Mastering “The Google” | npENGAGE

Mastering “The Google”

By on Nov 4, 2010


Everyone has a favorite “Bushism”, right? Mine is when George Bush was asked if he has googled anybody. He replied, “Occasionally. One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps…” So, if George W. is using the Google, then all nonprofits should be as well. Especially in today’s world, it’s more important than ever that people are able to find your site easily and quickly when using search engines like Google.

What exactly is a search engine? 

It’s a database that contains information about individual websites. The top three search engines are Google, Yahoo! And MSN Live Search.

Why is this important?

This is important because these search engines are what your future donors are using to find nonprofits that are meaningful to them. When you do pull up in the search results, are you in the top ten or on page five? A good rule of thumb is this: No one really looks past page two – if your website doesn’t pull up with the keywords the end user has entered, it’s assumed you’re not relevant to their search.

So, how do you get to be on the first page? 

The first thing to know is that there is no single answer to search engine optimization or SEO. Google changes it’s algorithm in a timely manner to accommodate how people are searching on the web and how websites are being built and manipulated. But, there are certainly things you can do to optimize your website

The most important thing is keywords! 

You use keywords on your web pages so the search engines can find your page, pick it up, and regard it as significant. Keywords are a major part of search engine’s algorithm in determining where your site will show up on the search results page. Your keywords should be relevant to your organization, be local, specialized, and also incorporate spekling mistakes. I went to the Denver Dumb Friends League website and went to “View – Source” in Internet Explorer to see what keywords they use.  They included: animal shelter, dog behavior problems, adopt cat Denver, adopt dog Colorado, etc…and on and on. My suggestion to them in looking over their keywords is to also include Rocky Mountains and possibly add some more phrases with the word “pet”. If you want some additional ideas for keywords, you can use Google’s free keyword generator.

Also, it’s important to make sure your keywords are in the Title and Description tags of your website’s source code as well! Search engines take into account what’s there in their search to bring up the most relevant results for their users.

There’s much more to say about Search Engine Optimization and how you can ensure your website comes up in relevant searches on the internet so stay tuned for more articles on this subject. And don’t let “the google” get you!

Leave a comment and tell us what you’d like to learn about SEO!


Frank Barry, formerly worked at Blackbaud helping nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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