It is estimated that more people will be accessing Internet information via a mobile device than a personal computer by the year 2013 (that’s not very far away, folks). As we know, most standard websites do not render well on a smartphone screen due to the smaller screen size, or use of incompatible plug-ins (such as flash). As many businesses opt for a mobile website to complement their standard website, one wonders what this means for keyword optimization and search trends? Do smartphone users search the same way desktop searchers do?
Interestingly enough, mobile search is used and rendered very different from a desktop search. Here are my Top 5 reasons why this is so:
- Mobile search is highly geared toward local information. Statistically 9 out of 10 smartphone searches result in an action. Chances are, if you are looking for for something on your phone’s browser (like a food, a museum, or a bike repair shop) it is because you want to purchase, find, or visit the searched item. Desktop searches tend to be less action oriented overall and more information oriented in nature. Because of this pages like Google Local Listings are positioned to rank higher than pages that are not locally oriented. Domains with geo-targeted keywords will also rank well in this system.
- Google has 97% of the mobile search market share, and their algorithm is different for mobile devices than desktops.
- Smartphone screen size is much smaller than a PC’s screen size, so it will be even more important to snag the top few spots on a mobile search in order to be on the first page.
- Site loading speed becomes critical in a mobile search. A site that takes too long to load when on-the-go information is needed quickly, will lead to higher bounce rates than a standard desktop site search.
- Android users are always logged in to Google on their mobile system. This means that Android users will always be served personalized results more often than folks searching on a PC who may not have logged in. This will obviously change as more and more people begin to use Google+ or who search when logged into their Google accounts. Most users aren’t aware if they are logged in or not, and personalized results definitely have an impact on what you will see in your search results.
These are key points to keep in mind when conducting a search on either platform, and even more important to keep in mind when positioning yourself and your business for the future, whether or not you have a mobile website. Keeping a claimed and optimized local listing has always been an important piece in your overall SEO strategy. But now, it seems as if listings such as Google Places and Bing Local could have even more impact on your search results in the future.