Monday, January 2, 2017

HTTPS as a Google Search Ranking Signal

Google's effort in moving towards a more secure web marches on as we begin 2017. With the release of Google Chrome version 56, non-secure web pages (HTTP) will show a "Not secure" tag in the address bar:


HTTPS is an encrypted method of data transfer that blocks virtual eavesdroppers from seeing and using your information.

Technically speaking, unless your website is transferring passwords, payment information, or other sensitive data, there's no need for your website to be served over HTTPS.

But for best practices, and taking into account that HTTPS is a search ranking signal for Google, all websites should implement HTTPS across all pages.

"We've seen positive results, so we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it's only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web." - Google Webmaster Central Blog

So while HTTPS is currently a minor ranking signal, it's anticipated to grow in importance along with the Chrome implementation of the "Not secure" tag. While that tag itself is not a ranking signal, it would come as no surprise that the words "Not secure" being shown right next to your web address will certainly increase your Bounce Rate, decrease your Click-Through Rate, and diminish the overall level of trust that users find in your website.

BnBwebsites strongly recommends that all website owners begin adopting HTTPS now before it becomes a much more important Google search ranking signal, as it's becoming an essential part of a well-designed, fast, and user-friendly website.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The importance of keeping your Hours of Operation up to date

We tried to go eat lunch at a local restaurant on the 4th of July - there was no mention online of having special holiday hours, so we assumed they were still open. Unfortunately, we were forced to take our business elsewhere because we showed up and the restaurant was closed. Make sure that you keep your operating hours updated online so that you don't disappoint potential customers! 

This is becoming more and more important now that mobile search quantity has surpassed desktop search - so many more users are looking for your contact info and hours on their smartphones, so you need to make sure that your information is up to date and easily accessible.

Google has released a tool that will allow you to check your Google My Business (Google Places) listing to see whether or not your business information is accurate. Go to http://www.gybo.com/summer and type in your business name and city. You will then be able to see the information that Google has listed for you, and will give you the opportunity to fix any erroneous details.

Google reports that 25% of businesses change their hours for the summer*, which was the basis for them introducing this special tool. Because many businesses in the lodging industry have seasonal hours, this is extremely important! We encourage all business owners to visit http://www.gybo.com/summer and make sure that your potential customers don't have the same disappointing experience that we did.


* Written by Google and conducted using Google Consumer Surveys, June 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New incentives for Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design is now essential for any business, but especially for us in the lodging industry. Users want to see prices, locations, availability, amenities, reviews, and compare multiple options before booking. When users are bouncing from source to source, it’s important to have a specific brand identity and maintain consistency across all platforms so that your business is easily recognizable in all contexts.

During the 2015 AdWords livestream, Google reported that 9 out of 10 smartphone users start their research on one device but ultimately purchase on another. Responsive Web Design allows you to deliver seamless transitions between devices and provide brand familiarity, which will increase your likelihood of gaining conversions.

BnBwebsites builds beautiful and efficient Responsive websites for bed and breakfasts, hotels, cabins, inns, vacation rentals, really any lodging option. Visit BnBwebsites.com to browse our design portfolio and check our pricing options.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Post Mobilegeddon Aftermath

April 21st has come and gone, but really how significant were the changes ?

It has been reported by Moz that over the last 2 weeks, the number of Mobile-friendly tagged websites on page 1 of search results has increased from 66.3% to 70.1%. Although, there are two possible explanations for this trend:

  1. Google's Mobile-friendly update has been slowly rolling out over a couple weeks
  2. Universally, webmasters have been preparing their sites for the April 21st deadline
Google previously stated that the algorithm changes could take days or weeks to fully manifest themselves, so it's not a surprise that we didn't see drastic changes after just one day. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another advantage to being in the Google Local Pack / Map Pack

Tomorrow, April 21st, will be a big day for anyone concerned with their website's Google rankings. The Mobile-friendly update is rolling out, and that will mean significant penalties for websites that are not optimized for use on mobile devices.

If your website is still not Mobile-friendly (you should fix that), you are not beyond hope. Gary Illyes of Google confirmed that the Google Map Pack will not be affected by the new Mobile-friendly algorithm update.

Here's a rough diagram that will show you exactly what the Google Map Pack is:

diagram marking different sections of a typical Google SERP


You'll notice that all listings in the Map Pack have a couple things in common:

  1. They are listed in Google My Business (formerly Google Places)
  2. They have at least one Google review
Aside from gaining a little protection from tomorrow's Mobile-friendly algorithm update, there are some other distinct advantages to being listed in the Google Map Pack, but we will talk about that another time.

Right now you should be focusing on making sure your website is mobile-friendly, and making sure that your business is integrated with Google's different business functions.