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Understanding the Google Ad Grant in 2021

Understanding the Google Ad Grant in 2021

Creating a nonprofit is such an amazing way to make a positive impact within your community and the world at large. Whether you are working to create equal access to advanced medicine, enriching the culture of your hometown, and online community with amazing independent films, helping those who have been impacted by natural disasters one thing never changes. You need to get your services out in front of as many people as you can. That’s exactly what the Google Ad Grants program does!

Google Ad Grants

What Is The Google Ad Grants Program?

Google Ad Grants provides you with access to $10,000 USD for your nonprofit to spend on digital advertising every month. This allows you to get out front and center so you can expand your reach. Whether you need volunteers, donors, or simply some help raising awareness for your social cause, Google Ad Grants is an opportunity that shouldn’t be dismissed.

Is Google Ad Grants Worth It?

Simply put, YES! Google Ad Grants provides you with the funds needed to reach those that may never have had the opportunity to hear your message for FREE.

This is a no strings attached process in which you just simply need to apply. Not only do you receive $10,000 USD a month in in-kind advertising, or approximately $329 per day, in in-kind advertising credit to use on the Google Ad Platform. 

You also get free access to Google’s G Suite program. Which allows you to manage your information and communicate with members of your team securely and efficiently.

How To Qualify for Google Ad Grants

In order to be eligible to participate in the Google Ad Grants program, your organization must meet the following requirements:

  • Your organization must apply for and obtain a Google for Nonprofits account.
  • Your organization must be registered as a charitable organization. Oftentimes this is a 501c3 certification, but depending on the country you operate out of, it may require a different registration type. You can view the countries in which Google for Nonprofits is available, as well as the country-specific requirements, on Google’s support hub.
  • Your organization must be registered with TechSoup.
  • Your organization must not be a hospital or a governmental or healthcare institution. Schools, universities, and academic institutions are also not allowed, but not to worry; Google offers their Google for Education program to provide support for schools.
  • Your nonprofit must agree to the application’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination, donation receipt, and use.
  • Your nonprofits must not discriminate on any unlawful basis in either hiring/employment practices or in the administration of programs and services.
  • Your mission must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring/employment practices.
  • You must agree that your nonprofit’s mission will not negatively impact Google’s current or future ability to do business with your organization.
  • You will need to guarantee that any donation your nonprofit receives will not be used to corruptly influence any government official to obtain or retain business or any improper advantage.

Your organization must have a high-quality website as defined by Google. Some of these requirements are:

  • No broken links
  • Mobile friendly
  • Fast loading times
  • A valid SSL certificate installed
  • Substantial and unique content that clearly defines your mission and values.

Running into issues with applying for TechSoup or Google for Nonprofits? Reach out to us; we’ll handle the entire application process for you at no charge.

New Application Process

Joining Google for Nonprofits has never been easier. Just this year, Google updated the entire process so that nonprofits wouldn’t have any issues or unnecessary hoops to jump through. Now, all you need to do is submit the Ad Grants eligibility form. Once approved, submit your activation request and you’re good to go!

Ad Grants Management

The application process is the easy part. The next challenge is the creation and maintenance of ads and your account in general, which means you may spend more time than you want to maintaining your account.

Ad Creation

The Google Ad Grants provides $10,000 monthly in what is called Text Ads, which is exactly as it sounds: ads made up of text. This means you have to create a variety of custom ads using the information on your landing pages that will appeal to your target audience and that will link back to your site. This information should be updated on a regular basis. In addition to maintaining your ads, you’ll want to monitor what works and what doesn’t and replace low performing ads.

Account Compliance

Once your ads are up and running, the last piece of the puzzle is ongoing account maintenance. Google has an extensive list of benchmarks and requirements all Google Ads accounts must follow, as well as Ad Grants specific policies that your account must continue to maintain, such as:

  • Having a well-structured ad account that has correct location settings that match your target audience, at least 2 active ad groups per campaign, and at least 2 unique sitelink ad extensions.
  • Maintaining a 5% click-through rate each month.
  • Implementing conversion tracking to track meaningful conversions, such as phone calls, form submissions, and donations.
  • Using conversion-based Smart bidding for all campaigns.
  • Not using single-word, low-quality, or generic keywords.

These guidelines are continuously updated and, unless you stay on top of them, can easily lead to frustration when ads get disapproved for seemingly no reason. If disapproval issues are not fixed in a timely manner, it can lead to the entire account being suspended, so it’s vital that you are aware of the policies and any updates that occur.

Google Ad Grants Certified Agency

While Google Ad Grants is a free service, Google also understands that staying in compliance and optimizing the Ad Grant is a time-consuming process.

Thus, Google put together a group of certified professionals to help you maintain your Google Ad Grants. There are a total of 45 agencies that are certified by Google to oversee Google Ad Grants for nonprofits.

Fun fact: RankMonsters was one of the original nine companies asked to join this program by Google

The best way to optimize your Ad Grant in 2021 is to optimize your site by implementing SEO practices, which is exactly what RankMonsters does.

How RankMonsters Can Help Your Nonprofit!

Maximize Your Exposure

The Google Ad Grant allows your ads to show up at the top of search results for your main keywords. With this program you can increase your online exposure and appear in front of your target audience any time they are searching for your services.

Advertise Services & Products

The Google Ad Grant lets you advertise your nonprofit’s services and products to searchers online. Using the Ad Grant, you can reach a much wider audience of motivated searchers with advertisements targeted to the keywords they are looking for.

Connect with Donors

The Google Ad Grant allows you to reach out to potential donors and volunteers online. With this program you can target ads specifically to donors looking for nonprofits to assist or to volunteers looking for an organization to work alongside.

Advertise Events

Google Ads makes it easy to advertise events and special occasions without expending extra funds. The Ad Grant even allows you to target your ads to people seeking events or activities in your location to help increase attendance and reach more people.

Increase Brand Awareness

Using the Google Ad Grant, your ads can appear in searches broadly related to your services. This can allow you to increase awareness of your organization and brand among the general public, or to build interest in one part of your organization’s offerings.

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Receive Valuable Data

When you use Google Ads, you receive valuable data about the people searching for your keywords and clicking on your advertisements. This data makes it easier to target future ads, and it also provides valuable insight into your online audience.

To learn more about our services and how we can partner with you to achieve your goals, call us today at 405-605-8218 or send us a message online!

Digesting The Meaning of EAT & YMYL

Digesting The Meaning of EAT & YMYL

If you’re a content creator or someone who tries to keep up with SEO, then you have most likely heard the term EAT & YMYL mentioned. You’ve also probably heard that Google is a fan of people who consider both of these principles when it comes to their websites and content.

First, let’s start with what EAT means, and then we can tackle YMYL. EAT stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

But what does that mean for you and why is this so important? Let’s get to eatin ‘ (don’t hate me)!

Digesting The Meaning of EAT & YMYL

When Did EAT Begin?

EAT has always been a thing in the sense that all of these factors have always helped your site rank. What has changed is that Google presented EAT as an actual concept back in 2014 in that year’s edition of their Search Quality Guidelines. Meaning that this manner of ranking was no longer belief backed by agreed-upon ideas, but was formed into a concrete fact.

Who does EAT Affect?

Well, simply put, if you’re on the internet, then this affects YOU! Whether you’re a small nonprofit or one of Elon Musk’s newest ventures, you’ll be affected. In fact, if you are a small business or someone who is just beginning to build your own authority, then your site will be compared to the sites belonging to the leading authorities in your field. However, it’s important to note that the level of EAT you need to achieve in order to rank well varies by industry.

So say that I start to build a medical blog. My information will be compared to what the Mayo Clinic, CDC and WHO, and other leading experts that have to say on the subject, as medical information must go through rigorous checks from Google before they will allow you to rank. This makes sense, as misleading medical information can have disastrous consequences.

However, for a site that prides itself on having “the best knitting technique”, the requirements for EAT are much more lax, as the information contained in the article doesn’t directly impact people’s livelihoods. The higher the impact your content or industry has on people’s lives, the higher the bar is set for you to meet.

How Is EAT Determined?

The below graph breaks down how EAT is reviewed based on the size of your company; this example covers local business websites and blogs.

EAT Guidelines
Now let’s look at how medical sources are viewed when it comes to EAT.
EAT Graph explaining how sites our ranked
Medical Blogs Ranked by EAT
You can see that your authority plays a massive role in the content that you create. Now if you do create content with a medical aspect, then you will want to have either a certified medical professional writing and or signing off on your content, as this has an impact on your EAT rating:
A graph about how EAT effects Financial blogs.

Google is simply wanting to know why they and others should listen to you. Google’s highest priority is answering a user’s question, so they want to present the most accurate information to their users. Earlier we mentioned that certain industries have a higher standard to meet.

These industries, such as finances, law, health, and politics, are commonly grouped into a category known as YMYL.

What Is YMYL?

YMYL simply means “your money, your life”. To determine if you fall into YMYL, you need to ask yourself “can my content affect how someone handles their health, finances, and/or wellbeing?”. If yes, then you produce YMYL content. Some examples of YMYL industries are:

 

  • Nutrition
  • Fitness
  • Finances
  • Shopping
  • Health & safety
  • News and current events
  • Law, civics, and government
  • Information about groups of people (religion, gender, ethnic origin, veterans)
A screen shot from Google about YMYL

Anything that is considered YMYL must have the highest quality of EAT since these forms of content can have an actual impact on someone’s life. Without any EAT, your content simply won’t rank.

So What Should I Do To Increase My EAT?

If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations! It’s time to get to work! So what can you do to focus on increasing your EAT? Let’s take a look!

Reply To Your Reviews

Google tells its search quality reviewers to check the reviews of a company to get a better understanding of how reputable the business is. It also says to check how the businesses reply to their reviews. So it’s safe to say that an easy step in building your EAT score is to simply reply to all of your reviews, positive and negative. This also helps potential leads decide if they want to go with your company or not.

Web Page Content

Make sure that your pages aren’t lacking content. One thing that can lead to a low EAT score is non-informational landing pages. Each page should have a purpose, a targeted keyword, and the purpose of that page should be clear to anyone who lands on it.

In addition to well optimized landing page, you also need to make sure that you have unique, relevant, and informative content. Don’t just repeat what your competitors are doing. You want to set yourself apart by the content you produce. 

You can do this by:

  • Staying up to date with industry updates.
  • Creating opinion pieces on industry news. 
  • Researching searcher intent & create content on what’s not being answered.
  • Don’t just create content around keywords, but create content for the reader.

EAT Works In Tandem With SEO

You can perform all the EAT improvements in the world but if you don’t have active and ongoing off-page SEO and on-page SEO then it’s all lost. It’s likely that when your website was created you had some initial SEO work done. However, with each core Google update, your website’s rankings are affected. If you’re not actively adjusting your SEO efforts to reflect the latest changes to the industry, your website’s rankings will suffer.

It’s In Your Hands Now

The fact that you made it this far proves that you care about your online image, your rank with Google, and that you want your business, nonprofit, or personal blog to succeed. It’s important to know that positive growth and change takes time.

So let’s look at what you can do:

 

  • Add an author or have your content reviewed by someone who is qualified to speak in your field & their credentials to appropriate pages and posts. 
  • Audit site content and remove any unnecessary content.
  • Locate and update any old content. 

You can make every positive change possible, but it will still take time to see the results flow in. Improving your rank and EAT ranking takes time, but by doing nothing, you’ll never see change. So don’t give up, stay positive and if you need help, feel free to contact us to see what can be done!

Understanding ADA Compliance: In Regards to Website Accessibility

Understanding ADA Compliance: In Regards to Website Accessibility

Understanding ADA Compliance: In Regards to Website Accessibility

When the Americans with Disabilities Act was first passed, the majority of Americans thought that the scope of the ADA would be limited to creating an inclusive environment in the physical world. Not too many people thought that the digital world would later be included in ADA compliance at the time of its creation.

The core purpose of ADA, however, is to guarantee that every American has the same access to brick and mortar companies, restaurants, parks, and information, and that includes digital information.

So the big question is: does your website provide access and information to all who want it?

Do all businesses have to be ADA compliant?

When it comes to exemption, an incredibly small number of businesses are actually exempt from following ADA compliance. Companies that have less than 14 or fewer employees and/or companies that only operate twenty weeks out of the year are exempt. On top of that, religious organizations are exempt as well.

Does my website have to be ADA compliant?

Yes, under federal law, all websites fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design went into effect. Under this act, the DOJ mandates all websites under the private and public sectors to be accessible to all Americans facing visible and invisible disorders.

What does ADA compliant mean for websites?

While the DOJ standards for online accessibility currently lack a clear outline, a few court cases such as Gil V. Winn-Dixie help paint a picture of what is required by the DOJ. Lawsuits over website accessibility have actually increased quite a bit in recent years. In 2018, 200 lawsuits were filed over the lack of accessibility in America; this marks a 177% increase from 2017. It’s safe to say that this number will only continue to increase as more Americans are working from home.

How Do I Make My Website ADA Compliant?

There’s a lot of approaches that you can take to achieve ADA compliance. Thankfully, a pretty comprehensive list, known as WCAG, has been created so that companies can achieve ADA compliance. Let’s look into some of the requirements below:

  • Provide ALT text to any and all audio and video content.
  • Add transcripts and/or captions for all audio and video content…
  • double check that your content is well defined with appropriate headings and well-structured paragraphs that flow easily.
  • Make sure that each page on your site has clear and informative titles.
  • Have an easy to navigate sitemap structure.
  • Have a consistent navigation menu present on every page.
  • Ensure your text and background can pass a contrast test.
  • Eliminate or reduce background sounds to under 20 decibels.
  • Get rid of any and all pop-ups.
  • Ensure the website content has a high readability score if possible.

While this list does not account for all of the possible accommodations, it does provide you with a good starting point. It’s important to implement these as soon as possible, either by doing this yourself or by reaching out to a third party that specializes in website accessibility.

Take Advantage of Free Tools

There are plenty of tools that exist that can be used to check the level of your website accessibility. You can click here for a comprehensive list of tools, but be aware that not all of these are free. Out of all of the free options, two of the widely preferred tools you can use to check your accessibility are:

Wave

Wave is able to identify and reveal any WCAG issues that can keep a user from accessing needed information. By directly highlighting these issues, you can easily see and correct any needed changes. It will also show you a report breaking down the information by category.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is a great and easy to use Google Chrome plug-in that can quickly generate reports that show a variety of important information, including website accessibility. It’s important to note, however, that this plug-in only generates a report for whatever page you’re on, so you will need to generate a report for every page on your site to get a comprehensive picture of your website.

How much does it cost to make your website ADA compliant?

When it comes to website accessibility, the first step is obvious: ensuring your website is optimized and built in such a way that it’s easy to navigate. Whether you’re wanting someone to overhaul your site or simply wanting a new one, our team of web developers can help you achieve your goal and lay the groundwork for an ADA compliant website. Call RankMonsters at 405-605-8218 or contact us online for a ADA Compliant website quote!

The Impact Of Google My Business Posts In 2021

The Impact Of Google My Business Posts In 2021

The Impact Of Google My Business Posts In 2021

 

The world of marketing within Google is constantly evolving to provide the highest quality content for those looking for solutions to their problem and or trying to find a particular service. What worked last week may not have the same impact and what didn’t work so well last week may now be the go-to technique.

This is why it’s so important to get your message and content out in front of searchers at the right time and place. Google My Business is one of the ways Google gets that content out there. It’s an amazing tool, but are you using it to optimize your outreach?

 

What Is a Google My Business Post?

 

A Google My Business (GMB) post is a social post that will appear in local searches and on Google Maps. It should contain a photo, a few sentences explaining a service you provide, and end with a strong call to action. In the example above, you will see a “Learn More” button at the bottom of the post that will direct potential customers to a landing page on your website that will help answer their questions or provide an opportunity for a conversion. Other options include “Get Directions” or “Call Now” buttons.

These posts stay visible for seven days after posting, after which Google will view it as old content and not feature it. This is why it’s important to post a new listing every week and keep your GMB profile up to date at all times (not just your posts, but also your hours, address and contact info).

Doing all of this tells Google and your customers that your information is up to date and can be trusted. But not only does this show Google that you can be trusted; it also opens the door to local SEO.

Google My Business & Local SEO

When it comes to creating an image for your local business, you’re gonna need to invest in some local SEO. That’s the great thing about Google My Business: Google has created a simple and clean process for doing just that.

By doing everything mentioned above you create for yourself a local online image without having to pour time and money into marketing and branding.

 

If you look at the screenshot above you can use GMB postings to boost your online visbility. By simply taking care of your GMB profile, your company can pop up whenever someone is looking for a service you provide.

Competition

If you’re worried about competition on Google My Business, then I’ve got some great news: you may not have much.

 

As you can see, 40.4% of businesses are failing to utilize their GMB profile. 42.1% have made at least one post, and then we have 17.5% of companies that are keeping up with their profile on a regular basis. This data, courtesy of MOZ, shows it may be easier to outrank your competitors than you think.

Google’s Local 3-Pack

Another great perk to taking care of your GMB profile is that you can end up in Google’s Local 3-Pack. Not sure what that means? Well, when you end up searching for a particular item or service, Google will compile three businesses in your immediate area that provide just what you need, as shown below.

Google My Business

 

The great thing about this is that you don’t have to pour your money into paid advertising. The Local 3-Pack allows you to pop up above Google’s top ten ranking sites right beneath the paid ads.

In Summary

Every business owner wants to provide their services to as many people as they can, whether we are talking about the latest addition to your menu, the newest fashion trend, or providing medical or legal services to your local community. GMB posts are a great way to increase local visibility and boost your organic traffic.

When people respond positively to your post, it shows Google that you have relevant content that engages users. Over time, this technique, along with solid SEO practices, can allow your company to climb the Google rankings!

How RankMonsters Can Help

If you’re looking for help when it comes to local SEO or simply need help laying out an SEO strategy, RankMonsters can help with all of your SEO needs. Reach out today to learn more about our local citation services. Give us a call at 405.605.8218! We’d love to meet with you.

Identifying the Vulnerabilities Within Your Non-Profit

Identifying the Vulnerabilities Within Your Non-Profit

Identifying the Vulnerabilities Within Your Non-Profit

Whether your non-profit is established or just starting out, it’s incredibly important to keep an eye on any and all vulnerabilities. When you are aware of the vulnerabilities within your company, you can stay ahead of any future problems. Being business-aware can only lead to growth and security. It’s not fun or easy fixing problem after problem, but it is necessary if you want your non-profit to thrive. Not every non-profit is the same, but each one share many of the same vulnerabilities. So lets dive into identifying the vulnerabilities within your non-profit!

Vulnerability One: Yourself

Let’s face it: The biggest vulnerbility to your non-profit is yourself. Our biggest enemy is almost always ourselves. There is likely something within your own company’s practices that you can’t stand. For example, using Microsoft Word over Google Docs. Your team prefers to use Google Docs, but you avoid it like the plague because you haven’t used it before. It wouldn’t be hard to learn the process, but you simply can’t do it right now because you have other pressing matters. By setting some time aside and using Google Docs, you could streamline sharing documents and processes with your team. This applies to all aspects of your business. While your time is precious, you want to make sure you’re also setting aside time to improve your interactions with your team members.

Vulnerability Two: Your Board

If your board is anything like you, then they are incredibly passionate about your cause. That’s a great thing, but without proper communication, a lot of problems can quickly surface. If as the director you don’t properly and clearly define everyone’s roles within your non-profit, your board members may try to take on more of a leadership role then you may like. This can lead to them making decisions that may not align with the plans you have envisioned but have failed to communicate clearly. It’s a best practice to be very clear and communicate everything going on so that you all are on the same page.

Vulnerability Three: Your Employees

There are more potential vulnerabilities between you and your employees than you may realize. Not just silent issues like allegations of wrongful termination or payroll discrepancies, but your intellectual property can also be at risk, as well as your income source, such as your customers and/or donors. That’s why it’s important to have non-competition contracts and contracts that protect all aspects of your business. Let’s also look at this in another dynamic: the duties of your employees. If you don’t properly define what you expect from your employees, then how can you expect anything other than subpar results? This further reinforces the idea that communication is key in all aspects of your non-profit.

Vulnerability Four: Your Competition

The competition will always be an issue you face. Nothing you do will make this problem go away. It boils down to three questions you need to ask yourself: are you keeping an eye on them, are you watching the trends, and what your competitors are doing?

A great example could be comparing Blockbuster to Netflix. If Blockbuster had adapted to what Netflix was doing, they could still be growing; instead, they have one location left. With their lack of response, Netflix grew and became what Blockbuster could have been. Now you most likely aren’t competing with a company as formidable as Netflix, but it’s still important to keep your cards close to your chest and an eye on your competitors.

Vulnerability Five: The Economy

When the economy collapses, so does revenue. There is no better time than now to discuss this vulnerability. COVID-19 has changed the way we collect revenue and go about doing our work. It most likely has impacted the number of donations you receive, especially if those donors depend on the oil industry. We are facing an oil collapse like never seen before; just this month oil prices dropped below zero in a historic low dwarfing the 1986 oil collapse. Such events like these can really throw a wrench in your plans. That’s why it’s so important to understand your donors. After all, their income is your revenue. You also want to make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket so that when an industry your donor is in sees a decline, you have donors in other thriving industries to offset that loss.

Vulnerability Six: Big Brother

The last thing you ever want to hear is “someone saying they’re with the government is here” so let’s make sure that doesn’t happen, and that if it does, all your t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted! It’s important to know how the government can harm your non-profit. Regulations and funding can cause critical vulnerabilities, so make sure you stay on top of your compliance with big brother.

Vulnerability Seven: Your Customers

You may not have thought about this being a potential vulnerability, but believe it. For example, a group of customers could grow angry with an aspect of your business and try to bring legal action against you. That’s why it’s so important to stay in governmental compliance. It also wouldn’t hurt to make sure you have proper legal protections in place.

Vulnerability Eight: Your Vendor

Next up on this list of vulnerabilities are your vendors. Let’s imagine you donate shoes to children all over the world and, in order to get these shoes, you work with multiple vendors. If one or more can’t provide what you need on time, this can seriously slow down the donation process and create many headaches. It’s important that you and your vendors enter into a legally binding contract so that they can be held responsible for any breaches of contract, maintaining your reputation for reliability.

Vulnerability Nine: Your Reputation

Reputation is everything. Without that, your word is meaningless; in the worst case scenario, you can end up being blacklisted in your community. A great example of the importance of reputation management are online reviews. Word of mouth can make or break you. That’s why it’s important to have a process in place to get those reviews. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have people that love what you do, so it’s important to ask them to support you through giving your non-profit a review and providing testimony on how you had a positive impact in their life. In addition, when you receive negative reviews, always try to reply to them within a 48 hours period. This shows both your donors and potential customers that you take negative reviews seriously and do your due diligence to fix the problem.

Now You Know

Now that you can identifying the vulnerabilities within your non-profit , you can brainstorm new policies with your board. If you were already ahead of the game when it came to these issues, then kudos, you’re doing great! The team of business lawyers at Davis Business Law hopes that this has helped you see aspects of your non-profit that can be improved and has given you ideas on what should be implemented during the creation of your non-profit organization.