How do people access your website?

There are a lot of factors that go into answering that question. Baby boomers have different search skills than millennials. Women search differently than men. B2B has different search criteria than consumer driven searches.

As a marketer, you can’t leave anything to chance. Who is your customer? What do they want? And how are you going to reach them? The answer may be with both mobile and desktop. And you have to approach both of them differently.

When Google first announced it was moving to a mobile-first index, major companies were quick to jump on the bandwagon to creating mobile-friendly user experiences. Statistics show that by the middle of 2018, over half of all searches were made from mobile devices. Mobile search users are expected to climb to 221 million by 2020. You can’t ignore mobile search.

But before you convert everything about your online experience into a mobile-friendly version, consider your audience. Do you have a strong following on both desktop and mobile? Will you continue to do so for the foreseeable future? Then it may benefit you to choose your SEO strategy wisely.

Two guys on their phones and a girl on a laptop sitting on a bench and all three look confused - Mobile VS Desktop Blog

Why Mobile and Desktop Differ

Before you start creating your SEO strategy, it’s important to understand why mobile and desktop differ.

Google wants to provide the best user experience possible. That’s been their goal from the very beginning. So it’s only natural that as mobile became more prominent throughout our society, Google looked for ways to make the search experience on these handheld devices more friendly as well.

The key lies in user intent. Desktop searchers have completely different reasons for searching than mobile users. And that’s particularly important when providing results.

In general, if a mobile user performs a search, they are closer to making a final purchase. Desktop users are more likely to be at the beginning stages performing their initial searches.

For example, let’s say you’re in the market for a new appliance. Sitting at your desktop, you might pull of comparisons, reviews, and product brochures to weigh your options carefully. If you search for that same appliance on your mobile, you’re more likely to be out shopping for that appliance, confirming the decisions already going through your mind.

Even something as simple as restaurant selection changes between desktop and mobile. If you research a restaurant on a desktop, you might be planning a special outing for later in the week. If you search for a restaurant on your mobile, chances are you’re hungry now, and want to find someplace that suits your needs in the present.

Moving Forward With Micro-Moments

Google’s entire philosophy is built around providing the best user experience possible. That means when you search on a mobile device, you’ll be looking for different things. It happens both when you pull up a browser window, as well as when you shout out: Hey Siri.

As mobile technology becomes more ingrained in our lives, we’re using it in many ways. We have sudden needs, wishes, and problems to solve. And mobile technology is there to answer it along the way.

These are considered micro-moments. Think of these as your “I want to know” moments you have all day long.

These occur when someone reflexively uses their devices to answer a question. They want to learn something, do something, watch something, or buy something, and they want it now. They have a strong intent, and they want a solution as quickly as they can get it.

Those micro-moments take a different kind of search result than for someone who is sitting at a desk, performing minutes or even hours of research through a desktop.

Once you understand the difference between the two, you can ensure you are creating the right SEO strategy, and the right content for both users.

Close up of the "enter" button on a keyboard changed to red and reads "Ranking" - Mobile VS Desktop Blog

Mobile vs Desktop Rankings

So how do you know what people want in both arenas? The only way to know for sure is to separate the two and start tracking your rankings.

There is no right answer. That’s because every company sells to a slightly different audience base. And every product and service is consumed in a slightly different way.

There are SEO tools that can help track ranking for both desktop and mobile separately. That way you can tell what content and what ads are working the best. You’ll quickly learn how your clients and prospects are looking for you, and what they do with your data once they find you.

Moz analytics provides a great application to help dig further into the data. Even Google’s search console provides a wealth of information within your search analytics report, comparing results for both mobile and desktop information.

But ranking is only a part of the picture. Just because something is ranking well doesn’t mean it’s giving the viewer the information they want.

Because mobile search is still so new, not all content is optimized for this viewing platform. But over time, more companies are learning about this information and are developing content to meet demands head on.

If you want to be ready to play in the mobile search world, you have to be proactive in creating content that is user-friendly to mobile search, and ensuring it’s speaking to the viewer once they arrive.

Business man stressed out at computer holding up a "help" sign - Mobile VS Desktop Blog

What Should You Do?

Now that you understand the differences between desktop and mobile search, it’s important that you include both in your SEO strategy.

Here are a few tips to make it happen:

  • Separate out desktop and mobile in your strategy – create plans for each
  • Create a keyword list for each platform – they aren’t always the same
  • Don’t leave out voice search – it’s the up and coming way people are searching with their mobile devices
  • Perform a mobile SEO audit on your site now, and make corrections to ensure you’re doing all you can to reach out to mobile searchers
  • Don’t forget to look at both desktop and mobile analytics
  • Revisit your content creation strategy, and create keyworded content that meets the search results for your desired platform

Mobile search is here to say. Even Google is giving it a priority. But that doesn’t mean you should stop considering who your customers are and how they find you. A good SEO strategy will do all of that and more.

Don’t have an SEO strategy? We can help.

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