How Mobile Devices Have Affected Our Search Behaviors

With users often using mobile devices for their search queries, we should look at how these devices actually affect our search habits. When we are searching, we are not fully aware that we are forming a habit when seeing the SERP page (Search Engine Results Page). While habits are hard to break, the age of the mobile device certainly made an impact on users.

Google became the top search engine in 2003, simply because it could deliver information to its users in the fastest way. Once people saw that Google was giving them exactly what they wanted, and with barely any wait time, they kept coming back.

Years ago, around 2005, when mobile devices were just starting to make their climb to the top, many users would scan the results page from left to right. They would notice results or images on the right side of the page.

Now, almost 10 years later, users are trained to only read vertically and are consuming information at a much faster rate. They will scan the page for the relevant information and often ignore the information on the right side of the page. The same can be said for desktop browsing behaviors, and while users are seeing more information, they are spending less time reading each one singularly.

“Users are looking the front end of search listings, so make sure your main message comes first. While it used to take a user 2.6 seconds to consume a SERP, that time has been cut in half, to 1.3 seconds.” (Pinkerton 2016)

The top organic listing is the listing that collects the most clicks, HOWEVER, it takes almost 90% longer for the user to see the top listing on mobile phones.

With this information, you can optimize your digital marketing strategy.

A few things to note when optimizing:

Almost 100% of searchers are looking at the Knowledge Graph, yet only about 50% actually click on it.

The knowledge graph takes away from the clicks to the top organic listing.

About 50% of users click on the local and map listings when they are positioned over organic listings.

Sponsored listings are viewed after about a .03 of a second.

Organic listings are most of the search results, and about 60% of people click on the top 4.


To download the full report, go here.

To read a study comparing 2014 and 2015 and eye tracking results, see this.

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