What Your University Needs to Know About Mobilegeddon

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 at 9:30am
What Your University Needs to Know About Mobilegeddon

On Tuesday April 21st, Google released their new “mobile-friendly” algorithm. Prior to its release, like many new algorithms that Google has announced, it was the topic of heated debate across the Internet. There was a lot of speculation and talk of a potential “Mobilegeddon.”

What is Mobilegeddon?

Mobilegeddon is the result of Google changing its mobile search rankings to favor sites that are mobile-friendly. Google warned that it would affect more sites than Pigeon did. The current estimate is that somewhere between 25-40% of top sites have been affected by the new algorithm. Google has said it wasn’t sure how long it would take to be in full effect, while conservative estimates say it could take weeks, everyone is watching the first week of Mobilegeddon closely.

This algorithm doesn’t have a sliding scale or gray area, simply a “yes” or “no.” Your page and site will either be deemed mobile-friendly or not. This page-by-page approach means if your university’s website is mobile-friendly but a specific department’s website is not, they are judged separately. This can be good or bad - while one non-mobile friendly department page won’t bring down the entire university’s ranking, a mobile-friendly home page is not enough to boost the rest.

Why does this matter to your University?

If your university’s website is not mobile-friendly, you run the risk of losing a major source of your web traffic. With 78% of teens now owning a cellphone, and almost half (47%) of them being smartphones, that’s a lot of potential students you could be missing. Parents are also using their cellphones to access the internet more frequently, with 15% of adults being cell-mostly. Depending on how much of your website conversions come via mobile traffic, this could be a big problem for your institution. With mobile search quickly outpacing PC search, some estimating it already has, mobile is something no university can afford to ignore for much longer.

What can you do about Mobilegeddon?

Google has several tools you can use to make sure your university isn’t negatively affected by this new algorithm, as well as helpful resources if you discover that you are affected.

Mobilegeddon is NOT the End of the World

It’s important to remember that if your university’s site is already mobile-friendly, Mobilegeddon can be a good thing. This can be just the boost you needed to push past your competition. So even if your site is already mobile-friendly, make sure you’re keeping an eye on your search rankings and thinking about ways to use this to your advantage.

If your university’s site is not mobile-friendly yet, don’t despair. First figure out how much traffic you see from mobile search, and how much of that traffic converts. Once you know how that traffic affects your bottom line, you can decide how much a solution is worth and how urgent that solution needs to happen. If mobile traffic is a large portion of your conversions, then you should invest more in fixing the issue sooner rather than later. While no one should ignore their mobile audience, not everyone has to drop everything and focus on becoming mobile-friendly this week. This is also a great chance to make any additional updates to your website that you’ve been putting off for when you have more time. So use the tools mentioned above to discover how much work you need to do, and how urgent that work is.

Is your site mobile-friendly? How have you improved your mobile search ranking? If you’re not already mobile-friendly, what steps are you taking to get there?

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