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How Will Google’s Mobile-friendly Search Impact You?

Lori Halley 06 May 2015 0 comments

Have you heard about “mobilegeddon”?

You may have heard that on April 21st, Google launched a new search algorithm that gives preference to mobile ready websites over sites that are not mobile-friendly in their search results.  

Why should you care?

Google is where most of us start our internet searches. And as Google’s Mobile Guide explains, since “94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones”, they wanted “to make it easier for people to find the information that they’re looking for, [by] adding a “mobile-friendly” label to [their] mobile search results.”

This means that Google’s new search algorithm – referred to as "Mobilegeddon" – can impact your website’s search rankings if your site isn’t using a mobile-friendly or “responsive” format or template. As a recent TechCrunch post suggested,

Google explains... in order for a site to be considered mobile-friendly, its text has to be readable without tapping and zooming, its tap targets need to be spaced out appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling. 

And those sites which aren’t “optimized for smartphones’ smaller screens would see their [search rankings] downgraded as a result.”

It is still early days yet and the jury is still out on the net impact this will have in the long run. But this serves as a good reminder that we all need to constantly try to ensure that all of our communications channels – starting with our websites – provide the right information, in the preferred format to suit our key audiences, be they members, supporters, donors, or customers.


What exactly is a “mobile-friendly” website template?

In explaining how a mobile-friendly website template differs from other templates, Steve Andrews, our Picky Apricot, noted in a post in February, that “a responsive site automatically adjusts its layout and appearance according to the size of the screen used to view it. Without responsive behavior, a page that displays well on a laptop or desktop would appear too small or require excessive scrolling on a mobile phone.”

How does your website look on mobile?

To help organizations understand how their websites appear to viewers on mobile devices, the Google Developers created a “Mobile-friendly Test Tool” that analyzes your site and reports if the page has a mobile-friendly design. You can see how your site stacks up here.

[Note, the image at right is the Wild Apricot Blog table of contents viewed on a mobile phone using the Mobile-friendly test tool.]

Don’t worry Wild Apricot users – we’ve got you covered!

For those organizations using Wild Apricot, you may have heard that we’ve rolled out a number of responsive or mobile-friendly themes that you can use. Currently, you can choose from the following fully responsive Wild Apricot website theme sets: Bookshelf, Whiteboard and Skyline. But if like your current theme, don’t worry, we'll be upgrading existing themes throughout the year. To follow our progress, check for updates to our Product Roadmap.

Tips for improving website responsiveness on mobile devices

Steve Andrews also offered some design considerations to keep in mind to improve the responsiveness of your existing Wild Apricot site on mobile devices, including:

  • Limiting the number of top-level menu options
  • Avoiding complex page layouts, particularly those involving multiple columns
  • Limiting the number of graphics on a page
  • Avoiding large graphics
  • Resizing graphics to the size you want to display them before adding them to a page
  • Not using Flash content
  • Testing any third-party plugins on mobile devices

What about mobile-friendly content?

But your mobile strategy isn’t just about offering responsive design. As Neil Patel suggests on the Content Marketing Institute Blog, "you also need to know how to write for mobile users.” Patel outlines “six critical lessons in the pursuit of better mobile content” including explaining how we view both text and images on our mobile phones.

In a post from Contently Natalie Burg recommends the following tips more mobile-friendly content:

  • Short, entertaining headlines with easily readable text are key. Also ensure links are far enough apart so fingers don’t bump the wrong one.

  • Make sure your content’s structure and layout doesn’t require readers to scroll down, down, down to get to the majority of your content. Front load your important content at the top.

  • Place your call to action within your content. Mobile readers shouldn’t have to thumb all the way to the end of the page.

We hope your website is safe from “Mobilegeddon” and you can stay tuned to this blog for updates on additional mobile-friendly Wild Apricot website themes as they are rolled out.

Additional information & resources on mobile-friendly design & content

For more information on mobile-friendly website themes, responsive design, mobile-friendly content and more, here are some resources to check out:

Image source:
"Seamless pattern made with mobile" – courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 06 May 2015 at 8:30 AM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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