This blog post is from Danny, and we’re very grateful to him for taking time to do some work for us and for writing it all up.
On Thursday night I was invited to attend a conference laid on my Google and MediaTrust, and was able to have a peek at Google UK headquarters (which you would love Wedge, the place is so you, you need to apply for a job there!!) and it was a really cool place. Was originally a bit perturbed as I arrived rather casual as Google does not have a dress code but all (most) of the other delegates were very smartly dressed; so I just sat at the back, had some wine and watched the proceedings.
I was sat next to a lovely lady called Kate from Education for Choice, a charity that enables people to make informed choices about pregnancy and abortion. We had very involved chats about self-injury and aspects of abortion, which was informative on both parts.
It was a really cool looking building and inside seemed very informal, quite a few beanbags dotted around the place, and some deckchairs!
The evening kicked off with an introduction from the CEO of Channel 4 and then followed by some talks from Googlies ( I think that is what they called themselves… something very similar…) giving advice about how to use Google Tools and tips on how to raise awareness and build support as well as information on Google Grants. There was also some information on how Google searches are performed, which is cool to know as I am not too hot on making webpages (Wedge, all the things I picked up, I am sure you know already!)
I also got interviewed by the Community Channel with a video camera and a great big fluffy microphone… wasn’t quite prepared and don’t want to see the interview on TV, thank god I don’t think I have that channel.
So information gained includes:
Budget available for each grant between £1000-50,000
Grant allows for “free advertising” on google.co.uk and other international Google websites. Didn’t quite understand until the end that the grants are actually to pay for advertising and not actually real money. So it is basically just another way of giving free advertising…
Eligibility is for all non-profits
There is a lengthy application through the Google website, that takes 3 months to process the application as they are sifted through by volunteers (later learned that the volunteers are people who work for Google but they operate something called 70/20/10. This is where they do their main job 70% of the time, and then other things for 20% and 10% of their time, so some Google employees use their 10% to assess applications. Sounds good to work at Google…)
Key things to think about during application is
Who are you key audience
What is your message
What is the purpose of the grant/advertising
Basics of a natural search
Two main factors decide how page is searched
This score is given by counting impartial links from other websites which effectively “vote” for your website.
Good way to increase rank is to post about your own site on blogs and other web mediums
Ways to find site easily
Page needs to have the right content for the search to find it
Name each page ( don’t name it as page 1 etc give it a proper name such as SIAD day on the http link)
Vary title between pages, don’t call them all home page as otherwise search is less accurate and not indexed as easily
Think about key words that need to be found by Google when writing the body
Google bots are able to find and read text but cannot read flash or images, so if there is a page with just images or flash then just type something below the image so it can be found by Google
Meta-tags (???) apparently don’t rely on Google to rank according to these
Apparently it is shown that there is a 10% drop off rate per click, so reduce the amount of clicks that need to be made before you find what you are looking for
There should be the minimum number of actions needed in order to perform major tasks
If page makes no sense without images then you need to enter “alt text”
Limit fancy effects
There is something called subscribed links I didn’t quite understand but apparently you can find out more about it through google.com/coop (co-op)
Some ways to improve websites
Google.com/webmasters à webmaster guidelines and resources
Can give information as to number of your pages that are linked, specific pages in Google index etc. Need to register first
You can test different copies on your landing page to improve the look and accessibility and this is all through the above website.
This can help you find out about converted users
Who they are
Number of converts
Where they are from
Which pages they spend most time on
What language they speak
Also helps you find out about that ones that didn’t convert and why this was
Increasing awareness and building support
Used to engage and contact users
Can keep interactive with users by allowing them to post comments and responses
In order to use this service it is important that you have enough content (i.e. enough videos) in order that you can refresh regularly and keep users interested
Videos on your site can effectively be “hubbed” through youtube
Videos can then also be embedded on your sites. Good thing to choose option to allow others to embed the videos on their own sites in order to extend your reach
Can be a way to organise events and meet-ups etc as you can create your own maps where photos can be added and such.
There is something called API that allows you to put the map (i.e. embed it) back onto your own site. Example was given where when pledges are given, users can add a marker to the map to say where they are from. Could be a good thing for LifeSIGNS members so you can get an idea of coverage and also good way to build community
These maps are updated real-time
Not really useful for LifeSIGNS. Just a way of embedding gadgets onto your own personal Google page
Many thanks to Danny for his work, good stuff!