GOOGLE’S PAGE SPEED UPDATE IS NOW ROLLING OUT TO ALL USERS
Search Engine Land and our agency Google representative have confirmed that Google’s Page Speed Update is now being released to all users. As of July 9th, 2018, Google “has begun incorporating the new Speed Update algorithm in the mobile search results as a search ranking factor”.
Google has confirmed that right now, the update “only impacts the slowest of sites on the internet”. But….what does Google consider slow or the slowest in terms of mobile site speed? Our Google agency representative stated that RANK COULD BE AFFECTED FOR PAGES THAT LOAD SLOWER THAN 3-4 SECONDS. In addition to page rank and organic performance, it’s also important to understand that pages with slow load times also impact your paid advertising performance. How much of the traffic from your hard earned paid advertising dollars are bouncing from your site because the page takes too long to download? This can add up to a lot of wasted advertising dollars.
How do you know if Google’s Page Speed Update could impact your website? In Google’s most recent blog post on the Page Speed Update, they state that, “Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, here are some resources that can be used to evaluate a page’s performance.” These include Google’s Test My Site Tool.
Our Google representative encourages immediate action to improve page speed if your site is loading slower than 5 seconds. Back in May we dove into the importance of mobile page speed for organic search rankings. Now is the time to act, don’t wait until your site is negatively impacted. Chances are, it is already seeing the negative impact of advertising dollars wasted on site visitors that bounce.
Reach out to GCommerce today to inquire about how we can help improve your site’s page speed.
How to Win on Mobile: The Increasing Importance of Mobile Speed for Organic Search Rankings
MOBILE SPEED EFFECTS ON ORGANIC SEARCH RANKINGS OVER TIME
Google recently came out with a new tool to help companies compare their mobile performance against their competitors and measure the impact that decreasing mobile page load times can have on revenue. It’s not surprising to anyone in the marketing world that the results are significant. Users are increasingly demanding of websites to load as fast as possible, with slower websites experiencing noticeable increases in bounce rate as well as drops in other engagement metrics like time on site, pages per session and event/goal completions.
This move by Google is the latest in a series of initiatives by the tech giant to emphasize the increasing importance of mobile experience in the modern internet landscape. Looking back to April 2015, Google updated their algorithm in a release dubbed by webmasters as “Mobilegeddon”, giving priority in their SERP rankings to mobile- and tablet-friendly websites when the query was made on a mobile device. In May of that same year, they released a statement saying that mobile searches exceeded those of desktop in 10 countries, including the US & Japan. In November 2016, they started experimenting with mobile-first indexing, wherein a site’s mobile version, if it had one, would be used as its primary version, with the desktop version being displayed only if a mobile version was not available. Those sites without a mobile version would most likely see a decline in their SERP rankings while sites with a mobile-friendly experience could receive a boost in rankings regardless of the device on which the search is being made. Fast-forward to January 2018, Google released a statement explicitly calling out the fact that page speed will now be a ranking factor on mobile searches like it has been on desktop starting in July of this year.
One question you may be having is why Google is taking such a strong stance on mobile. The answer is multi-faceted, but it all comes down to providing users with the best possible experience, which ultimately benefits both users and Google. By optimizing your site for a mobile user, using techniques such as responsive design, fast page load times, utilizing caching and providing high quality content, your site is more likely to be engaging to users and therefore rank higher on Google’s SERP. Google benefits by providing users with the highest-quality content in the top positions which builds trust and makes users more likely to use them in the future, while you benefit with increased website traffic, higher conversion rates, and more engagement with your site. It’s in Google’s best interest to keep this feedback loop continuing and to get webmasters to perpetually try to optimize their sites for an optimal user experience, which is why we’ve seen this progression from merely stating that mobile experience is important to announcing to the world that it is definitively a factor in their rankings and providing businesses withtools like the Impact Calculator that should encourage them to make strides in the short term to that effect.
TOOLS TO MEASURE THE IMPACT OF PAGE SPEED ON YOUR WEBSITE PERFORMANCE
Back to Google’s new mobile tools for a second. The top section of the page allows you to compare your site with those of your competitors to see how your mobile speed stacks up. This is a great tool for benchmarking and assessing if you’re currently ahead of, in line with, or way behind your competition. In the below example, we would recommend to our client that they make immediate changes to their website to get on level terms with their competition as they are lagging behind all but one of their competitors.
Revenue Directors and business owners will most likely be more intrigued by the Impact Calculator, though. It will ask you for data regarding average monthly website visitors, average order value, and website conversion rate. Based on this information, it will give an estimate of how much incremental revenue can be generated by lowering your site’s mobile page load time on a scale in increments of 0.1 seconds from your site’s current load time down to their minimum threshold of 0.6 seconds.
If you play around with the slider function, you’ll notice that the faster a web page loads, the more incremental revenue it is expected to produce. We noticed that the relationship did not appear to be linear, so we tested a couple of our clients on the tool and found the following:
Client 1 (Original Page Load Time of 5.0 Seconds)
Client 2 (Original Page Load Time of 2.8 Seconds)
As you can see from the graphs, incremental revenue starts to increase exponentially as page load times approach the minimum of 0.6 seconds. While that minimum isn’t currently attainable for many websites, it’s certainly something everyone should be striving for given the potential payoff.
The nice thing about decreasing page load times is that it positively affects other metrics that you may not have thought about. It’s obvious that bounce rate would decrease while time on site and pages per session would increase, but could this affect organic search results, too? While no one knows exactly what’s in Google’s search algorithm, we already know that they have come out and said that site speed is a ranking factor and that mobile page load speed will be a ranking factor starting in July. It’s also been shown through independent testing that the top positions in organic search results typically have lower than average bounce rates and higher than average time spent on that page. By increasing your mobile site speed, you’re helping your site’s pages rank better for organic results, thereby supplementing your other SEO efforts. As mentioned previously, higher organic rankings should produce higher website conversion rates and therefore more revenue, something every business owner can get behind.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR HOTEL WEBSITES?
You may be thinking that this all sounds great but it’s not currently a priority, and you’d rather focus budget and time on channels with predictable ROIs. The thing about that is, you’re wrong. Mobile traffic is increasing every year and has accounted for the majority of worldwide searches since 2015. Most of your users are most likely on mobile devices or will be in the near future. Also, in preparing for Google’s eventual worldwide switch to a mobile-first index, it’s even more important to have a mobile-friendly website and for mobile page load times to be lower, since a domain’s mobile site will be used as the primary site in Google’s search results. They are making it clear with their actions that this is the direction they want websites to move towards, with those who don’t comply being penalized and pushed further down the SERP, never to be seen again. It’s in your best interest to take the necessary steps to optimize your site for mobile now, and make a concerted effort to keep it that way moving forward. Mobile traffic and faster speeds are the future.
HOW TO USE PAGE SPEED TO IMPROVE YOUR SEARCH ENGINE PERFORMANCE
Get in touch with us today if you’d like more information on how GCommerce can help you gain incremental revenue from increased mobile site speed and optimize your site for a mobile experience.
Tropicana Inn & Suites' New Website Increases Conversion Rate and Revenue
Have you ever wondered just how important a website is to a business?
GCommerce launched a beautiful new website for Tropicana Inn & Suites in Anaheim, CA in October 2017. A deep focus on branding, user experience and design with a focus on conversion rate optimization had a dramatic impact on the hotel’s digital presence and bottom line.
Functionality plays a huge part in the overall user experience and performance for any website. The creative and design team at GCommerce Solutions understands this and makes sure to implement hospitality specific best practices to all of our website builds and designs.
In the case of Tropicana Inn & Suites, it was a Design Ready Architecture (DRA) build that was put together with their new branding and content initiatives. The Tropicana specific DRA that was used took into consideration keeping a user on the website and giving them all the information needed right at their fingertips.
The most important factors considered for Tropicana’s layout & design was:
Having a testimonial section right on the website.
This keeps a user on the page and provides transparency; keeping them from having to search for another website’s reviews helping to ultimately keep the user on the property’s website.
This shows success in the 6% increase in average session duration since the launch of the new website.
Highlighting the most visited pages right on the homepage to help keep the user engaged and easy navigation to find the information they require.
High quality and professional photography. Per Hospitality Net, after price, photography is the most important factor for travelers and prospects.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE ACTUAL NUMBERS AND HOW THE NEW WEBSITE HAS IMPACTED DIFFERENT MARKETING CHANNELS
The following results were found after comparing data from the old website vs. the new website post launch.
OVERALL WEBSITE PERFORMANCE
Lets delve deeper and review how the new website helped the individual digital marketing efforts.
PAID SEARCH ADVERTISING
Well designed with user experience and conversion rate best practices in mind, a new website can make a dramatic difference in your hotel’s performance and bottom line. Your website is your online storefront, You want it to be welcoming and portray a true representation of the property’s experience. The user experience should be easy to navigate and help lead your user through the booking funnel. Such as the snap navigation and booking widget used for Tropicana Inn & Suites that affixes to the top of the browser and follows the user down the page. You want the user to be able to navigate your site from anywhere and allow them to book their room from any point of their journey.
GCommerce Solutions would be happy to help with your new website. You can submit a request for more information here or give us a call at 435-214-5301.
Creating a website that tells your property’s unique story is critical to staying competitive in today’s marketplace. When guests have their first interaction with your hotel’s website, it’s crucial to start telling them exactly what makes your property unique and what benefits they receive when they stay. A compelling narrative or story builds a lasting impression by creating an emotional response for your online guests. You can tell your story through, photography, copywriting, highlighting key differentiators and by showcasing the local community surrounding your hotel. Once prospective guests understand who you are, they will have enough information to decide whether or not they want to engage with you further. The four points below will not only help you better tell your story to your future guests but will also build credibility and awareness for your hotel.
BIG, BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHY.Photography is extremely important for travelers when researching where they will be staying. You want them to visualize themselves sipping a margarita by the pool, and the best way to do that is with high-quality photos. An investment in great photography can make all the difference. A study done by Hotels.comfound 70% of respondents agreed that seeing photos of the rooms and property are key to their decision-making process. Videos and virtual tours are other great ways to show every corner of your property. Photos can quickly say a lot which is crucial when people are skimming through a variety of options.
SPEAK YOUR CUSTOMER’S LANGUAGE.How you say something can be just as important as what you say. For example, if you’re a small casual hotel consider leaving buzz words suchas “exquisite”, “luxury”, and “refined” out of your copy deck. Knowing your audience is a crucial element in learning how to write compelling and informative content for them. Authenticity has become increasingly important, matching your language’s tone to the customers you are seeking helps build rapport.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR SPECIAL DETAILS.Travelers today are looking for a true experience when they travel. Highlight what makes your hotel unique and different from your competition.Whether you have an award-winning rooftop bar or a traditional English tea, people want to do something special and create moments to last a lifetime. It’s even better if they can do it without having to leave the property, so don’t be afraid to show off a little.
KEEP IT LOCAL.Placing yourself within your greater community is becoming a much larger selling point. Not only do people want to know what’s around you but highlighting the places that align with your demographic can become a useful tool. The millennial generation is very big with experiential travel, so taking the time to highlight your neighborhood could really pay off. Showing you are ingrained in what’s happening makes you more of an expert and helps show your personal side. Help curate trips for your guests with area guides and suggested things to do.