The Mobile Plateau

The Mobile Plateau

For years, there has been a relatively deafening klaxon in SEO:


This is not hyperbole. Here are some choice examples.

First up, the top of this mobile SEO guide:

Screen Shot 2020 01 24 At 5.57.20 AM

And here is just one of the myriad of examples of it showing up on industry news sites like Search Engine Land.

Screen Shot 2020 01 24 At 5.59.09 AM

These sites all use numbers provided by organizations that have a lot to benefit from people investing in Mobile (like Google), and they are all generally based on models that were created during a period of rapid mobile growth.

Personally, I know that lots of industry analysts (including Greg Sterling, author of the linked Search Engine Land piece) have been looking for updated numbers specifically from Google. But I’m not content to just hold my breath and wait for that to happen.

Well, Google just recently launched its Data Set Search (praise be to the Schwartz). I decided to give it a whirl, and my fingers just started searching for mobile user data.

The most recent piece of “big data” that I could find on mobile user rates in the US is from Statista, and it tells a radically different story. They get their data from StatsCounter, which you can see here:

StatCounter Comparison US Quarterly 20104 20193

This is specifically for US traffic, which you can see in full glory here. This seems to say that desktop and mobile traffic have reached an equilibrium and the period of explosive mobile growth and desktop decline is over.

This makes a ton of sense. We’ve seen a plateau in the % of mobile traffic across the many verticals in which we work. And some just don’t have much mobile traffic to begin with. For example, this B2B Enterprise Software Company:

Screen Shot 2020 01 24 At 6.26.24 AM

Buuuuuut Daaaaaaan, that is a B2B site.

Right random internet stranger the internet is made up a myriad of sites! Here is mobile and desktop traffic for a major hiking site.

Hiking Site 1

58% of its searches are mobile. That is the number that Google said in the Backlinko Mobile SEO Guide… in 2016!!!! Forecasting is hard!!!!

I talked to the SEOs of some major consumer-facing web products and they said they are seeing similar stuff. In fact, one SEO told me that desktop traffic gained traffic share for food delivery in Q4 2019!

Would be great to get some new data from Google and other major players here, as well as some segmentation by industry so that people can make wise technology and marketing investment.

Do you think the mobile growth rate is going to take off again?


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