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Why Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Search Engine Optimization

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Why Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Search Engine Optimization

Every company needs a strong marketing strategy — even nonprofits.

However, most nonprofits haven’t considered investing in search engine optimization (SEO), even though it can have one of the highest returns on investment.

SEO, specifically for nonprofits, is the process of optimizing your website to increase organic visibility when people search for topics like education, fundraising opportunities, volunteer opportunities, or other aspects that promote your mission.

Let’s dive into what SEO is, how it works, and SEO best practices for nonprofits.

What is SEO?

SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is the process of driving users to your site from search engines organically. This means you aren’t paying for ads, using social media, or placing sponsored content to attract new users.

The goal of SEO is to help your site rank as high as possible for target keywords and phrases relevant to your website and mission.

For example, if your nonprofit is geared towards wildlife conservation, you would want to rank high organically for terms related to wildlife conservation. The higher your website or pages rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs), the more likely users will see it and click on it. Studies have shown that the higher you rank, the higher the average click-through-rate (CTR) is.

If you’d like a full rundown on SEO, take a look at The Ultimate Guide to SEO in 2022.

How does SEO work?

Why Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Search Engine Optimization

There are hundreds of factors that Google and other search engines take into account when ranking your site or content. These factors come from the three different pillars of SEO which are the following:

  • Technical optimization
  • On-page optimization
  • Off-page optimization

Search engines are powered by people when they have a query and search for answers. Search engines use algorithms that decide what content and websites best fit the answer for the query. There are three steps that search engines take when assessing a site: crawling the site, indexing the site, and lastly, ranking the site.

Crawling, also known as the discovery stage, occurs first, then search engines decide if the pages should be indexed or shared on the search engine result pages and available for users to see and find. Lastly, the algorithm ranks the content in the search results, which is how users find your website or web page.

SEO for Nonprofits

So why should nonprofits invest in SEO? Well, SEO is just as important for nonprofits as it is for other companies. It is an affordable and effective long-term marketing strategy.

Investments you make in SEO today may take a while to pay-off, but they will continue to do so for years to come. SEO can take awhile to see the results due several factors, such as keyword difficulty, competition, domain age, and to trust of search engines and users. In general, it can take four to six months to see some movement in rankings and site health.

Increasing organic visibility of your nonprofit also increases the visibility of the mission you stand for while growing your brand awareness. Using SEO will help your pages move up in search engine rankings, creating a higher click-through-rate, more impressions, and overall, more traffic.

How to Measure SEO Success

Depending on your goals and what you want to accomplish, there may be multiple aspects you’d like to measure and evaluate for success, such as:

  • Keywords
  • Organic traffic
  • Market share compared to competitors
  • Conversions
  • Backlinks
  • Page rankings

Some goals for your nonprofit might include having more priority keywords move into the top 10 positions, increasing organic traffic on specific pages, or increasing organic conversions.

SEO Best Practices for Nonprofits

If you’re confused or intimidated by the idea of becoming discoverable online and creating a successful SEO strategy, we’ve got you covered.

Here are the five best SEO practices to focus on for your nonprofit this year.

1. Keyword research should create your content strategy.

It’s important to know what your prospective and ideal customers are searching for and what their journey is. Search engine rankings are determined by algorithms that use quite a few factors to decide how well a webpage answers a query.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as throwing keywords into your content, so here are a few things to consider.

Search Intent

A query or keyword can have multiple meanings depending on the person or where they are in the user journey. They might be looking for more information, directions, or to make a purchase or donation, and each of those actions would need a different query. It’s important to make sure that the right keyword goes with the right piece of content.

Relevant Keywords

If you’re a nonprofit that works with homeless communities, a long-tail keyword you might want to focus on could be “how to help homeless communities”. Knowing this, you can create content and resources that will drive users to your site. You should avoid keywords that don’t truly represent your brand or what you offer.

Long-tail keywords are keywords or phrases that are more specific, and usually longer than common keywords. An example of a long-tail keyword might be “light blue beach hat” and a short-tail keyword would be “hat” or “beach hat”. Shorter-tailed keywords are usually harder to rank for, but have more traffic. Longer-tailed keywords have less traffic but a higher conversion rate, which is ideal for most nonprofits.

Additional thoughts:

  • It can often be easier to target long-tail keywords (a phrase vs. a one-word term), which drive more qualified traffic
  • There are different keywords targeting users at each part of the sales funnel
  • Keyword research takes time and evolves as well

Google offers a great free keyword research tool that can also be used for SEO. If you’re looking for a more SEO specific platform, MOZ and SEMRush are two great platforms that both offer nonprofit pricing.

2. Create high-quality content.

Content will always be one of the most important ranking factors. Not only is it essential to have SEO-optimized content, but the quality is important, as well. Google wants to ensure that you’re publishing content that follows their E-A-T standards.

The concept of E-A-T, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, is considered an SEO best practice when creating content. These factors help Google avoid sharing and feeding inaccurate or misleading information. You can follow these factors from Google by:

  • Updating old content to make sure it’s relevant
  • Ensuring the content is accurate
  • Allowing experts or other writers to create content for you

Along with E-A-T, make sure that your content follows the best on-page practices. This includes focusing on a primary keyword, adding metadata, using proper headings, adding alternative text (ALT text) to your image, and using internal linking, to name a few.

3. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.

A majority of users across all industries use their phones instead of desktop computers as of 2022.

Additionally, Google crawls sites using a Google phone bot to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. This means your site is able to shrink down and fit on any screen while still allowing users to access your content as easily as on a desktop.

Mobile-friendliness is a ranking signal in both Google and Bing’s algorithms when a user is searching on a mobile device. If your website is mobile-friendly, it generally will outrank non-mobile-friendly sites.

There are several tools available to test you website’s mobile-friendliness:

1657301684 913 Why Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Search Engine Optimization

Google’s results via Page Speed Insights

4. Link-building is crucial to create brand awareness.

Nonprofits can struggle with getting donations due to lack of overall brand awareness and organic visibility. Link-building relies on creating authoritative content that other sites will want to link share with and link back to. A great example of this is allowing your annual reports to be sharable for others to see.

One strategy to consider would be to reach out to partners or sponsors and see if they will link back to you on their site and in their content. This is especially important for pages you want to drive traffic to.

5. Local SEO is very relative for most nonprofits.

Local SEO is very beneficial for nonprofits because it can help bring people to a fundraising event or even attract volunteers. For example, if you search “food drive near me” on Google, local listings will pop up. This is because they have focused on a local SEO strategy by utilizing their Google Business Profile.

Google Business Profile allows you to gather reviews, add images and videos, and ensure that your information is up to date for users. You can also add FAQs with answers for users to see as well. All of this helps organizations land on the top of Google listings for this query.

Nonprofit SEO Case Study

Finally, let’s explore how two nonprofits — diaTribe and CreakyJoints — excelled using SEO.

First, diaTribe, a diabetes organization that aims at providing education and resources for those living with diabetes, leveraged an SEO strategy to reach new audiences during the pandemic.

The nonprofit focused on keywords that had low competition, and we helped the organization capitalize on highly-relevant topics based on keyword research data.

As a result, the organization hit all their website traffic and subscriber goals — helping grow their email list by 28% and their website traffic 15% year-over-year.

Next, Media Cause started working with CreakyJoints, a leading support, education, advocacy, and research organization for people living with arthritis and rheumatic disease, in August 2018 to increase organic search traffic.

 By monitoring and resolving SEO-related issues, optimizing existing pages for Google search crawlers, and providing content recommendations based on keyword research, we helped CreakyJoints quadruple their monthly search traffic after just five months.

Today, CreakyJoints’ content is reaching 4x the number of people it used to. That means more people living with arthritis and chronic pain are learning how to navigate their patient journey better, including learning about the long-term effects of their medications, safe and effective ways to manage their symptoms, and how to lead healthy and empowered lives thanks to CreakyJoints.

Investing in an SEO strategy and working on it over time will pay off immensely for your nonprofit in the long run, and it’s cost-effective. While it may take up to six months, you’ll see an increase in your organic and qualified traffic that will help increase visibility for your mission and create better engagement.

By implementing the tips above or working with an agency that is dedicated to promoting your mission, you’ll convert users and help drive them to you.

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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