While attending SearchFest 2015, you could see many people on their mobile devices checking email, live tweeting and taking selfies. Mobile devices are an integral part of our daily lives, creating a greater need for mobile search to offer reliable results that service a variety of user search intents. The Mobile Strategy: Execution to Analysis session, featuring David Roth and Marcus Tober, offered key insights into strategies that incorporate recent changes to mobile search. Focusing on user intent, search topics and streamlining ranking factors in mobile optimization will be essential to achieving top rankings in mobile search in 2015.
Looking back to when Google created the Hummingbird algorithm in 2013, the goal was making search “precise and fast” through applying better context in conversational search. The algorithm attempted to understand the users’ search intent as best as possible and show exactly what they are looking for. However, the space on a mobile screen is small and limits the number of Google search results shown on each page. A desktop has about five search results displayed above the fold where mobile has about one to two. Now think to yourself, when was the last time I clicked to the second page of Google results page on my phone? Probably not recently, if at all. Of the organic results, the first and second get the most attention on both mobile and desktop, however mobile’s top results has a 27.7% click-through rate compared to 19.3% for desktop. Considering the differences in mobile and desktop CTRs, it is important to make sure your page is achieving a high mobile rank.
It is also important to understand how and why a user is interacting on their mobile device. Search engines are the most common place for a user to start when researching purchases on a mobile device. Keep in mind that search intent on a mobile device is different compared to desktop. Users have different needs at different places and times and Google understands this, so websites need to as well. Google has a crawler just for smart phones, therefore creating content and websites fit for mobile is important.
Google is now calling out on its search engine results page whether a site is mobile friendly and [or?] if it is slow. Be sure your site is quick to load and interact with. You can find out more about your page and how to fix issues here. Don’t only design your site for mobile, design your ads for mobile as well. If you plan to advertise on mobile, make sure the ads have content that makes sense for a mobile user’s intent. When it comes to your site and content, optimize for topics not just keywords.
With the recent changes to mobile search and Google’s official Mobile Friendly ranking in search results, the key to mobile success is simple; less is better. Certain aspects of a site will help to improve mobile rankings in 2015 such as; smaller file sizes, less redirects and shorter HTML length. Focusing on user intent for search in mobile, creating content that offers value, matches intent and expanding the desktop experience (form submission/purchase ability) creates a favorable user experience and allows your business to rank above the fold in mobile search.