Local Search Optimization

It’s Official: Google Says More Searches Now On Mobile Than On Desktop

Company officially confirms what many have been anticipating for years.

The company says that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” The company declined to elaborate further on what the other countries were, how recently this change happened or what the relative volumes of PC and mobile search queries are now.

Google did tell us that mobile queries include mobile browser-based searches and those coming from Google’s mobile search apps. The company didn’t break down the relative shares of each.

Google groups tablets with desktops. So this is just smartphones and does not include tablets.

Comscore previously released a report and graphic, showing the relative volume of US-based search queries on PCs, tablets and smartphones. Overall the company said that in Q4 2014, US mobile queries (tablets + smartphones) were roughly 29 percent of total search volumes. This is across the entire industry.

What Google is now saying suggests that either the comScore data were incorrect or the growth of mobile search is happening much faster than anticipated or some combination of those explanations. I asked Google to comment on the comScore data above but the company declined to do so.

These data are being released in the context of a range of new AdWords and Google Display Network tools and announcements, which Ginny Marvin has discussed in more detail in a companion article. Generally speaking the announcements cover new ad formats, new automation tools across both search and display ads and new measurement and attribution capabilities, with an emphasis on store visits and offline measurement.

With this revelation that mobile search has now overtaken desktop search we get a bit more color and context for the recent mobile-friendly algorithm update. I’ve been arguing for well over a year that mobile is now the “primary screen” for marketers.

That now extends to search marketers as well.

Currently, this is what website owners and bloggers should be aware of:

  1. If your desktop and mobile content differs, you might gain or lose rankings accordingly.
  2. Google will not have 2 indexes, one for desktop and one for mobile, meaning that they really are going Mobile First. (In other words, desktop users have been demoted.)
  3. If both desktop and mobile content are the same, there should be no visible changes based on your site alone, but you might still see changes based on the competitor movement in the search engine ranking placements.
  4. Pages with low-quality content on mobile devices stand a large chance of getting de-ranked, and Google states in cases like this it should be better to discontinue the mobile versions until they can rival the desktop versions. (Build up your mobile pages to be as good if not better than your desktop pages before pushing them live.)

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