Are You Going to Fall Out of Searches Now?
Well, it's true. They've done it again, and this time your website might not fall into the top search results. That's right—Google has updated its search algorithms to favor websites that work well on mobile devices. Based on data from comScore:
- U.S. users are now spending the majority of their time consuming digital media within mobile applications—that means mobile apps, including the No. 1 most popular app, Facebook.
- Combined with mobile web, mobile usage as a whole accounts for 60 percent of time spent, while desktop-based digital media consumption makes up the remaining 40 percent.
- Apps today are driving the majority of media consumption activity, now accounting for seven out of every eight minutes of media consumption on mobile devices.
Let's not act surprised about the Google change—in reality, one could argue that they are just following all of us. We, as digital consumers, are expressing our preferences for mobile engagement—at least that is what our behavior is telling them.
So, now that it is a done deal, and as of April 21 the new algorithm went into place, you need to make sure your website doesn't fall into lower results in a search. The fine folks at Eleventy Marketing Group have outlined the details below and what you need to do to ensure your website is SEO-optimized moving forward.
Why Google Updates Matter to Your Website
Google dominates the search-engine world. Sure, some people use Yahoo or Bing for searches, but not nearly the numbers that use Google. A reality reinforced by the simple fact that people don't regularly say "Yahoo it" or "Bing it"—they say "Google it". Such a dominant force is Google in the search-engine world it has become part of our everyday vernacular.
And, as such, its methods of ranking search results should be understood by all organizations operating websites. After all, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to find your site through searches. So it's important to follow Google's guidelines and recommendations.
What Google Has Started Doing Differently
As of April 21, 2015, Google has changed the way it determines search-engine rankings. The primary change taking place—and the one that's most relevant to your organization—is an increasing focus on the role mobile devices now play in searching the Web.
As stated on the Google Webmaster Central blog:
"When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns."
That blog post also notes that Google will be making two key changes to provide a better mobile search experience:
- Mobile-friendliness will now be a key factor in ranking websites. In a nutshell, websites that are mobile-friendly will rank higher in Google search results. And sites that are not mobile-friendly will rank lower.
- Content from indexed apps will show up more prominently in search results for people who have those apps. This change is likely less relevant to your organization at this time.
What This Means for Your Organization's Website
Put simply: This new change from Google means having a mobile-optimized website is no longer just recommended—it's essential. At least if you want to rank well in Google search results. Which, if you're a business or nonprofit, you definitely do.
Not sure if your website is mobile friendly or not?
There's any easy way to find out: You can check your site using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test. Just pop in your URL—it's actually smart to test a few different pages—and Google will tell you whether or not your site adheres to its mobile standards.
If your site is not currently mobile friendly, you're not doomed forever.
But you will want to take action as soon as possible. As long as your site doesn't pass the mobile test, your Google rankings will suffer. But once you update your site to make it more mobile-friendly, Google will crawl it and your rankings should improve.
At this point, making sure your website is mobile-friendly is something every organization should make a top priority. And, remember, it's not just your website either. The rule also applies to any landing pages you may have set up.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.