Mobile Search Reaches 60%

Mobile Search Reaches 60%

Written by +Will Hanke on September 12th, 2016

Mobile searches have overtaken Google searches on traditional devices like laptops and desktop computers. In fact, according to Google, more than half of all Google search queries are sent from mobile devices, which includes smartphones, tablets, and similar devices. In fact, a Hitwise report concluded that mobile searches in the US account for roughly 58% of all queries.

This has been a long time coming, and mobile searches have continued to increase month after month – and they don’t show any sign of slowing down. As mobile technology advances, mobile searches crowd out traditional queries. Internet statisticians have theorized for months that mobile searches would eventually become the norm, but it’s now official.

Naturally, this leads to an obvious conclusion. If you’re small business doesn’t have a website that accommodates mobile users, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle.

Irritated Users Spell Disaster

Most websites owned, designed, and operated by qualified professionals have been accommodating mobile users for over a year now. Early in 2015, Google announced that a (then) future update would use a website’s mobile friendliness as a ranking factor.

The prudent marketers, SEOs, and web administrators sought to update their site with responsive designs and mobile formatting to keep up with the latest searches. For that reason alone, your website needs to easily navigable and readable on smartphones. But now that mobile searches have overtaken traditional queries, there’s an even greater need to make sure your website is formatted correctly.

Aside from boosting Google ranking signals to climb higher in the SERPs to capture more organic traffic, you have your visitors to think about. If you engage in any kind of social media content marketing (as you should be doing), realize that your posts are going to be seen on a mobile device more often than not.

This is a huge paradigm shift that has really only surfaced within the last 5 years. Before, we had to think about which devices people were using to view any given marketing channel. For example, when non-mobile searches were the norm, you could purchase Google ads and still accommodate the majority of your users without a mobile-friendly site.

When Facebook first came out, flip-phones were still the norm, but today competent marketers know that their Facebook content marketing is going to be viewed on a smartphone. Since mobile devices rule Internet traffic these days, you need to understand what mobile users like as well as what turns them off to your content.

Haven’t you ever viewed a website that wasn’t formatted correctly for your smartphone? It’s a pain in the neck, and a headache-inducing nightmare. What was your first reaction when confronted with a poorly designed site? Did you try to resize the screen, wait patiently for 60 seconds while the page tried to load, or did you flee the site in anger? If your website irritates your visitors, your bounce is going to skyrocket – which is terrible for organic rankings.

Hitwise Report Conclusions and Statistics

If your small business is within the Food & Beverage category, rejoice! The highest performing mobile search category is “Food & Beverage” with about 72% of search volume. And that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? How many times have we all whipped out our phones to find a place to eat, whether in our home town or some other location?

Although, if you’re not in the food & beverage industry, that doesn’t mean you should ignore mobile users. Even though your industry may not be the highest searched mobile category, you still need to accommodate mobile users because they make up such a large chunk of your potential leads. Leads have mostly moved to mobile devices now, and you need to keep up with the latest trends.

Another conclusion contained within the report was actually pretty surprising and counter-intuitive. The mobile queries were actually slightly longer than desktop queries, which means you might be able to catch more outliers with long tail keywords that are mobile specific. For instance, within the Food & Beverage industry, desktop queries were 13.8 characters, but mobile queries were 15.5. Personally, I hate typing on my smartphone because I’m an old school typist. I can type a lot faster on my laptop.

But I think that auto-completion features have become so advanced that people don’t feel as encumbered when making a mobile query.

Final Thoughts

Just how much more of the total search percentage mobile devices will take remains to be seen. But many people have theorized that in the not-so-distant future, all computing devices are going to be mobile. That may or may not be true, but we do know this much for certain: mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches, and they’re not showing any signs of slowing down.

You should already have your website optimized for mobile searches because mobile-friendliness is a ranking signal that determines your website’s position in the SERP’s. But if you lack the skills and experience necessary to optimize your website, you’re going to miss out on a massive chunk of your audience. In that case, it’s best to reach out to a qualified web design and SEO professional.


Will Hanke is the Chief Search Marketing Strategist at Red Canoe Media, a top St. Louis Search Marketing & SEO firm. In addition to helping some of the city's most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.


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