Is your facility’s website mobile-friendly? If not, then Google, the search engine giant, is poised to punish your behind-the-times site.
In the Internet world, the Google change has been dubbed “Mobilegeddon.” In short, Google updated its algorithms—the formulas used to rank websites in Google search results—on April 21 to favor websites that display well on mobile devices and downgrade websites that don’t display well on those devices.
Bottom line: With about 60 percent of online visits now coming from mobile devices, your facility could lose web traffic—and customers—if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.
Are you ready?
Itai Sadan, CEO of website builder Duda, told Business Insider that he thinks many small businesses (including thousands of storage facilities) “are going to be really surprised that the number of visitors to their websites has dropped significantly. This is going to affect millions of sites on the web.”
The move to mobile has been so rapid that I think … many of the smaller operators are disadvantaged.
— Spencer Kirk, CEO of Extra Space Storage
Holly Ritchie-Fiorello, marketing director at The Storage Group, an Internet marketing agency for self-storage operators, recommends testing your facility’s website to see whether it’s mobile-friendly. If it’s not, then you need to make your website mobile-friendly as soon as possible, although a mobile-unfriendly site will not be removed entirely from Google search results.
To measure your site’s mobile capabilities, take this Google test: google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly.
What if your website offers a mix of mobile-friendly and mobile-unfriendly pages?
The Storage Group wrote on its blog: “If you have some pages that are mobile-friendly and others that are not, the good news is that Google will not penalize the entire website.”
And what if your website already is fully mobile-ready? Your site’s rankings in Google searches could rise, according to The Storage Group.
Here is Google’s definition of what constitutes a mobile-friendly page:
- Avoids software that’s not common on mobile devices, such as Flash.
- Uses large text that’s readable on a mobile screen.
- Resizes content to fit a mobile screen so that users can easily read it.
- Makes links easy to click.
“As more and more people turn to their phones and tablets for search, Google is doing their part to return quality search results—and it’s up to business owners to make sure they’re giving Google what it wants: mobile-friendly sites,” said Cary Levine, founder and CEO of tech company Mopro.
REITs prepared to pounce
What happens if you don’t give Google what it wants? Well, you’re bound to suffer the consequences, and large competitors like the REITs will be more than happy to sign up tenants who skipped your mobile-unfriendly website.
In a February conference call with Wall Street analysts, Spencer Kirk, CEO of self-storage operator Extra Space Storage, said his company and the three other publicly traded self-storage REITs continue to hold an edge over smaller operators in the mobile market.
“The move to mobile has been so rapid that I think … many of the smaller operators are disadvantaged,” Kirk said, “because they can’t create platforms that optimize all of the different mobile applications and hardware platforms out there.”
To learn more from Google about mobile-friendly websites, visit developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites.
Top image courtesy of Booking.com