In 2015 mobile search is poised to surpass desktop search for the first time ever and the implications for business are huge. A high volume of search on mobile devices means that there are more people looking at websites from their mobile phone or tablet than a desktop or laptop computer. This is significant because people search differently on their mobile phones and they also take action afterwards in an entirely different way as well.
When people search from their phones they are looking for information they want to use in the moment. When applied to business, this means that a mobile search inquiry that looks for a business is likely a search for a business the user wants to visit immediately.
How Do People Use Their Mobile Devices For Search Differently Than When They Search On A Desktop?
Think of the way that you use your cell phone. When do you look at Yelp? To plan a family reunion that will occur 6 months later? Or are you more likely looking for the closest coffee shop, restaurant or grocery store? Most users are looking for something nearby or the hours and directions of a business they already know about. It makes sense because we can all relate, but what does it mean for business?
Mobile-friendly websites and optimized online information is key for businesses to retain an edge in the era of mobile devices. Word of mouth is stronger than ever but it is now facilitated in an entirely different way. People are not only hearing their friends talk about places they frequently, they are also seeing them post about it. Posts are on social media channels and often contain links as well.
What If Your Business Website Isn’t Mobile-Friendly?
Imagine a client loves your shop and posts to their friends on Facebook about the beautiful items for sale at your boutique. Now imagine someone clicks that link on their iPhone. Will they be able to see it? Will they be able to see it clearly? If you have to use two fingers to zoom in, the answer is no. A mobile-friendly site means the user can see and read it, clearly and without zooming in because it fits the screen appropriately.
Another common problem with websites that are not mobile-friendly, or responsive, is that sometimes the technology on site can be dated and completely inaccessible from certain devices. Take Flash for example. Flash was very popular for a time but when Apple refused to make their iPhones compatible with Flash the technology soon became dated. Yet still there are sites with flash that many people cannot view at all on their cell phones.
Luckily the cost of websites is on the decline so replacing a site you may have paid heavily for may cost you far less today. The bottom line is websites made for mobile are foundational. In order to have an online presence that appears in search results you must be viewable from the mobile device. Less and less people rely on desktops to view the internet and increasingly the mobile device is where people go first to look online. Be prepared for mobile users and the era of mobile search with a mobile-friendly website and listings where people can find you.