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Why April 21st May Ruin Your Nonprofit's Website Analytics

Devon Hopkins

Not to be click-baiting fearmongers, but we really needed to get your attention because there’s a big change coming to Google’s search algorithm that you need to know about.

Come April 21st, Google will be changing their search algorithm to include mobile-friendliness as a ranking criteria. They announced the change last month in a post to the Official Webmaster Blog which includes resources on how to test the mobile friendliness of your site.

This algorithm change is part of Google’s continual efforts to serve higher quality search results to its users. With more and more people searching and consuming content on mobile devices, it’s a logical next step for Google to be incorporating this criteria into their ranking algorithm.

What does this mean for nonprofits? If you are managing a website that is not considered mobile-friendly by Google’s standards, you will likely lose significant organic search traffic to your site.

Who should pay attention to this? All nonprofits should be planning for the future when it comes to mobile-friendly design. However, the nonprofits that will be hit the hardest are the ones that have a significant amount of mobile viewers and who get a significant amount of traffic from organic search keywords.

How much traffic can you expect to lose? SearchEngineLand did a great experiment using Moz.com as an example. You can follow their post to estimate just how much traffic you can expect to lose, though it’s all speculation until the algorithm actually changes on the 21st.

Even dropping a couple of ranks for high search volume keywords can have a pretty drastic impact on your traffic volume. For example, just dropping from 1st to 2nd can reduce the amount of traffic from that keyword search by almost 20%.

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What can you do? This may be the impetus you need to finally have a discussion about redesigning your website to be more mobile-friendly. Take a look at our 30 Steps to Redesign Your Nonprofit Website guide and 100 Best Nonprofit Websites of 2015 for inspiration on getting started.