In 2015, mobile searches officially beat out desktop searches over Google. To honor this trend, Google announced the release of a mobile first index, which should debut in 2018. The mobile first index will serve as Google’s primary index and will be refreshed at a much faster rate than Google’s desktop index.
At LSEO, we’ve covered the rise of the mobile first index and how you can create a mobile friendly site to increase your traffic flow and conversation rate. Google recently announced that it has completed phase 2 of its AMP ads project, delivering lightning fast ads that are available over a variety of networks, including AdSense and the RTB network.
198 million Americans own a smartphone or tablet, 50 million US consumers own tablets, and 80% of people use their smartphones to shop or look up an online review. As mobile search begins to skyrocket, it’s important to create a refined mobile website to stay competitive. Let’s look at some mobile e-commerce statistics and analyze what this means for your business.
Mobile Search Statistics
Hitwise recently ran a study of website traffic by device for businesses across 11 different verticals. They found that the average mobile and tablet traffic for websites operating in all 11 verticals was at 60% with food and beverage being the highest at 72%. Interestingly, the same study found that mobile query listings were actually longer than desktop search queries in aggregate.
A BrightEdge study found that mobile and tablet traffic for its clients averaged about 57%. This was further confirmed by a StatCounter study that found this number around 54%. If you separate tablet from the mobile category than mobile and desktop searches essentially sit dead even.
In terms of mobile search, more detailed product research may be conducted on a tablet before a purchase than a smartphone and tablet URLs are often served under a desktop URL.
Google recently published a study claiming that 50% of its users are mobile only users. Last year, Reuters predicted that 75% of all internet usage would be conducted over a mobile device by the end of this year.
How Mobile Search Affects your Business
One interesting finding from the BrightEdge study was that mobile and desktop searches produced different search listings 79% of the time while using the same keywords on the same search engines. This can be partially attributed to the use of AMP documents over mobile search and differences between how well optimized some mobile sites are compared to their competitors.
Even while using the same index across all search engines, this study has shown that not optimizing for mobile search is already placing your business at a major disadvantage. One study found that 68% of businesses have already incorporated mobile search into their growth marketing strategy.
While many argue that keyword research should be altered for mobile search, as well as content formats and length, the evidence points more toward the need for a mobile optimized website. Kissmetrics states that 40% of internet users will abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load and one study shows that 40% of users will turn to a competitor’s website after encountering a poor mobile experience.
Consider the advantages of optimizing your website for a mobile device. Google states that 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to an action and 50% of mobile searches are conducted to find local business information (Name, address, and phone number). Even more importantly, 80% of people use a smartphone in a physical store to look up product reviews and information.
Businesses need to incorporate mobile into their multi-channel marketing strategy in order to increase conversions. Though mobile conversion rates remain lower than desktop conversion rates, it is still significant.
Mobile search increases your offline conversion rate. A lot of people use their phones to look up business information on Google My Business or Google Maps to get directions toward your business location, call your business, or even find pertinent coupons.
Conduct analytical testing on your mobile search data and keyword rank to see how your website is performing over mobile search. Let’s discuss what you should adopt to optimize your website for mobile search.
Mobile Website Optimization Tips
Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design (RWD) became the SEO norm for mobile optimization a couple years back. Unfortunately, too many experts have clung to the notion that RWD webpages increase load time and even provide a better user experience.
While preferred over dynamic web design from Google’s standpoint, Nitin Maganti states that the average load time for a responsive web design page is between 6-18 seconds. You have to consider the amount of revenue being lost from each extra second your web page takes to load.
Retailers and advertisers cannot solely rely on RWD to compete anymore. With the the decreased latency of AMP ads, serving ads on a RWD webpage can’t compete. Using RWD is still ideal over using a static HTML desktop page, incorporating dynamic web design or create a mobile domain for your all of your content.
The Tablet Question
Tablets drive a higher revenue per click than mobile devices, but produce far less traffic. Optimizing your website for a tablet device is advised, because there still exists a major traffic flow. For websites that don’t use responsive web design, it might be ideal to simply serve a tablet page under a desktop URL.
Adopt AMP or a PWA
Finally, creating a dedicated mobile site will increase your conversion rate and your visitor traffic. Consider making the switch to AMP for your landing pages or your advertisements. Leveraging ‘Fast fetch’ server side rendering, the median load time for an AMP document is under 1 second, according to Google.
Converting your website to a Progressive Web App or AMP is a bit more difficult. PWA pages use caching technology to provide offline functionality that can improve your conversion and bounce rates. They’re also incredibly fast and mimic an app-like experience.
Make the Switch to Mobile
When evaluating this data we can hypothesize that a majority of websites are ranking lower in mobile search results due to a poor mobile web design, based on BrightEdge’s study, the available data, and Google’s dedication to providing a valued user experience- as the number of mobile searches increases year-over-year.
Simply put, not optimizing for mobile is not an option.