Why Onsite Mobile Search Matters

Onsite mobile search is now more important than it was before. With more and more searches happening on mobile devices, Google wants to ensure their indexing and results represent the majority of their users effectively, and these are mobile searchers.

Google recently announced that they are rolling out a new mobile-first index. Since then, the entire online community has been trying to relay the meaning of this shift and how website managers can prepare themselves. The transition to mobile-first indexing is a critical issue, especially since Google will now use the mobile version of content as their primary search engine index. For unresponsive sites, this shift undoubtedly means the end is near.

Mobile search statistics

According to the findings of recent studies, we ought to focus more on the flip side of mobile search, which is onsite search on mobile devices. With reports showing that 43 percent of visitors navigate straight to website search boxes, onsite search is known to punch above its weight. Compared to those who do not search, searchers are 2-3 times more likely to convert. In fact, some sources place the lift at about 5-6 times. From a data point of view, site search provides an immediate and unmediated access to the mindset of users, which could prove significantly valuable. Unfortunately, site search optimization efforts have not adequately prioritized the role played by mobile devices in our lives today. According to a study by Google on device usage, 27 percent of people use a smartphone exclusively while 80 percent use a smartphone amongst other devices. Furthermore, almost 40 percent use a smartphone to search on an average day.

Where are most of the conversions?

Onsite search might be one of the culprits. According to a recent study of mobile commerce, 70 percent of mobile shoppers prefer site search over site navigation or organic search. These findings mean that onsite mobile search plays an unprecedented and crucial role in the customer journey. The findings also amplify the fact that we already know about the heightened intent and urgency of mobile users. Instead of travelling through the navigation flow, mobile users want to obtain results the quickest way possible. Additionally, the tendency to use site search implies that mobile users are a lot less interested in top-of-the-funnel activities, content browsing and product discovery included. Mobile users would rather fast track their navigation towards specific information or transactions. This deduction is supported by the 82 percent of smartphone users who use in-store mobile device applications.

Why onsite mobile search is important

Onsite mobile search might as well be the second last step before purchase, which means it is not something we can ignore. In fact, a study conducted by Unbxd shows that when compared to desktop shoppers, mobile customers are 75 percent more likely to exit a website because of a poor search experience. We should not dismiss these rates, especially since mobile users makes up 57 percent of site searches. According to Google, only nine percent of mobile users will not exit a mobile site that does not satisfy their needs, with quick navigation and finding information fast being their top needs. As such, it’s critical to ensure your onsite mobile search performs at optimal levels if you do not want to fail your prospective customers. It is ironical that mobile first has become the centerpiece of our digital language and ubiquitous in marketing agendas globally yet many brands have not directed customer optimization where it’s most noticeably needed.