Be prepared. On April 21st, if your hotel website isn’t mobile friendly, it will essentially be obliterated from Google search rankings. Every site that is mobile-friendly will be labeled as such by Google and will be placed higher in the rankings. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, then it will not likely appear anywhere near the top of the search rankings, and may not even make it onto the first page. Google’s warning about SEO for hotels is clear – your bottom line will be negatively affected by this change. We live in a fast-paced society, and when a potential guest is searching for hotels they aren’t going to search further than the first page most of the time.
SEO for Hotels Based on Google’s Warning
There’s been plenty of time to prepare, considering Google announced the transition last year.
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.“ Google has stated.
Regardless of Google’s warning and online law enforcement, it’s already critical that your hotel is mobile-optimized. Direct bookings are already challenging to obtain and competition is fierce if your hotel website is a nightmare for mobile users to navigate, then they’ll quickly give up and move on to the next.
Google has been known to make frequent changes to its search algorithm, and it can be challenging to keep up, not to mention unclear how necessary it is to keep up. Make no mistake, this change in algorithm is serious, and will directly affect your bottom line very negatively if your site isn’t optimized, or very positively if it is.
Congratulations and great job for those of you who have already enhanced your user experience by updating your site for mobile-optimization. Starting April 21st your hotel may even experience a higher ranking within Google search than before. Unfortunately, there are still many hotels that have yet to invest in their future, and now time is running short. If your hotel has postponed executing a mobile strategy, take action immediately.
If you’re unsure of whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, you can evaluate it using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test and Mobile Usability Report. Both tests are extremely user-friendly and meant to help you. The results will make it clear whether or not your site meets the basic standards for a mobile optimized website.
Based on the results you have two strategies to consider moving forward:
Short-Term Solution: You can create a mobile version of your existing site. This site will simply be a “stand alone” extension of your main website, that works well on mobile devices. This is the less expensive option but requires a great amount of maintenance since you’ll constantly be having to update not one, but two sites.
Long-Term Solution: Stop resisting and simply invest in a mobile-responsive website. Mobile-responsive means your site will adjust itself for the viewer no matter what device is being used. Iphone, Ipad, smartphone, tablet, etc., whatever the device may be, your site will adjust itself to be user-friendly every time. Additionally, unlike the first solution, you’ll only have one site, which makes maintenance much less time-consuming. This is typically a more costly solution, but one that will give you a much greater and longer ROI. There have been many advancements in technology that have brought the costs down and provided alternatives to long lead times.
On a positive note, there’s still time to get your site in order before April 21st, but that deadline is approaching rapidly so act immediately. Google is enforcing mobile-responsiveness for a reason – there is a constant increase of web usage via a mobile device. Mobile device usage is only going to continue to increase; at some point, your website might disappear completely if it isn’t mobile-friendly, regardless of Google. Don’t allow damage to occur to your bottom line in the long run, over something you can control. If you need any assistance determining the best option for your hotel, contact us today. HMG Hospitality is an expert in managing and consulting hotels and can help your hotel develop a plan of action immediately.