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Give, Get, Go: SEO Charity Contest Winners Announced

by Virginia Nussey, February 15, 2008

It's that time again, people. Bruce Clay, Inc. is announcing the winner of February's Give, Get, Go SEO Charity Contest. We've gone through your entries on how you plan to conduct an organic search optimization campaign of a non-profit organization's Web site. In exchange for donating three months of time to working with the non-profit of their choice, the winner is receiving a ticket to the Search Engine Strategies NYC Conference and Expo and free pass to Bruce Clay's SEO Training Course and Advanced Certification Course. That's a prize package worth over $4800 in search marketing education and training.

The non-profit had to be a community organization with an existing Web site that could benefit from organic search engine optimization. The winning search marketer submitted an application that best documented what the site was doing well, where it could improve, and had a clear and organized action plan.

We received some great entries with plans for very worthy non-profit organizations. So along with awarding the grand prize, we're encouraging the runner-up and two honorable mention entries to follow through with their invaluable campaigns with some exciting rewards. The runner up will receive a free one-year subscription to our SEO ToolSet and a free pass to our SEO Training Course and Advanced Certification Course to be held April 7-11. Those receiving honorable mention get a free one-year subscription to our SEO Tool Set.

Without further ado, the winners are:
-Winner: Ryan Freeman of Strider Inc. partnered with The Elisha Foundation
-Runner-up: Margaret Butler partnered with the International Rett Syndrome Foundation
-Honorable mention: Gyutae Park of Winning the Web partnered with the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium
-Honorable mention: Victor Caballero partnered with the Skirball Cultural Center

Congratulations to all our winners. Below you'll find a quick summary of Ryan and Margaret's selected non-profits and their plan for action.

Winner: Ryan Freeman/The Elisha Foundation

Ryan selected The Elisha Foundation, a resource for families caring for people with special needs. Through family retreats and access to professionals and education specialists, the foundation supports the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of every member of these families.

The organization was formed in 2004 and the purpose of the Web site is to raise awareness of their activities and resources. The site allows families who could benefit from the services of The Elisha Foundation to learn about the organization and get involved in the activities. It also provides people interested in assisting the foundation an easy means through which to donate, volunteer and stay up to date.

The site was recently redesigned for a slick new look, but Ryan's technical review of the site uncovered many areas that when improved upon will have a great impact on the site's rankings. Some of the problems he ran into can be solved with 301 redirects, such as the fact that there are multiple domains serving identical copies of the homepage (including both non-www and www domains) and that the redesign changed the CMS, resulting in a new URL structure that has left old URLs hanging around.

He also found areas with text displayed in images and images that could benefit from ALT and Title attributes, links that could use Title attributes, and Page Titles that need keywords. Ryan plans to add Meta Description and Keyword tags to each page, a robots.txt, and XML Sitemap, register with Google Webmaster Tools, and change the archive format from a date system to a siloed keyword system.

As for changes to the site's content, Ryan's top priority is moving the video off the homepage and adding an introduction to the organization under an <H1> header. He also wants to create a social network for families to connect and maintain friendships and add a product and service reviews section for first-hand recommendations about the products, equipment, toys and services used by families caring for special needs children and adults. Finally he plans to alter the anchor text of links and include an <H2> header for upcoming events on the home page.

Ryan's plans for increasing links and awareness through off-page factors include becoming involved in forums and online communities, launching a link building campaign, getting prominent bloggers and authors interested in the cause to promote the work of the foundation, and encouraging those already involved to post photos and videos from the retreat on sites like Flickr and YouTube.

We think this is a great plan that outlines many effective SEO tactics, from the major to the minutia. While it's a pretty in-depth proposal, Ryan has volunteered to dedicate the next 12 months of his time to this SEO campaign. We are confident that as he puts his plan in action The Elisha Foundation will see the benefit of his efforts, and we can't wait to see what comes of his hard work.

Runner-up: Margaret Butler/International Rett Syndrome Foundation

Our runner-up Margaret offered a compelling SEO campaign plan to support a cause that she cares about deeply. A little known but severely debilitating disorder, Rett Syndrome affects an estimated one in every 10,000-20,000 females, including her two-year-old granddaughter, Brooklyn Ashleigh Butler.

The International Rett Syndrome Foundation is dedicated to increasing awareness of the disorder, promoting research, providing an online community for those affected by the disorder and their families, and fundraising. The Web site was originally launched in 1999 under the ownership of the International Rett Syndrome Association, but was redesigned and relaunched last month with the merger of IRSA and the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation. With the great ranking potential of the old domain and the organization's supportive leadership on her side, we're confident that this campaign will see success.

For her organic SEO campaign, Margaret plans to first focus on externalizing the CSS and JavaScript and implementing keywords on individual pages based on her keyword research. She also plans to optimize the Meta tags and launch a link building campaign. As the cause holds special significance to her, she plans to make the project an ongoing commitment boosted through the skills she learns at the Bruce Clay training courses.

Along with being an active fundraiser and promoter for IRSF, Margaret is also a Web designer and "rookie SEO and SEM professional" with an insatiable appetite for industry knowledge. We're thrilled to be able to offer her a seat at our SEO Training Course and Advanced Certification Course because we know that her efforts will support a great organization.

All our winners submitted well thought out plans for comprehensive organic SEO campaigns. We hope that as we present these charity contests in the future we will continue to see such a high level of energy and dedication to both SEO and non-profit groups. Congratulations again to our winners, and if you didn't make it to the podium this time around we encourage you to apply next time the Bruce Clay, Inc. Give, Get, Go SEO Charity Contest comes around.

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