To optimize for mobile search – Think desktop expectations

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
Marketers prepare: Consumers are using mobile devices to perform online searches, but they are bringing the same expectations to the table.

The hype around mobile search would suggest consumers’ increasing use of smartphones and tablets is poised to shatter the long-standing SEO world. On the contrary, a survey of 400 people conducted by Search Engine Land found that half of people aren’t altering how they’re looking for information online, because they treat smartphone searches the same way would desktop queries. If this continues to be the case, marketers may need to be less concerned about the way people look for information and more concerned about how their sites perform.

People treat mobile and desktop search the same

The official survey results showed 52 percent of people use mobile search the same they look for information on desktop devices. They type terms into search engines to get relevant answers.

52 percent of people use mobile search the same they look for information on desktop devices. 

Those who are exhibiting new search behaviors have embraced mobile applications – 7.6 percent use mobile applications as their primary means of looking for content. Meanwhile, around 10 percent use apps and search engines equally.

There are still smartphone search laggards

What’s perhaps more interesting than mobile app usage rates is that one in five survey participants claim they don’t conduct mobile searches at all. A full 21 percent gave the response: “I don’t use my smartphone for online research.”

Getting mobile results up to desktop standards

Marketers must bring their fastest content to mobile search because consumers haven't adjusted their expectations.

In a culture that’s generally obsessed with having on-demand information, it’s surprising to see users opting out of smartphone search. At the same time, it means four out of five people are using mobile devices to find answers on the go. This is in line with a prediction made earlier this year by Matt Cutts. Brafton covered SES San Francisco, where Cutts said the mobile takeover is coming quicker than most anticipate, and marketers must be ready with optimized sites and search strategies.

Marketers will need to pay close attention to details like site speed, ease of navigation and display quality if they want to give their mobile audiences the same kinds of experiences they expect in desktop queries. Content analytics reports are key to analyzing mobile site performance and pinpointing opportunities for improvement. Through careful assessment of metrics, marketing teams can make sure their pages and digital content are ready for a growing smartphone audiences.

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