I was recently searching for “San Francisco park and fly packages” using my mobile phone. The first listing on the results page looked very promising. I clicked on the link, but it took me to the brand’s mobile site homepage, which asked me “Where are you going?” (as well as all other usual booking fields such as check-in and out dates, number of guests, etc.). Seriously? I searched for “San Francisco….” Needless to say, I quickly left the hotel brand website.
We’ve all been there. You search for something using your mobile phone, find a promising site in the search results, and bam! You are redirected to the mobile site’s homepage. Yes, it’s very annoying. This happens because the website is not programmed to handle requests from mobile devices.
To save searchers from such frustration, Google announced last week that it now alerts U.S.-based searchers if it detects the site has a “faulty redirect” that will lead you to the mobile site’s homepage, rather than the page with the desired content.
When a hotel’s website has a faulty redirect and makes mistakes handling mobile visits, users may get frustrated and quickly leave the site. This can signal to Google that the site is not high quality, resulting in an overall drop in page ranking. Lower search visibility leads to, reduced mobile traffic and loss in online revenue from mobile search. Just imagine the potential revenue your hotel/business could lose due to the faulty redirect!
Here are several actions you can take to avoid being demoted in Google’s mobile search results:
1. Make your hotel website design responsive (server-side), which serves the same content for all screen/user types – desktop, tablet, mobile. We highly recommend opting for building a responsive website for your business as this will allow users to move through your website and find the right information with ease, regardless of what platform they are using.
Benefits for having a responsive website for your hotel:
- The site functions according to the device and renders information based on the platform – desktop, tablet, smartphone;
- Improved speed and increased browser compatibility;
- Improved usability and overall conversion of site.
2. Set up your site so that it redirects mobile users to the equivalent page on your hotel’s mobile site;
3. If there isn’t an equivalent page on your mobile site, keep the mobile user on the desktop page where the desired content is housed rather than sending them to the mobile site homepage. Doing nothing at this point is better than doing something incorrectly.
• Directing smartphone users to the page they actually wanted (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2014/06/faulty-redirects.html)
• Smartphone Rankings Demotion in Google Search Results Based on Faulty Redirects [Case Study] (http://www.hmtweb.com/marketing-blog/smartphone-rankings-demotion-google/)
• Understanding Responsive Websites and Server Side Device Detection (https://blog.milestoneinternet.com/web-development/responsive-websites-server-side-device-detection-explanation/)
Contributed by: Teresa Villaruz, Sr. Marketing Manager