The shift at the top of search queries by device is finally on the horizon. As per an article in Wall Street Journal, Google has cited that by the end of 2015, more searches will be performed on Google.com on a mobile device versus a desktop. For most SEO and Web Development professionals, this should not be a surprise. Novices and do-it-yourselfers most likely have no idea what this actually means to their websites and clients, especially if they actually place well on SERPs.
Whats The Big Deal?
The “big deal” is that websites that performed well a year ago aren’t now, and those who are performing now (and remaining static) will likely fall off a year from now (or earlier).
The Hummingbird Algorithm
Especially since Google rolled out the Hummingbird Algorithm, Google’s search results are built to accommodate “Conversational Search” – which is becoming more evident when “Ok, Google” speech search features hit Droid phones, and even more so as Google Wearables were announced.
For example, a search term like, “Who was in the movie Argo?” search term that would be supported, and encouraged, on a mobile device. Conversely, on a desktop or PC, the query would more likely be something like “IMDB Argo”. As a result of this structure, trends are pointing to the fact that…
Mobile Favors Mobile
Results may vary based on the actual phrasing of the query and the device it was sent out on. An identical search on a mobile device on wifi and on a laptop on the same wifi can garner slightly different results. This is because some websites are better optimized to fulfill the search query with what the individual is actually searching for.
This doesn’t just necessarily mean the content is good, it means that the website will load effectively on the device. What is the benefit for Google to display a result that the user cannot load? The answer is simple – none. This leads to…
Another adverse effect to your website not being mobile-friendly is that users will give up quickly on your website – and by quickly, I mean 2-4 seconds. This is the “Ping Pong” or “Pogo Stick” effect, which leaves Google the indication that your website doesn’t give users what they are looking for, or could be misleading, and pushes your website down on the results page.
Again, if Google statistics and analytics show a high bounce rate, there is a good chance your website isn’t doing their customers (those performing searches) any favors, and they will punish you accordingly in favor of a website that does.
How Do I Ready My Website?
Does all of this mean that my website is garbage? Time to hit the reset button? Absolutely not. Just be sure that you are BUILDING FOR HUMANS! Ultimately, all that Google and Bing want are for the persons performing searches on their websites to find what they want right away. Great content, built without fill, without tricks, and is unique to the reader, is socially shared, and loads fast and effectively on all devices. If a website has great content, it will succeed.
Less is More
The days of content stuffing and spam pages aren’t completely dead, although they are on life support. There are currently “right ways to do it”, although don’t bank on that for much longer. As mentioned above, focus each page on delivering a message to a user. Each page should have an intent – a focus – serve a purpose to the READER (not the spiders crawling it). If you address the reader, the SERPs will follow. But, a word of advice…
There are two trains of thought, which are both viable solutions. The most forward thinking is to build a website which is Responsive. This simply means that one website can change its appearance to fit within the viewport. That is technical jargon for one website works on all devices, such as desktop, tablet, mobile. The beauty of this is simplicity in design and one data source.
Alternatively, build in a mobile-view of your website can be successful if done right, or a complete disaster if not. Don’t forget, smartphones get better every time a new one comes out!
So What’s the “Take”?
Essentially, just build websites that are made for the end user, that load properly on mobile, that has focused content, and are easy to navigate… and you should be OK!