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Google Search Queries on Mobile Devices Exceed Desktop Searches — How Savvy Law Firms Should Respond

The way consumers seek information passed a noteworthy milestone a couple months ago. You might know the answer already if you have noticed how many people are focused on their phones in restaurants, airports and other public places. Google announced on May 5 that for the first time, the volume of Google search queries on mobile devices such as smart phones exceeded the volume of searches made on desktop computers in 10 countries including the United States.

The increase in the number of mobile queries reflects the way people access information today. Go to any restaurant and notice how many people are looking at mobile devices during lunch or dinner. “Billions of times per day, consumers turn to Google for I want-to-know, I want-to-go, I want-to-do, and I want-to-buy moments,” Google posted on its AdWords blog. “And at these times, consumers are increasingly picking up their smartphones for answers.”

Google did not offer more specific details about mobile search traffic volume, but the underlying point is clear. Mobile platforms are now on equal footing with desktop computers as communications channels. Mobile is not a back door channel. It’s the future. People are increasingly living their lives online, using their smart phones and mobile devices to check email, surf the web, get directions, and search for a restaurant or other services including legal services.

They want immediate answers to their questions. Last year, Google’s Matt Cutts said at SMX West, the search marketing expo, that he wouldn’t be surprised if mobile queries soon surpassed desktop queries, according to a searchengineland.com. It seems clear that Google views mobile as an area for revenue growth. For savvy law firms, that means you need a website that is mobile friendly, likely one that uses responsive design. Responsive design will adjust and arrange elements of a website to suit the size and orientation of a device on which it is viewed, providing for an improved user experience. If prospective clients visit your website on their mobile device and the text is too small to read or they must zoom in repeatedly to find hyperlinks, they will likely get frustrated quickly and look for another law firm website that is easier to navigate.

Haven’t you done the same thing when shopping online? Your law firm website needs to be easy to view on mobile devices when people are looking for legal services. As a writer on Moz.com noted, there is no middle ground in mobile friendliness. Your website is either mobile friendly or it’s not mobile friendly. Google has a mobile friendly test tool here, which allows you to punch in a url and find out how the individual page performs. It will identify issues such as whether the font sizes are legible, the tap targets are size properly and whether there are resources such as JavaScript or CSS present that delay the rendering of the website on a mobile device. Another way is to use your cell phone to visit a website.

How does it look? Is it easy to read? In February, Google announced a mobile friendly update to its algorithm that will give more weight to mobile friendly pages in mobile search results. Pages designed only for larger screens will see a decrease in rankings in mobile searches, Google said. The update did not apply to tablets or desktops, only mobile devices. As Magnus Simonarson wrote in a forward-looking blog post in March, law firms’ websites that are not mobile friendly will pay the price in lower rankings. You should be making plans to make your website mobile friendly. Wade Rawlins is a Web Content Editor and works closely with other members of our Consultwebs.com Content Team to analyze law firm websites and identify new pages or legal topics that should be added to reach prospective clients. He also researches topics for Web pages, blogs and press releases based on a client’s legal areas of concentration and identifies keywords that help the pages rank high in search engine results.

Wade Rawlins

Wade Rawlins is a Web Content Editor for Consultwebs and analyzes law firm websites and identify new pages or legal topics that should be added to reach prospective clients. Consultwebs is the premier provider of innovative online legal marketing to ethical U.S. law firms seeking growth and profit. Website: http://www.consultwebs.com.

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About the Author: Wade Rawlins is a Web Content Editor for Consultwebs and analyzes law firm websites and identify new pages or legal topics that should be added to reach prospective clients. Consultwebs is the premier provider of innovative online legal marketing to ethical U.S. law firms seeking growth and profit. Website: http://www.consultwebs.com.

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