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November 5, 2015

Growth and Productivity, Scaling Your Business 5 min read

Mobile Search Overtaking Desktop Search: What You Can do About It

Amit Singhal, Senior Vice-President for Google Search announced recently that Google has clocked in more than half of its 100 billion search on its mobile devices worldwide, overtaking the number of desktop searches. This doesn't come as a surprise, considering the mobile revolution in recent years. Users expect to retrieve information quickly without any hassle.

What does this mean for businesses with websites? With more searches occurring on mobile, it defines a new way customers are getting information from your website. In other words, it presents a new way for you to provide that information to your customers. This phenomenon offers a great opportunity for brands to reach more customers now more than ever.

In today's article, we are going to explore the difference between mobile and desktop searches, and how you can create a mobile-friendly website.


How is Mobile Search Different?

So what makes mobile search different from desktop search? Why would users search from their mobile phone instead from their computers? Accessibility is the reason why. When you are out on the go, your only option for answers is via mobile search. Through a mobile phone, information that can be gathered is limited. Hence, users will expect quick and precise information for their queries.

How is Google enhancing this Mobile Search experience for users? For the past few months, Google introduced four different ways at displaying its mobile search results. They are known as Micro-Moments, simple answers to the changing consumer behaviour and expectations. It comes with rich features that adjust based on the type of search done on mobile.

Micro-Moments were developed so that brands can deliver real-time and relevant information to consumers anytime, anywhere. These micro-moments include:

  • Want-to-Know
    • Provide quick answers
  • Want-to-Go
    • Give specific location or directions when searching for places
  • Want-to-Do
    • Generate relevant ideas or solution to satisfy a need or solve specific problems
  • Want-to-Buy
    • Provide different platforms where people can visit, compare or shop products or services

Knowing these motivations behind mobile searches, companies can now improve their websites to better reach out to their audience.


Mobile vs. Desktop

Even with the drop in desktop searches, it remains as the preferred platform where consumers do majority of their online shopping. This suggests that mobile users generally use their smartphones for their search and online browsing activities, while still preferring using their computers to do in-depth comparison and purchase. So, it's essential to fine-tune your website to cater to these different consumer needs.

While we've seen how mobile search have reached tremendous prominence in the recent years, you can't afford to lose either one. Here's an insight from an infographic made by ERS Computer Solutions to show you why.



The Rise of Mobile vs Desktop


How to Improve your Website

Now that it's clear to us that mobile has surpassed desktop usage, having a mobile-friendly website should not only be a best practice but indispensable to your business.  In fact,  search results are different on mobile and desktop. Having a mobile-friendly website will benefit your business one way or another. Here are some ways to create or improve a mobile-friendly website.

1. Use Responsive Design

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It was not a few years ago when websites were designed only for desktop and laptop screens. As our Internet consumption has evolved over time, these old web designs will not be optimal on our smartphones and tablets.

Responsive web design allows your website to work seamlessly on desktop and mobile screens. A mobile-responsive site makes it easy for Google to crawl the content even without creating a new code. Google will check your website whether it sets a the viewport correctly to your visitors, which is already integrated in the code when your site uses a mobile responsive theme or template.

In a nutshell, viewport is the code that instructs the mobile device on the best way to display the web page according to the specifications of the device. An accurately set viewport should display your content correctly across all devices.

In the long run, having a responsive website will not only enhance user experience, but improve your search engine rankings as well. Do take that in mind when creating a new website.


2. Boost Page Load Speed

PageSpeed Test Google

To help make your website load fast, it's important to do browser caching, reduce redirects, minify code and optimize images. Click here for more useful tips on how to increase your website's page speed. If you want to know how fast or slow your website is, check out Google's PageSpeed Insight.


3. Do Not Use Flash and Pop-ups

Some mobile devices don't support Flash so if you to want display some special effects, use HTML5 instead. Avoid adding pop-ups on your site because closing them from a mobile device is not only problematic, but may deter users from continuing to the site.


4. Optimize title and meta tag descriptions

Optimize title and meta tag descriptions

Get your site on top of the SERPs by providing quality content, and optimizing the URLs, niche keywords, titles, H tags and meta descriptions.


5. Optimise Images

Make sure that your site's images are optimised as well so that the overall user experience will be pleasantly smooth and consistent on different screen resolutions and mobile platforms.

  • Choose clear and attention-grabbing images that can easily be read and rendered on small sizes.
  • If your website allows large or wide images, know the maximum pixel dimension and do not exceed that.
  • When necessary, crop or resize the image using photo editing tools like Photoshop before uploading them to your site. Some content management system like WordPress may also feature different size options for your photos before uploading them to a web page.


6. Leverage Local Search

Know your target audience! If your targeted group is within the same country, take on a country top-level domain to better target this group. This will help to optimise your website for local search. Provide proper contact information so that users can easily reach you. Mobile users generally look for information such as contact number, business address, hours of operation, price and availability of products or services.

Google's mobile algorithms have been improved to cater the needs of mobile searchers and rewards websites that feature relevant and updated content across multiple platforms. Here are some things you can do to jumpstart your local search strategies.


7. Evaluate Your Site

Mobile Friendly Test

To check if your site is mobile-friendly or if there are blind spots you need to work on, these top-notch tools will rate your website and give you some helpful tips.


8. Invest on long-term server solution

To ensure that your website will always be up and running, it must have the latest software updates, sufficient bandwidth and superb server speed. It must have the necessary coding or software so that it can determine the type of device used to access your site and display the content accordingly without any issues.

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