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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!

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.

Website Analytics Benchmarks

Website Analytics Benchmarks

When you’re diving into the sea of data that Google Analytics collects for your website, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or not understand what all of the metrics are telling you. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the more commonly used metrics, such as bounce rate, time on site, pageviews, conversions, and what the generally accepted website analytics benchmarks are for each, based on information provided by Google and by various SEO experts in the field today.

What is Bounce Rate?

Google defines a “bounce” as a single-page session on your website. That is, when a visitor follows a link to your website and leaves the website without visiting other pages. Your website’s bounce rate is simply the number of all single-page sessions (bounces) divided by the total number of all sessions on your website.

When viewing bounce rates, it’s important to keep your website’s goal in mind. If your goal is to sell a product or to get visitors to explore your website, then a high bounce rate is a major warning sign. However, if your website is geared to provide all the necessary information on a single page, a high bounce rate is probably a good sign.  It means they didn’t have to search your website or go to other pages to find what they needed; everything was in one place and your website is performing exactly as you want it to.

Bounce Rate Standards

Bounce rates don’t currently have an across the board standard, as each website has a different goal, and each goal has a different bounce rate. Also, contact us pages and blogs will typically have high bounce rates, as visitors are looking solely to interact with that page alone. Under the lens of a worldwide “average” bounce rate benchmark, anything over 50% is considered high and worth taking a look at, and anything between 20-50% is considered low. Anything under 20% is likely an error. Again, these are worldwide standards. If a website is over 50% bounce rate, it doesn’t mean the website is performing poorly. You simply need to then look at the purpose of the website and if the bounce rate reflects it well. If anything, bounce rate is best used to give you information on visitors and their experience on your site.

Bounce Rate Benchmarks (per Google Analytics)

  • Landing pages with one call to action: 70-90%
  • Content Websites: 40-60%
  • Lead Generation: 30-50%
  • Blogs: 70-98%

The following are some helpful graphs that provide a closer look at bounce rate benchmarks by device, industry, channel, and device type (all graphs are courtesy of CXL).

 

Time on Site Benchmarks

Anything under 20 seconds is a major red flag, as that’s barely enough time for a visitor to look at the page, much less read its content. 40-50 seconds is a great start, as it means you have their attention. In general, anything over 2 minutes is the accepted standard for websites.

Pageview Benchmarks

Pageviews are much like bounce rates; there is no universal benchmark. Again, if your website is information based, a single pageview could mean your website is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do: provide everything in one place. For the sake of discussion, however, let’s look at the e-commerce industry standards:

  • 1.58 sessions/user
  • 5 avg. pages/session
  • 3 mins avg. session duration
  • 41.26% bounce rate

What does this tell us? For e-commerce, having a high number of pages/session is good, as you want people to browse their products. Having a sessions/user number that is higher than 1 is ideal, as it means visitors are returning to the site at least once. A 3 min average session duration is also good, as that’s a very good time for a user to spend on a website (remember, 40-50 seconds good and 2+ minutes is the benchmark). Lastly, a 41.26% bounce rate means over half of their visitors are going beyond their landing page and interacting with the site, which is exactly what you want to see.

Conversion Rate Benchmarks

The average conversion rate in Google Ads across all industries is 3.17% on the search network and 0.46% on the display network. Using the health & medical industry as an example, the 2018 averages were as follows:

  • 3.27% CTR for search ads
  • 0.59% CTR for the Google Display Network
  • 3.36% avg. conversion rate for search ads
  • 0.82% avg. conversion rate for the Google Display Network

Other Useful Information

  • In 2016, 42% of companies had hired a content strategist executive.
  • As of 2017, content marketing (i.e. blogs) gets 3x more leads than paid search advertising.

We hope this has been a helpful overview of some of Google Analytics’ most commonly used metrics and that you have gained a deeper understanding of what these metrics can tell you about not only the performance of your website, but also the visitor experience and engagement with your content.

RankMonsters is a Google Ad Grant Certified Professional Agency

RankMonsters is a Google Ad Grant Certified Professional Agency

Our team at RankMonsters is proud to announce that we’re now listed as Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals. As one of the first agencies to be included in this program, we’re very excited to continue our work with both the Ad Grants team at Google and with nonprofits around North America and beyond.

Google Ads Logo

The Goal Of A Certified Google  Ad Grant Professional

According to Google, the goal of the Certified Professionals Community is to “enhance the Ad Grants experience for professionals and Grantees alike.” Google recognizes that there are many challenges for nonprofits when it comes to understanding the Google Ads platform and managing the Ad Grant. Through this initiative, nonprofits will be able to find trustworthy agencies and partners to help apply for and manage their Ad Grants.

When you partner with RankMonsters to manage your Google Ad Grant, you get an experienced and engaged partner to help with every aspect of your Grant account. We’ve worked with nonprofits across the US and Canada of every type and size, from single-person organizations to large museums and libraries.

What We Bring To The Table

Here are a few of the benefits you can see when you work with RankMonsters to manage your Google Ad Grant:

  • Fast Approval – If you don’t have the Grant yet, our team can help you get approved quickly and without unnecessary delays.

     

  • Free Applications – We will help your nonprofit apply for the Google Ad Grant for no charge and with no obligation to use our management services.
  • Experienced Management – Our team has years of experience managing both standard Google Ads campaigns and Ad Grant accounts. We can recognize issues before they become problems, and help respond to and solve them fast.
  • Full Reporting – Every month you get a complete and detailed report of your campaign’s performance and progress.
  • No Strings – Our goal is to help your nonprofit fulfill its mission. Because of that, all of our services are straightforward and can be canceled at any time.

Let Us Help You Help Others

If you’re interested in partnering with us to apply for or manage your Google Ad Grant, simply fill out the form on our website or give us a call at (405) 605-8218 today. We’re ready to help your organization take the next steps toward online success!

Google Makes the Switch To HTTPS Mandatory

Google Makes the Switch To HTTPS Mandatory

Take a quick look at your website’s URL. Do you see a little green lock and the word “Secure” next to it? If you do, congratulations – you’re on the right side of technology history. But if you don’t see that lock, you need to be aware of Google’s latest mandatory change. Starting in July 2018, Google will begin marking all sites that aren’t using HTTPS as “Not Secure.” Additionally, you could start to be penalized in organic rankings. So what do you need to do?

A Quick Primer on HTTP and HTTPS

For many years, HTTP – or HyperText Transfer Protocol – was the default way information was transmitted across the web. HTTP allows computers to talk to each other and share information in a standardized way. Any time you enter an address in your web browser, click on a link, or submit your password to a website, you’re actually making an HTTP request to another computer somewhere in the world. The content of your request, and the response you get from the other computer, determines what comes up on your screen.

The problem with this system is that it wasn’t built with the modern Internet in mind. Today, people do all kind of sensitive and personal things online. This includes transferring money, writing confidential emails, managing medical information and more. But HTTP doesn’t keep any of this information private. It’s possible to extract sensitive data like passwords, credit card details, and other personal info when you communicate with a website over HTTP.

This is the problem HTTPS solves. HTTPS – HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure – uses encryption to scramble information transmitted between computers over the Internet. When a website uses HTTPS, you can feel safe entering your password, financial details, or other personal information. Everything is protected at all points between your computer and the one you’re communicating with.

Google is pushing for more sites to use HTTPS to protect both standard users and websites. Additionally, HTTPS benefits you by allowing you to use new features on your website, like allowing users to take and send pictures directly or requesting a user’s location.

How Can I Get HTTPS on My Website?

To have your website marked as Secure, the first step is to purchase and install an SSL certificiate. SSL certificates are available from a wide range of vendors and authorities. However, finding a trustworthy one and installing it on your site can be complicated. You might not have much experience managing your website’s hosting and services. In this case we recommend reaching out to your webmaster or hosting provider for help.

After you have the certificate, you’ll also need to redirect your old, non-HTTPS website to your new secure site. You can use 301 Redirects on your site to automatically send visitors to secure pages. Setting up 301 redirects isn’t too complicated, but it can be time-consuming, especially on larger sites. Again, a good webmaster can help you handle this task and ensure your site is set up correctly.

How We Can Help

Alternatively, you can work with a dedicated partner like RankMonsters. At our agency, we provide website hosting, SSL certificate setup, and website optimization packages for all types of businesses and organizations. This includes setting up HTTPS, making sure all your pages are redirected, and keeping your site up-to-date and optimized. We can help your site manage the transition from HTTP to HTTPS smoothly and professionally. Plus, we’re always happy to answer questions and to help you get results.

If you want to learn more about helping your website perform better, contact RankMonsters today at (405) 605-8218. Or, you can fill out our form to request more information. We’re looking forward to helping you succeed online, so contact us today!

How Nonprofits Can Use Google’s New Text Message Ad Extension

How Nonprofits Can Use Google’s New Text Message Ad Extension

Recently Google announced a new extension for Adwords customers to use in text ads: click-to-message. Much like the popular click-to-call extension, the message extension is a mobile-only ad extension that allows people to directly contact you through your Adwords advertisements; without needing to visit your website.

The possibilities for the new messaging extension are huge. Especially for nonprofits hoping to connect with younger, mobile-savvy audiences. What makes this new extension so special? Keep reading to find out.

What Is the Message Extension?

The new click-to-message extension is one of many ad extensions that users can add to their text ads on Google’s Adwords advertising platform. There are several types of ad extensions. Including ones that add your business address to your ad or display multiple links to your site. However, they all have the same goal. Get more people to click on your ad.

The message extension works similarly to Google’s call extension. Underneath your ad will be an option to send a text message to get in touch with someone at your business. When a user clicks on this option, they will automatically be taken to their messaging app. Where they can send you a text as usual.

Organizations using the message extension also have the opportunity to write a “suggested” text for people who click on their ad. This text will automatically appear in the text entry field when the message app opens. Though users will be free to edit it as they wish. This suggested text can give you a good way to connect with potential clients before the conversation even begins by anticipating their needs, and focusing your message around them.

Why Is the Message Extension Good for Nonprofits?

Nonprofits stand in a position to make especially good use of the message extension. Some of the biggest ways the message extension benefits nonprofit organizations are:

Audience Reach

One of the biggest benefits of this extension is how it allows nonprofits to connect to a younger mobile-focused audience. For instance, a nonprofit pregnancy center focused on helping women in crisis pregnancies can use this extension to connect easily with teens and younger women, who are more likely to use a smartphone instead of a computer or laptop.

Convenience

Another benefit of this extension is convenience. With a call extension, you need to make sure someone is available to answer calls and talk to clients. In contrast, text messaging allows one person to handle several client conversations at once, and to respond to messages as they come in without worrying about putting people on hold.

Privacy

Text messages are also beneficial because many people are more comfortable with the relatively private and removed nature of text messages versus more intimate phone conversations. For clients requesting services or help from your organization, texting might be a more private and comfortable way for them to communicate.

Cost

Like all of Google’s ad extensions, the message extension doesn’t have any additional cost beyond a regular Adwords ad. That means if you’re already paying for Adwords – or if you make use of a Google Grant to get free advertising on the platform. You won’t see any additional costs from making use of this new feature.

Record Keeping

Finally, text messages have the benefit of creating an immediate record of all information in a conversation. With phone calls you have to be sure to have good record-keeping practices in place, but texts allow you to refer back to earlier messages easily. That means you can focus on the conversation itself rather than on taking notes.

How To Set Up the Message Extension

If you’re interested in setting up message extensions in your Adwords account, simply follow the steps outlined in Google’s Adwords Support Pages. If you need additional help or advice in setting up your message extension, or you don’t have an Adwords account yet, you can also contact us for help.

  • The phone number used for receiving text messages from clients must connect to your business or organization or to a representative of your organization. You can’t direct text messages to a third party or external service.
  • You must respond in a timely and appropriate manner – no excessive delays. Also, once someone texts you, that doesn’t give you license to send them promotional or unrelated text messages afterward.
  • Finally, you aren’t allowed to ask for any financial information or any government-issued identification data in text messages. If you want to take donations or get detailed data about your clients, you’ll need to talk over the phone or set up a secure system on your website.

Learn More About Nonprofit Advertising

If you want to use Adwords and other online advertising to help your organization succeed online, contact RankMonsters today. We specialize in working with 501(c)(3) organizations who want to reach more customers and clients online. Contact us today to learn about how your organization can make use of Adwords and qualify for a grant worth $10,000 per month in free advertising from Google.