Every year, people spend more time on their mobile devices, yet many websites still aren’t optimised to accommodate different screen sizes and load times.

People search differently on a mobile device than they do on a desktop. Research shows that 95% of searches that include the phrase “near me” are carried out on a mobile device. Consequently, it’s vital to ensure that mobile SEO best practices are used.

Mobile optimisation requires attention to site design and structure, page speed and other factors to create a positive user experience, rather than inadvertently driving visitors away.

Looking at mobile

© barameefotolia / Adobe Stock


Google algorithms

Mobile search has rocketed ahead of desktop in recent years. In 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide and 64% of paid Google search clicks were generated through mobile devices.

Mobile search has increased to the point where Google has been updating its algorithms to incorporate a “mobile first” approach. At the start of 2017, penalties were introduced for websites which failed to offer a mobile-friendly option. This reorganisation of Google’s search mechanics was dubbed “Mobilegeddon” as a result.

While desktop search also remains invaluable to SEO and users, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the way in which people use both types of device. Then, it’s possible to optimise your site for users’ different intentions.


Mobile search trends

Usually, mobile search is conducted for a user’s immediate search needs when not at home. The most frequent searches are based on location – Google is actively making improvements to its mobile algorithms to accommodate this.

People are also using their mobiles to plan for holidays, as 60% of travel queries are made on mobile devices. Once people are on holiday abroad, their mobiles provide them with quick, up-to-date local information.

A large number of mobile searches involve queries relating to specific health conditions. In response, Google has recently launched a “similar symptoms” box on mobile search.

Another frequent use of mobile search relates to direct questions of five words or more. This is connected to the increase in using voice search, with 56% of people now using this mobile function.

Queries of this kind present a wide range of ground to cover in terms of SEO and websites must allow for a greater deal of keyword and semantic options.


Desktop search trends

The function of desktop search has become more specific in recent years, since mobile use has increased. Desktop search remains the most popular platform to carry out navigational searches, in terms of queries aiming to locate a specific website.

In addition, research carried out by Search Engine Watch reveals users usually spend three times as long on each page when browsing on their desktop, compared with their mobile.

Even if users have researched consumer purchases on their mobile, they are more likely to make an actual purchase on their desktop. Users also prefer a desktop when searching for more detailed information, or for completing long forms and travel documents.


Optimising SEO for mobiles

Considering the different priorities of users on desktop and mobile devices, bespoke optimisation of each platform is essential. Assessing the objectives of a site before the SEO work begins will provide a better idea of the type of keywords that must be optimised on each page.

Whether they are using a desktop or a mobile device, users agree on one thing – and that’s the importance of content when they’re using the internet. In a survey, 83% of respondents said it was important to be able to access the same content on their mobile and on their desktop.

In response, Google introduced accelerated mobile pages, which create skeletal versions of content-rich pages, enabling an almost instant loading time on mobile networks. This provides a consistent user experience for both desktop and mobile users.

In the past, it was common practice for webmasters of mobile sites to block CSS, JavaScript, or images, because mobiles often couldn’t support all of these elements. Today, in general, this is no longer the case. The Smartphone GoogleBot wants to see and categorise the same content that users see, so it’s important not to hide it.

There remains much to learn about the future of mobile search and SEO strategy. Google is beginning to prioritise sites that are providing a tailored mobile experience, so search needs to evolve to accommodate these changes in user behaviour.

Let The Cornwall SEO Co’s expertise in SEO services optimise your website’s SEO on both desktop and mobile devices.

Please contact us to find out how our professional services can assist your business.

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