Google Mobile First Indexing: What it means for Your Hotel Website

Google’s ranking system has been looking at content on the desktop version to evaluate user relevance. Then in May 2016, Google’s algorithms were updated to include mobile friendliness as a ranking factor. Today, Google Mobile First Indexing is going to affect how well you rank in the Search Engines.  Most searches are carried out using mobile devices. In fact, according to eMarketer research, 69.8% of travelers will book flights and hotels via mobile by 2019.

Responsive websites were created to adapt to both the desktop and mobile viewer.  With the onset of Google mobile first indexing experimentation, hotel marketers need to look at how their mobile audience views their website.

How Mobile Differs from Desktop VersionsMobile, Desktop, Tablet versions of a hotel website

In some cases, the mobile version is a scaled back version of the desktop website so there might be less content than the desktop page. If mobile pages have less content than desktop, it can cause issues with Google’s algorithms because they aren’t evaluating the page used by the mobile user. Google recently announced they would begin to assess ranking content based on mobile versions of websites.

Google mobile first indexing doesn’t change much for responsive websites. It will view the content on desktop and mobile in the same way and then format by device. It also doesn’t mean that desktop only websites will not be visible. Google will still crawl content of both desktop and mobile.

Only if your hotel has separate desktop and mobile versions will this new indexing become an issue. Google has suggestions for steps you can take to optimize for this algorithm change.

Growing Importance of Local SEO

Then with searches via mobile increasing, the search terms have become more local in nature. This puts local SEO in the spotlight.  The hotel’s marketing team will need to tailor metadata to include location and reap the benefits of localized search.  Creating optimized content means less frustrations on the part of the mobile user. Relevancy, engagement and timeliness of content continue to be important as ranking factors, but getting the information through speedy search results has become just as, if not, more important.

Google mobile first indexing, though in it’s early stages, is paving the way for reconsideration in hotel website design to accommodate increasing mobile usage.  Hotel marketers will need to be ready to ride the wave of the future.