Following the best practice of Quality Score, which in essence, is better position for a lower CPC is key to any successful PPC campaign. This is especially true when it’s a Google Grants Account where advertisers are limited to the one-dollar CPC. As many of us in the industry know, the creation of very specific and tightly grouped keywords, Ad copy that is keyword-rich and a corresponding landing page which continues the keyword relevance, as well as visible SEO attributes, intelligent linking structures and most recently efficient page loading times all contribute to Quality Score.
The problem with this however, is that many of the cash-strained Nonprofits do not have the resources of a paid search marketing professional, nor do they know this best practice, which explains why many of the Google Grants that have been awarded in the past, have under-performed and been left untouched and forgotten. On the other side of the spectrum, those Nonprofits who have taken full advantage of this program, Google has been known to reward their efforts with an increase in the monthly Ad spend anywhere from $20k, to as much as $40k per month in appreciation for the success that they have achieved.
When evaluating a Google Grant, I often notice a trend in the missed opportunities that are preventing the Nonprofit to get the most out of the Grant. Many of problems go back to basic industry best practices and some lack a little of the “thinking outside the box” mentality. For example, many of the keywords that have been used are all very generic head search terms, and for most Nonprofits, the service offering and topics that they support are often the "Head Term" keywords that will most likely have a "high price tag", so the obvious solution to that problem goes into identifying the traditionally cheaper and more specific "long tail" keywords which are in essence less competitive and allow for higher position and more effective.
To continue the discussion on the importance of Quality Score, the writing of the Text Ad plays an important role in the “before the click” experience for the searcher. With that said, as a Google Grantee does have some technical issues to overcome with the Editorial police at Google. As with any Nonprofit organization which advertises their cause, it’s imperative for them to include the “call to action” of Please Donate. However, as many us know, the Google editorial process is rather strict and some nonprofits may have noticed some of their Text Ads keep getting denied due to the error message of "Solicitation Funds". This is due to the fact that your Ad most likely is saying something like "Help us by Donating Today!" Even though the message sounds genuine, Google sees this as a sensitive issue and can sometimes be misleading to the searcher.
If the solicitation of funds is promoted in ad text or occupies a significant portion of your site, the ad's landing page should clearly display tax-exempt status such as 501(c)(3) status in the United States, and should state whether the donations are tax-deductible in full or in part. Other countries need to have an equivalent status (must be a registered charity or not-for-profit organization).
So, the solution to help alleviate this issue is making sure the Landing Page states they are a 501c3 status in the US and that they are tax deductible. If not, then Google sees this as false advertising and will turn the ad off, regardless if you are a registered Grantee.
In Part III of Google Grants: Much more than Free Clicks for Nonprofits, I will dive into the importance using web analytics and "outside the box" ways to analyze and monetize success that goes beyond online.
So please check back next Monday for Part III of this article.