Why are desktop searches back on the rise?

Posted on April 2, 2020

 

It’s now three and a half years since mobile search overtook desktop, and this is a trend that has only increased in the time since. Google has reacted to this, and in late February it advised all websites to have mobile-first indexing within the next year.

However, recent weeks appear to have seen something of a resurgence from desktop, as observed by American data-driven marketing agency Merkle. In an article published last week, company Vice President of Research Mark Ballard explained that there had been around an eight percentage point swing in favour of desktop, which is now up to 33% while mobile has dropped to 64%.

A similar trend has been picked up by Microsoft. Rik van der Kooi, Microsoft Advertising’s Corporate Vice President, says that the PC is being shown to be the “device of choice” if people have a choice between searching on that or a mobile device.

Both parties put this desktop fightback down to an increase in the number of people working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. A poll published by The Telegraph yesterday revealed that 55% of adults who would normally travel to their workplace are now working remotely. With PCs being more powerful and better suited to word processing than mobile devices, it is no surprise that workers are spending more time on traditional desktop computers.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a temporary purple patch for desktop, but the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to change our attitudes in several ways once it is over. According to a survey from Citrix, around two thirds (65%) of British office workers think working from home will be more commonplace after the crisis.

Mobile first should remain the strategy behind building websites, but desktop has never been outpaced to the point of not being worth thinking about. At Engage Web, we build sites that look great and function smoothly on all devices.

John Murray

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