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This chapter is from the book

Align with the Biggest Search Engine

You want people visiting your website. Convio’s 2012 Nonprofit Benchmark Index shows that fundraising online is the fastest area of nonprofit fundraising growth. Last year, online fundraising jumped more than 15%, and it was even better for small nonprofits. Small nonprofits saw online fundraising grow at more than 26%. In addition, people’s online contributions tend to be larger when made through a nonprofit’s website than when given through Facebook. So, you want people to find your site.

When you had your nonprofit’s website built, you or the designer did some initial work on something called search engine optimization (SEO). Your site uses the specific keywords and phrases you think people will use to find you. Those terms help Google help people find you. You also hope these key words get your site to show up on the first page of results.

Over the years, Google has been refining search. One thing it has discovered is that people are not necessarily looking for the same thing even if they type the same a word or phrase into a search box. Someone searching on “axe” may want any number of things:

  • Information about splitting wood
  • Directions to a restaurant in Venice Beach
  • Details on men’s deodorant
  • Advice about buying a new guitar

To help deliver the correct results, Google infers intention from a searcher’s past search history and social profile (the profile of interactions, posts, and comments between a person and that person’s friends). Google calls this search plus your world. It periodically works out deals with sites like Twitter to use public tweets. It also uses Quora, a Twitter-like question-and-answer platform. However, sometimes these companies stop Google from using their data.

Google also uses Google+. The difference is it owns Google+. So, it has much more complete and reliable access to Google+ than to any other site. So now, if a person you know posts something in Google+ or +1s an article, you might see it right on the first page of results, as shown in Figure 1.2. You can even thank those people for helping you find the website.

Figure 1-2

Figure 1.2 That blue profile shows you that this result is based on your social profile. It even shows who shared it and enables you to thank them for helping you find the information.

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