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Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? It Needs to Be

By on Thursday, May 14, 2015

Is your website mobile-friendly? It needs to be. On April 21, 2015, Google changed its search algorithm to make mobile-friendliness a ranking signal for search results. Google also recently announced that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the United States and Japan. If you want for your small business, nonprofit, or association website to be found in Google search results, your website needs to be mobile-friendly.

While some may be worried – the reality is this is a change for the better. Website traffic is increasingly coming from mobile devices. And if you have ever had to scroll line by line on a web page sized inappropriately for your phone to get some information, you know what a pain it is when a site is not optimized for mobile.

The change is already impacting nonprofit organizations. Civil Society IT in the United Kingdom found that a third of top British charity websites were not mobile-friendly. In response to queries, several charities are already working to make improvements.

Associations have also been impacted, prompting one writer for Associations Now to declare that mobile-friendly is no longer a “nice to have” feature for a website.

Business websites are also impacted. Some have even dubbed it “mobile-geddon” and even NBC News is using the term. NBC reported that while the mobile-friendly change seems to not have heavily impacted website traffic, but another Google change that favors content rich sites has affected other lower quality sites. Some commentators point out that the switch to mobile-friendly offers a great opportunity for many small businesses, as some larger brands struggle to comply. Here are some more examples of how the change is impacting search results.

And it’s not a time to panic, but rather, a time to think about making improvements for the future. Mobile technology is the wave of the future. Nearly two-thirds of Americans now own smartphones. Interestingly, 15% of Americans own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of ways to get online other than their cell phone. These people are often smartphone dependent for internet access, meaning they don’t have a desktop computer at home that they can use to access the internet. Nonprofits serving populations that are more dependent on smartphones for internet access, should especially consider prioritizing mobile-friendliness for their websites.

Here’s a few tips to help:

Test your current website for mobile-friendliness. Google offers a mobile friendly test, or you can use other mobile tests.

Find out where your website traffic is coming from. Before you start making massive changes, look at where your website traffic is coming from today. David Kutcher at Social Media Today has a Google Analytics Dashboard template for examining traffic (thanks to John Haydon for pointing this out). Look at the numbers. How much of your website traffic now is coming from mobile sources?

Make decisions about website upgrades if they are needed. Based on the information you get from Google Analytics, and where you think your site is going in the next year, make decisions about website upgrades.

Talk With Us: What do you think about Google’s new algorithm update? What are you doing in response to the update?

Resources

Google Guide to Making Mobile-Friendly Sites

How to Make Your Website More Mobile Friendly (Entrepreneur)

Ten Ways to Make Your Website More Mobile-Friendly (SitePoint)

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly: 3 Tools to Help You Prepare for Google’s Next Alogorithm Update (HubSpot)

Image Courtesy of Simon Steinberger, Released into the public domain Pixabay. Licensed via Creative Commons.

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