Why Writers Need to Think Mobile First

Why Writers Need to Think Mobile First

Search Changes Happen First on Mobile

Mobile search surpassed desktop search on 2015. Search engines like Google paid attention. Google tests new patents and algorithms on mobile before applying them to desktop.

Stone Temple Consulting (now part of Perficient) came up with significant statistics in their 2019 mobile vs desktop use study..

  • In 2018, 58% of site visits were from mobile devices.

  • Mobile devices made up 42% of total time spent online.

  • Mobile Bounce Rate came in at 50%.

These shifts in search results — how search works and the results delivered — are important signals for how content is found and displayed. Some important changes for writers are:

  • Knowledge graph (Position Zero above rankings)

  • Direct answers and People Also Ask

  • Using headings and phrases (instead of keywords)

  • Delivering these query answers before ranking

Many times the results are so specific that the person asking does not need to click through to the website.

Mobile SEO practitioner, Cindy Krum, predicts that mobile-first search is just a step toward long-range, entity-first indexing where what an entity (business) presents on the web — all the various bits and pieces of data which she calls Fraggles — are tied to the entity (business).

SEMrush did a recent study on the difference between mobile and desktop search engine results pages (SERPs). The study revealed that 30% of pages present on the first page of desktop search results are moved beyond the top 20 results in mobile search.

That means those pages aren’t seen at all on mobile results unless the searcher scrolls down to the next page. One reason for this is that a knowledge graph (displaying the answer to the query) shows on top on mobile devices while is displays on the right in desktop results.

Share The Web Writing Perspective

When you write for a business, your role requires understanding of the business and a good grasp of the client base. Now, knowing the questions that client base asks is key to writing compelling copy that gets noticed by search engines and read by customers.

Not all business owners understand the shift in how search queries and web content relate. A new aspect for web writers is educating our clients on the shift and the importance of how content relates to the customers they want to reach.

We need to dispel the myth of sitting down at a keyboard and creating something meaningful in an hour by writing words. We can help our writing clients with:

  • Query research

  • Customer understanding

  • Customer vocabulary and language

  • Clear structure

Our role as writers is to collect that information (data) and organize it into understandable answers. We do that through language and structure to give meaning.

Marketing advisor, David Amerland’s brief summary of Structure and Meaning

Structure creates meaning because it forces organization. Organization demands prioritization because it crystallizes importance.

Our first task is to understand how mobile-first search is evolving. And, because of this evolution emphasize the importance of clear, structured content that gives results to the right audience.

Business owners need to change their thinking for keywords that get results, to clear answers that give results.

The Answer is Write Answers

The second task as writers, after educating clients, is to create text that addresses the changes appearing in mobile-first search. Focus on answering questions.

Clear and well-structured text serves search engines and customer site visitors. Once we know how to tie the business service and/or products to the target audience, writing the information progresses in steps:

  1. Know the exact question answered in the text

  2. Identify  phrases customers use in queries

  3. One topic per page or article

  4. Highlight phrases in the title and headings

  5. Use related query phrases

  6. Organize each section of the text

  7. Answer the question

Whatever tone the business wants to convey, you need to follow these steps to help your articles, blogs, and webpages get the notice they deserve in search.

Tailor Writing to New Search Information

As a writer, it’s time to make the shirt to the new search paradigm. Think answers.

If you write for other businesses, stress the importance of connection by answering real questions from their target market. Help business owners understand that all the important information they want to share about their business, products, and services can be served better by answering questions.

Prepare your business clients for entity-based search where search engines identify each piece of information (data) as an entity.

Write data-rich content, organized, and structured to help search engines deliver your text to the people searching for answers.

Zara Altair

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