Organic traffic is an important source for qualitative leads because users who enter terms or phrases into Google’s search engine are typically aware of the types of products or services that will fulfill their needs. Searchers use queries to identify brands that provide the products or services, and how or where they can make a purchase or arrange a demo.

Organic traffic is the broad term that defines website visitors who arrive at a destination via unpaid search results. Links to your website appear in search engine result pages (SERPs) based on your site’s relevance to search terms or phrases inputted into the search engine. Quality and useful content is imperative to direct desktop and mobile organic traffic to your online business.

Desktop Search vs. Mobile Search

Over the years people have changed how they connect to the internet by shifting away from desktops and laptops in favour of smartphones and, to a lesser extent, tablets. A study by International Data Corporation (IDC), named the Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, analyzed the smart connected device (SCD) market in 2010 and 2014, and also made bold projections for 2019. Here are a few highlights of the study.

  • In 2010 52.5% of SCD shipments were personal computers while 44.7% were smartphones and 2.8% were tablets.

  • In 2014 73.4% of shipped SCDs were smartphones. PC shipments declined to 16.8% while tablets increased to 12.5%.

  • In 2019 IDC projects that smartphone shipments will continue to grow at the expense of PCs and tablets. The forecast expects 77.8% of all SCD shipments to be smartphones.

Over 60% of Americans currently own at least one smartphone and emerging markets like China will account for one third of the global smartphone market by 2017. This is why optimized mobile marketing is increasingly important for marketers to increase awareness and visibility while also boosting engagement and retention. Google’s mobile algorithm update released in April 2015 makes it difficult to rank in mobile SERPs without smartphone-optimized content. Therefore, you need to create mobile-friendly content to help mobile browsers find your brand.

Mobile First? APP-solutely!

Smartphones are more popular today than five years ago and the numbers project even greater demand by the end of the decade. People are using their mobile devices to browse the internet, visit social media pages, and connect to various types of content.

However, an increasing number of users are downloading mobile apps onto their smartphones to access their favourite digital properties. Statista compiled data on mobile app usage which states that 36 percent of smartphone users purchased at least one app in 2014, and projects that the number of mobile app buyers in the US will grow to 85 million by 2019.

The trend towards downloadable mobile apps explains a decision made by Google prior to the US Thanksgiving weekend. The search engine began to rank mobile app content in organic search results without the need for corresponding content on a website. This is a significant change to the status quo as app developers were previously required to maintain a website with related or supportive content to rank the app in mobile search results.

If the trial soft launch is deemed a success, users will be able to access app-specific content with or without the app installed on their mobile devices. If users do not have the app installed, Google will “stream” the app using its own cloud software instead of redirecting users to a web version of the app. The streamed app will function similarly to other smartphone apps and provide easy access to content with a simple tap on the mobile screen.

Users Prefer Apps

Charles Arthur, a former technology editor for the Guardian, used Google’s own data to determine that the average person conducts less than one Google search on their mobile device per day, and fewer than 30 searches per month. Arthur’s research supports the theory that users are searching Google for apps to download, and accessing content through the downloaded software.

Rajan Patel, Principal Engineer at Google and the person responsible for the new app index model, recognizes the trend on mobile is shifting away from websites and towards apps. Patel wants Google to remain relevant as user preferences evolve, and the streamed apps allow Google to direct searchers to valuable content.

“We want users to be able to have access to this content, regardless of whether it’s available on the web or in an app.”

Mobile apps will continue to change organic search habits in 2016. Momentology published 2016 predictions from 44 leading SEO experts, and many respondents stated they will be watching how mobile search habits and new applications impact the industry in 2016. The experts also suggested that marketers will need to redefine their strategies and focus on providing the best possible user experience to retain organic traffic in the new year.