Last updated: 03:33 PM ET, Mon April 20 2015

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update: What Travel Companies Need to Know

Travel Technology | Ryan Rudnansky | April 20, 2015

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update: What Travel Companies Need to Know

Starting tomorrow, mobile-friendly websites will be ranked higher on Google’s search engine.

But how does Google define “mobile-friendly,” and what do companies in the travel industry and beyond need to do to ensure they comply with Google’s standards?

More and more people are plugged into mobile devices these days, particularly travelers who need to check travel updates or make last-minute changes to their itinerary. In this respect, the companies that develop mobile-friendly sites and apps figure to gain. Google’s latest change to its search ranking criteria is yet another indicator of this trend.

“As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, we want to make sure they can find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens,” a Google spokesperson told TravelPulse. “We’ve been offering resources for webmasters to test their mobile sites and tools to make their pages mobile friendly—starting April 21, we’ll use a web page's ‘mobile-friendliness’ as one of many factors to help rank searches done on mobile devices.”

According to a post on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog in February, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

To be considered mobile-friendly by Google, sites must satisfy several requirements: software that is hard to read on mobile devices—such as Flash—must be avoided; text must be readable without users needing to zoom in on their device; the site must automatically resize content to fit the screen of the mobile device; mobile downloads must be fast; and links must be far enough apart so the desired link can be easily tapped.

Google is offering a mobile-friendly test for free to see if your site complies. Simply input your site’s URL and click “Analyze.” If you pass, you will see the message “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.” If you fail the test, you will see the message “Not mobile-friendly” along with what is specifically wrong with your page.

If you need help developing a mobile-friendly site yourself or need to direct a third-party developer to webmaster guidelines, check out Google’s “Get Started” page.

Also, if you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you can get a comprehensive list of usability issues across your site.


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