By now, you have heard of the change to Google’s search algorithm, which took effect in late April—and was quickly dubbed Mobilegeddon. No, it’s not a summer blockbuster, but clearly the new algorithm has generated strong opinions in the digital world. I’m hoping that it also triggers decisive action on the part of nonprofits.
Google wants to return relevant search results that are better optimized for users’ devices, while encouraging organizations to make their websites mobile-friendly. The new formula will give a boost to sites that are designed to look good on smartphones, while penalizing those that don’t. (This change only affects mobile results—tablet and desktop searches are unchanged.)
There is some good news for the late adopters: Google has implemented its revised algorithm slowly, giving organizations time to make necessary changes. And Google will not significantly penalize non-responsive websites if their content is extremely relevant to the search terms being used. Nonetheless, this is a decisive move on Google’s part to push businesses and nonprofits into the mobile era.
Our take? It is time for nonprofits to join the mobile-friendly revolution. More than half of all emails are opened on a mobile device, and 71% of people will immediately delete an email that doesn’t render properly. It makes sense to get with the program and update your website now.
Need more of a push? Check out Tom Belford’s blog Mobile and Fundraising (subscription only), where he writes, “These days The Agitator is badgering readers on the importance of mastering mobile almost as much as we hammer away at donor retention.” He goes on to explain even more reasons why, and links to a helpful white paper outlining how to seize the mobile-marketing opportunity.
Google’s changes now make responsive design imperative, and our industry is getting on board. Responsive design was a big topic at this year’s NTEN Conference, and I covered the issue in my recent blog on NTEN takeaways. For example:
- Don’t just shrink graphics—think about what people are looking for, then rework content for the smaller screen.
- Whatever you do, don’t neglect message. Your content should be not only responsive, but also compelling, with a strong case for support.
Whether your organization leaps into comprehensive redesign or chooses an incremental approach, make sure that responsive design becomes an integrated part of your digital strategy.