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Search on mobile devices is growing rapidly. In fact, Google predicts by that the end of 2014, mobile search could overtake searches on desktops.


Google’s forecast may not seem realistic to many people who still see only a small percentage of search traffic coming through mobile. For example, a very small percentage of Moz’s traffic comes from mobile and even a smaller percentage of Rand’s blog’s traffic, which even has mobile responsive design, comes from mobile. The predicted rise however is due to the use by some demographics, specifically people in developing countries or young people, who may only have access to a mobile device. However, professionals in Western countries still use desktop devices as their primary device to conduct searches. This is why it pays to understand your target market when considering the importance of mobile for your business.

What are people looking for on mobile devices?

  • needs – looking for opening hours, locations etc.
  • wants – interests, comparisons
  • curiosity – answering a question
  • fun – looking for games or to pass time while on the go

Most of these search intents fit into the traditional types of search queries of being either:

  • Informational – looking for information
  • Navigational – looking for a particular site/resource

However, the third area of search, transactional searches, are less popular on mobile devices. However, as mentioned before, the exception to this is that if your target demographic because if they are using mobiles as their sole device, they may also have transactional intent on a mobile device.

Rand equates mobile to visitors of to those who discover your brand on social media. It is a medium where users may not necessarily convert, however, they may discover your brand and turn into converting customers later.

Tips for Mobile SEO

1. Focus UX on navigational and informational search queries and use Google analytics to see what pages users on mobile devices are going to on your site

2. Forcing an app on mobile users is most likely not the best UX, instead having an advertisement or the like suggesting the user could download your app can often yield better results.

3. Reduce overlays and ads to provide better UX on mobile devices, even if you don’t have responsive design.

4. On a small mobile screen, too many options can make your site too crowded. Instead limit the amount of choice on CTAs. For example, only have 1 sharing option rather than 5.