The queries that people search for in mobile are often quite different than the queries that people submit in a desktop search. Often this is because the searchers either know exactly what they are looking for, or think their phone has enough location information that Google can get them the right results with a very simple search query. This is what compels some searchers to submit incredibly generic ‘head-terms’ in a mobile search, when they never would in a desktop search. The good news is that dominating a generic query in a mobile search is not impossible, and can drive lots of mobile traffic.
Algorithmic Authority & its Impact on Mobile
One key element of recent algorithm changes is the attempt to hone in on authority sites – especially in more niche topic areas. This impacts mobile too, and you can be sure that as the mobile algorithm evolves, it is going to be tied closely to things like authorship and social signals.
When you mix social signals with the other mobile-focused parts of the algorithm, you have the potential to get great results like this one on the right, with Domino’s ranking #1 on a search for pizza, and then the local 7pack of other pizza options below. How did they do that? Look under the description at the number of people who +1’d Domino’s – Apparently if you have about 5,000 fans in Google+, you win the ‘pizza’ battle on mobile – Good to know!
Mobile and social are so closely linked that even desktop SEO strategist should be thinking about mobile, if only as an additional way to boost social signals. Are your mobile pages allowing or encouraging people to share articles, products or other information? When they do, does it look good in their social timelines? Any time you are doing a social push, you need to make sure that all of your brands assets work well on mobile and tablets (iOS & Android at a minimum). If they don’t, you are leaving SEO potential on the table.
What is interesting is when you compare this result to the same search in desktop results. You can see that Dominoes is not first, but third, behind Wikipedia and Pizza Hut.
When you look at the social signals, you can see that Wikipedia has no social signals and Pizza Hut has less than half as many Google+ people giving it a +1. This comparison is a pretty compelling demonstration that social signals, especially ones from Google+ carry lots of weight in the mobile search algorithm.