Would you believe 25% of online searches today are made using some form of mobile device? Most businesses have come to recognize the necessity of Local Search Engine Marketing, but understanding the need for a mobile optimized site is still lost on some. Think about your own search habits and how often you use your phone or tablet to answer your queries. That will help you understand why optimizing for mobile searches is one of the most important things you can do for your site, your business.
The Internet is evolving. Rather, the Internet is always evolving. It has to keep up with and even lead technological innovations. Your typical Internet search is no longer done via a single channel. Now we see people continuing their searches using different devices. Maybe they’ll start at home or work on the computer and pick it back up on their smartphone a little later. I do it all the time. I’ll be on my laptop during the day. Then I’m on the phone while I’m out and about and I find myself using my tablet in the evenings. Sure, I might have an over-connectivity problem, but that’s a whole other story. The point is that I am not alone.
There are countless people juggling mobile devices throughout the day. Behaviors are changing. There are currently 1.2 billion users accessing the Internet using their mobiles. As I said earlier, studies show 25% of searches are now conducted on mobile devices. That is not an insignificant number.
Would you like more proof that mobile search is only growing stronger? Take a look at an Android smartphone. Google is not going to invest so much money in both a mobile Operating System and a mobile device company (they bought Motorola Mobility in 2011) without seeing the payout in the long run. Sure, they’ll make money on the devices, but the real money will always come from search advertising and mobile search advertising is still in its infancy.
So Google likely thinks mobile search is important, so, by default, we are left to think mobile search is important. Even if you take Google’s investments out of the equation the fact that so many people use their mobile devices is reason enough to get onboard. With that in mind, it is 100% necessary for you to have a “mobile friendly” site. That simply means your site needs to look and function just as well on your phone as it does on your laptop. You could even take it a step further to say that “mobile friendly” sites need to be even easier to use than their desktop counterparts because you’re dealing with a much smaller interface. Of course, some sites take that too far and dumb down the experience so much that it just becomes harder to use. It really is a fine a line, but one we must walk if we want to stay on top of our search game.
When it comes to mobile SEO, you need to remember that your target audience is made up of people on the go or otherwise not at home/work. They’re likely looking for directions, locations, contact info or some other type of quick answer. They may even be making simple transactions like ordering a pizza or buying something that equates to an impulse purchase. Mobile users typically aren’t going to be making grand purchases on a phone. However, they might be researching those big purchases, so you better have some content available, at least at a higher level. That might be the perfect place for some type of “send me more info” option.
The key is to remember that mobile devices aren’t necessarily a replacement for desktop searches, but more like extensions. What might be perfect on the desktop isn’t right for mobile and vice versa. Think about the format and its limitations when creating both content and page design. Google and other search engines are still working in understanding user behavior on mobile devices. As such, it can still be kind of clunky at times, but it is evolving . . . and quick.
For now, think about your products and services. Think about who your target audience is and how they might be coming to your site. Then, use your analytics to back those ideas up with data. Are mobile users just browsing or are they buying? That’s the kind of info your analytics can tell you and it’s important to know. It will help you design the right experience which will impact your search rankings. Most of the time, a responsive site design will work just fine. However, there are those sites that would benefit from dedicated mobile sites simply due to the nature of their industries.
If you’re unsure about Mobile SEO or Local Search Marketing and how they affect your site and your business, give us a holler. We’re here to help.