In a Feb. 26 post on its official webmaster blog, Google announced a major change to the algorithm method its search engine uses to determine how websites are ranked for search results. At its very basic essence, websites that are not mobile-friendly will be downgraded.
Many have dubbed this change “Mobilegeddon,” and webmasters are busy ensuring their sites are ready for the change that goes into effect April 21.
Recently, Roxi Baxley of Strait Web Solutions, a web development business that specializes in the RV park and campground industry, sat down with Woodall’s Campground Management to answer a few questions about how this change will affect park owners.
Q: What is “Mobilegeddon?”
A: In a nutshell, it is that Google has, in the past, used “mobile” as one of the “ranking signals” that a website can receive. Effective April 21, there is a major algorithm change occurring where all businesses MUST have a mobile site if they want to show up when people search Google from their phone. I would encourage people to visit www.entrepreneur.com/article/244175 for more information.
Q: How does this affect RV park and campground owners?
A: Many RV park and campground owners (as well as other small businesses) are unaware of this change. Many park owners are still going with the “I can build it myself” mentality and will miss this information, or will be unaware or unable to build out the sites to do what they need to in order to get their mobile site up and running prior to the April 21 deadline. There are also the parks out there that have had a website designed years ago, and have not invested in a new site to accommodate the change. Many parks I work with receive between 30-50% of their traffic from mobile. Campers who search for parks as they are traveling search on a mobile device. Imagine how your business will be impacted if a quarter to a half of your website reservations just go away on April 21st?
Q: What can they do to be prepared for it?
A: It’s very easy to prepare. You have to ensure that you have a website that is mobile friendly. You can check your website through Google’s free tool at www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.
While I would love to tell each of them that they need to contact me, the fact is, if the park still wants to manage it on their own, they can go to a site like www.DudaMobile.com and build out their own mobile site. It will require a small amount of research to ensure that they insert the code where it needs to go, but this is a definite option, but also one which will require maintenance and updates.
Q: Anything else that we ought to know?
A: One of the things that a park owner gets when they have a professional such as myself develop and manage their website, is the security of knowing that someone is watching for big bumps in the road like this and can fix it before it becomes a problem.