HomeNonprofit Marketing TechNonprofit Digital Marketing TechGoogle Ad Grants 201: How to Find Good Nonprofit Keywords?

Google Ad Grants 201: How to Find Good Nonprofit Keywords?

Have you seen our easy guide to Google Ad Grants for nonprofits? Then, you’re ready for Google Ad Grants 201! 

We’re talking all about nonprofit keywords, what they are, and how to find good ones for your organization. 

Because let’s face it – without planning for these nonprofit keywords? Driving more traffic to your site is way more difficult. 

Don’t worry! We’re taking all the stress out of it for you here: 

What Are Nonprofit Keywords for Google Ad Grants?

First up, what are nonprofit keywords? How can we know how to use them and what to look for when choosing when we don’t know what the point of them is! 

Okay, so picture this. You open up Google because you’re about to search for a new frying pan. 

The first thing you type into the search bar is “frying pan.” A ton of search results pop up. 

You peruse through some of the search results, but there are all kinds of answers you’re getting. So, you decide you need to get a little more specific. 

Back to the search bar! You type in “best frying pan.” Bam! More search results pop up! And you’re getting closer to what you’re looking for. 

But you notice some of the results are showing frying pans that are 4 and 500 dollars. You decide you want something more reasonable in price. 

So! Again, you go back to the search bar and you type in, “best frying pan under $150.” 

Voila! All of the search results are what you’re looking for. 

Everything you typed into the search bar: “frying pan,” “best frying pan,” and “best frying pan under $150,” are all known as keywords. 

And when potential supporters of your nonprofit search for organizations, they’re using keywords, too.

So you need to make sure you do plenty of keyword research to know what your potential supporters are searching for when they go to Google! 

What Type of Keywords Can You Use for Nonprofit Google Ads?

Now, there are a few rules you’ll need to follow for your nonprofit keywords. Google Ad Grants wants to make sure you’re using keywords correctly! 

That’s why they’ve put these parameters in place: 

  1. No crazy-generic keywords allowed. Your nonprofit keywords need to be specific to your cause and your mission. For example, if your organization focuses on building schools for developing nations, then you probably shouldn’t use keywords like, “pet rescue in my area.” 
  1. All nonprofit keywords need to be greater than 2 words. That means you’re not allowed to use single-word keywords. And chances are, that’ll be hard to do anyway! This rule does not apply if your nonprofit is one word. But, Google does want you to use multiple-word nonprofit keywords whenever possible. 
  1. All nonprofit keywords need to have a quality score greater than 2. In your Google Ad Grants account, you can set up a filter that flags keywords that don’t meet those criteria. That way you can make sure every nonprofit keyword phrase you use has a score greater than 2. 
A person uses a laptop to search for the best nonprofit keywords for their ad copy.

How to Find Nonprofit Keywords for Google Ads? 

So, how do you go about finding nonprofit keywords? How do you know what people are searching for when it comes to your type of organization? 

It’s time to introduce you to keyword research tools! (If we could insert emojis, we would use the “raised hands” one right now.) 

When it comes to nonprofit keyword research and finding good keywords to use for your organization, these tools are going to be your best friends! 

Google Ad Keyword Planner:

First up, we have Google Ad Keyword Planner. This is the keyword research tool that pulls all of its information directly from the source – Google. 

Now, we recommend this tool for a few reasons. The first is that since Google Ad Grants is a Google resource, that means you’re targeting searchers who are using Google.

And since this tool pulls directly from their own database of search information, it’s super reliable! 

The second reason we recommend this nonprofit keyword research tool is because it’s free resource to use. So that’s going to fit within any budget! 

When you search for nonprofit keywords, you’re going to get a list of different phrases people use. And beside them, you’ll notice that Keyword Planner gives you other information like: 

  • Monthly Search Volume (aka – how many people are searching for this keyword every month)
  • Search Volume Trends (aka – when is this keyword popular? Is it seasonal?)
  • Top of Page Bid (aka – how much does it cost to get your nonprofit website at the top of the search results page)

Keywords Everywhere:

Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome plugin you can use to figure out what keywords other nonprofit organizations are using to drive traffic to their landing pages. 

So, for example, you install the plugin. Then you search for keywords that relate to building schools in developing countries because (let’s say) that’s what your nonprofit does. 

Other organizations that do something similar should pop up. With the Keywords Everywhere plugin, you’ll see numbers to the right of the title of the page.

An example of Keywords Everywhere tool for nonprofit keywords for Google Ad Grants.

Those numbers will show you how much traffic that specific page is bringing to their nonprofit website. And it shows how many nonprofit keywords they rank for. 

You can click the number next to the acronym: KW. That will direct you to a new page that lists all of the nonprofit keywords they rank for! 

That list can give you plenty of ideas on which nonprofit keywords you can research to see if they’re a great fit for your organization! 


An example of Ubersuggest showing nonprofit keyword information.

Ubersuggest is another keyword research tool similar to Google Ad Keyword Planner. But this one gives you a little more insight into finding good nonprofit keywords. 

With this tool, when you type in a potential keyword, you’ll see: 

  • Monthly Search Volume (aka – how many people are searching for this keyword each month)
  • SEO Difficulty (aka – how competitive is it to rank for this keyword) 
  • Paid Difficulty (aka – how competitive is it to rank for this keyword using paid ads)
  • Cost Per Click (aka – how much does it cost your nonprofit every time someone clicks on your ad)

Underneath that information, you’ll see search volume. This shows any trends for the keyword. For example, does the monthly search volume spike in the summertime versus in the winter? 

And below that, you’ll see two bars – one that shows how many people click on organic search results, paid search results, or if they don’t click at all. You’ll also see age demographics, which is great to help you determine who your target audience is. You can tailor your nonprofit copywriting to the age range. For example, nonprofit copywriting to encourage millennial giving is much different than copywriting that’s encouraging older generations. 

What Makes for “Good” Nonprofit Keywords in Google Ad Grants? 

Finally, you need to know what to look for when you start researching nonprofit keywords! 

Because sure! You can search for any keyword in those keyword research tools. And more than likely, some results are going to come up. But just because there is data around those keyword phrases doesn’t mean they’re good to use. 

So, how do you find good keywords? 

Use these tips to help you narrow down your results: 

Look for High Search Volume in Your Nonprofit Keywords: 

The first thing to look for when searching for good nonprofit keywords is the search volume. 

A keyword might work for your nonprofit landing page, but if the search volume is 0? That means no one is going to see it! 

That often means you have to tailor your nonprofit Google Ad copy to the keywords, not the other way around. 

The higher the search volume, the more people are looking for what you’re trying to show them! 

Look for Nonprofit Keywords That Are Relevant to the Nonprofit Landing Page:

When you create Google Ad copy, you need to make sure the nonprofit keywords you use relate to the actual landing page itself. 

By that, we mean the page that the ad directs the reader to. 

That’s because Google prioritizes the reader’s experience. And if a reader clicks on your nonprofit Google ad because you’re talking about reducing plastic in the ocean, but then your landing page is about building schools for developing nations? Well, the reader is going to click right off the page. 

It’s kind of like false advertising, right? They thought the page was going to be about reducing plastic in the ocean since that’s what the Google ad copy said. But your landing page was about something entirely different. 

And because that causes a not-so-great reader experience? Google is less likely to show your nonprofit website in the search results. 

It’ll tank your traffic, and that’s a no-go for your organization! 

Always make sure your nonprofit keywords are relevant to the landing page itself! 

Look for Nonprofit Keywords That Aren’t Competitive:

A lot of the time, a keyword that has a high monthly search volume also has a high competition rate. 

That means it’s going to be harder for your nonprofit to show up in the first few search results. And if your nonprofit isn’t showing up, then you’re less likely to get the traffic you’re wanting. 

So, to work around that you want to look for nonprofit keywords that aren’t as competitive. 

It’s going to take some extra digging, more than likely. Because you should try to balance a high monthly search volume and a lower competition rate. 

But when you find those nonprofit keywords? That’s when you know you’re on to something! 

Look for Nonprofit Keywords That Follow Google Ad Grants Requirements: 

And of course, always follow the requirements for Google Ad Grants. If you don’t do that then you run the risk of losing out on your nonprofit Google Ad Grant altogether! 

If you need a refresher, scroll back up to the “types of keywords” section. 

We are absolutely certain that you can do this! There is a learning curve, but with plenty of practice, you can nail your nonprofit keywords and start driving traffic to your site with Google Ad Grants. 

But we also understand if you’ve got a lot on your plate. Or if it sounds like too much for you to take on right now. 

If you’re still wanting to take advantage of $10K per month in free advertising? Then we know the solution for you! 

Check out this free webinar at Nonprofit Library on how to take full advantage of Google Ad Grants!

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