A Closer Look at Google Grants

What is the Google Grants Program?

If you are currently working, own, or operate a 501(c)3 non-profit organization you may be eligible to receive an advertising grant from Google to raise awareness for your program through Paid Search advertising.

Here are the basic requirements:

  • You must have a website, and your ads must link to a page on your website.
  • The keywords you target must be relevant to your programs and services.
  • Your website cannot display revenue generating ads, such as Google AdSense or affiliate advertising links, while participating in Google Grants.
  • The on-going, active management of your advertising campaign is your organization’s responsibility once your account is active.

If you meet the above requires I suggest you check out the Google Grants application here.

What Are the Limitations?

  • Your maximum CPC for any keyword is $1.00.
  • You can’t bid on keywords that are not relevant and targeted to your specific industry.
  • You can not use the display network.
  • Your maximum monthly allowance is $10,000.

So while Google is generously offering you plenty of money to throw around in paid search, you are in no danger of supplanting some of the major advertising niches with your measly $1.00 cost per click cap.   That’s OK we can work with this …

How Do I Get the Most out of my Google Grant?

Your specific strategy will differ depending on what type of business you are in, but I have a few any scenario tips that will help you get the most traffic and generate the most awareness for your program.

  • Master Quality Scores

Google’s Paid Search Quality score is basically split up into two different parts – one which allows for average ad position, and one which dictates what your minimum allowable keyword bid is.  We care most about this second part.  Knowing that we never have the option to bid more than $1.00 dollar per click, we have to make sure we are “allowed” to bid for as many major keywords and have as much page 1 visibility as possible.  We do this by generating very specific and targeted landing pages for our important keywords.

As long as our landing pages are very targeted we will be able to keep our bids low for a variety of keywords.  There will always be certain markets where keyword cost and competition is absolutely out of control and the first page bid is well beyond our means, but a strong content generation & landing page strategy is definitely the way to go.

  • Target Keywords with Huge Volume

Again this depends on the industry and the thematic content you are serving, but it makes sense to target high volume keywords.  You might not tailor a landing page to a keyword query with 500 monthly searches, but you would certainly build and optimize for keywords with 50,000 searches or more.

Some unlikely places to find these might be major branded keywords.  It’s very powerful (and now relevant) to remind a Starbucks aficionado how much help they could give an underprivileged person or organization if they just give up a few lattes a week.  Remember to make sure your images are SEO friendly!

  • Stay Active

Google reserves the right to take away your Grant at any time they feel the account is not “actively managed’ – so get in there and add keywords and make modifications at least once or twice a week.

  • Forget ROI

I never want my name associated with the phrase “forget ROI” but when using your Google Grant it makes sense to think of it as a branding or awareness generating venture.  Maybe you aren’t reaching an impressive rate of return on your click charges, but your multi billion dollar partner is just fine with footing the bill.

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— Kevin Bridges, Innovation Leader - Imagineer at Hallmark Cards

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