Do you remember Mobilegeddon, Google’s major mobile algorithm update last year? Well, be prepared for another mobile-friendliness algorithm update that Google will be rolling out in May, which again will penalize non-mobile friendly sites even more than ever before. Just when you had thought your mobile marketing strategy was in place, Google will soon be coming out with the mobile-friendliness algorithm update 2.0 that will greatly impact your search placement and online visibility on mobile. The best way to prevent your site from being penalized is to follow these best practices and abide by Google’s standards when it comes to what makes a site mobile-friendly. For hoteliers, it is especially important that you pay attention to user experience and how much value you can bring to the user when he/she visits your site on a mobile device.
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 millennial 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. So what does this mean for hoteliers? It means that year on year people are increasingly using phones to plan travel and when they do it’s happening in micro-moments across more sessions along the travel planning and booking journey. From this data, we can conclude that people are getting more comfortable making purchases and online bookings on their phones than before, and it’s not just with last minute bookings. Therefore, you cannot afford to lose out on potential revenue from mobile bookings just because you provide a poor user experience on a mobile device.
Many hoteliers face the challenge of generating plenty of traffic from mobile but these visits don’t always convert. To combat this challenge, make sure your website and booking engine are mobile friendly. Start off testing your site by using these tools: Google Mobile-Friendly Test, PageSpeed Insights and Varvy Mobile to access what mobile issues are preventing your site from performing to its optimal level and giving users what they want and need. The Varvy mobile tool is especially useful as it provides you key takeaways on not only what the problem is but how to fix it. Don’t expect to rank or show up on the first page of Google on a mobile device if your site is not mobile optimized. 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. Whether you choose to build your mobile site on a responsive or adaptive mobile design, be sure to follow these 10 guidelines:
Mobile Optimized Checklist:
- Is your mobile booking engine integrated with your mobile site?
- Is your site easy to navigate? Thumb-friendly icons?
- Is the content easy to read without having to zoom or side-scroll?
- Are your social media channels integrated with your mobile site?
- Are you promoting mobile check-in offers or specials? Is there a separate mobile-friendly landing page for the special?
- Does your site load in less than 3 seconds?
- Are your images optimized for mobile?
- Do you have a click-to-call button?
- Is the call-to-action (Book Now) button clear and compelling?
- Are you tracking mobile conversion goals on Google Analytics?
By following these guidelines, you will see better site engagement, boost in mobile rankings improved conversions, and an increase in direct online revenue from mobile bookings.