Mobile first indexing for hotels: the what, why, when, who & where

mobile-search-indexingMobile first indexing is very much in focus today. This is one of those hot topics that you keep hearing about, but never actually get the time to look into. Nevertheless, your digital future will be immensely influenced by this major shift in Google’s ranking.

What is mobile first indexing all about?

Up until recently, Google’s ranking system has typically used the desktop version of your website’s content. Many businesses though offer a vastly inferior service to mobile users with stripped back content and clunky navigation.

As mobile searches are on the rise, Google aims to improve services for these customers.

So going forward, the search engine giant will use the mobile version of your page to determine your indexing – compelling companies to provide a better mobile experience.

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Why is this a big deal?

As far as Internet trends go, this is an complete turnaround from Google.

Essentially, if your hotel does not offer a mobile-friendly browsing to guests, it may lose organic website traffic and slide back on search engine ranking pages.

But don’t panic just yet.

Responsive websites that adjust to different screen sizes and offer exactly the same content to mobile and desktop users will not be affected in any way. Many new sites launched over the past few years fall into this category.

Provided that your website only has a desktop layout, your indexing will see no change either. However, if your content is not optimised for mobile visitors, we strongly urge you to consider switching to a responsive platform. You are most certainly losing booking opportunities.

If you run a separate mobile website that offers significantly reduced content compared to the desktop version, you’ve got some homework to do. Read on.

When is the update happening?

Google has actually started the roll-out way back in 2016. While being deeply committed to this project, the search engine did realise what a game changer this will become.

The company takes the changeover very slowly, evaluates every business individually and only completes the switch when the website is ready for mobile first indexing.

By Google’s own admission, they do not have a set timeline for when the transition is going to be completed. With trillions of pages to index, it can easily take years.

What that means for your hotel? Now is the time to get ready.

Who benefits from this change?

This is a tricky question.

As Google doesn’t offer the chance to opt-out from their program, it may feel like a forced participation.

On the other hand, mobile usage now outpaces desktop browsing and accounts for the majority of online activities. The search giant’s ambition does correspond with current consumer expectations. When guests started to demand free WIFI connection, hotels were swift to provide the service. It’s a similar trend.

Investing in a first-class mobile website is a sure bet on your hotel’s business future. Better mobile optimisation equals superior user experience – ultimately leading to improved conversion and more money in the bank.

Where do I go from here?

Assess the status quo. Find out whether you are mobile-ready or need to dedicate resources to a new platform.

Make sure that the mobile form of your website provides the same engaging content as the desktop version. This doesn’t just mean text, but high-quality images and videos as well.

Enlist a search engine optimisation specialist and your site will be set to take its prime position on the search pages.


Tags: digital, Google+, mobile, mobile first indexing, SEO


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