How to Target Both Desktop and Smartphone Users in Search

Desktop, tablet, and smartphone showing search results Recent online advertising research studies for 2014 are showing that mobile ad spend is on the rise (with an estimated 83% increase) and desktop ad spend is hitting negative numbers for the first time, at around -2.4% (in 2013 it was 2.3%). With those unprecedented numbers as well as Google executives saying they “wouldn’t be surprised” if mobile search exceeded desktop search in 2014, I think it is safe to say that now is the time to make sure your business is up to date and on top of the latest standards for mobile design and mobile search. If not, you will soon be (if you’re not already) missing out on a major portion of your target online market.


Comparison of Desktop vs Smartphone usage statistics for USA

Analysis from StatCounter shows that searches from smartphones
are now averaging around 25%, hitting new all-time highs.


Desktop Search Results for a Local Business Here in Boulder, CO

Desktop search results example for local business in Boulder, Colorado

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

Desktop Searches Still Reign Supreme:

Currently at 75% of all searches in the USA, most Americans are still using their desktop for looking up information on search engines. So as far as SEO goes, this is a primary focus. How you show up on the first page of Google is crucial to your success online and should be one of the main priorities of your inbound marketing and SEO campaigns.

The most important parts of the desktop search results are the initial sponsored listings at the top, the first group of organic listings, and the local results. While the second group of organic listings below and the sponsored listings (ads) on the right side still get some clicks, they pale in comparison to the first three. If you plan on giving your business the most exposure possible, it would be good to invest in a variety of inbound services, not just SEO.

Make sure you’re investing in PPC/Adwords, SEO, and local SEO if you plan on targeting a specific category within a city, especially here in Boulder.


The Same Search Results on a Mobile/Smartphone Device


Mobile search results example for local business in Boulder, Colorado

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

Google Ads Dominate the Top:

In mobile search results, the sponsored listings (ads) carry a lot of weight with smartphone users because not only do they show up first in Google’s search results, they sometimes contain call to action buttons, such as call buttons next to the listing.

King of the Mobile SEO Hill:

Right after the sponsored listings is the first organic search result. From an SEO’s point-of-view, this is the holy grail of positions to rank for in mobile search. Not only is it at the top, it’s free when users click it.

Google Map & Local Results:

Now when dealing with mobile devices such as smartphones, probably the most dynamic of the sections of mobile search is the local results portion of the results page. The Google Map right above it is automatically filled with local businesses that are listed in their index. This local results section is also heavily influenced by the users location, so it is important to make sure your site is being properly crawled and your business listings across the web are correct and up-to-date.

2nd Group of Organic Results:

Even though the majority of clicks on mobile searches takes places above this point, it iss still very important to constantly improve your SEO so you can capture any remaining users scrolling down to find a suitable match. You would also benefit by possibly replacing or being put in (searches vary) the top group of organic results. SEO and local SEO work hand-in-hand as they both target the end user, but it is important to keep in mind that it can take up to six months for their algorithms to update all the facets of your work and rank you appropriately.

2nd Group of PPC Ads:

These ads tend to be less expensive than their top of the page counterparts. While they may be at the bottom of the user’s scroll, sometimes they can grab users who have been hesitating to click or thinking about clicking while continuing to scroll downwards. If they see a familiar site or are compelled by your ad copy, these users just might click. Make sure your tracking your Google Adwords campaigns to make sure you know which ads are converting.

Related Searches:

These search terms (keywords) can help you can gauge how local users (on desktop and mobile) search for content related to your local business and you can sometimes use them to find ways to reach out to customers.


So What’s The Takeaway?

Mobile is here to stay and it is only gaining market share as time goes on. So it it very important to prepare your business websites and online presence in general for this surge of new users. Things like making your site responsive to mobile devices, checking the functionality on different devices, and verifying it is being crawled properly should be some of your first priorities in making sure your is ready for mobile.

The good news is, from an SEO perspective, targeting both desktop and smartphone users is not that much different. There are essentially no differences between ranking on a smartphone and ranking on a desktop as far as organic search results are concerned.

The areas you would want to focus on if you are trying to target more mobile users would be the sponsored listings (Google Adwords) and local SEO to improve your ranking in the local listings portion of search. These will help you with desktop searches as well, it is just that these two sections in particular take up a major part of the smartphone “screen real-estate” and tend to generate more clicks when viewed from a smartphone or mobile device.

If you need help with the switch over to mobile or need help with any of the services listed above, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you out.

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