Facebook may be the hottest social media platform on the planet at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that innovation isn’t happening elsewhere. The savvy nonprofit will pay attention to the 10,000-foot view so as not to be caught with blinders on as the scenery changes around — and the scenery is changing.
Much maligned and often forgotten Google Plus (G+) has quietly been growing and innovating while Facebook has been busy diluting their platform in order to capture more ad revenue. G+ is now a platform that cannot be ignored by nonprofits.
Google still Owns Search
Yahoo and Bing may have made inroads into Google’s dominance, but Google is still the 800-pound gorilla. Knowing that search is how most prospective donors find your org, it follows that you should pay attention to how you appear in Google searches.
What does this have to do with G+ you ask? Google’s latest updates to Google Knowledge Graph are a huge gift to your organization and they make use of your G+ profile and activity.
Now, when a search is done for your organization, Google displays a very prominent profile on the right of the page. Whether or not you show up there is determined by many things including your G+ profile, G+ activity, Guidestar profile, and Wikipedia entry.
Examples of Google Successes
The organization that stays on top of these information sources will get a huge leg up from Google in search activity. The truly adept organization that is also using Google+ Local will also get reviews and location details featured in search results for your org.
A recent post on Nonprofit Tech 2.0 showed some great examples of how various information sources impact a search with The Sierra Club, Feeding America, and the Field Museum. Check out below what Mosaic learned by searching for the American Red Cross.
The reason this is working and will continue to improve lies at the core of Google Knowledge Graph. The tool has advanced far beyond recognizing character strings, combinations of letters that create words, to understanding words and their context to one another.
This enables each data point gathered by Google to be related to other data points with relations that give them true meaning. As a result, each search adds to what is known about each connected data point.
What Does This Mean for Your Nonprofit?
Here’s what you should keep in mind when positioning with Google for nonprofits. What you write, where you write, and how often you write are combined with where, when, why, and how everyone searches and it all ties back to your organization. So being active on social platforms is more important than ever, as is publishing about your cause in as many high profile locations as possible.
The quality of what you publish and the level of engagement, or conversations and sharing about your publications, are equally important. The payoff is that you will be easier to find than any other organization like yours and you will be one of the most prominent organizations in your locale. This means when a prospective donor makes the first move to learn about you, aka a Google search, you will not only be front and center with great information, but you will own the entire page.
It’s time to take another look at G+ and to check on your Guidestar, Wikipedia, and other mentions on the Internet. It’s Google for nonprofits.
The stakes just got higher and the pot just got bigger.