The Importance of Responsive Design
In April 2015 Google introduced the mobile-friendly update to their algorithm. This update meant that a website’s mobile friendliness would be included as a ranking factor in search engine results on mobile devices. In the reaction that followed, some feared this change would disrupt years of effort and hard work in harnessing the power of search engine marketing. While this “mobile-pocalypse” did not pan out as some had predicted, it has had considerable effect in the Vacation Rental Management (VRM) industry, and prompted many businesses to reevaluate their website and how they engage with their largest emerging user interface: mobile.
According to Google, 94% of American smartphone users search for local information on their phones. Further, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, suggesting that even when traditional desktops computers are available, many people prefer to use their smart phones to access the web. These figures show that rather than slowing down, mobile traffic is speeding up and with it the opportunity for Vacation Rental Managers to claim market share across a new medium.
As the web continues to expand and reach new users, mobile devices have quickly become the tool through which many access websites, engage with businesses, make reservations, and purchase products. This development, in accordance with Google’s endorsement of mobile as the future of web traffic, has made responsive design crucial to website development and digital marketing. This most recent change to the Google algorithm shows that Google is all in on putting mobile users first.
The key ingredient in this transition is the use of responsive design in website development. As mobile friendliness becomes one of the most important factors in search engine rankings, it is key to make sure your site is optimized as such. Not having a responsive site means users will face a difficult and frustrating experience when accessing your site from a mobile device. The practice of pinching on the screen to zoom in again and again will make a user very reluctant to continue exploring a site and severely decrease the chances for conversion or online booking.
Users who experience a non-mobile friendly site will likely see text that is too small to read or navigation buttons that are too small to click on and freely move throughout the site. Furthermore, important content can be relegated to non-strategic positions on the site. Responsive design works hand in hand with content in providing the user the best interface and experience which will drive conversions and bookings. According to Google’s guide for mobile friendliness, a responsive site that can be used across mobile devices should aim to highlight and prioritize the most important and common tasks on your site.
Property managers are able to quickly find out if their sites are mobile friendly with a test offered by Google. The rest will analyze your site and generate a report telling the owner if the site and its pages have a mobile friendly design. According to Google’s standards, your site earns a “mobile-friendly” badge if it meets the following requirements:
- Must avoid the use of software that is not common on mobile devices, such as Flash.
- Uses text that can be seen easily without zooming.
- Content is sized to the mobile screen so that users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom in.
- Links are placed far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily clicked.
What does this mean for next steps? It is important that Vacation Rental Managers find out immediately if your site is responsive, and you can easily do so with the Google Test tool. But that alone is not enough; it is recommended that companies develop website engagement strategies that include mobile devices. This trend will continue to grow as consumers demand ease of purchase for, not only rentals, but experiences as well. When it comes to your vacation rental website, be sure your site is responsive and mobile friendly so that users can book their vacation from start to finish on a mobile device.
Not sure if your site meets the mobile-friendly requirements? Realtech Webmasters offers no-obligation website reviews. Visit our website at realtechwebmasters.com.9040 Town Center Parkway Lakewood Ranch FL 34202 941 870 5707 RealTechWebmasters.com