Mobile is the new frontier in all things technology, marketing, lifestyle – you name it. Just as they adjusted their marketing style from radio to television some 60 years ago, the smartest advertisers are devising new ways to adapt their message to this platform.
And just like the transition 60 years ago, there are some growing pains in figuring out how to change for the new medium. After all, human behavior with mobile phones is much different than with laptops and desktop computers.
By understanding how these behavioral differences impact search habits and webpage interactions, you can better optimize your site for the fastest-growing contingent of internet activity. So let’s break it down piece by piece.
How are Mobile Searches Different?
- Task oriented
Desktop computers still lend themselves well to in-depth research and involved projects. If someone has to research the Napoleonic Wars or write a business proposal with the aid of online resources, they will do so on a laptop (hopefully with a giant mug of coffee).
But people use their phones for more direct queries requiring quick, problem-solving answers. As on-the-go companions, phones are often relied upon to deliver instant solutions for everything from product searches, stock prices, or game scores. They are even used to resolve factual arguments and to cheat at pub-trivia.
As a response, your mobile site should be able to provide the most essential information as a primary feature. Optimize your mobile SEO for keywords that point to helpful answers and necessary information about your business. For instance, blogs tend to serve long-tail keywords, while broad keywords tend to live on static pages. Strengthen those static pages for your mobile search optimization.
The most unique thing about mobile phones is, well, their mobility. Searchers are therefore influenced much more by their changing environment. They can be prompted to search for nearby restaurants, store hours, local activities, or other environment-sensitive information. It’s good practice to include area-specific keywords for your mobile site so it can compete with a smaller, more relevant group of search terms.
Local SEO is important on all devices, but the ability to show up on someone’s phone when they search for “nearby business X” is incredibly important as these searchers are likely in the last stage of the buying funnel. In other words, they’re looking to buy right now. If you don’t appear on their radar during this 30-minute span of their active hunter-gatherer mode, then you’ve left money and lots of future business on the table.
- Less complex
See if you can tell which search query was from a laptop and which was from a mobile phone:
1) “how to prepare braised pork shoulder with apple cider”
2) “braised pork”
As stated earlier, desktop computers inspire much more involved, research-based inquiries while phones prompt the quick-and-dirty solution or all-inclusive list. Very few are willing to conduct extensive searches on their phones, which are seen as convenient resources for instant information.
Long tail keywords should be reserved for desktop devices while broader (or simpler) terms should be used for mobile SEO. And if you’re worried about your broad keywords not faring as well against the increased competition, you can pair them with geographically specific keywords to shrink the competitive pool while simultaneously taking advantage of mobile’s primary asset.
- Intolerant of obstacles
A mobile searcher is dealing with multi-tasking, a small screen, and a predisposition for instant results. For these reasons, any mobile website that presents an impediment of any kind will be abandoned very quickly. Designing your site to be intuitive, easy-to-use, and simple will help retain your mobile visitors. With such a low tolerance for confusion and obstacles, mobile searchers need a sparse, straightforward interface that is instantly relevant to their query – and if it’s not relevant, a clear path to a page that is.
When optimizing your site for mobile search, the key is to understand how and when people use their phone for the web. Figuring that your existing website and SEO should suffice for a mobile platform will not only limit your business now, but will also doom your business later when mobile becomes the new standard. Shifting your mobile strategy around these variables will help you get a jump on the frontier’s landscape, turning you into an old hand by the time others are scrambling to adjust.