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


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.


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.

SEO Basics Search Engines

The most basic SEO test

Many people overlook the most basic search engine optimization (SEO) test you can perform on your website. SEO can seem daunting and overwhelming for those new to the topic. They may put it off, or think that it is too time consuming or expensive to tackle the subject. When I teach SEO, I say that SEO is just a couple hundred easy steps. Learning and mastering them all is not easy. That shouldn’t stop you from adding to your skill set over time.

The most basic SEO test you can perform on your website is to google it.

How to Most Effectively Google Yourself

Start by googling the name of your site or organization. Does your domain show on the first page of results? If not, click through a few pages to see if you might be languishing on page 2 or 3. If so, you have a bit of work to do. Are organizations with a similar name outranking you? Or might your social media profiles be outperforming your core website?

Tehnical Issues Uncovered

If your site cannot found, or shows the message, “No information is available for this page,” you might have technical problems with your site. This is most often due to your robots.txt file. The robots.txt file is a directive to search engines about how to best crawl your site. It is very common to set up a robots.txt file that says, “Go away! Don’t index me!” while your site is under construction or on a secondary development server. Many times, developers push that file into production. Its impact goes unnoticed until someone performs that most basic SEO test.

The last thing you can do is a site syntax search. In the Google search bar search for site:yourdomain.com (where yourdomain.com is your domain name). The “site:” syntax restricts Google results to just your domain. That definitely tells you if you have a technical problem with your SEO. If you still don’t come up, or get a no-information error, then investigate your robots.txt file. Look for Disallow: statements that are preventing your site from being found.

You’d be amazed how common this error is. It can make a huge difference once you rectify this error!

If you find your site not being indexed and you need assistance to correct it, contact us today. We can perform a preliminary SEO evaluation of your domain and correct this an other SEO errors.

SEO for Nonprofits Search Engines

SEO for Non-Profits

SEO for Non-Profits may seem daunting or overwhelming when you’re just starting out. To be fair, there is a lot that is working against you as a brand new website. Your domain authority quantifies your domain’s reputation. It is primarily calculated based on a measurement of how many backlinks your site has accumulated, and those take time. Not to mention that another factor in domain authority is simply that – age. As a brand new website, you will struggle to rank on Page 1 organically for any competitive terms.

Does that mean you should give up immediately and ignore SEO? No!

As with any digital marketing strategy, SEO will play just one part of raising awareness and conversions on your site. You should be aware of your SEO performance, and look for opportunities to improve. Set a list of targeted phrases you believe would bring you relevant traffic. Then, track your ranking for those phrases. Use these same keywords to inform your keyword strategy. This includes building additional content around certain topics to raise your reputation on search engines. Tools like Google Search Console can help you determine which keywords users were searching when they arrived on your site. You can capitalize on what you’re already ranking for to drive more, engaged traffic to your site.

But that’s the long game. You will grow domain authority over time and start to see more and more organic traffic. But, it will not happen over night. That’s where PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, can help. You can use the same keyword lists that you are monitoring for SEO and bid on them in Google AdWords. If you are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, you can even do this free of charge through Google’s Ad Grant program. Bidding on a keyword won’t affect your organic ranking. But, over time you can marry the two strategies to get the most real estate possible on page 1. Then start to drive relevant traffic to your site.

If you’re ready to look at the SEO performance of your site and drive more traffic for free to your non-profit, contact us today!

Google Ad Grants requirements 2018 Google Ads

New Google Ad Grants Requirements coming in 2018

Google recently announced that Ad Grants recipients must hold their accounts to a higher standard than was previously required. If you are running ad campaigns for your non-profit, check to see if you are out of compliance. You may even consider pausing or removing existing campaigns to bring your account back into alignment. New regulations include:

  • Maintain a click-through ratio (CTR) of 5% or more
  • No keywords with a quality score below 2
  • No single-word keyword

You can no longer “set it and forget it” with your campaigns. Instead, you must continuously monitor performance and pause or adjust campaigns that are not providing sufficient click-through or quality scores. Ultimately, this may result in reduced traffic from previous years, but hopefully the remaining traffic is higher relevance.

Non-compliance for two consecutive months will result in the immediate suspension of your account. This is not something you want to get wrong! If you need help adjusting or maintaining your program, or are thinking about starting a digital marketing campaign for your charity, contact us today.

For more information, see Google’s official help section on Google Ad Grants requirements.

Calls to action CTA Google Ads

Strong calls to action (CTA)

One of the best things you can do for digital marketing (whether paid or grants-based) is build strong calls to action for your users. In most cases, this means building custom campaign landing pages for each advertisement.

What is a call to action (CTA)?

A CTA is a big, bold, and obvious action you want to user to perform – typically in the form of a big, obvious, brightly colored button.

In the case of a non-profit advertisements, there are a few calls to action you may want your users to perform:

Example Calls To Action

  1. First and foremost, donate! Be careful if using grant funds to power your search advertisements. There are strict rules around eliciting donations. Contact us today if you need help setting up a compliant request for donations through your search grant.
  2. Volunteer! Of course you want people to come help you power your charity with more boots on the ground. Typically, it makes sense to geo-target volunteers. You wouldn’t realistically expect someone to drive too far to join you.
  3. Calendar of events. Maybe they’re not ready to volunteer today, but they might be interesting in the future. Perusing your upcoming events may lead to them bookmarking something in the future that caught their eye.
  4. Contact us. As a catch all for additional questions and opportunities, always give a clear and simple way to contact you. Instead of providing an email address, consider using a built in contact form. Track this with analytics to see how often your visitors are performing this action. Then, optimize your ad campaigns with that data.

If you’re ready to get started with a fully optimized and compliant Google AdWords grant for your 501(c)(3) charity, be sure to contact us today!

Holidays raise charity awareness Google Ads

Using holidays to raise charity awareness

One important aspect of charity digital marketing is knowing your holidays. Which holidays and charitable events will naturally drive searchers to find your organization?

During certain holidays, searches for “How to donate,” or “Where to volunteer,” will organically peak. If you can create specific messaging for your charity, you can help capture some of this rising tide. Even if your charity doesn’t have a specific program centered around a particular holiday, you can take advantage.

Look at trends for searches for “Thanksgiving” over time (via Google Trends). Not surprisingly, there is a lift leading up to the holiday. There is a huge spike that week, and then relatively little the rest of the year.

Setting up ads around “Thanksgiving 2017 Charitable Donations” or “Volunteer this Thanksgiving 2017” can raise awareness for annual programs. Being aware of every major holiday and event near you can give you several beneficial boosts throughout the year!

Landing pages and quality scores Google Ads

Landing pages are more important than keywords

When setting up a Google AdWords Grants, there are a few limitations imposed on you that you must follow:

  1. Daily budget cap of $329 (roughly $10,000 per month)
  2. Keyword CPC bid cap of $2

Many typical marketing strategies that rely on adjusting bids cannot be used. One method for maximizing the use of grant funds is to seek out strategic, long-tail keywords where competition is lower. This can be an effective tactic, but will often result in keywords with insufficient search volume for AdWords auctions. It may also involve lots of work to “pick up scraps” of traffic.

A better approach is to look closely at the Quality Scores for each campaign landing page. A higher Quality Score can effectively multiply the impact of your $2 budget to put you into auctions for keywords that typically require much higher bids. While these are often highly competitive generic charity-related keywords, many of your competitors also utilize grant funds to bid. You all have the same max CPC of $2 and the only differentiator will be Quality Scores.

How to use Quality Scores

  • Do all the basics – make sure your site is on HTTPS, is mobile friendly, and loads quickly. You can evaluate your load speeds and technical attributes using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
  • Make sure the landing page is very relevant to your keyword sets. This may mean creating multiple ad landing pages for a single theme, and splitting large ad groups into smaller tighter groups.
  • Monitor your Quality Scores in AdWords. By using time segments, you can see the evolution over time to see if the changes you make positively influence your score. Raising a score even just to 5/10 can greatly increase your impressions.

Edit your keyword view column to include Quality Score to find areas for easy improvement to drive more impressions and clicks to your site:

Add Quality Score column to your AdWords view
Branded PPC terms Google Ads

You should be bidding on branded PPC terms

I’m often asked why ad budgets should be spent bidding on branded terms. These are most often the name of your charity, your URL, or anything uniquely identifying you or your programs. Because they are so unique, you likely already rank #1 organically for Google searches. So, why ‘waste’ grant funds bidding on branded terms?

A few reasons to bid on branded terms

  1. Ads are typically shown ABOVE organic results. Even if you are #1, you are still not at the top of the page.
  2. You want to “own the page” meaning take up as much real estate as possible. When you are first both in the ads section and the organic section, it lends credibility to your organization.
  3. Because you are so relevant to unique terms these are often the cheapest bids you will win.
  4. YOU control the messaging. With organic results, Google is pulling titles and descriptions from your page to best match the users’ queries. That may not always be the exact perfect messaging. With AdWords ads, you define the header, display URL, description, call outs, and site links. You can promote yourself however you want, or highlight upcoming events – anything you want! Look at all the real estate available to curate your specific message to every user on Google:
    sample charity adwords advertisement

And if you are a registered 501(c)(3) charity, it can be completely free of cost to you! Get started today taking advantage of this immensely effective means of reaching your target audience.

North Texas Giving Day Client Profile

North Texas Giving Day

To say I underestimated the power of North Texas Giving Day may be an understatement! We saw huge turnouts on ad campaigns running on related keywords in the weeks leading up to NTX Giving Day. But, the actual day itself (and day after) have been true record breakers.

North Texas Giving Day clicks

One charity upped their grant spend by about 33X on a single day. This reached the daily spending cap of the grants program! Not only that, but we saw impressions, clicks … and most importantly, conversions … go to new record levels.

It’s great to see efforts galvanizing our community into a day of charitable giving pay off in the data. The right campaigns in the right place ensured our charities got the maximum benefit!