The ever-evolving landscape of the internet combined with competitors constantly vying for attention can make increasing the visibility of your tour or travel company online feel like an uphill battle. That’s where SEO comes in. In case you need a refresher, SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization’ and refers to the process and strategies used to improve your website, generate more traffic, and increase visibility.
However, having an SEO-friendly desktop website is only one piece of the puzzle. Whether your tour company’s booking site is mobile friendly or not will directly affect your search rankings. A well-informed mobile SEO strategy is necessary to increase your visibility online, especially–but not exclusively–to mobile users, as well as provide them with an excellent user experience.
Today we’ll be exploring the importance of mobile SEO, discussing how Google’s mobile-first indexing affects your traffic from every source, and sharing some mobile SEO best practices.
What is Mobile SEO?
Between providing customers with a place to learn about your tour or travel business, read happy customer reviews, and actually book your tours, it’s essential to get your website in front of the eyes of your customers. If you’re already the proud owner of a snazzy-looking website with a strong SEO strategy–great work! But the same attention you used to build your desktop website is needed to ensure that your mobile SEO is also the best it can be.
The goal of mobile SEO is the same as it is for desktop SEO, but with a focus on increasing the visibility, accessibility, and overall experience of your mobile website. With more users choosing the convenience and flexibility of mobile over desktop, dedicating time to your mobile SEO strategy is a must for tour and travel companies.
Looking to brush up on your SEO knowledge for your business? We suggest familiarizing yourself with these Search Engine Basics for Tour Operators and checking out these 9 Free SEO Tools for Tour Operators after reading this article.
Why are Mobile SEO and Mobile Friendliness Important?
Mobile friendliness is more than just SEO and search rankings. Mobile friendliness is very much also about your customers’ overall experience navigating and using your mobile website. Are you reading this article from a computer or on your smartphone? If you tell us it’s the latter, we wouldn’t be surprised. As the number of people accessing the web through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets continues to grow, optimizing your mobile web page for your tour business can no longer be an afterthought. Most people carry their smartphone around with them everywhere, making mobile devices an easily accessible, convenient, and fast way to jump online at any moment.
In 2017, Consumer Insights from Google showed that “79% of mobile travelers completed a booking after doing research on their smartphone”, which was up 70% from 2016, and has only grown since then. A mobile traveler is defined as a traveler who uses a smartphone, which in today’s time is nearly everyone. So, if the majority of your customers are accessing your web page from a mobile device, it’s crucial not only that they can find you, but that their experience is up to their standards. Even if they ultimately decide to use their computer to book your tour, their first impression of your company will likely be based on your mobile website.
It can be frustrating to visit the mobile website of a company, only to find that it is disorganized, lacking in information, or not functioning as intended. Customers are more likely to return to and purchase from a website that is mobile friendly. So, if a customer who is excited to book your tour is greeted with a web page that works poorly on their device, they might resort to looking elsewhere. Chances are, they will have no trouble booking with a competitor who offers a better website.
Tips to Improve Mobile SEO and Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
The easiest way to ensure that your website is mobile friendly is to use a responsive website design. What this means is that the design or template you’re using to create your website will respond and adjust to the device being used and to the size of the screen. Fortunately, content management systems like WordPress make it easy to access thousands of mobile-friendly themes that can be customized for your tour and activity business.
For an even simpler solution, Rezgo’s white label template has been crafted for mobile friendliness and is fully responsive, giving users an advantage with their search rankings right out of the box.
Some platforms provide mobile editors so you can see exactly how your page will show up on a mobile device and make edits accordingly. Platforms like these do most, if not all, of the heavy-lifting, but there are still some things to consider when tweaking your mobile website to give your customers the best experience possible, improve your mobile SEO, and make your content mobile friendly.
Take into account the smaller screen size on mobile devices and the difference in navigation techniques. Adjust the layout of your mobile website and organize or space out your content with your customer’s convenience and ease of use in mind. This will help when they’re trying to swipe and tap their way to your ‘book now’ button. Optimizing your website so that it looks nice displayed on a smaller screen will positively add to the overall experience as well.
Keep in mind that the goal is not to have two separate websites, one for desktop users and one for mobile users. Instead, you’re aiming to optimize one website to function and look the best that it can across all devices. Consistency is important for your brand as well as your search rankings under Google’s mobile-first SEO indexing.
Google Mobile-First SEO Indexing
In 2019, Google introduced mobile-first indexing and began ranking content online based on the mobile version of a webpage instead of the desktop version like it had done in the past. This change was in response to the increase in mobile users and was an attempt to improve user experience and provide better search results. What this means for website owners is that any inconsistency between the content on their desktop website and the mobile website will result in a loss of traffic, particularly if the latter contains less content.
To make sure you’re not experiencing a loss of traffic due to mobile-first indexing, avoid making your mobile website a stripped down version of your desktop website. Instead of removing content from your mobile page to save space, try redesigning your mobile website by making use of accordion menus or tabs. For a much deeper dive into mobile SEO and how to make sure your webpage is mobile friendly, check out Google’s article on mobile-first indexing best practices.
Take Google’s Mobile Friendly Test
If you’re looking to conduct a quick check to make sure your website is mobile friendly as per Google’s mobile-first index, Google has an answer for that too. All you need to do is enter in your website’s URL in their Mobile Friendly Test and click ‘Test URL’. After no more than a couple of minutes, the test will tell you whether your live webpage is currently mobile friendly or not and will provide some details based on its search.
Get Ready To Take More Bookings
Creating an effective mobile SEO strategy for your tour business is key to attracting, converting, and retaining customers in this increasingly mobile-centric world. Without one, you’re limiting your reach and potentially losing customers to your competitors.
With customers researching tours and travel options on their mobile device more than ever before, it’s important as a tour operator to improve your Google mobile search rankings by implementing mobile-first indexing best practices. Equally important is your webpage’s accessibility and giving your customers the best user experience possible by using responsive website designs to create a mobile-friendly website.
Remember, a strong mobile SEO strategy will bring you more leads and opportunities, making a mobile-friendly website a powerful tool to boost your bookings.