SEO

Desktop Users Are People Too: Don’t Go Mobile Only in Search

Through Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, Google has made a statement: websites going mobile-only will be “fine in search results.”

A question came up during a Google Hangout with John Mueller: if someone had a mobile-only website, would it rank in desktop results?  More or less, Mueller responded, “Yes, it’s possible for a mobile-only site to rank in desktop results.”

Obviously, this created a bit of confusion amongst the community since having a website only geared towards your mobile audience makes no sense.  Was Google telling people to go mobile-only?

Don’t Just Go Mobile-Only

In my opinion, Mueller was confirming that it is technically possible for a mobile site to rank on desktop. Not necessarily that this was the best practice from a marketing standpoint.

Optimizing for mobile-only goes against Google’s charge of delivering the best “search experience” for its users.  From a strictly technical / ranking standpoint: sure, you can just have an m. site or mobile-only site and rank in Google’s results because Google will still be able to crawl it.  Also, with mobile searches surpassing desktop searches last year, one could make the argument that it’s much smarter to focus on your mobile audience and worry about your desktop audience later.

Also, with mobile searches surpassing desktop searches last year, one could make the argument that it’s much smarter to focus on your mobile audience and worry about your desktop audience later.

But yes, you can get your mobile site to rank on desktop.

Think About Your Users and a Holistic Digital Experience. Desktop Included.

This raises the question (and should have been answered by Mueller): why on earth would you want to do that?  You are cutting out your entire desktop experience just to cater to a mobile audience, which is egregiously near-sighted.  While mobile search has surpassed desktop search, there are still millions of people using their desktop to looks at your website and brand. On top of that, the people who make up that mobile audience percentage still use desktops. So that number has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Overall, marketers should focus on their holistic digital experience for their users, and not worry about what the new trend is.  Desktop will have a place in everyone’s digital suite for the foreseeable future, and it would be shortsighted to simply ignore it because some guy in Switzerland said something out of context.

Overall, marketers should focus on their holistic digital experience for their users, and not worry about what the new trend is.

Also, back in June at SMX Advanced, Gary Illyes from Google said, “Google does not rank mobile content based on what is on the page served for mobile users, as the page is still ranked according to the content on the desktop page.”

So all in all, don’t run to change your entire strategy. Mueller is just confirming a technical question, which is not necessarily a best practice or a tip on how to run your digital marketing.

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