Associations trying to rank well in searches watch Google algorithm changes like Floridians watch the development of major hurricanes in the Atlantic. Those who were around when updates like Penguin and Panda hit the Internet remember how these changes massively impacted search engine rankings—some for the better, many for the much, much worse. While AMS software does a lot more, it can also help track your website metrics so that you can stay ahead of Google’s endless stream of algorithm changes.
What is ‘Mobilegeddon’?
In April of last year, Google announced these algorithm changes, which would reward mobile-friendly websites and punish those that are not optimized for mobile devices. SEO and tech blogs quickly assigned a dramatic moniker to the algorithm, dubbing it “Mobilegeddon.” Some had different but similar names for it, such as Mobilepocalyse, Mopocalypse, and Mobocalypse (really!). Since it has long been believed that it can take months, perhaps years, to recover from a hard hit by Google rankings, this created no small amount of panic among all organizations that depend on website rankings.
How Mobilegeddon Has Impacted Website Traffic & Page Rank
The response to the new algorithm by webmasters was immediate and drastic. About 25 percent of the websites without mobile-friendly interfaces were quick to remedy the situation. Others supplemented their responsive website designs with mobile apps. It’s important to note that the algorithm does not change search results for users on desktop computers—those rankings remained the same. Only searches conducted via mobile devices received different Google results following the algorithm.
The algorithm is now more than a year old, so what have we learned?
- Google isn’t trying to make things hard on your association. They are trying to assure a good user experience for searchers. Work toward improving your user experience and all will be well with your search engine rankings.
- Google algorithms are ranking pages according to their current performance. Even if an algorithm update hurts your rankings, as soon as you fix the issue that Google penalized you for, your website ranking will recover immediately. With a good understanding of Google’s policies and a strong AMS software solution to track your website metrics, you should have no trouble keeping the high ranking you’ve worked for.
- Don’t listen to the Chicken Littles of the SEO world. Usually, the sky isn’t really falling. Fewer than half of all websites that aren’t mobile-friendly actually lost traffic after Mobilegeddon was initiated, while about 30 percent of those with mobile interfaces improved in website traffic numbers.
- A mobile-friendly website is essential for any association utilizing an Internet-, content marketing-, or SEO strategy (which all should be). In many cases, supplementing your responsive web design with a great mobile app can help you remain relevant in the Age of Mobile.
What to Do in the Era of the Mobilegeddon-Style Algorithms
A lot more goes into Google rankings than the experience for mobile users. Make sure the page loads quickly, that the content is top notch, and that you provide easy, intuitive navigation so folks can find what they’re looking for.
How can you assure that your association’s web rankings stay high?
- Use text that is large enough to be read easily using a mobile device.
- Use a responsive web design that optimizes the user experience on smaller screens.
- Use buttons and links that are large enough to be easily tapped with a finger on a touchscreen. Spread buttons and links out, so that users don’t accidentally click the wrong one.
- Use your AMS software to track member engagement, website traffic, user experience, and other critical metrics that contribute to your search ranking.
For more on tracking and analyzing member engagement, check out the first installment of a three-part series on Scoring Member Engagement.