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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