Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years, it is a fairly common knowledge that having a mobile-friendly website can be the difference between staying ahead of the competition or falling behind. It was back in 2015 that Google reported that mobile had overtaken desktop for search queries and that figure is now likely above 60%.
Optimising for mobile is therefore paramount to your business success, but how do you check the current performance of your holiday management website on mobile? How do you know if it’s better than your competitors? And how do work to continually improve the user experience?
Here we uncover some quick tricks to ensure your holiday rental website is mobile friendly, and so help your ranking in Google and increase the likelihood of guests making a booking online.
Is my website mobile friendly?
There are a number of tools that you can use to check the performance of your website’s mobile experience but perhaps the quickest way to get a Yes/No answer is by plugging your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. So go ahead and do this now (and you can even check your competitors too!)
To get a more definitive picture of your website’s mobile performance, you can run your website’s URL through Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This free tool gives your website a First Contentful Paint score (FCP) and DOM Content Loaded score (DCL), and so rate the page from slow to fast performance on mobile and desktop. It will also give a score out of 100 for optimization and diagnose some of the issues that are in need of addressing. However, it is recommended to cross-reference this test with Web Page Test, testing it from a location near you. How does your load time and first byte perform?
Furthermore, perform some user testing yourself! Get your colleagues, friends or family to try and navigate your website. How easy is it to make a booking? What could be improved?
Now you know whether your website is mobile friendly (or not), let’s discuss your options for how to improve its performance.
How do I make my website mobile friendly?
In order to transition a desktop site to a mobile site, you need to identify the existing content that need to be reorganised, and decide on your approach to doing so. There are 3 main types to consider: response, dynamic serving or having a different mobile site entirely.
The best approach is to have a responsive website – one that automatically reformats content for mobile and so avoids the need to manually manage the consistency between two websites. This process is a lot less administrative, and Google will prefer this (although it does support all three options mentioned above).
For vacation rental website design, you have a few options:
1) You can customize your website software using a pre-existing software package e.g. WordPress
2) Hire a web developer or web design agency
3) Do it on your own (if you have the tech skills!) – we’d recommend checking Google’s Mobile SEO Guide.
Whether you are building your own holiday rental website, or working with an agency, it is important to consider the following when optimising your holiday management website for mobile:
– Page speed – Optimized images (e.g. by enabling compression)
– Minify your code – removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters
– Leverage your browser caching – Reduce the number of redirects. See more info on SEO Best Practices for Page Speed.
– Avoid pop ups or flash – this may not be available on phones. Use HTML5 instead
– Design for the “fat finger” – get your buttons to a size that are noticeable and easy to click
Appearing in the “Google Hotels” search
*Search result for “holiday rentals in Cornwall”
Recently Google has been testing it’s vacation rental search in its hotel price-comparison tool. – To prepare for this update (and get holiday lettings ranking within the search box above), holiday booking websites should optimise the following:
– On page SEO for your listings – optimise each accomodation with keywords that clearly demonstrate what it is, and where it is. Be concise with your information; price, rathings, name and holiday rental description.
– Use scehma.org structured data – these “rich snippets” will help to label your rental website’s HTML code so that search engines (e.g. Google), can better understand what your website is about.
– Optimize your ads – As seen in Search Engine Watch, optimizing your PPC ads around search queries directly relevant to your property is an ideal way to push your rental to the top of search results.
– List your holiday let as a business – just like travel agencies, using online directories such as Trip Advisor and Booking.com can help increase your conversion rate. Within the iPro software package, we provide a channel management feature specifically designed to help you do this. Please see our channel manager page for more information.
Not only are the majority of your visitors likely coming via a mobile device, but Google will penalise you – and visitors will hate you – if users are presented with a desktop version when visiting on mobile. Just think of how irritating it is when a button is hard to press, or you need to pinch/zoom to see content.
If you would like some further advice on optimising your booking website for mobile, please get in touch with the iPro team today, Alternatively, if you would like to request a demo of our software – specifically design for holiday rental management businesses – please tap the image below!
Further reading from Moz: