Mobile search is becoming increasingly important for companies of all shapes and sizes. According to the latest quarterly report from RKG, more than a quarter of organic and paid search traffic went through smartphones and tablets in the second quarter of this year. And this isn’t just restricted to domestic markets. In China and India, mobile has already overtaken static search, meaning that any marketers wishing to target those nations would do well to keep mobile in mind.
Google recently announced changes in its algorithms that would effectively penalize sites that were not optimized for mobile. Some common mistakes they listed include unplayable videos, faulty redirects, URLs that show as an error page to smartphone users, irrelevant cross-linking, and slow page loading speeds. Wherever your markets are, it’s clearly important to make your content visible and accessible to mobile users.
But the process doesn’t end there. Once users find your mobile optimized site, they also need to be able to navigate it quickly and easily. Microsoft has reported that 70% of PC ‘query chains’ are completed in about a week. This means users often search, bookmark, and return to the site before completing a task. In contrast, 70% of mobile searchers complete their task in about one hour. Mobile users tend to be more focused and are often looking for information, goods, or services that they need right now.
Make it Easier to Search
One way to ensure users can find the information they need without leaving your site is by having a high quality site search. Mobile users do not want to browse through huge product displays or be forced to navigate through several pages until they find what they want. Site search allows them to access the relevant products or pages quickly. Site search users also tend to convert at a higher rate, so it’s essential for companies to strengthen their mobile website search and maximize the website’s performance.
Here are a few tips for a more effective site search:
Use a Prominent Search Box
Don’t make them look for it! If they want to use site search (and you want them to as well!), then it makes sense to ensure that the search box is one of the first things they see. Display it prominently at the top of the homepage and other important pages and make sure it’s clearly labelled.
Use Auto Complete
Auto Complete suggests terms when visitors type the first letters of a keyword, making it easier for users to find what they are looking for. You might also consider an Auto Suggest feature, which suggests alternative items based on products the user already viewed. The Deb Shops chain reported a 20 per cent increase in adds to cart for users exploring with a ‘More Like This…’ feature.
Use Infinite Scrolling
Infinite scrolling of search results is another way to reduce typing, clicking, and waiting for new pages to load. When visitors get near the end of the page of search results, more results are loaded automatically. This may seem like a small feature, but it makes your site more user friendly.
Provide Localized Information
Many mobile search tasks are localized in nature, meaning users are looking for goods or services relevant to their current location. This can be provided using the mobile device’s GPS tracking facilities.
Display your Promotions
When visitors search for a brand name or product that is on sale, include a keyword-driven banner at the top of the search results to emphasize that promotion. You get to push your promotion and the visitor could get a great deal!
As mobile usage continues to grow, businesses will need to focus on making their mobile sites easy to navigate. What suggestions do you have for making mobile sites more user friendly?