Posted On: 14th November 2012
As Google has recently been granted a patent on determining the reachability of content from mobile devices including gestures on tablet screens.
Such a patent further underlines the relevance of mobile search for businesses today, as people are now reading websites via Twitter browsers and the like. The recent development is also a statement of serious intent by Google for helping people uncover valuable business websites beyond a mouse click.
No matter what kind of business you run, your audience is likely to be using smartphones or tablet devices to search for the things you offer, and you should be reaching them. 90% of mobile searches today result in visiting a business location or purchasing a product. The majority of consumers are becoming more comfortable shopping from their mobile devices, and 60% of shoppers with smartphones search for a product on their mobile device before buying. Over 50% of mobile searches resulted in a mobile purchase in 2011.
While mobile use is growing and expanding rapidly, with 4G now on the market too, the mobile marketplace is open for business to those who make the effort to reach the customers. With so much opportunity yet so much to learn, there are considerations to bear in mind.
Mobile sites first, Apps second
From a search point of view, it is prudent to develop mobile websites before spending resource on developing mobile apps as more searches are likely to be conducted online compared to an internal search function on a mobile app. The potential for traffic is not only higher, consumers will also not worry about having pay in order to access your offer content.
Understanding your mobile quarry
Businesses often assume that mobile and desktop users are the same and therefore want the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mobile users are often on the go and do not have the same needs as those sitting on a desk or behind a laptop.
It’s important to research the mobile audience in terms of understanding the mindset they would have when searching for your business offering which could be late at night on the couch for buying things online or on the streets looking for a retail store.
Using the research insights will not only assist in developing the right content for your mobile site, the broad base of topics will assist mobile searches including voice requests on Apple’s Siri or Google Voice.
Paying close attention to internal mobile search tools via web analytics will also yield consumer insights. Site search tools often uncover what the mobile user is expecting to see but cannot find.
Mobile site design
Using responsive design fits your website to the device it’s being viewed upon by detecting which mobile device the visitor is using. This makes the experience for your visitors a smooth and slick one, which may also be the lasting impression of your business.
Having dedicated web pages for your mobile users are also important because there will some pages that are only appropriate for mobile users and not those using laptops or sitting at a desk. However, some content is bound to overlap for both users so make desktop pages accessible to mobile searchers.
Build that reputation
Having great content that is useful and entertaining will attract links from other sites and hopefully more shares via gestures that could favour your mobile sites’ reachability score. That means marketing your mobile site externally in PR campaigns and advertising as links and shares in social media matter all the more in mobile search.
Mobile search presents a unique set of challenges, but also represents a great opportunity for those willing to put the resources in. The search engines may not have the technology to capture all the signals to compute a reachability score as set out in its patent. However, the message that customers are sending is clear – you need a mobile search strategy or you will be lost to your competitors who do.