A number of Google employees told us last year that mobile searches would soon be given a higher priority than desktop searches. Well, in April of this year, on the 21st Google confirmed, that is exactly what happened.
Google released a statement just one month later that because more searches are done on hand held and mobile devices than on desktop computers in the ten countries they surveyed, they were going to rig the system in favor of mobile searches. The world’s leading Internet search company refused to go into detail about the other countries in their study, why this switch was suddenly made, or how PC volumes compare to mobile search queries right now.
What Google did say was that mobile searches include searches performed on mobile browsers and those that come through apps downloaded from Google’s online app store. But they would not divulge any numbers on the relative size or weight of mobile versus desktop searches.
At this point, a lot of people might be thinking, ‘okay, well I still do most of my searches using my tablet computer, so I can still get good search results using that.’ These people would be wrong. Why? Because Google considers tablets a part of the category of desktop computers, not because they are not technically and physically almost exactly the same device as a modern mobile phone- but because they tend to stay in the homes and offices where they are used and are not technically mobile. Tablet computers also do not consume data via telephone service plans like those offered by Verizon, Sprint, etc.
So, if you are not walking down the street with a smartphone and doing all your searches through that device- guess what- your research efforts may suffer. What’s got a lot of folks up in arms about it is not only the inconvenience imposed on people who count on good search results in their offices, who do work on machines attached to full sized keyboards but the apparently market-driven bias behind the move.
A report recently released by ComScore shows the comparison between the volume of search queries coming out of the US on PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Their appraisal is that overall, in 2014- across the entire industry- just 29% of the total searches submitted on Google’s browsers were performed on smartphones. This number held true across the industry as a whole.
So where is the justification for the artificial bias toward hand candy?
Google says either the ComScore numbers are wrong, (predictable) or the growth of mobile searching is happening so rapidly that even though their appraisal might be a goof, they still think that over the long haul- their decision will bear out well. When asked to comment on some of the source material for the study which makes their claim appear self-serving, Google declined to respond.
Along with the far-reaching change that many justifiably worry is a move to push non-mobile computing off the table, Google is also releasing a load of alterations to the way its AdWords system works. The company is offering a whole spate of tools meant to help people transform their websites into mobile-friendly formats.
Having to run extra code for every website online will hike the current burden on everyone’s computing power, which will in turn drive the next push for consumers to go running for new smartphones.
So, whether you like it or not, your main office is now just a little bit less relevant.
David is a long time SEO geek and a regular blogger at IntellaSphere.com! Swing by say hi or @ him on twitter – @neoblog.