There are so many great opportunities for nonprofits regarding Google Ad Grants, but things like SEO and content strategy must be considered to get the most out of this powerful nonprofit program.
Google Ad Grants is a program from Google that offers $10,000 in in-kind Google search advertising for eligible nonprofits with valid charity status as a 501c3. That roughly equates to up to $120,000 yearly in free search advertising for qualifying nonprofits. Before you can start the application process, your qualifying nonprofit must first seek validation as a verified nonprofit from a third party called TechSoup. After receiving TechSoup validation, you can apply for the Google Grant.
Now, with your nonprofits account set up, you might be wondering where to go from here to create the best, high-converting Google Ad campaigns. If you want to make Google Ad Grants work better for you, focus your ad groups, and optimize your Google Ad Grants account, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Always start with SEO.
Good SEO is crucial to an effective pay-per-click (PPC) strategy. How you write your website page content from an on-page SEO optimization standpoint is critical. Google wants to know if your ads are relevant to the content on your website. With poor SEO, Google cannot determine relevancy and won’t serve your ads as frequently. If you don’t do this correctly, your SEO results will be subpar, and so will your keyword planner—a tool that helps you research keywords for your search campaign—in determining the relevant keywords to your page. Without an SEO-optimized page and high-quality website for your ads to lead to, you will simply not rank for the best keywords in the Google Ads auction, nor will you get a high-quality score on your keywords, which means you will pay a higher click-through-rate (CTR).
It’s imperative to do proper keyword research. If you don’t have advanced SEO tools like Moz, SEMrush, or Ahrefs, you can use Google’s free Keyword Planner tool. Research topics and keywords relevant to your mission—and negative keywords you want to avoid—and distill those into the keywords with the highest search volume and potentially the lowest competition. Once you identify those keywords, you can write updated, SEO-optimized content on your website. These keywords will be the blueprint for your on-site SEO copy. Remember, the keywords you used from your research will also be the keywords in the ad copy headline of your Google Ad Grants ads and the keywords you will bid on for your Google Ad Grants.
Your landing pages need to also be scannable by Google. If a page is behind a user log-in, redirects to another page, or can not be otherwise scanned, Google won’t know if the ad is relevant to the content.
SEO also means making the website experience best for your website visitors. Long page load times, poor image quality, or missing accessibility features may result in someone clicking on your ad, getting impatient, and bouncing off the page. Google does not like that. Your website does not have to be perfect, but if it doesn’t meet a quality standard set by Google, they will completely deny your Google Ad Grants application outright.
Focus on your content marketing strategy.
If you don’t have a focused idea around the copy on your website, it can turn into a jumbled mess of topics and keywords without you even knowing it. Your website copy might confuse your audience or even turn them away. Writing about relevant things to your audience is key, along with topics and keywords you want to appear for in Google searches.
>> Leave your content strategy to our Google Ad Grants team. We aim to get your promotable content to appear on the first search results pages. Contact us to get started.
Often, a nonprofit organization will quickly whip up a website and apply for Google Ad Grants. But it’s always better to take the time to do something right from the start instead of getting something done quickly and incorrectly. The ladder wastes more time and money as you’ll have to return to fix the mistakes.
The Google Ad Grants program has many rules on policy and compliance, such as specific topics and keywords you can’t use. At JB Media, we have worked with many nonprofits to change or address those issues before they can even apply, which results in significant changes to the copy on the landing pages they wish to use for specific search ads and the entire website.
Another common problem we run into is a website that is extremely bare in terms of content. If you want to appear in Google searches for many different keywords that aren’t even used on a single page on your website, you simply can’t.
Don’t forget about data.
You have to have Google Analytics set up correctly on your website. Google is a data-driven machine. They push Google Ad Grants recipients to use a bidding strategy dependent on Google Analytics. The search engine is constantly testing and making changes to make ad campaigns relevant to their end users. Following best practices and ensuring your Google Analytics data is correctly reporting is a win-win.
>> Setting up and configuring Google Analytics is a challenge for most. That’s why this service is part of our Google Ad Grants package! Learn more and get in touch.
Conversion tracking is also essential to think about when it comes to your data. Good page content should have an excellent call to action (CTA). Tell the user what to do, and don’t assume they will scroll to the bottom of the page or search the website for their next step. We’ve seen multiple clients state they have a place to sign up for their newsletter or product, but the CTA button is in the footer or requires multiple additional clicks to find. Make the user experience simple for your audience!
>> Our digital marketing team has helped hundreds of nonprofits successfully navigate the application process for Google Ad Grants and maximize the use of their Google Ad campaigns to reach new audiences and achieve their goals for growth. Get in touch with us.
It’s best to track as many necessary conversions as possible. Doing so will allow you to leverage more advanced tactics like an automated bidding strategy. Your account will simply perform better when you track more meaningful conversions.
Some clients also get stuck on wanting their data to match their content rather than their data helping to provide insight for their content. You can’t improve low-quality or low-traffic keywords by throwing money at them. However, finding ways to implement solid and relevant keywords into existing content is the way to go.
Utilize everything the Google Ad Grants program and related tools have to offer.
Don’t forget about using Google Ads’ other great features and apps, like Adwords, Tag Manager, assets, and ad extensions. Utilizing all the new features Google offers should lead to a better account optimization score.
There are also a ton of other goodies to check out that Google offers when you apply to Google for Nonprofits. They have great features for donation and fundraising campaigns for YouTube and Google Workspaces accounts—see if you qualify for those, too!
Building a robust Google Ad Grants strategy combines art and science. Crafting the wording, using unique keywords, and engaging ads is the art. Measuring the performance of these ads and the data Google gets from the website is the science. Well-crafted ads with bad data make for bad ads, and poorly crafted-ads with good data make for bad ads. But quality ads and quality data make for amazing ad performance.
Ready to create an amazing ad performance that brings in funds, helps recruit volunteers, and expands your nonprofit’s reach? Get in touch with our Google Ad Grant management team.