Chapter 8. Mobile Search

Traditional rules that we understood as SEOs went out the door with mobile and that’s OK. Bounce rates, user journey, session duration, and all other user behavior metrics should be examined carefully on mobile. The data is there and it’s layered. When turning on your GPS and other features of the phone, some privacy is lost. Embrace it, but turn and admit the strange as we start to intrude further into people’s lives.

We started to see sharp increases in mobile searches along with changes in user behavior after the launch of the iPhone in 2007. A decade later, the SEO field has firmly dropped anchor into the mobile search ocean. One of the first things to recognize with mobile search is that it’s increasingly different than desktop’s search results. The input methods have also changed with mobile search.

The Lay of the Land

When mobile surpassed desktop in monthly searches in 2014, the entire search industry took notice. On April 21, 2015 Google rolled out an algorithm update that went down in history as mobilegeddon. Google’s change in algorithms was intended to rank higher search results for sites that met mobile-friendly criteria. The belief was that the update happened because many sites weren’t properly taking into account the meteoric rise of mobile.

Despite the dramatic sounding name, mobilegeddon was not the disaster people predicted it to be. What it did for SEO as an industry was to thrust mobile usability into the arena. To remain competitive, ...

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