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Charities set to lose out with the Google Mobile update

Written by Jack | 13-Apr-2015 13:25:00

It’s been almost a month since Google notified us about a major change to the ‘mobile-friendly’ algorithm launching on the 21
st April 2015. The update is expected to be rolled out over a week and will use ‘mobile-friendliness’ as a ranking signal. To ensure you maintain your mobile search rankings (and therefore protect your website traffic and donations), you will need to make sure your site is ‘mobile-friendly’ by the 21st of April… and there is still time to get this right!

How does this affect the charity sector?

equimedia completed a study in 2014 where
four online failings within the charity sector were discovered and opportunities to improve their overall digital strategies were identified.

One of the four failings was how many charities were not yet set for the mobile revolution. Our research discovered that more and more people who donate to charities are doing so via the internet.

Google cites that 36% of all searches in the ‘Donations & Charitable Giving’ sector are now on mobile devices. Despite this, more than 70% of the charity websites we tested were non-responsive and/or not ‘mobile-friendly’. This means that users would have trouble viewing the website on their mobile phones and would have had to do a lot of swiping and zooming to read the content, leaving them with a poor user experience.

Given this finding and the impending change to Google’s algorithm, if your site is not considered ‘mobile-friendly’ by the 21
st April, you could see a significant drop in your mobile performance due to the new ranking signals.

We therefore revisited our study, to see how many of the 129 charity websites we originally reviewed would now be deemed mobile-friendly by Google. 

The results 

Using
Google’s mobile-friendly test to analyse websites, we found that only 39% were now deemed mobile-friendly. This leaves the majority of those charity websites vulnerable following the update to losing traffic and potential donations.




How can we help you?

If you are worried your site may not be mobile-friendly, the easiest way to check is to do a brand search on a mobile phone and look for the mobile-friendly label next to your website as with the screen grab below.  

If you can’t see this label, it’s likely you will begin to see your mobile traffic decline once the update is fully released, significantly impacting your online performance. As a charity, lost traffic = lost donations, and from our experience working with charities it is increasingly important to compete for the public’s donations and use marketing budget effectively to acquire more supporters.

The update will be running in real time which means you still have time to get your website mobile-friendly. 

If you are unsure what your next steps should be, you can
speak to us at equimedia. We have worked with several charities, ensuring their websites are ready in time for the 21st April update.