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2014 to be a year that mobile search dominates. Havoc or harmony?

 6:30 am on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

The New Year is nearly on us, wind up for Xmas time is in full mode, yet mobile strengthens. I think that 2014 is the year that mobile search will overtake desktop search, and where revenue derived online will mostly occur. How will you rank and what will you be strategizing to cushion the transition?

A set of reflections :

Back in December 2012, Ben Gomes VP of search spoke about the future of search : [webmasterworld.com...] and included a quote elsewhere :

"Now search IS becoming mobile - on phones and tablets. The challenge is that it is on a small screen, so it's hard to type. The opportunity is that it's got a really good microphone and a touch screen. See an earlier discussion here: [webmasterworld.com...]

Matt Cutts sounded a warning bell for mobile search, without a whole lot of guidance on how to prepare, or how mobile search will be treated for existing sites: [ "Mobile is going to be a key area in 2014, so pay attention to it" - [seroundtable.com...] ].

Ben Gomes, had spoken of not knowing where technology will be in several years time, which indicates to me that Google is in reactive territory, whilst trying to anticipate the moves being brought about by fast emerging trends.


So what do you do to adapt, alongside your diminishing desktop search. Go :

>Ditch written content , maintain it
>Do nothing and wait

Will you be reactive, or take proactive steps to bridge the gap for maintained rankings? What should be considered, if you haven't already taken steps? Any tips to help those not confronting this next step?



 3:16 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'd agree with Matt Cutts that mobile is going to be a key area.

It won't be the only key area. (The continued growth in desktop search makes that fairly clear, IMHO.)

The importance of mobile to any given site will depend largely on (1) the nature and purpose of the site, and (2) the intended audience.

Something else to consider: All "mobile" is not the same, even if you exclude tablets from your definition of "mobile." The mobile experience on a modern large-screen, high-resolution smartphone is significantly different from the mobile experience on a feature phone or even a
two-year-old smartphone.


 7:00 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've been in mobile for almost four years, responsive for the last two. During my highest volume months this year, over millions of visits, my mobile traffic was about 70% of the total (up from 50% last year) So it's all only going up for me.

My big thing has always been to try to figure out the user intent when viewing on mobile (vs when they're looking on a desktop) In my situation, the behaviors are not the same. So I have to account for that, and make sure I prioritize the content delivery accordingly.

(Throw ads into the mix and it becomes even more fun)

I'm also doing all kinds of testing in regards to mobile search with Google and Bing - including voice searches and Siri. Wanna make sure I represent there too.


 10:02 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Foldable mobile screens are expected to be in production for 2015. Samsung [news.cnet.com...] and Apple have had prototypes in R&D for a couple of years [ and maybe others to ]. So the convergence between mobile and desktop seems to be a step closer. It will be the next big thing and I think cement the majority of the market.


 12:39 am on Dec 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ok, this was discussed only very recently and the the thread was moved to here:


To quote again from Google:

We do not consider tablets as mobile devices because, among other reasons, they tend to have larger screens. Most tablet users expect to see tablet- or desktop-optimized pages when browsing the web. This means that, unless you offer tablet-optimized content, users expect to see your desktop site rather than your smartphone site.

Now that is very simple, if you want to develop a smartphone site, fine, otherwise make sure your desktop site looks good on anything from phablet+


 1:05 am on Dec 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

My youngest daughter who is 14 recently sold her electronic gadgets (an iPad among them) via online marketplace so she could get enough money to go on a cross-border bricks and mortar shopping spree with my sister (her aunt obviously). She kept her smartphone, well, for phone calls and texting.


 10:31 am on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'd expect this topic to be of acute relevance to any discussion on the nearest future, when it becomes one of the key factors of SEO strategy.
Too many webmasters ignore mobile search and how their site performs for mobile/tablet visitors.
It's a wake up call.


 1:23 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see tablet search as desktop search, just in a new way, be cause resolutions is still somewhat the same. Search on a phone is just not that practical.


 4:22 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Search on a phone is just not that practical.

I think it depends on the phone. The current crop of large-screen, high-resolution smartphones are almost like mini-tablets.

It also depends on when, where, and why the searcher is searching. If John Doe is searching for a hotel near Disney World for his winter vacation two months from now, he'll probably do it from his desktop, laptop, or tablet. But if he's driving on Interstate 80 and wants to see which motels have vacancies up ahead in Ogallala, Nebraska, he'll happily use his smartphone to check availability and reserve a room for the night.


 10:13 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I get a LOT of traffic from mobile search. So someone's using it.


 11:07 pm on Dec 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't know if there's any research on this out there, but my experience is that when I have found a search on Google for something using mobile, I'm less likely to go via search for the same thing the 2nd time around via the SERP's. This is because i consider the Google search experience on mobile less compelling than via a desktop. So effectively I've strengthened my brand alignment away from Google.

I'm not sure if I'm typical or part of a trend that could effect the SERP's side of Google's business.


 12:53 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

So someone's using it.

Yep, I use mobile search a lot, and use a Lumia 520 (basic, throwaway, work accident) and a 720 Windows phone with Bing as my default search ... Brilliant phones, I have never used Google on them since I have always found the answer(s) I needed to with Bing BUT I must admit my searches are generally of the frivillous kind in the pub ... usually about music, history and films etc!

Thinking about driving down a motorway/highway/autobahn/autstrada/etc and searching for accommodation ... well, I'm a bit more organised than that!


 6:11 am on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see tablet search as desktop search, just in a new way, be cause resolutions is still somewhat the same. Search on a phone is just not that practical.

Not necessarily.
After going responsive design, I realized that the tablet users stay more on my sites and browse more pages than the desktop users. The design for desktop screens was way more wider than for tablet's. It didn't take me long to apply tablet optimized design for desktop as well.
As for smartphone users, I learned the importance of well-organized navigation area which provides easy access to other site's sections.
I am still on a trial and learning process, trying to improve performance and increase user engagement.


 4:22 pm on Dec 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

As for smartphone users, I learned the importance of well-organized navigation area which provides easy access to other site's sections.

Making the navigation links big enough (and separated enough) for easy tapping is important, too.

Probably the most useful change that I made for our site, in terms of smartphone- and tablet-friendliness, was a switch from a three-column to a two-column layout (with navigation links on the top and editorial content in the left column).


 6:30 am on Dec 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ EditorialGuy
I had the same experience as yours.
Accept that, for smartphones I am with 1 column, tablet with 2, and now desktop also 2 column.
I managed to increase page/visit by 10%-20%.

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