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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.

Why Your Organization Should Work with a Google Certified Partner

Why Your Organization Should Work with a Google Certified Partner

Google Adwords is a great way to raise awareness for your organization, but it can be hard to get the most out of online advertising unless you have years of experience. Because of this, many organizations trust online advertising agencies to manage their Adwords accounts. How do you know you’re working with an agency that can bring you results?

 

One option is to work with a Google Certified Partner. Certified Partners are agencies that have met requirements set by Google to ensure the quality of their services and results. There are several reasons you may want to consider working with a Certified Partner agency for your online advertising.

What Is an Adwords Certified Partner?

Google Certified Partner agency must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have at least one account manager who has passed two or more Google Certification exams.
  • They need to have managed a minimum Adwords spend of $10,000 over the last 90 days.
  • They must have actively managed campaigns for 60 out of the last 90 days.

This ensures that your Adwords agency is experienced and knowledgeable about managing Adwords accounts.

In addition, Google also monitors the accounts of Certified Partners to ensure they meet the best practices for Adwords accounts. If an agency doesn’t follow these best practices, their certification can be revoked. So you know a certified agency follows them. These best practices ensure you get a good return on your advertising budget and that your ads are managed properly.

Certified Partners Have a Wide Knowledge Base

With knowledge of best practices, Google Certified Partner agencies are also well-versed in all the features and tools Adwords offers to boost campaign performance. This includes the use of features and techniques; like negative keywords, ad extensions, keyword match types, ad testing, and ad scheduling.

Along with how to use these tools, Certified Partners also understand when (and when not) to use them. For example, nonprofit clients who advertise through the Google Adwords Grant won’t need to use negative keywords or match types the same way a regular business will. Knowing the differences between account types and how those differences affect your campaign needs is important, and Certified Partners bring that experience from the start.

Certification Assures Customer Service

When an agency applies to become a Google Certified Partner, they submit all of their account data to Google for review. Only agencies with high overall performance and quality metrics are allowed to become Certified Partners. Some of the metrics Google reviews are:

  • Account-level Quality Scores  Quality Score is a metric designed by Google to measure the overall performance of ads and keywords. Higher quality scores earn advertisements lower costs per click (CPC) and better visibility. Google reviews the quality scores of all accounts an agency manages when reviewing them for Certified Partner status.
  • Conversion Rates – For accounts with goals and conversions set up, Google monitors conversion rates to judge the quality of traffic an agency sends to their clients’ sites. Higher conversion rates indicate higher quality and better performance.
  • Client Retention – If an agency has high client churn or turnover, this can be an indicator they aren’t providing the service that clients want. Google looks at client retention rates to see how well an agency performs with clients overall.

Get Access to New Features

Another benefit of working with a Certified Partner agency is they have access to beta features which non-certified agencies cannot use. Sometimes these beta features are released to Certified Partners more than a year before they are released to the general public.

Google also monitors Certified Partner accounts using these tools and features to ensure they are used to maximize ROI and performance. By monitoring the ways Certified Partners test and use tools; Google gets data on how to improve their offerings and ensures their partner agencies are helping clients succeed.

When you work with a Certified Partner agency, your account gets access to all of these beta features as well. That means you won’t be left behind by competitors who have access to these new tools. You’ll get a concrete advantage over the competitors who don’t.

Receive Help Directly from Google

Once a Certified Partner agency reaches a certain total account spend, they get access to their own Google Representatives who can help resolve issues and provide answers to questions. This means you won’t have to wait in line to hear back from Google when you have a problem – your agency can simply contact their Google Rep and get answers fast.

In addition, Google gives Certified Partners access to training and tools that other Adwords customers don’t receive. You will find that in many cases Google Reps even help Certified Partner agencies with optimization advice and tips to ensure accounts are performing at their best. Google invests heavily in ensuring Certified Partners provide the best Adwords experience possible. This in turn helps the agencies bring in more clients and provide great service.

Work with a Certified Partner Agency Today

If you want to ensure your online advertising succeeds, give RankMonsters a call. As a Google Certified Partner, we have the experience, tools, and knowledge to create and manage a successful online advertising campaign. Call (405) 605-8218 today, or visit us on Facebook to get more tips for succeeding online.

How to Increase Site Visibility in the New Year

How to Increase Site Visibility in the New Year

A new year is right around the corner, and you probably want to increase your business’s revenue over the next 12 months. One of the best ways to grow your sales is to improve your presence online. GE Capital found in a study that 81% of consumers research products and services online before buying. If your website doesn’t show up in their searches, they won’t consider your business.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to improve your website’s visibility and get more notice, and more sales, from your website. They make take some time and some effort to do, but you’ll definitely see the benefit if you do them right. So let’s learn how to increase site visibility in the New Year.

 

 

Build Out Your Site – More Pages, More Content

One of the best ways to get more visibility online is to make sure your site is worth visiting in the first place. Building out your site with more content is a great way to ensure your site is meeting the needs and desires of customers.

Instead of a website with a single page, break down your site into multiple pages with their own topic or theme. For instance, your website’s home page should be a general introduction to your business, while your “About” page can be a more detailed history of you or your work. Other good ideas are product pages for the different products or services you offer; a contact information page that includes a map of your location; or a page that gives the answers to frequently-asked customer questions.

In general, the more pages and the more content your site has, the better it will rank on Google and other search engines. Note that you shouldn’t create irrelevant or meaningless content – only create new pages or new text when you have something real to say. If you want some ideas on how to create deep, meaningful content for your site, check out our blog post on content creation.

Start Blogging More

Along with adding information on new pages, another way to create content and engage your customers is through blogging. You might think of a blog as an online journal, but it’s much more. Used properly, blogs are a great way to increase your online visibility and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

Unfortunately for new bloggers, there is a lot of conflicting information on the web about what makes a blog good versus bad. Information about word count, image placement, posting frequency, and post structure can frustrate even seasoned writers. However, all blogging advice centers on one major point: your blogs have to be useful to readers.

A good blog post either answers a question or presents new or useful information about your business to the reader. For instance, a service company like a roofer or plumber might blog about new products or even make posts about specific projects. A retailer might do reviews of their goods or talk about new product releases. A craft store could feature projects they made with their own products. Every niche has an interesting way to feature the business – you just have to find yours and explore it, then write it up for others to see and share.

Your ultimate goal with your blog should be to add value. This refers to both adding value to your site and adding value to your readers. Create something valuable and it will have a much higher chance of achieving visibility and success.

Engage with Followers & Customers

Social media has changed the way websites do business. It’s not enough to offer a good product. You also have to be responsive to people talking to you, or about you, online. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus are great ways to interact with your customers. However, you do have to tread lightly.

Your first goal should be to create profiles or pages on social media networks and build your profiles. Add pictures, company information, and other details until your profile is not just complete but comprehensive and attractive.

Once you’ve built your profiles, it’s time to start engaging with customers. The best way to do this is to cultivate a presence on social media profiles by using them regularly. Post your blog posts and any other relevant content to your Facebook, Twitter, and other profiles. Don’t use them as personal spaces – keep your posts tied to your business as much as possible.

Another way to build interactions with customers on social media is to run promotions or contests through these profiles. You’ve probably seen business offering gift cards or special deals for people who like their posts or follow them on Twitter or Facebook. There’s a reason these promotions are common – they work. Every time you get your audience to engage with you online, you build it out a little bigger. Over time (and with plenty of regular curation) you’ll find yourself with a large and attentive audience.

Get Reviews

Besides social media profiles, online listing sites like Yelp, Google Maps, Foursquare and Angie’s List are one of the largest ways customers get information about companies online. These sites let you build your own profiles, but they also collect info from customers in the form of reviews. More importantly, though, these review scores then show up on search result pages on Google and Bing. A business with lots of four- and five-star reviews looks much more trustworthy than one with one-star reviews or no reviews at all.

The first step to getting reviews online is to build out your local citation profiles. There are plenty of sites that offer reviews for businesses. Some of the biggest are the ones we already mentioned. Yelp, Google Google My Business, and Angie’s List are big players, as are directory sites like Yellowpages.com. You’ll need to claim your business profile and build it out much the same way as you did your social media profiles before. You can learn more about local SEO and profiles in our blog post about local SEO and reviews.

Getting reviews from customers can be tougher, especially if you’re in a competitive niche. It helps to link your local profiles to your main site so that customers know where to go to leave you a review. You can also send out requests to review your services to previous customers if you collect their emails or phone numbers during business.

One tactic to shy away from, however, is incentivizing reviews. Unlike promotions on social media, offering incentives (like coupons or discounts) in exchange for a review is against the terms of service for some sites. If you do want to offer review incentives, make sure you read over the TOS carefully and ensure you’re not doing something that could land you in hot water.

Make Sure Your Site is Search-Engine Friendly

Even with all the social presence and content in the world, some sites still won’t rank well online. That’s because they are set up in a way that search engines have trouble reading them or fitting them into their algorithms. If you want your site to rank well, you have to set it up properly from a technical standpoint.

We often call this process “On-site Search Engine Optimization.” By optimizing your site for search engines, you make it more likely that the engine’s algorithms can index it properly. The search engine can then direct more queries to your site, resulting in more traffic for you.

On-site SEO is a big field, and most of it is pretty technical. However, there are some things that even a layperson can handle so long as they have access to their website’s back end. These things include:

  • Title tags under 65 characters for every page, preferably with a keyword or key phrase included.
  • Meta descriptions under 155 characters for every page, preferably with a keyword or key phrase included.
  • The use of heading (H1, H2, etc) tags on your pages in descending order.
  • Worthwhile content on every page, preferably at least 400 words.
  • Title tags and alt tags on every image on your site.
  • A variety of your important keywords in your content – but don’t overdo it!

Another important part of making your site search-engine friendly is optimizing it for mobile visitors alongside desktop traffic. To learn more about how to make your site mobile-capable, read our recent blog post about mobile websites.

Research Your Competitors

Becoming more visible online doesn’t just mean doing well – it often means doing better than your competition. To secure the top spots on search engines and get more visitors to your site, you should take a look at what your competitors are doing and then do your best to beat them at their own game.

There are plenty of tools and sites that let you snoop on your competition to see their online strategies. For instance, the Open Site Explorer is a great free tool that allows you to get the lowdown on some of your competitors’ activities including where they get links from and how they structure their pages.

You’ll also want to look at other factors like the amount of information they put on their site so you know what customers are responding to. Pricing details, product information, and other services are all areas to pay attention to. Don’t restructure your whole site to mirror your rivals, but keep an eye on what works for them to get an idea of what might work for you.

Put Users Ahead of Search Engines

Above all else, it’s important to make your site usable for the people that matter – your customers. Many business owners get caught up in designing a site to compete in search engine results without thinking about how people will actually use it. This is a sure road to problems. Your top goal should be making a site that is easy to navigate and full of useful, easy-to-understand information.

Now You Can Increase Site Visibility!

Sound like a lot of work? You’re not wrong. That said, you don’t have to do it all yourself. A skilled SEO partner like RankMonsters can perform the vast majority of this work on your behalf, letting you concentrate on what you do best – running your business. We’ve helped dozens of Oklahoma businesses achieve more visibility and more revenue from their websites. Why not make your site the next one?

 

Did Penguin 3.0 Crash Your Rankings?

Did Penguin 3.0 Crash Your Rankings?

Where did my website go?

Many business owners and webmasters asked themselves this question late last week. On Friday, October 17th, Google issued an update to it’s infamous Penguin ranking algorithm. This update, Penguin 3.0, has caused both ranking gains and losses for websites in Google search results. If your website used to rank on Page 1 and now ranks on Page 8 (or vice versa). You might have been hit by Penguin.

But this begs the question – what is Penguin, and how does it decide which websites to praise and which ones to punish?

What Is Google Penguin?

Google runs on algorithms. These computer programs work together. Using defined sets of rules and criteria, to filter through the millions of websites on the Internet. Google’s many algorithms include Panda, an algorithm designed to exclude poor content from search results; Hummingbird, which lets Google interpret search queries better; and Penguin.

In theory, Penguin is designed to help filter low-quality websites from search results. It operates by looking at a site’s link profile. The links coming from across the web back to that site. If the link profile looks “spammy” to Penguin, it penalizes the site in search results while simultaneously promoting sites with “clean” link profiles. Unfortunately, innocent or older sites can also get caught in the algorithm.

How Many People Were Affected By This?

This update marks the first major change to the Penguin algorithm since October 4, 2013. When Google released a refresh of the algorithm which they called Penguin 2.1. That last refresh affected rankings for somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of all searches on Google. So far, Penguin 3.0 is looking to be broader in scope than previous versions.

Did Penguin Affect Me?

The biggest problem with Penguin, at least to webmasters, is that it doesn’t give websites any warning before it strikes. One day your website is comfortably ranking on the first page for some of your key terms, and the next it’s simply gone. Many website owners don’t realize they’ve been hit by Penguin  until weeks later. Sometimes they never realize at all.

There are a few ways to tell if Penguin has affected your site. The first is simply to check your search rankings. Google’s own Webmaster Tools is a good way to keep track of your average search engine rank, though you should keep in mind that it’s just an average. If your site fluctuates between ranking in position 1 and position 10, your average rank will be 5.

However, if your average rankings and impressions in Webmaster Tools have taken a hit since October 17th, Penguin is probably to blame. As an alternative method, you can also check how much traffic you’re receiving from search engines and compare it to pre-Penguin levels. If your traffic has dropped off significantly, you may have been hit.

What Can I Do to Recover?

Penguin works on a simple principle: if a website has a link profile that looks to be spammy or unnatural – that is, made up mostly of links that were bought instead of earned. That website will be penalized. That means the only real way to gain your rankings back after being hit by Penguin is to clean up your link profile and remove links that Penguin finds suspicious.

What Web Tool Should I Be Using?

There are a few different tools you can use to view the list of sites linking to you. The one tool most website owners should probably use is Webmaster Tools. For a detailed overview of how to clean up your link profile and get your site back on Penguin’s good side, take a look at our blog post on how to clean up your links.

Unfortunately for many webmasters punished by Penguin, cleaning up your links isn’t an instant solution. The Penguin algorithm is updated manually by Google. So the changes in your link profile may not impact your rankings in Google search results until the algorithm updates again. Since Penguin only updates every few months at best, and over a year in this case, it’s very important that you get your links as clean as possible so you aren’t waiting for a long time to recover from negative links.

How Can I Protect Myself from Penguin in the Future?

One thing is for sure: Penguin 3.0 will not be the last Penguin update to shake up the search results. Whether you were hit by this latest update or you simply want to protect your website’s current rankings from future updates. You should do what you can to clean up your link profile and make sure Penguin won’t target you.

Whats Going To Be My Strategy?

Once you’ve cleaned up your link profile, you should think about your strategy for earning links online and getting better rankings. If you’ve ever paid to have your site listed in a directory or placed in a blog post, now is the time to stop those activities. Even if your site didn’t get punished this time. There’s no guarantee it won’t get caught in Penguin’s next iteration.

Paid Links Equal Bad Links

Keep in mind that not every paid link is a bad link. Paid links on high-quality sites or respectable directories for your business can be valuable. A good rule of thumb is, if you’re paying for more links than you’re earning naturally, you should retool your activities. You should never pay for a link with the sole goal of earning rankings. Only use paid links when they offer actual value to your site or the one linking to you.

Get Honest Results

If you are paying money to someone who promises thousands of links in just days or weeks. You should stop immediately. Your link-building strategy should focus on earning high-quality links from other authoritative sites. The best way to do that? Do something on your site that other people want to link to and share it with those people.

Focus On Quality Work

Many small businesses find success in running promotions on their site. While bigger businesses may also get lots of links by releasing white papers or original research about their industry. Whatever your strategy, it should be focused on creating good, high-quality content, not just getting links.

Want to learn more about getting better results and higher rankings for your website? Contact us today at RankMonsters! We’re a local Internet marketing agency, and we specialize in helping business owners get more performance and more revenue out of their websites. Call us today at (405) 605-8218 or check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for more insight and tips!

Google’s Penguin Changes SEO – Again

Google’s Penguin Changes SEO – Again

SEO is a constantly changing game whether its google updates or keeping up with mobile use. Google, Bing, and other search engines are always updating the way they find and rank search results, which means that keeping a website consistently ranked high is a never-ending challenge. A perfect example of this is the recent change Google implemented in their search algorithm, Penguin 2.0. Lets see how Google’s Penguin Changes SEO- again. 

 

What Is Google Penguin?

For those unaware, the original Google Penguin was launched in April of 2012. Google Penguin was aimed at reducing the search engine rank of websites that used so-called “black hat” link building techniques like link spamming and keyword stuffing. Today these techniques add no value to a website’s SEO campaign. Spamming and keyword stuffing can easily result in your page being banned from Google’s search results entirely.

How Does Google Penguin 2.0 Change SEO

Penguin 2.0 goes even deer into targeting these black-hat techniques, and many sites have seen resulting dips in their search rankings and traffic. A number of the companies being affected heavily are older web properties with outdated links still pointing to their pages. However, companies with a wide range of “clustered” pages have also seen reduced rankings, as Penguin 2.0 has also reduced the search visibility of clustered URLs.

Content Creation

What does this mean for you, the page owner? In short, quality content creation is more important than ever. Google’s algorithm is doing its best to rank a variety of different websites that it feels have high-quality, user-friendly content. This is great news for the consumers, but it could be difficult for businesses that have websites without much content.

The New SEO Strategy

The best strategy here is to start building out your content pages and making them worth reading. It’s important to have a cohesive content strategy that positions your site as an authority in the field. To create content that is designed around providing a good user experience. Also, if you have a lot of older, unnatural link assets that point back to your website, even deep content pages. It’s worth working to manually remove and/or disavow those links.

How RankMonsters Can Help

At RankMonsters, we’re dedicated to improving your website’s SEO and page rank. Our monsters work as an extension of your team to provide you with high-quality content for your own website and a diverse and healthy link building profile. If you want to know more about what we can do for your website, contact us today.