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April 21, 2015: Google Mobile Ranking Affects Hotels

Google Mobile Ranking Algorithm takes effect today.

You have heard it called “Mobilegeddon” and the “Mobile Ranking Showdown” and even “SEO-Pocalypse”.

Everywhere, the sky is falling as the “Chicken Little of SEO” appears in Google’s latest Mobile Ranking update.

What does it mean for your hotel website?

Why will this affect your hotel search engine rankings?

It should come as no surprise (to anyone with a website) that Google would eventually penalize website owners who are not up to date with the latest technologies, and here’s why:

  • Google’s mantra “Do No Evil” means they are looking out for the site visitor’s best interest. Is it in your best interest to find a website that you cannot see with your Mobile device? Of course not!
  • If you do not have a mobile website or are not in the process of designing one, you are missing out on more than one fourth of the global population (2 Billion Consumers Worldwide) according to eMarketer:

emarketer_MJBlog

  • If you look at the Global Digital Snapshot, there’s more to mobile rankings than just your website. Social media plays a huge part in driving site traffic. If your website is not responsive or designed for mobile, you are losing your chances to increase direct bookings, keep your current market base as well as gain overall market share.

was_MJBlog

What should you do if your hotel website is not mobile?

  • Create a responsive or mobile website. While there is no guarantee that it will help your Search Engine Rankings, you have to update your website to include the larger audience or you will be left in the dust.  This is no longer an option, but a MUST HAVE in the digital world of today.
  • Include social media marketing in your current strategy. Gone are the days when Social Media was an option.  Your guests want to hear from you and they want to be able to get instant responses (or as close to it as possible).
  • Remember that SEO is paramount. After all, you don’t forget how you found this article. SEO is essential to the implementation of your new mobile website design and higher search engine rankings.

While no one can guarantee you high search engine rankings, you will be guaranteeing that your competitors with mobile-friendly website will have the upper hand in at least one way. Don’t fall behind the standard when it can be prevented. Follow the above steps and contact us today. Lodging Interactive will help you stay in touch with your current guests and help you garner new ones as the digital marketing landscape changes.

How Responsive Web Design Affects the Hotel Industry

As more people use their mobile devices to book hotel stays it becomes even more important that you choose the right type of web design to ensure your content is delivered seamlessly across the platforms your audience is using to access your site.

Responsive Web Designs are an excellent choice for Hotel Websites

Not all websites are created equal. There is real value in creating a responsive website that serves all of your content to your site visitors on all their devices (Mobile, Desktop, Tablet, etc.):

  • Lowers Overall Maintenance and Operational Costs – Make one change and see it across three platforms seamlessly.
  • Is Better for SEO – Google says the following regarding responsive web design:
    “Responsive design: serves the same HTML for one URL and uses CSS media queries to determine how the content is rendered on the client side. This removes the possible glitches of user-agent detection and frees users from redirects. This is Google’s recommended configuration.”
  • Measuring Results – Google Analytics has adapted to responsive designs, so analyzing the data and measuring results are already incorporated.
  • Improved Travel Experience – When visitors come to your website and see that you are prepared for them no matter what device they are using, they are more inclined to book a stay with you.
  • According to MCD’s 2014 Survey, the quality of your website impacts 70% of travelers.

MCD's 2014 Survey Graphic

Use of Smartphones Increasing

According to eMarketer, by 2017 Smartphones will be used by 69.4% of the population.

Mobile Phone Users Worldwide - eMarketer

Your website has to be designed to serve these customers more efficiently and effectively without putting a tremendous strain on your current budget. More travelers will begin to book their stays, see what amenities you offer, check in and out, interact with your maps & events, order room service, & utilize your concierge through their mobile devices.

Are you prepared today to serve this group of end users? If the answer is “NO” we can help. Visit our website – Lodging Interactive on your desktop, tablet or mobile device. We an award-winning responsive website design company — recently winning multiple 2014 IMA Outstanding Achievement Awards for excellence in hotel and resort website design.

Let us help you create a responsive website design for your hotel guests today. Contact us at 877-291-4411, or complete our Responsive Website Design form.

Image 1 Credit: MCD 2014 Survey / Image 2 Credit: eMarketer

Google+ Posts Now Appear in Google Search Results

"Google has begun integrating Google+ into search results with public Google+ posts now appearing in Social Search.

Whenever a user publicly shares a link on Google+, an annotation will show up under that link when it appears in a friend’s search results. For example, if I share a Mashable article about Google+ eliminating pseudonyms publicly on my Google+ page, users who have added me to their circles will see a note that I shared that link if they stumble upon it in Google Search."

Read the full article at mashable.com

Lodging Interactive Advises: What Google +1 Means For Hotels

Clearly Google+1 is a direct ‘across the bow’ shot at Facebook.  While Google+1 might seem similar to Facebook’s Like button, it is a stronger power of influence when it comes to validating the popularity and authenticity of a website.

It should not be news to anyone at this time that the search engines have been quietly incorporating “social signals” into their search engine algorithms.  Algorithms are mathematical computations which help the search engines to determine where your hotel website listing will appear on a search results page.  Starting this week, if you are logged into your Google account, you can expect to see Google+1 buttons in your Google search results pages.  When a user clicks +1, they’re declaring their affinity for a particular search result, which Google is considering as ‘human vote of confidence.”  In the near future you will also see the Google+1 buttons on websites across the web, much like Facebook’s Open Graph and their Like button.

Google +1

 

So here is the a-ha moment for hotels; Google has found a way to make us all become influencers of relevancy and as we +1 our way throughout the web, we will be shaping and helping to determine which website will be listed on a results page…and which one’s won’t.

We believe Google+1 is superior to Facebook’s Like button because in order to +1, you have to create a publicly accessible user profile.  This will make it difficult for companies to game the system by creating fake profiles.  While Facebook is closing in on 700,000 million users, we all know people who have multiple profiles as well as zoo animals who have their own profile pages.

So what does this all mean for hoteliers?  Clearly hotel search engine listings, organic and paid, will increasingly be influenced by Likes and +1’s.  Does your hotel have a strategy to ensure consumers +1 your search engine listings on Google when presented with the opportunity? If your website ranks well on Google now, are you prepared for the loss of rank position when your competitors have more +1’s than your hotel has?  Hoteliers should no longer think as marketers do, but rather think as publishers do.  Only relevant, informative not overly promotional content will encourage consumers to +1 your website.  Gone are the days of simply providing ‘marketing speak’ to get attention, now and in the future it will be all about providing valuable content.

For more information about Google+1 you can visit the Google+1 website:  http://www.google.com/+1/button/

Pegasus, Google team to offer direct links for hotel bookings

"According to Travel Weekly, Pegasus confirmed it is working with Google to include hotel pricing and direct links to hotel booking sites alongside OTA listings on its new Google Maps hotel search function. What's more, the company next week will announce a similar tool for metasearch sites."

Read the full article hotelmarketing.com

Seeking to Weed Out Drivel, Google Adjusts Search Engine

"In a tacit admission that Web publishers are flooding its search engine with low-quality pages, Google has revised its methods to improve the usefulness of its results.

Google said the change would raise the rankings of high-quality Web sites and reduce those of lesser sites, affecting 12 percent of search queries."

Read the full article on www.nytimes.com

Hoteliers on board with new Google features

"A new Google Maps feature that aggregates real-time hotel rates and availability has passed a seven-week beta test and has gone live, and at least one Central Reservation System provider is on a global road show informing hotel clients of their appearance on the new distribution channel.

Distribution experts still are hypothesizing about what kind of effect the search-engine giant will have on where travelers book hotel rooms, but some say the program should be embraced by hoteliers who don’t want to lose bookings to online travel agencies. Brands have taken notice and are discussing whether to alter their distribution strategies."

Read the full article at www.hotelnewsnow.com

Is Microsoft Unintrusively Adding Search History To Its Algorithm?

"Harry Shum, Microsoft VP of Search Product Development, is presenting a keynote address at the Fourth ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining in Hong Kong Friday, where he will discuss the role of personal search history as a factor in search results, the conference site reported.

Shum will explain the changes being made at Bing and how the engine is using a "Dialog Model that consists of three building blocks: an indexing system that comprehensively collects information from the web and systematically harvests knowledge, an intent model that statistically infers user intent and predicts next action, and an interaction model that elicits user intent through mathematically optimized presentations of web information and domain knowledge that matches user needs."

Complete article on searchenginewatch.com