Why Google Will Make Feds Go Mobile

The world is going mobile. Apple sold 60 million iPhones in the last quarter alone. Three out of five ESPN users view the site on a mobile device. And one in every four visitors to a federal government website uses a phone or tablet.

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The world is going mobile. Apple sold 60 million iPhones in the last quarter alone. Three out of five ESPN users view the site on a mobile device. And one in every four visitors to a federal government website uses a phone or tablet.

That’s why Google last week changed its search algorithm.

“We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results,” Google announced in a blog post.

Those not moving up must move down.

Google is now penalizing websites it deems unfriendly to mobile, moving them down a peg in its search results. Federal websites sitting on the dreaded second page run the risk of being overlooked.

Here are all of the cabinet level agencies and a few other notable organizations that fail Google’s litmus test for mobile friendliness:

Treasury.gov
Defense.gov
HUD.gov
VA.gov
DHS.gov
GSA.gov
EPA.gov
IRS.gov
Weather.gov

A recent Pew study found that 40 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to look up government services or information. The report also found that a quarter of Americans now access the Internet primarily through their mobile phone.

Not all Federal mobile websites earned Google’s wrath. These cabinet level agencies and other prominent organizations received a thumbs-up from Google:

State.gov
Justice.gov
DOI.gov
USDA.gov
Commerce.gov
DOL.gov
HHS.gov
DOT.gov
Energy.gov
ED.gov
WhiteHouse.gov
SSA.gov

Agencies in need of a makeover should focus on responsiveness (a single site and design that changes configuration depending on the size of the screen) and adaptability (offering different experiences on both mobile and desktop platforms) to improve their score.

Google favors responsive design, which adapts page layouts to the device used to view the page. Because both mobile and desktop versions share a single URL, it helps Google index more the site’s content more accurately.

Overall, mobile-friendly websites are beneficial to users as they provide a faster loading time, more engagement, more average time on site, and most importantly, more traffic.

Join the conversation. Post a comment below or email me at adoggett@300brand.com.

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