Google Search Now More Important Than Facebook on Mobile

By June 25, 2018SEO
google mobile smartphone

Mobile Search and Customer Loyalty are Core SEO Watchwords

The best source of mobile traffic in 2018 is via Google search, while Facebook referrals continue to decline.

It wasn’t so long ago that social media referrals were the cornerstone of mobile traffic. However, mobile users are increasingly using their smartphones for more than just social media apps, and as mobile search has gradually overtaken desktop, so the power of Google referrals has grown in significance.

This has major implications for businesses that are concerned with developing and optimising their SEO strategies, and provides further evidence that SEO is a discipline that never stands still. On our London SEO page, you can find out more about the SEO services available to businesses in London and the South East. But here, we will take a look at why Google search has grown in importance while social media has declined.

AMP makes a difference

There has been plenty of debate about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and whether having a fast-loading AMP version of your site really makes a difference in the modern age of superfast broadband and modern smartphones with powerful processing capability.

The answer, however, is that it does. At least that’s the verdict from the researchers at Chartbeat, who carried out the study last month. They said that while the main driving factor is simply that people are conducting more Google searches on their mobile devices than they used to, there has been a particular spike relating to sites that use AMP.

Is Facebook in decline?

The main reason for Google overtaking Facebook in referrals is due to Google referrals increasing over the past, but to a lesser extent, there has been a slight decline in Facebook referrals.

To back that up with some numbers, in March 2017, the number of page views via Google was around 0.6 billion per week, and via Facebook, it was 0.8 billion. 12 months later, the figure for Google referral had risen to 1.0 billion, while Facebook had dropped to 0.7 billion.

Clearly, social media marketing is still a vitally important aspect of SEO, but the slight decline is due to a change of focus from the Facebook feeds. Over recent months, Facebook has made tweaks to its algorithm, placing more emphasis on delivering personal updates relating to your friends and family, and fewer that provide links to external sites.

Direct traffic holding steady

The other important source of mobile traffic is of the direct variety – this is when people simply enter the url into the browser and come straight to your site without an indirect referral. To throw these numbers into the mix, in March 2017, direct traffic stood at 0.8 billion page views per week. In March 2018, it had risen slightly to 0.9 billion.

What does this mean for SEO?

So, how should this information inform your digital marketing strategy? Clearly, it implies that mobile search is more important than ever, and if your site is not mobile friendly and optimised for Google’s mobile index, you will be missing out.

The volume of direct traffic also shows that customer loyalty is key – after all, people will only be typing in your url directly if they already know about you. Your strategy needs to focus as much on satisfaction and retention of existing customers as winning new ones.

Finally, it is worth remembering that social media is still responsible for a vast number of referrals. With more than two billion members, Facebook is a platform that you cannot afford to ignore.