A Helping Holiday Hand: Website Clinic for Non-Profits

Monday, December 20, 2010 | 12:40 PM

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Webmaster Level: Beginner
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A New Year’s resolution
In the spirit of the holidays, here at Google we wanted to take the time to help out those who spend their days making our world a better place: non-profit organizations. A few weeks back, we asked webmasters of non-profits to submit their organization’s site to our Search Quality team for analysis. After some number crunching and trend analysis, we’re back to report on general areas for improvement and to guide you towards some useful resources!

Making our list, checking it twice
First, we’d like thank all of the amazing organizations who participated by submitting their sites. We got some great results, and are excited about all the diverse non-profit causes out there.

Our analysis will take place in the following two posts. The first post will focus on cleaning up HTML tags in your source code, while the second will examine improving user experience via better content accessibility.

Visions of... URLs... dancing in our heads
The great news is, every single site submitted had at least one or two areas to tweak to make it even better! So this information should be helpful to everyone out there, big or small. Just to whet your appetites, here’s a quick list of items that will not be addressed in our following posts, but that had some room for improvement in a large percentage of submitted sites:

  • Keep an eye on proper canonicalization: 56% of analyzed non-profit sites could improve their canonicalization practices. You can read more about canonicalization in this blog post from a previous site clinic.
  • Make sure your volunteer/support sections are visible: 29% of our submissions could improve their sites by making their support, volunteer, or donation sections easier to find. A great way to accomplish this is to add a donations tab to your navigation bar so it’s just one click away at all times.
  • Protect your confidential information: Lots of non-profits, especially those in the medical industry, deal with some very important and confidential information. Read up on how to control your crawled and indexed content, and remember to protect confidential content through proper authentication measures.
  • Make your Flash sites search engine friendly: We saw some beautiful sites running on Flash. Search engines have a hard time understanding Flash files, and we’re working to improve Flash comprehension on our end, but here are some discussion points on how you can help us understand your Flash content.

Contributors: Aditya Goradia, Brandon Falls, Charlene Perex, Diara Dankert, Michael Wyszomierski & Nelson Bradley