Tag Archives: Google

Upgraded URLs in Google Ad Words

Back in February, Google announced the launch of mandatory upgraded URLs in its ad words scheme.  I am ashamed to say I missed this at the time.  I’m making up for that by making sure our charity clients didn’t miss it, too.

I’ll ‘fess up. I missed it.  My excuse is that I am not hands on managing an adword account right now.  I know about this now because a charity I volunteer with has recently started looking at using their Google Grant (all charities should look at this if they can – there’s not much in life for free, but this is a good one for non-profits!) and having experience of setting up accounts in the past, was asked to wade in and help.

Upgraded URL’s – what?

In basic bullets:

  • Where you once added one bit of info – the URL you want the ad to link back to – you now need to add two
  • The first is the landing page you want the ad to direct people to – all good, this is what you have so far.
  • The second is the tracking information you want to gather – which can be at local or account level.
  • Up til now, every time you wanted to track an add you had to add a piece of tracking code on the page you were directing people, allowing the cookies to collect the info for you
  • Now, when you want to change info you track on your ads, you can do it via the ad not via clumsy manual changes

Why this is great news

Lots of people don’t use tracking in ads because of the hassle of trying to get the web master to add a tiny piece of code – or multiple tiny pieces of code – to a web page.  The reasons I used to hear were varied – ranging from security, through to lack of time.  In the main, with non-teccie people the reason was usually quite simple – they didn’t know how or where to add the tracking data, and for the sake of a tiny bit of info, didn’t want to screw up the whole site.  That’s fair enough. I hate code and am more of a ‘clicks’ kinda gal, so feel that pain.

In ‘paid for’ content management systems (like Sitecore) the user interface often had helpful places to add the code so they were inserted in the right place.  In ‘free’ systems (like WordPress) you could either gamble on getting it in the right place or use a plug in (some of which are better than others) to manage your ad extensions.   Since more of us in charity-world use the free stuff, you can kind of see where this is going.

So the change is good because:

  • its way easier to add the code to the ad and start to get more metrics on your ads, tracking keywords, landing pages and site behaviour as a result
  • it tells you more about your visitors so you can build journeys and personalise their experiences
  • it tells you how much of your ad-words money you might be wasting, allowing you to redirect it or manage your ads so your donated cash is spent more effectively

And just how do I do this? 

Google as ever have made this nice and simple to do.

As well as the web page which explains using upgraded URLs, there’s a handy video too that shows you just how to do it.

There’s always a bit of bad news.

Well, yes.  In this case if you haven’t already done it, it does mean you’ll need to go in and update your ads.  But do it once and in one place for your ad, and with clicks rather than coding … so it’s not all bad news.  Just something else for the list, that’s all.

Getting started

If you haven’t started with Google Adwords yet to use your Google Grant, you may want to think about it.  Look into what other charities are doing, and think about how – and who – will manage the account before you say yes though.  It’s very easy to get into quite a muddle, and hard to undo!

You also have to stay on the ball about updates and developments, and as I confess at the start of this post, even though this stuff is part of my portfolio, I missed this.  So make sure there’s time for training and reading round even after your original set up time, or you may miss money and time saving upgrades like this <hangs head in shame>

Is your website mobile friendly?


Odd updates about how Google calculate algorithms for search pass by us every now and then. Last year there was a lot of chat about Pandas.  Turns out, it wasn’t a new campaign from WFF. And Penguins – sadly not a chocolatey biscuit treat.  These were big changes in how Google do the things they do.  Unless you’re a super-geek, there’s very little chance of keeping up with it all, and understanding all of the elements involved in search ranking as there are thousands of them. Carry on doing your best, make the changes you can.  Have a rolling development programme, keep plugging away.   You’ll get there.

But this one is important

From April 21, Google have told us they will be changing their algorithm to include a mobile search that will detect if a site is mobile friendly.  That means, if content will render properly on mobile devices – smartphones and tablet pc’s.  Is it responsive?

And if it doesn’t?  Well, you won’t disappear from search altogether and overnight, but your rankings will be harmed, and sites which have content similar to you, but which are mobile optimised, will appear higher than yours.

Why you need to address this

  1. The size of the opportunity to market – there are more than double the quantity mobile phones in the UK than there are people. While we think this is a bonkers number it’s easy to see how you can get to that point – wave your hand if you have two phones –one for home, one for work?  Yep that’s how that number gets so high.  And just think of the opportunities to interact with potential donors.
  2. Fundraising – the Give as you Live Digital Donor Review gives us a host of compelling reasons to make sure we’re mobile – 9/10 mobile searches result in an action – eg a store visit, purchase or donation; mobile commerce grew by 300% between 2011 and 2012; in 2013, they predicted that by 2015 (this year) mobile use would exceed desktop usage – and they leave us with a challenge too as they point out that 83% of UK charities don’t have a mobile strategy. That’s a lot of potential fundraising to be done, right there.
  3. Usability – hands up if you’ve clicked off a site you can’t see or use properly. Our patience is wafer thin these days, and as consumers – and potential donors – we don’t wait around anymore.  You have to feed us what we need, when we want it!
  4. Competition – we all like to think our sites are unique and provide specialist exclusive information for our stakeholders. But we’d be naïve if we didn’t recognise that all of us are in a position where someone else’s site could provide at least some of the information we provide.  All of us are savvier about keywords, content and as a result competition is strong. If you have spent any time or money on getting your site to the top of the pile, it would be a shame to waste it now.

What you can do about this now

If you are not sure your site is friendly or not, you can take the Google test – simply enter your URL and Google will show you what it sees and helpfully point out any bugs it might have found that prevent elements of your site being mobile visible.

Do the test

Now what?

So now you’ll know, at least.  If your site is friendly, good for you.  For many of us through, t won’t be as simple to address the result as a few quick clicks in the code behind the scenes to correct any minor tweaks.

For many, if the site doesn’t pass muster, it will mean a review of the content management system you are using.

There are two ways to do this

  • Expensive re-coding to manipulate the site to be mobile friendly, using your existing CMS.
  • A review of your CMS provision and how it fits with your digital vision for the future

It’s this latter opportunity that we’d like to strongly recommend that you consider.

If your site isn’t mobile optimised, chances are you also can’t integrate your email marketing and CRM data with it and are working with data silos and missing real opportunities to generate more funds, improve retention, and reduce customer frustration.  Typically, your job will also be a little bit more stressful as a result, too.

A Digital Signposting review will review your strategy and provide some recommendations on the tools that will work well for you, improve integration, functionality and efficiency – it is possible to achieve all three!- and address your digital future, too.

Find out more: http://purple-vision.com/services/digital-services/  – or you can call Keith via 0845 458 0250 – he’s definitely friendly, often mobile and is most certainly responsive.