Google Ups Mobile Rankings

Google Ups Mobile Rankings

“64% of U.S. adults own a smartphone up from 35% in 2011 … 15% of 18-29 year-olds” use their phones as their only access to the internet.  – Pew Research

This quote is from a new Pew Research study (April, 2015) which explains in tremendous detail who uses mobile phones, how. Google, of course, tracks the same data (differently) and sells it. Pew publishes theirs, which gives us a window into why Google announced that its new searches would favor mobile-friendly sites.

The summary of the Pew study is titled “6 facts about Americans and their smartphones.”  The key points:

1. Yes, “64% of U.S. adults own a smartphone up from 35% in 2011.” While almost all adoption-diffusion rates are a bell curve, mobile devices continue to get cheaper, and ubiquitous adoption seems plausible.

2. “younger adults, minorities and lower-income Americans” tend to be “smartphone-dependent,” meaning that they do NOT have home broadband service. For these groups, smartphones (not iPads or watches or Google glasses) are their ONLY means of using the internet. 15% of 18-29 year-olds use phones only, and nearly that percent for Latinos, African Americans and households with income under $30,000.

3. 75% of the public use their phones for social networking, 88% email, 89% use them for internet, 89% for voice/video calls and 97% text.

4. Smartphones are now being used for getting information about health (62%), online banking (57%) and job applications (18%).

5. Half of smartphone owners “say their smartphone is something ‘they couldn’t live without.’”

6. “Owning a smartphone is a financial burden” for the working poor, with 23% having “canceled or suspended” service due to cost, even while 80% say their device is “worth the cost.”

By ranking “responsive” (aka “mobile-ready”) sites higher, Google is simply responding to these realities. Now that two-thirds of us use smart phones, with the rate of adoption climbing nearly 10% per year, we all need to recognize these realities and adjust. The chances of your next contact coming through mobile are going up every month.

Is your site mobile-ready (aka “responsive”)? Contact us if you need help.


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