Is mobile search killing the desktop?

When you last accessed the internet, what device did you use? I’m willing to slap a fair bit of cash on the table and suggest it was your smartphone. In fact, you’re probably reading this blog post on that same device. Perhaps you found it when doing a mobile search.

In 2018, over 50% of all world-wide website traffic was generated on mobile phones. Whichever way you swing that particular cat, that’s a colossal number and illustrative of just how important those diminutive devices are to most people on the planet.

Does this mean mobile search is killing the desktop? The stats, clearly, suggest so.

Mobile trouncing desktop

But, there’s a problem…

The dudes at SEMrush recently decided to conduct some research into the difference between search engine results pages (SERPs) across platforms.

They wanted to know if a smartphone displays the same bunch of results as a desktop computer for the same query.

Because, you’d expect it to – right?

The results paint a rather worrying picture, with just 13% of websites retaining the same SERP position across devices.

Thirty percent of the pages they looked at ended up losing their position on mobile entirely, and while SEMrush accepts that the two platforms offer rather different search experiences, the results are clearly of concern.

Mobile is trouncing its desktop-based competition, but that makes the results of this study all the more compelling. I’d recommend visiting the link above to see what you can do from an SEO perspective, but in the meantime, let’s get into the meat of why concentrating on your mobile readiness is vitally important.

Mobile search digital assistance

Mobile devices are voice-ready

Hey, Siri… we appear to have reached that pivotal point in tech history where talking to your mobile phone doesn’t leave you looking like you’re a keyword short of a first page spot on Google (I’m here all week).

Voice search is a blog topic in itself, but suffice to say, virtually every new mobile phone includes some form of digital assistance that can help users search the web with nothing more than their voice. It’s convenient, intuitive and makes mobile the default search option for most people.

Mobile makes sharing super-easy

Find a website you like? Sharing that link via Airdrop, Bluetooth or by rubbing your phones together is far easier than email or copy and paste.

You want your website to be shared, right? And that’s why it needs to be ready for mobile search.

Manufacturers build new devices

Mobile search is (or, should be) fast

We all have pretty short attention spans online, but it’s safe to assume they reduce further once we’re looking at the internet in the palm of our hand.

This is why device manufacturers work relentlessly to build fast, responsive devices, and a snappy operating system user interface demands fast website performance. Is this yet another reason why people will probably pick up their phones rather than a laptop to conduct a web search? It’s highly likely.

Mobile is actually a lot easier to cater for than you might think

If you’ve heard that building a mobile-ready website is a pain in the proverbial, think again. It’s far easier than you might think.

If budgets are super-tight, you can do it yourself via one of the many web building platforms out there, but if you can stretch to employing the services of a digital marketing agency, it’s worth it, because they’ll create a website for you that’s ready for mobile search and which can be easily maintained by you.

Wrapping up

Mobile search will only continue to grow in prominence, and likely in line with the rise in voice search. You need to be ready. If your website isn’t responding well on your phone – get it sorted


Mark Ellis specialises in copywriting, blogging, content marketing and videography (hey, they couldn’t all end in ‘ing’). Mark’s considerable experience in helping businesses of all shapes and sizes find a voice and draw in big, engaged audiences has filled his head with thoughts on how you can place a rocket-propelled grenade beneath your marketing strategy. And he’d like to share them.