Nonprofits Need Mobile, Part 1: Getting Serious ahead of “Mobilegeddon”

In late February, Google announced a significant change to its search algorithm. While it usually doesn’t talk much about how its crawlers review Web pages, this particular change was worthy of notice because it will affect essentially every website, including one run by your nonprofit. Starting April 21, Google’s search algorithm will have greater focus on “mobile friendliness” in determining page rank. In particular, when supporters look for you on their mobile devices, your page rank will be greatly affected by whether your site has a full level of optimization. That means less visitors and fewer people getting interested in your cause if your site isn’t optimized. Nonprofit content management tools with mobile device optimization in mind can help you manage this significant change to the way your supporters see you.

An impact event

Many online publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine, are already calling this “mobilegeddon.” There’s a good reason for that: While the two largest algorithm changes, Panda and Penguin, were significant, they didn’t have that much scope. They were usually targeting websites that were attempting to game the search engine to score page views based on faulty or malicious content. On the other hand, this update will impact every site on the searchable Web, including regular websites. More importantly, there has been an increase in mobile searches, garnering up to 60 percent of all searches according to comScore. That’s a lot of supporters looking to see your work. If you’re not thinking about mobile already, this should be the kick in the pants that gets you going.

Starting April 21, this little device is going to matter a lot more.Starting April 21, this little device is going to matter a lot more.

With this in mind, you must confirm that your site is optimized enough for mobile search. Google helps by offering its Mobile Friendliness Test. If your site fails that, Google will at least tell you some of the reasons why. For example, it could be that your font size makes text unreadable on a mobile device. Your links may be bunched up together, making it hard for someone to check out a link. You may not have a mobile viewport, which determines the size of the display as it is to be seen on mobile device. That means it resembles what it looks like on a desktop, and people tend to dislike tiny versions of Web pages they’re perusing. Addressing some of these issues can alleviate the problem.

Getting ready

When preparing your site for the looming April 21st deadline, learning what you can from the Mobile Friendliness Test helps. But some of the basics also matter. For example, just having your mobile site fully functional and tested for different devices can help. A good way to test is to ask supporters how the mobile site looks on their smartphones. Get your robots.txt prepared for mobile search as well. Make sure the crawlers can see as much as possible, including images and the CSS file, since that can help determine mobile viability. Finally, make sure each page on your site corresponds with a mobile version. Responsive design can help in this situation, since it allows you to run one single page that adapts to the mobile device that’s reading it, rather than the other way around. With proper preparation, you don’t have to worry about “mobilegeddon,” and your supporters will be thankful.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 at 9:18 am and is filed under Web Trends & News, Website / CRM Integration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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