Saturday, September 29, 2012

How Location & Small Screen Size Impact Search Behavior On Mobile Devices

It is no news that mobile devices are rapidly taking over the Web! Latest estimates peg the share of mobile traffic from 10% to 20% of the total Web traffic. Popular websites like Quora and Facebook are claiming that about one quarter of their traffic comes from mobile devices (including tablets).
With more and more people having their primary Web experience on mobile devices, this platform cannot be ignored. In fact, companies that innovate specifically for mobile devices are the ones who will have an early lead for the next couple of years.

Eventually, every company will have to have a mobile strategy, so there’s no question of whether one should take mobiles seriously; the only question is when, and my answer to that would be: the sooner the better.
There are two main aspects of mobile devices that differentiate them from desktops, laptops and other traditional computing devices. The first aspect is, of course, the portability factor. People access the Web on mobile devices when they are on the go. Hence, where they are and what they are doing becomes very pertinent to what kind of experience they expect.
The second aspect of mobiles is the screen size. Yes, with the launch of iPhone 5 and gigantic devices like Samsung Note and Galaxy SIII, I realize mobile screens are getting bigger; but they’re still nowhere near the standard 13’’-17’’ screens we have become comfortable with on our desktops and laptops.
A user experience that actually uses the constraints set by a smaller screen is the one that people would like on mobiles.

Search Behavior Due To Location

Research by Microsoft reported that about 30% of all mobile searches have a local intent, and Google reported that 61% of searches result in a phone call. Clearly, people accessing the Web on mobiles are interested in things around them.
Search engines already do a great job of customizing search results according to the user’s location, but if you are a local business, the least you can do is to specify your business’s location on various search engine’s Web master settings.
Search engines also pick location signals from the Title and other text present on a website. If you have a local business, it makes a lot of sense to emphasize the location on the website so the search engines will know it is an important aspect of your business and hence prioritize your website in search results whenever a user is around your location.

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