Today (Tuesday, April 21st), Google is making a major update to its mobile search algorithm that will change the way websites rank when users are searching from a mobile device.
This essentially means that their algorithm will now favour sites that are mobile friendly. From a user’s perspective this is pretty much a dream come true, hopefully spelling an end to frantic zooming in and out and trying desperately to click the right link but somehow always managing to fall short of the mark. Well no more!
Websites that don’t feature the following criteria: large text, easy to click links and pages that resize to fit whatever screen they are being viewed on, can expect to be punished.
With so many websites out there that still aren’t responsive in design this is going to prove catastrophic (thus the nickname, mobilegeddon). This update has the power to dramatically alter a site’s ranking in Google and for university and colleges, seriously hamper their recruitment efforts.
Last year we held our first annual higher education web survey and invited marketing and IT professionals from universities and colleges around the globe to answer a list of questions about web and marketing trends in higher education. Of those who completed the survey, we found that only 43% answered that their organization had a responsive website. Considering that 35% of all web traffic is mobile and that 82% of new university and college students now own a smartphone it stands to reason that if your university or college doesn’t have a mobile responsive site you’re now making it a whole lot harder for students to find you. Competition for students has never been higher so now is definitely not the time to take yourself out of the mobile race!
Google announced this update back in February so it shouldn’t be a complete shock; they’ve even created a handy site where you can test if your website is mobile worthy.
So this all begs the question, have you bunkered down and prepared well for mobilegeddon or are you taking the chance that the Google zombie bots don’t find and punish you?