Smartphones sales have continually increased since the launch of the iPhone and with their capabilities, there is an increasing number of people reviewing, shopping and commenting using mobile search.
The mobile paid search market is growing at an impressive rate. According to research released last week from banking and investment firm Macquarie Group, nearly five per cent of paid search spending in the United States is now in mobile. If this growth continues at the same pace, that spend could reach 10 per cent by the end of 2011.
Predictably, the trend looks set to be replicated in the UK. According to figures published in the 2010 Paid Search Agencies Buyer’s Guide
, 2011 “could well be the year of mobile paid search”. The report estimates that the value of the overall paid search market at £3.2bn. If (or rather when) the UK mobile paid search market owns five per cent share of that figure, it will have got off to a very healthy start indeed.
Why is mobile paid search on the increase? Well, smartphones are finally getting as clever as their name implies. Early internet-equipped handsets gave their owners a frustrating time when trying to search the net. These days, the iPhone and its merry band of competitors and imitators try their best to make the mobile browsing experience as user-friendly, fun and intuitive as possible.
The result is that consumers are using mobile internet more frequently – and more quickly at that. You can look up the address of a restaurant you’re looking for whilst you’re pounding the streets trying to find it, for example, all the while expecting your search results to arrive nearly as quickly as they would on your PC.
Google is just as dominant in paid mobile search as it is in traditional PPC advertising. According to the report, almost 97 percent of mobile search spend goes to Google, while 3.2 percent of spend goes to Bing and Yahoo. Whilst Bing and Yahoo figure out what they can do to grab a bigger piece of the pie, it stands to reason that any SEO agency needs to advise you on tactics geared towards success in the Google search rankings. No change there then!
Something very important for SEO practitioners to bear in mind is the potentially lucrative rate of mobile search conversion. Surojit Chatterjee
is PM Lead, Search and Local Mobile Ads at Google. He explained why mobile internet users were more likely to convert than PC users: “Mobile users are more prone to take immediate action. People searching on mobile have a higher intent. The time between intent and action has been narrowed.”
This means that your paid search investment and organic SEO efforts need to lead users to a mobile website that is intuitive and meets their needs. We work on optimising many of our clients sites for mobile search, as this is increasingly becoming ‘the’ way that people are searching. Look at it this way: you run a restaurant, adding a link to ‘today’s menu’ on the home page of your mobile site is a necessity. By giving consumers the simple essentials to find, interact and use your services or products on your mobile site is the same as having ‘calls to action’ on your main website, a necessity.