Google’s Warning: “Become Mobile Friendly or Pay the Price”

By: O'Rourke Hospitality Team

If your hotel’s website isn’t mobile friendly and you log into your Google Webmaster account, you’ll see a warning that states “critical mobile usability errors”. Google is essentially warning website owners that they need to become mobile friendly before their next ranking algorithm comes out, which is said to take into consideration mobile friendliness as a search ranking criteria.

Back in November, Google added a “Mobile-Friendly” tag to websites in mobile search results that met Google’s mobile friendly criteria. Although this didn’t impact search rankings, it certainly impacted click-through rates, since users are more likely to click through to a website that’s mobile friendly if their on a mobile device.

But Google’s next big update will take their mobile friendly approach a step further and actually affect rankings based on whether or not a site is mobile friendly. Some hotel websites see 1 out of every 3 visitors coming in on a mobile device from organic search, even if the hotel’s website isn’t mobile friendly. To potentially lose out on 33% of organic traffic would be a big performance hit to the hotel’s site.

It remains to be seen what the final impact will be for hotel sites that aren’t mobile friendly, but we suspect the impact will be a big one. It’ll also be interesting to see what the impact will be when an OTA has a mobile-friendly page for a hotel and the hotel’s own website isn’t mobile friendly. Will the new Google algorithm go so far as to rank the OTA’s webpage for a particular hotel above the hotel’s own website in a mobile search because the hotel’s website isn’t mobile friendly? We’re not sure, but we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

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