Lauren Kaye

The internet age is shifting and all signs point to a new era in which mobile devices reign. A new report from IDC forecasts that smartphones, tablets and the hybrid of the two devices are on the brink of overtaking desktop technology. By the end of 2013, the number of portable device shipments are expected to surpass those of PCs, which means marketers must be ready with search engine marketing strategies designed for mobile browsing behaviors.

According to IDC’s forecast, smartphones will represent over 70 percent of the total smart connected device market share within four years (2017), at which point desktop PCs will only account for 5 percent of all device shipments.

The IDC forecast matches a prediction from Google’s Search Engineer Matt Cutts, who recently told SES San Francisco attendees that mobile web traffic is growing faster than most industry experts anticipate. He reported that Google expects mobile searches will surpass those coming from desktop devices sooner rather than later – perhaps within the year.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon take mobile page speed into account for SEO.” – Matt Cutts

Upon first consideration, marketers might not know how mobile audiences should impact their SEO strategies. But a recent Brafton blog highlighted significant differences in the way consumers perform queries and Google serves results across devices.

1. On-the-go internet users want information that’s immediately actionable

2. Google prioritizes listings that are optimized for local queries

3. Smaller screens limit the number of results displayed on pages

Essentially, marketers are vying for small space, while their pool of competitors remains the same size. To display on the first page of search results without purchasing ad space, brands must verify that all of their web content is optimized for mobile SEO. For instance, site speed might soon be factored in search rankings, Cutts told conference attendees. There are a number of ways for marketers to evaluate the speed with which their pages load – check out this Brafton blog post for more tips.