Last year, Google released its Mobile Algorithm update that changed the way companies devised their mobile marketing strategies. And just when hotels thought they had their marketing sorted, Google is all rolling out the latest Mobile Algorithm Update 2.0 that will greatly impact your search placement and online visibility on mobile.
With last year’s update, Google gave preferential rankings to those sites deemed to be “mobile-friendly” and punished “mobile-unfriendly” sites in Google’s mobile search rankings. The latest update places emphasis, more than ever before, on having mobile friendly websites and Hotels that fail to do so will be penalized heavily.
What is the fuss all about?
What this update loosely translates into is, Google has a pass/fail system based on how mobile friendly your company’s website is. If your website does not match the frontend and backend requirements that Google has defined, then you will be punished by Google, by pushing your website further down in the search results.
The more mobile friendly your website is, the greater chance you have of it showing up higher in the search results.
Google already used to penalize websites by pushing them down in the search results since their release last April, but with the latest update in May, it could mean your website being put even further down.
The criteria Google uses to deem a website mobile-friendly include:
• Easy to read, legible content that can one can go through without having to zoom or side scroll
• A not too heavy website that loads in less than 3 seconds
• Easy to navigate site with thumb friendly icons and links that are placed far enough apart to be selected and clicked easily
• Having images optimized for mobiles and tablets
• A mobile booking engine integrated with your mobile site
• Having Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), AMP HTML and AMO Java Script.
AMP is expected to have a huge role to play in the latest update to be rolled out next month, wherein websites having AMP pages and AMP cached pages will show up higher in Google’s search results as opposed to those who don’t.
Why Have a Mobile-Friendly Hotel Website?
It’s become imperative, more so than ever before, for hotels to have mobile friendly websites.
A recent study from Google stated that nearly 60% of searches in 2016 are happening on smartphones, which is a 27% increase year-over-year. Even more important to note is the growing trend in mobile bookings.
According to Expedia, 52% of business travelers are booking on their smartphones and not to mention mobile site conversion rates have also grown 88%. The number of mobile bookings is only expected to increase by 35% by 2018 according to World Travel Market.
Also released in the report was the increase in the cross device segment, 9 out of 10 people are now in the cross-device category. They start their Internet research on one device and then move on to another. It’s interesting to note is that most of these searches almost always start from a mobile phone. In fact 65% of users start their research on a smartphone and 60% continue on a desktop device.
This essentially means that as more and more people are becoming mobile friendly and smartphone friendly, the trend of Internet research is shifting from desktops to mobiles and tablets. A huge number of people are now doing their travel research and searching for hotels on their mobile phones only. Not only searches, people are becoming more comfortable making their purchases online and doing their hotel bookings online. This means that if your hotel website is not mobile friendly and is not coming up amongst the top Google search results, a prospective client could very well just book another hotel.
So in order to avoid that scenario and to avoid losing out on organic search results and online revenue, it’s imperative for hotels to make their websites mobile friendly.
How can DJUBO help?
DJUBO offers 360-degree solutions to hotels for their sales and marketing. It’s a platform that takes care of your hotel bookings, channel partners, booking engine, payment follow up and much more through a single interface.
DJUBO provides you with a mobile ready brand website that have customizable website templates designed by UI, UX and SEO experts to provide easy navigation and a great user experience on every screen from desktop to tablet to mobile. Clean code and adherence to latest search engine algorithms, delivers a website with high search visibility that converts visits to direct booking.
They believe that travel inspiration, research and bookings are shifting onto mobile, making it essential to create a user experience for the smaller screens as well.
Mobile websites are also an important signal in search engine rankings and therefore an important part of search engine marketing.
Here are a couple of tips that you can employ to ensure that your mobile website is following the latest update: –
1) Keep in mind that optimizing your site for mobile shouldn’t just be about ranking on Google but most importantly providing a better user experience that will convert lookers into bookers.
2) Figure out whether your hotel’s website’s technology platform and content management system (CMS) are engineered to comply with the latest Google Update. Using industry-leading technology as the backbone of your hotel website is the best way to ensure your site stays compliant with Google’s mobile-friendliness requirements.
3) Ensure that you resize the images on your website to fit onto the mobile version without pixilation and that you’re not using Flash on the mobile website. All the flash enabled content in converted to mobile friendly code.
4) The content on the website should be user friendly, keep in mind that with the smaller screens on mobiles and tablets, the information and content has to be presented in a concise and succinct manner to grab eyeballs.
5) It’s important to keep in mind that heavy pages and websites take a while to load and slow mobile download speeds kill mobile usability and are a big no-no, according to Google’s latest Mobile- Friendliness Algorithm Update.
6) Analytics is Key! Learn more about your customer’s behavior and booking patterns with improved analytics that let you take important business decisions from deciding room rates to planning human resources to investing in more profitable online channels.
To sum it up, mobile is the way to go in the near future and it’s necessary for hotels to incorporate the latest Google Algorithm Update in their marketing strategies to ensure that they have better site engagement, boost in mobile rankings, improved conversions and increase in direct online revenue from mobile bookings.