Google recently announced the number of daily mobile searches has officially surpassed the number coming from desktops.
This means we’ve reached the tipping point where people are using their smartphones – or tablets – to access mobile-friendly sites more often than they’re sitting down at computers to look at desktop versions (which are what most marketers have labored to perfect).
More mobile visitors, bigger focus on smaller screens
It’s an important moment in search marketing history. Outside of hitting the mobile-over-desktop benchmark, Google just launched a new algorithm to reward mobile sites in search.
Although it was expected to have the biggest impact on rankings compared with any other algorithm, the mobile update hasn’t been as detrimental as expected. Moz reported that as of last week, the number of mobile-friendly sites in mobile results had risen to 72 percent from 70 percent before the algo’s launch – which isn’t a huge leap.
Perhaps the impact has been minimal because the update is still rolling out, or because a lot of webmasters took action in anticipation of the change. Google reported that since its initial announcement about the mobile SEO update, there were 4.7 percent more mobile-friendly sites to rank than there were two months ago.
For more details about what Google considers mobile-friendly and what changes to make to your website, Check out this blog post
What does mobile-domination mean for your marketing strategy?
As consumers use their smartphones to access the web, marketers will need to shift their focus and invest more in mobile experiences. If users are primarily accessing your site via mobile devices, you need to design, write and plan for these users.
1. Think fast
People searching on mobile devices are looking for fast answers to questions. They are generally looking to take an immediate action, such as: locating a store, finding an address, reading an article or booking an appointment.
2. Keep it simple
If it takes more than a click or two to complete an action on your site, it’s too long and visitors will leave to do it somewhere else. Make sure the pages people land on are streamlined – cutting out unnecessary bells and whistles that will just slow it down and confuse visitors. Point people to the most important places first, and include options to access more content from there.
3. Optimize for answers
Mobile users search differently than they would on a desktop. Tossing out the old rules that say you search in formal keyword phrases when you want information, mobile searchers are more likely to ask direct questions: Where is the nearest bookstore? What does B2C marketing mean? How to promote a Tweet, etc.
Make sure your website content is built around answering these kinds of queries to get visitors to your site in the first place.
New ads keep mobile searchers on the SERP
Although it feels like an important milestone for SEO and online marketing, the announcement about mobile’s takeover was overshadowed by ad offering updates – all of which appear to be aimed at keeping people on the SERP, rather than sending them to websites.
Jerry Dischler, vice president of product management for AdWords, authored the blog announcing the mobile search milestone. And following a quick line about mobile overtaking desktop, Dischler switched gears to introduce new ad options for car dealers, hotels and mortgage providers, all designed to give people better experiences on the search page.
Rather than going to brands’ websites and navigating to complete action, these new ad formats give searchers the content they want on the search result. For example, a person looking up specs on a Ford F-150 truck will see a rich ad with photos, information and a list of dealers that are selling this model.
Google is clearly making strides to improve its own mobile experience in addition to prompting companies to update their own sites – and even filling in the blanks where companies are missing opportunities. If brands don’t have sites sophisticated enough to deliver optimal mobile experiences, they now have a major incentive to use ads.
Bracing your SEO for a mobile takeover
If you haven’t thought about what mobile search means for your marketing, you’re already behind.
It’s not just consumer-facing companies. Even B2Bs are seeing a greater share of their website traffic coming from mobile devices.
You’re missing opportunities to drive sales if you ignore these visitors. Google has spoken, and you need to optimize your website content – and your ad strategies – for people searching on mobile devices to capture these opportunities and stay on top.