10 min non-profits should spend on Title optimization for visibility in search

bolded search result example

Example of "bolded" text in search result

Have you noticed when you do your Google searches that some of the words in the result are bold? Isn’t this text more visible to you than any other on the page? Probably, people would click there in first place I guess.

The search engine displays results based on the (key)words you enter in the search box.

Search in google

Once the result is displayed, if it contains web pages, the TITLE of a page is what you see as blue text in the search result and the bolded words are those that “matches” the (key)words you used in your search. Google consider the title of a page to be the single most important description of a page and is therefore the most important place where to use keywords to gain a higher ranking position (quote: SEOMOZ). This means that your “keywords” need to be there, unless you have such a strong brand that your audience would search for your name to find you (because then your keyword should be your brand name). Most of us don’t and we must therefore try to understand how our audience would find us if they were searching for something that we could provide and satisfy their need. What is it that they are looking for that we would be able to help them with? Donation?
Nonprofit work? Support?

Your title is shown in search results

Lets see what you can do to support a better display in the search results of your webpage or blog. There are many other parameters that take you web page to a first-page ranking, but this is one of the simplest one you can definitely implement in less than 10 minutes.

1. Identify your “keywords” and select the most important for you. For what search would you like your donors, support, volunteers to find your site as the top result?

2. Revise the titles of all your webpages, do they include your keywords? Are the titles of the pages different one from the other or have you called them all the same? Adapt the titles of your pages to what the pages contain and the keywords you believe is entered by the users in their search that would take them here. E.g. if your page is about donation to children education and you believe that people may search for those words, compose a title base on this.

3. Compose a title for your webpages that is descriptive (remember Google wants the users to be satisfied with their search so the page must contain what you state it will show in order to avoid high bounce rates).Therefore your pages’ titles are slightly different as the content of the pages varies. Try to think what your audience would write in the search and build that question or sentence into your Title. Piling up keywords will give no good result, so focus on making a proper sentence.

4. Update the TITLE data of your webpage(s).

Meta data Title

Update your title information in the Header code

 A recommendation is to place your most important keyword close to the start of the title as it would potentially ranks better and drives higher click-through, your brand may then probably be part of the ending (unless you want to be found by brand).

Note that there is a limitation; keep the title to less than 70 characters in order for Google to display it fully, if longer Google will add three dots.

Once this work is done, your title will be displayed in 3 places:
a) in the browser as a title of the tab
b ) in the search result
c) as title on external websites (e.g. social media sites)

What titles have you seen when searching that you think are descriptive and optimized?

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3 reasons why non-profits should consider “Rel=Author” and Google+

As a marketing and communication professional, passionate about my volunteer work for a non-profit organization and a true beginner in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, I’m continuously searching for functionality that can support in visualizing the online content created by non-profit agencies and volunteers. I have been reflecting on quality of content and how Google’s latest changes emphasizes the importance of bringing content of greater quality to the search results to better serve its users. How many times haven’t you clicked to realize that the page displayed had nothing to do with your search? On top of that, the non-profit community is affected by discontentment generated by a few fundraising “fake” non-profit organizations that with their illegal methods have created suspiciousness for our kind of activity resulting in potential donors being more careful than ever when trusting a non-profit organization online. Considering these reflections, in what way could I support in providing these searchers, supporters and readers a feeling of trust and authority for the online content created by my organization and have Google to help me in that labor? A first step would be to visualize, already in the search result, the identity of the writers of the blog posts – to make it easier for the readers if they want to do some research – and make clear what organization is behind the web pages, articles and blogs. To help Google understand what type of content is published would also help the search engine robots to better know how to categorize it in order to display it correctly. Wouldn’t that trigger a proper ranking in the SERP? I did some reading about Google+ profiles related to authority that I would like to share in case it’s useful for communicators of non-profit organizations. Google appreciate content that is “tagged” correctly as it gives the reader a better picture of what the result is about. The way of tagging your online content is called Snippets. Google would potentially reward this by improving the ranking of your content in the search result and display a) the name of the author b) other content of the same c) the snippet description d) display the amount of circles we are in (if it’s a Google+ piece of content) I would pay special attention to these Google+ related areas now, in time when the term AuthorRank is in the air; algorithm that will value the quality of your content and rank higher those that generate most engagement. Content where the authorship has not been taken into consideration will probably rank lower in the SERP. So it’s a perfect moment to start working on these snippets before Google turns on improved ranking algorithm. Non-profit organizations must keep an eye on upcoming changes and updates as they are impacting on the way your digital content is displayed in the search results and maybe future changes. I have specially focused on the snippets called Rel=Author andRel=publisher (author for content pages, publisher verifies your site) for this post, but there is more in the pipe. My conclusion is that leveraging on your or your organization’s Google+ profile along with these snippets to show Google who the author is of this content and who the owner is of the site would give more benefits. The benefits would be: a) Correctly tagged content which “certifies” for the reader who the source is b) Improve visibility in Google search results to increase click through c) Support the “viralization” of my message thanks to Google Social Search This would only be visible in the Google+ search and Google organic search if you link your Google+ profile to your blogs and web pages and activating these snippets Rel=Author and Rel=publisher. This is how: Rel=AuthorRel=publisher. It is said (I have not tested) that it requires as well that your Google+ profile exists in more than 1000 circles or have more than 1000 “likes” and verified in order to have this information display in the SERP. This solution of Google secures that it is only you that can add the code to the web page and associate this web page/article/post to your Google+ profile. It’s a way to make sure that “you are you”. Create trust by certifying who you are – tag your content People don’t have time to investigate the legal aspects of your organization. But they get to read about non-profit organizations that act in a non-ethic way, are illegal or don’t do what they promise to do with the gathered founds. It becomes more important than ever to secure that our readers trust us. I think that a good way is to tell them “that we are those we say we are” already in the search. If displayed, we would simplify the research, they would see what else we have written, know that the pages are ours and even see that other trust us by the number of Google+ circles we are in. By making use of this functionality prepared by Google to say that “you are you”, we can show our readers that we stand behind the words we write. Therefore, tag your content with: Rel=Author and your sites with Rel=publisher and hopefully Google takes this into consideration in the search results of your donors and supporters. Be more visible in the Google search results – create qualitative content There are tons of posts written about the new Search Plus Your World algorithm implemented by Google not long ago. Working within the non-profit community it is hard to ignore this increasing importance of the Google+ profile and it is probably the right moment to start (if not already implemented) the discussion about how to integrate this area of dialog to your strategies. This new search result content means that it’s more important than ever that our “posts” are shared via Google+ to qualify as result in the organic Google search as Google gives Google+ content a lot more play. It is as well important that the +1 is available on our websites and clicked on for our posts in the organic search so that they become sharable and commented items in Google+. This will impact their ranking in the SERP. The reason why these are important actions is the fact that the content could show up as a result in our ambassadors’, donors’ and followers’ search result. Imagine what that could mean for your visibility and click-through rates. Leveraging on the sharing possibilities of the Google+ profile to be part of the Google search results of our readers that now integrates the social part of your Google+ circles dialogs and applying the previously mentioned snippets are two actions worth testing as SEO techniques to increase your visibility in the SERP. Support the “viralization” of your message – share via Google+ Don’t you agree that the link with the image and the reference to the amount of circles as well as name drags your attention?It would probably generate more direct clicks, +1 leading to better ranking. If those that support you, believe in you, are in your Google+ circles, their search will be populated with links to results from people and profiles of organizations they have circled to go along with other standard organic search. You can turn the social-related functionality off, but we are probably moving towards a more social world, so I guess people will not turn it off. What if the result shows other organizations the have circled but not yours? Is that a lost of potential awareness creation and clicks? It takes the first part of the search results and we are more likely to see that first and click, wherefore the content plan for our Google+ voice must be reinforced and viewed from a search point of view, as well. I think it means that we must put more focus on what we share through our Google+ profiles. We must think what it is that our donors, followers and supporters are interested in and solve their need for information, because we may pop up in their search and they may +1 or share with their networks – being our ambassadors. Before they came to us if they thought the answer was with us, now we may “pop up” (or be absent) where they are in the moment they may need us. Creative content, content that engage and solving the information need is more important than ever. Google’s way of supporting us via snippets in certifying our content and the way the organic search results plays with the social content from Google+ just gives us an opportunity to re-think our communication plans, content plans and channel mix. I believe it forces us to become more focused in understanding who our followers are and secure that we are visible online. A perfect way to use online functionality for a good purpose. Have you been able to draw these or other benefits by potentiating your Google+ profile?

Patricia Polvora is a Marketing & Communication Professional on a multinational company with a passion for the non-profit World. She mixes her knowledge and experiences from these two worlds to suggest how non-profit organizations can benefit from new technology, methodology and online strategies. Contact her to share you experiences!

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