Mobile search has officially outpaced desktop searches, making the mobile search a market that businesses can’t overlook in 2017.
A little over a decade ago, cell phones were getting smaller. And at that time, smaller meant better. Even the 2001 hit movie Zoolander parodied our obsession with looking cool while talking on tiny devices. Steve Jobs changed that in 2007 with the release of the iPhone. The first smartphone for the masses instantly changed the way we view phones and their capabilities. Over the next few years, these computers in our pockets continued to grow in popularity and size.
Today, nearly 7 in 10 American adults carry a smartphone and the percentage is even higher in the youth market. There are countries in which more citizens own smartphones than PCs. And all this computing power in such small devices has changed the way we search for and consume information. We want answers to our questions, big and small, immediately. On the go. Right now. Like, this instant. So we pull out our phones and start searching. Google knows this and is beginning to reward companies that know it too.
Mobile searches now outnumber those initiated on desktops and that differential is on the rise. Despite that, the search giant has always ranked websites based on their desktop versions. To bring these search results more in line with search habits, Google began testing a mobile-first based ranking in April 2015, based on sites’ mobile friendliness. Google “crawls” and indexes every page of every site on the internet and ranks them based on a variety of criteria including keywords that appropriately indicate the topic and subject of a page, if there are links to and from it, and now also if the page is easily rendered and viewed on mobile devices. In this new index, sites that have mobile-optimized pages are positively impacted, and see increased rankings in organic searches over sites that have pages that are not designed for ease of use on smartphones.
In November 2016, Google published information on its own blog indicating that it intends to begin rolling out the new method systematically over the coming months, as it is perfected. The bottom line is that businesses that want their sites to be served up in organic searches better be mobile-friendly. It is important to note that sites that do not have a mobile version will be adversely affected in rankings across the board. Sites without mobile-friendly pages will be served up lower in results, not only on searches done on phones but also in desktop searches.
The bottom line? Google has made it clear that mobile is the future—is your business ready?