Has your website survived mobilegeddon?

Whether revenue growth via mobile is propelling you forward or Google’s new ‘mobile friendly’ update, the m-word is here to stay. Mariam Sharp reports

Most people will know that on April 21st Google launched a new algorithm – aptly named ‘mobilegeddon’. It seems Google is trying to tell us all that judgement day is coming, and those companies that aren’t mobile friendly will suffer – Rob Torres, Google MD Travel said as much last week.

Estimates from Google are that approximately 40% of websites were not mobile friendly before the ‘mobilegeddon’ algorithm was announced. However, there are indications that the role out is taking place slowly, and at this stage does not impact searches that are taking places from desktops.

Nevertheless, as Frank Steuer, CTO of the chauffeur service Blacklane pointed out at EyeforTravel’s recent European Travel Distribution Summit, it is now accepted that Google’s ‘mobile friendly’ moves will have an impact – and even on 40% of Fortune 500 companies. It was for this reason that Blacklane moved quickly to launch a responsive design website.  

What the moves mean is that a user who is performing a Google search from their phone or tablet will be shown search results for websites that are designed to fit their device. Google’s criteria for a positive user experience includes:

  • Organic search visits via mobile
  • Leads from search
  • First-time website visitors

This year, TDS Europe certainly highlighted the importance of mobile. Todd Thayer, VP Product Management, Enterprise and Intelligence at Syniverse put it like this: “We don't think about the channel because mobile is the channel…”

Making the shift is easier for smaller, more nimble players. Bela Nagy, Topline & Pricing Performance Director at Accor said updating the group’s mobile system’s struggling infrastructure was a huge challenge. It involved moving 29 mobile solutions and merging nine different apps into one big app - no mean feat for a grouping of over 3,700 hotels, 480,000 rooms, with operations in 92 countries and brands ranging from luxury to budget including Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure and Ibis.

Never mind Google moves, the reason for Accor’s move to mobile was driven quite simply by revenue growth. Currently 30% of the group’s mobile audience generates just 12% of revenue, but in just one financial quarter it saw a 60% increase.

For Accor simplicity was key. On average people have 29 apps on their phone only four would be for travel. So one ‘big app’ that covered all of Accor’s brands was prioritised with the following aims:

  • Smart check-in and check-out for 1300 hotels
  • Available in 16 languages
  • 2000 newspapers available inside the app, wherever the customer stays
  • Apple watch app - for checking-in, preparing the stay, and for other notifications

Moving forward

Some interesting stats come from Google, which says that in the US:

  • 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones
  • 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present

So, as people continue to streamline the number of apps they have on their phones, it appears that the role of the mobile web will continue to be important.

Google provides information and tools to support companies to determine if websites are mobile-friendly or not, and offers this tool to test a few pages. Meanwhile, mobile friendly guides can be found here. More information comes from Google’s Torres here.

Other top tips from Google are for websites to:

  • Avoid software that doesn't render well on common mobile devices. (eg. Flash)
  • Use text that is readable without having to zoom in
  • Size content to the screen properly without having to scroll horizontally -vertically is OK
  • Place links far enough apart so that the correct link can be used easily

If you have you updated your website so that is mobile friendly because of mobilegeddon or have been impacted since its introduction, please let us know

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