You might remember, six months ago, how all the blogs about school websites (us included) – and indeed all websites – were talking about Google’s impending “Mobilegeddon” – the change in their ranking algorithm that would prioritise mobile-friendly websites and penalise those that aren’t mobile compatible. No doubt you received countless emails from providers (ourselves included, again), offering to fix the problem, but six months on we have to ask – was it a genuine threat to your website?
The short answer is “no, but….”, and the long answer is “yes, and…”. The reasons for this are due to a number of trends in the way people are accessing content, and the long and short of it is that, from here on out, things are only going to get worse for non-mobile-friendly websites.
Changes in browsing habitsThe traditional model of browsing on your desktop, with Google results in front of you and websites tucked comfortably behind the tabs or windows of your screen, is in decline. Even since April, Android traffic alone has gone up by as much as 6% by some metrics – invariably at the expense of desktop searches. This means that parents are more likely to be searching for things like schools from a mobile device.
In this environment, your content needs to work on these devices, and not just function but look great while doing it. This is why we really do recommend a responsive website, and it’s worth pointing out that School Jotter 2 customers needn’t worry about these changes – all their websites are responsive straight out of the box, with easy access from any device you choose. Content will change and adapt to suit the screen size, so it doesn’t matter if you’re using a 27” iMac or a 3.5” Android phone – you’ll get the same content, tailored to your device.
The reality of the situation is that you need to be going where the people are, and increasingly they’re on their tablets and phones.
Google’s changes are gradualI want to be clear here – Mobilegeddon was a real thing, with real effects, it just wasn’t as bad as everyone said, but the important thing here is “yet”. April was the beginning of a longer process which will slowly see mobile-friendly designs becoming the new normal, transitioning from a luxury to a general fact of life. By upgrading your site to a responsive theme, you’ll be getting around this; by staying non-responsive things are only going to get worse for your rankings.
The overall pictureYour website needs to work on the phones of parents, teachers and students, and if it doesn’t you’re missing out. Not just in terms of your slowly-decreasing search engine traffic, but in terms of providing a decent browsing experience to the people who need it most.
Interested in getting a responsive, mobile-friendly website? School Jotter provides responsive themes out of the box, for a FREE trial contact CustomTech (email email@example.com or call) or visit the web site www.webanywhere.com.au
[Adapted for AsiaPac from the blog entry on the Webanywhere Education Blog Site]