As with all changes that Google makes, the Mobile-friendly Update has the industry buzzing. More information, and even more speculation, comes out as we near the April 21st date. Here are a few tidbits that we think will be most applicable to you in the Lodging industry:
|Photo from Barry Schwartz|
- Currently, everyone is concerned with gaining the Mobile-friendly label to prove they have passed the test. But with time, as the majority of websites comply with Google's requirements, almost every search result will include the label and it will lose value. At that point, it's possible that Google would revert to negative reinforcement to encourage change. This negative reinforcement could come in the form of a Slow label being displayed next to a website's search listing. Like an unfavorable TripAdvisor review, this sort of Scarlet Letter shaming would certainly incentivize change.
- Your website's mobile rankings and desktop rankings will be kept separate. This implies that Google will have an entirely separate index for mobile than it does for desktop. But you should make sure that both your mobile and desktop websites - or your single Responsive website - work well across all platforms in order to provide the best user experience, and make your booking engine universally accessible.
- It is possible that your website's desktop keywords are different from your mobile keywords. When considering your SEO tactics, it is always a good idea to consider the user's intent and needs. For example: a user searching for your B&B on their home computer probably wants to see big beautiful photos, read about all the amenities, and ultimately book a room. A user searching for your B&B on their mobile phone is probably on the road trying to find directions to the room where they're planning to sleep that night. Remember that the needs of your users may vary circumstantially, so be mindful of that when optimizing your website.
- Google's ultimate goal is to provide users with the most pertinent information, as quickly as possible. That should be the ultimate goal of your website as well. In the mobile realm, we are seeing growth in use of voice-prompted tools like Siri and Google's Voice Search. This will be important to keep in mind as you prepare or revise content for your website - you should be trying to answer the user's questions in a conversational manner.
For more predictions and details surrounding Google's upcoming Mobile-friendly Update, this Moz Blog article by Cindy Krum has lots of great insights!