Selecting the right keywords for your search engine marketing campaign
1. Brainstorm with your colleagues to come up with a list of words and phrases that reflect your mission. Go through your mission statement and website.
2. Read email and snail mail from your supporters. Use their terms, not yours.
3. Look at your internal site search (you do have one, don't you?) and see what phrases are being used by your existing visitors.
4. Look at your site stats reports and see what search phrases people are using now in search engines that are pointing visitors to you.
5. Enter plurals and versions (healthy child, healthy children) and common misspellings of your most common phrases.
6. Check your search results daily at first. Probably, the 80/20 rule applies - 80% of your site visits are coming from 20% of your keywords. You only pay for the clicks, so you don't have to discard unproductive words, but expand on the popular ones.
7. Keywords are disabled by search engines if you don't score high enough or aren't relevant enough, so you run the risk of losing productive keywords. You need to monitor results and find new ways of keeping your productive keywords active.
8. Group your keywords into different campaigns. Have a generic one that relates to your organization as a whole. Bid on your own organization's name, even if just to help protect against 'poachers' (competitors who bid on your organization's name in an attempt to divert traffic to their site). Hey, I'm not suggesting you bid on their names (wink). Then set up different campaigns, for different issues you're working on.
9. Be reactive (bet you don't hear that one often). When a client called to say the Washington Post had run a big article on a major gift a celebrity made to one of their hot campaigns, we set up a keyword campaign based on the celebrity's name and the issue. We got 1,488 clicks to the site from Google alone in one day.
10. Keyword ads are now being placed in news articles on WashingtonPost.com and dozens of other news sites. So your keywords can get major exposure if they're suddenly in the news. This is a great way to be in front of people who have chosen to read an article related to your issue.
11. Track the results of each ad or keyword group separately. All keywords won't produce the same quality of visitor. Since you're paying for each click, you'll want to know which popular keywords are actually producing supporters and which are just producing traffic.
12. Monitor your keywords daily at first, and never less than weekly, to make sure you're not missing opportunities.
From "e-fund News!" -- the online newsletter you subscribe to about nonprofit organizations using the Internet. Rick Christ, Editor