page 1 of Google results quickly for generic, high-volume search terms. The best thing to do to get there is to write quality content, network your website for high quality backlinks, and wait. However, there is one method that may get you to the top of Page 1, even before organic results, without spending months building authority or spending money or grant dollars on AdWords advertisements. This is known as Quick Answer Knowledge Tiles.

What is a Quick Answer Knowledge Tile?

You might have seen these before without really knowing what they are. It is when Google attempts to answer the users query directly within the search results page, without requiring a click-through to view the content natively. This is probably due to the rise in voice-activated digital assistants. They pull answers to your questions from Google results, when providing you a link would be worthless. Here’s an example below for the query, “How do I write off a charitable donation?”

Google Quick Answer Knowledge Tiles

While authoritative content correlates more often to knowledge tiles, consideration does not require a rank of #1 organically. Google is constantly testing which content works best and shifting around who gets what spot.

Get Highlighted as a Quick Answer

They key here is that you are directly answering a specific question. Make a few pages that address questions or common inquiries around your charities or organizations that users might be searching. Use Keyword Planner or Google Trends to find high volume questions. Then test getting your content into a Knowledge Tile. It’s a departure from your usual content creation activities to think – What will people ask about my areas of expertise? How can I answer them directly and succinctly, in a list format or otherwise?

Give it a try, and see if you leap-frog your competition above organic results on the Google search results page. It can be a big boost, especially if your paid advertisement from a Google Grant appears directly above it. You will quickly own the results page and appear as a trusted expert on the topic. Try it today! How can we help?

Adwords Query Language AWQL for Google Grants Google Ads

Using AdWords Query Language (AWQL) for Google Grants Compliance

The AdWords Query Language (AWQL) is an invaluable tool for managing an AdWords account at scale. Once your charity’s Google Grants program has matured it will include many different campaigns, ad groups, and ads. Keeping track of your compliance with the Grant terms can be a manual nightmare. Luckily, there are some very easy scripts you can use to monitor and correct any non-compliant keywords or ad groups.

One of the newest rules forbids ads on keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2. This means that your keyword, ad copy, and destination content don’t align well. A keyword quality score only appears after your ad has run a sufficient number of times. The click-through rate will also influenced the final score. The more people who find your ad relevant, the higher your quality score will be. Consequently, your bids don’t need to be as high either.

Find all keywords with a quality score below 3 using one get() request with a few defined parameters:

function main(){ 
  var lowQualityKeywords = AdWordsApp.keywords() 
  .withCondition("QualityScore < 3") 
  .withCondition("Status = ENABLED") 
  .withCondition("AdGroupStatus = ENABLED") 
  .withCondition("CampaignStatus = ENABLED")
  .get();

  while (lowQualityKeywords.hasNext()){ 
    var kw = lowQualityKeywords.next();
    Logger.log(kw.getCampaign().getName() + 
    " - " + kw.getAdGroup().getName() + 
    ": \"" + kw.getText() + "\" " + 
    kw.getQualityScore() + "/10"); 
  }
}

This script parses enabled Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Keywords (ignoring paused) and list any with a quality score below 3. It then outputs to the logger window a list in this format:

Campaign Name – Ad Group: “Keyword” 1/10

You have two options once you have a full list of all low-quality keywords. You can pause each one to regain compliance. Or, you can investigate each ad and landing page to attempt to improve the score to 3 or above.

Need help implementing some time saving scripts in your AdWords account? Contact us today!

Paypal for charity donations Best Practices

PayPal for Charitable Donations

There are two ways that PayPal can be used to accept charitable donations for your non-profit. Note that both will require you to verify your non-profit status and show a linked bank account in order to use the “donation” button and accept charitable contributions.

The first is to integrate Donate buttons into your web interface. You will need to have an account set up and verified, and then can use the “Make a PayPal Button” option. You can use one button throughout the website, or create dedicated buttons for use on specific programs. That way you can identify where the donations came from (which page or program) and allocate funds appropriately. The buttons won’t look any different but will contain a code that aligns with your account to tag the incoming funds for a specific program.

https://developer.paypal.com/docs/classic/paypal-payments-standard/integration-guide/donate_step_1/

The other is PayPal.me. This is a simple link that anybody can use to share their payment page with others. You can add a dollar amount to the end of the url: paypal.me/mycharity/25 for example to make a suggested contribution appear. Or you can simply provide the link. This may be easier and faster to get set up but allows for less configuration on incoming funds.

In both cases, users will leave your website and arrive on a branded PayPal site. Today, that should not concern too many donors as this is a fairly standard process. PayPal is a great low-cost way to integrate charitable contributions into your website. For confirmed charity accounts, current rates are 2.2% for online transactions and 2.7% on card readers, flat rate. Need help? Contact us today!

Google Ad Grants Compliance Report Google Ads

Google Ad Grants Compliance Report

This week, Google Ad Grants for AdWords sent users a compliance report for the new stipulations see forth in a January 2018 update to terms and conditions. Some of those checks included:

  • Complete Grant recipients’ survey
  • Total CTR higher than 5%
  • At least 2 ad groups per campaign
  • At least 2 ads per ad group
  • No quality scores below 3/10
  • No single-word or generic keywords

Google outlined these new rules before the new year. However, at that time, it was not clear how closely they would be policed. It was also unclear how violations would be communicated. Now is a good time to review your keywords, ad groups, and campaigns for compliance.

If your Grants program falls outside the new rules for two consecutive months, you risk going dark until the problems are corrected.

HTTPS security Search Engines

The Importance of HTTPS for Charities

Look up at the address bar of your charity website. Does the URL  begin with HTTPS and show a green secure icon? If not, you could be having some serious problems with your website. And they are only going to get worse as time goes on.

The Dangers of No HTTPS

That little “S” on the end of the HTTP stands for “Secure.” If you don’t have one, the connection between your visitors and your servers is vulnerable to a number of attacks. One of your top priorities when asking for donations is to be a good steward of that transaction and data. You wouldn’t share your donor’s credit card number with just anybody. Therefore, you need to be sure your website follows the same ideals.

HTTPS Impact on Google Search Results

Aside from data privacy best practices, Google announced that non-secure websites will start to suffer in their ranking. You may not show up as often in relevant Google searches. That could in turn lead to less traffic on your website. Every new visitor is a new opportunity to spread your message, increase your reach, and get new donors and volunteers. It’s important to keep one eye on SEO as you monitor your websites performance and adhere to current standards.

Conversion Rates without HTTPS

Another thing it could hurt is your conversion rate. Take a look at the image below. This shows what a visitor to your non-secure website will see in the address bar of their Chrome browser.

HTTPS Warning

Would you donate to a site with a warning at the top advising you not to enter credit card details? I wouldn’t. And neither should you.

There are lots of ways to accomplish securing your website on the HTTPS protocol. LetsEncrypt is a free provider of the necessary SSL certificates. If you’re not on HTTPS today, make this a top priority for the immediate future!

Integrate social media with your website Social Media

Integrating Social with your website

In order to drive the most traffic and authority to your website and domain, you should always think of your online presence as an entire ecosystem. When it comes to social, try to avoid creating distinctly different and separate entities for each social platform. It isn’t hard if you change your mindset from one of “I’m maintaining a Facebook page for my organization,” to “Facebook is one way for people to find my website.

Think about these scenarios:

  • You’ve just written a blog post promoting a charitable program that your organization leads. You want to get that message out to as many of your followers as possible, so you cut and paste that post into a Facebook message. What would be better? Instead, write a teaser. Give the first few sentences or a general theme with a “to read more, click here” at the end. This will funnel people to read the full story on your website where you have more control over their next action.
  • You are trying to promote your calendar for upcoming events. Instead of posting an even on Facebook or putting all of the details into a post, try linking to your events calendar. This gives people the ability to look a head, see other upcoming events, and may lead to more volunteer hours.

Any time you can drive people to your website, it strengthens your domain overall and can eventually lead to a snowball effect of more, free traffic landing on your site when people are searching for relevant phrases. Try changing your thoughts from maintaining separate engagement platforms to an integrated approach. If you need help putting together a holistic strategy, you know where to turn – Dijon Marketing!

Google Search Console reports Search Engines

Google Search Console Reports

Google recently released a long overdue redesign of their SEO monitoring tool, Google Search Console. In the newly updated interface, reports show a much longer history of data. Knowing how to use that data can assist you in specifying exactly where to spend your energy improving the performance of your site. There are two main reports I use that I will discuss here.

Clicks and Impressions

This report will show you how two metrics. First, how many times you’ve showed up as a potential result in a Google search (Impressions). Second, how many times showing up in the list resulted in a user clicking through to your website (Clicks). The new console will allow up to 16 months of data, as opposed to the previous limit of 90 days. While it’s great to show this trended data over time and see it grow, the data just below the trend lines is even more interesting.

Google Search Console Clicks and Impressions Report

Queries

The queries report shows exactly which words the user entered that resulted in your Impression. If you’re showing at all, that’s a step in the right direction. You can then spend time evaluating your performance on each of the keywords. It might be worth it to create some dedicated content targeting those words since. Google already considers your domain to be an authority on the subject. Creating targeted content can get you onto page one and drive significant traffic to your site.

Pages

The pages report shows exactly which pages of your site are showing up in Google searches. This can be good for two reasons. First, it shows you what your most valuable content is so you can spend your limited hours each day where it will count the most. Second, it might show you that some less-than-desirable pages are being hit most often from organic searches. Quick, fix these pages up! Make them good landing pages with calls to action to drive towards your goals.

If you’re having any trouble getting your Google Search Console set up, or just have some questions on how best to interpret the data you’re seeing, contact us today for an SEO evaluation.