Remember way back in 2015, Google announced that mobile searches on the Google search engine had actually eclipsed desktop searches, something that analysts had been warning would happen for years. For many brands, this was the wakeup call to finally start paying attention to the mobile world, and make sure their content was ready for it (other brands…are still getting around to that realization).

Today on our podcast, Sarah, Ashley and Aleks are going to talk about one of the major changes that came from the big switch to mobile – Google’s massive algorithm shift that placed more emphasis on mobile-ready sites than traditional desktop sites. This change only went into effect in March 2018, but now it’s official: How your site looks and acts via mobile devices is now more important than how it looks through a traditional desk computer!

What does this mean for the mobile world, and how should you respond? Let’s take a closer look.

It’s Not Just About Google Searches

People aren’t just searching more on mobile devices than desktops – they are also doing a lot of other internet activities via mobile. Research has shown that, as of 2018, more than 50% of all worldwide online traffic was generate through mobile devices. That’s not just Google searches, that’s all internet activity! Additionally, around 3 out of 5 buyers now check their email on the go, and 75% of Americans say that their smartphones are the most common when they check email. Specifically for the B2B field, about 80% of B2B executive say that they research products and services on a tablet (and usually in the evening).

The takeaway here is that, no matter what your customer base looks like, a whole lot of them are probably researching and making decisions on mobile devices. That’s just how the world works today…and it does bring some advantages.

SEO Note: Searching is Becoming More Personalized

In addition to – and perhaps because of – mobile internet habits, another part of internet searching is changing: Internet searches are becoming personal. When people search, they are using a lot more “do I need” and “should I” and (especially) “can I” phrasing. This didn’t used to be the case! Now, Google’s algorithm is smart enough to know what people want regardless of whether they put an “I” in the search, but this does say a lot about how searching continues to change, and how search results are also impacted.

A lot of this shift has to do with how casual internet searching has becoming: When a quick search is just seconds away no matter where you are or what you are doing, then searches tend to get more personal and less formal. People start thinking about internet searches in terms of personal advice, answers to personal questions, and solutions to personal needs (like, in fact, a friend). So, search habits change. It’s no wonder that Google’s search results have also changed, like a growing use of the “answer box” at the top of the SERP to give users quick answers to their questions.

So, What Should Brands Be Doing About This?

It’s easy for many smaller companies to think, “Well, my site is simple and we don’t really need to do anything for mobile or new types of searching.” Unfortunately, that’s how important decisions get pushed back years after they should have been made, and online engagement can suffer as a result. So, how can you act on the latest internet activity trends? Here’s a few important tips:

  • Use more natural language. Yes, even B2B brands. People are searching natural phrases and thinking about searches in personal terms. To get better ranking, start providing content that’s couched in more casual language – without losing professional tone and terminology.
  • Research keywords, but don’t use them. Well, you can still use keywords, of course. But it’s also very effective to find popular keywords for your subject, then use those as a jumping-off point and creating natural, conversational language around the same topic.
  • Address your content to meet direct needs. If people are using more “I” and “we” language, respond by using more “you” language.
  • Make sure everything is mobile ready. Everything.

What do you think about Google’s mobile changes? Do it raise any questions about mobile SEO for your brand? Let us know about it on social media @21handshake! If you loved the episode, please stop by iTunes and rate use 5 stars – and share with a friend who is interested in mobile marketing! Until next time.