Mobile-friendly becomes even more essential April 21. Is your nonprofit website ready?

Google notice about April 21 15 Changes to mobile searchSome of us need deadlines in order to take action. Well, if your nonprofit organization has been waiting to deal with your not-mobile-friendly website, here’s a deadline for you:

Google search results on mobile devices are changing April 21, 2015

What does this mean? It means that Google knows that people who are searching the web on their phones don’t want to land on web pages that are difficult to load or to navigate. So, sites that are not mobile-friendly will be demoted in search results pages on mobile devices. As they put it on their webmaster tools site (emphasis added):

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

You can’t know exactly how much it will affect people searching for your nonprofit organization — will you drop off the first page altogether? But don’t wait too long to find out.

If you’re regularly checking your Google Analytics or other analytics data, you know that a growing number of people are visiting your organization’s website on phones or tablets. Don’t torment them with awkward pages that they have to move around on the screen, then magnify to find what they’re looking for. And mobile-friendly is a minimum — really, the higher bar of “fully responsive” is more considerate of your users.

Talk to your developer to make sure that you are working with at least a mobile-friendly, but hopefully a fully-responsive design that works well on mobile phones and tablets.

Want to know if Google rates your page as mobile-friendly?

Here’s a site to tell you how the Googlebot sees your page and whether or not Google thinks your site is mobile-friendly.

Want to see how many mobile visitors your site has?

If you’re using Google Analytics, it’s under Audience –> Mobile –> Overview. If you want to regularly track key analytics for mobile users, I have a Google Analytics dashboard focused on mobile visits that I use for my own sites.

What does your website look like for your visitors?

And when was the last time you took a peek at how your website looks for different users who are accessing it on different computers or mobile devices? (Also known as cross-browser testing.) Although there are great cross-browser testing services out there for a fee, Quirktools offers a reasonable (ad-based) cross-browser testing tool, which will give you snapshots of how your website looks on dozens of different browsers and mobile devices.

Mobile-friendly websites are essential to communicating well with your key audiences — don’t wait till no one can find you via Google search to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Image from Google Webmaster Blog

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