Mobile Search Beyond Google: In App Search Tools

A couple months back, I covered the rise of a new generation of Windows Phones, and how they will slowly bring more mobile search market share to Bing. But, there’s more to mobile search than just Google and Bing.

The app stores for iOS, Android and Windows offer countless of downloadable apps that offer built-in search engines. Some of these apps are from major players in their respective verticals and may have a more direct impact on your business than the general search engines.

Let’s look at a few business types and the apps that provide good search opportunities.

mobile apps with search engines

Apps offers another path for search marketers looking to get their businesses onto mobile screens. Shown here are search results from the eBay, YouTube, and Yelp apps.

For Retailers: eBay, Amazon

According to a new IBM study released last week, 25.3% of Thanksgiving Day traffic to retail sites came from smartphones and tablets.

Putting a subset of your inventory on one of these sites can be a great shortcut to reaching mobile users. True, there’s a fee structure around transactions in these markets; and, outside of mobile, you might have a hard time justifying that extra cost. But, when it comes to mobile, participating in these markets avoids another, much larger cost: the investment needed to build a mobile-friendly store of your own.

For Travel Or Fashion: YouTube

If you’ve been on the fence about using video to promote your business, mobile usage could put you over the edge — way over the edge.

According to YouTube, mobile devices now account for a quarter of its traffic. Combine that with the fact that YouTube is the second most popular search engine (that’s right — it beats Bing!), and the result is a search box that can bring a lot of viewers to your content.

This approach is a great way for any business where the visual aspect of its offering is the primary selling point to get on mobile phones. (Trying to brainstorm ideas for video? Start here.)

For Restaurants: Yelp, OpenTable, Siri

I’ve written about how mobile websites can play a key role in attracting diners. But, native apps can be another path to the same goal. For example, Yelp recently released metrics around mobile usage, which now accounts for 40% of its activity.

Other Local Businesses: Apple Maps

Despite all the criticism of Apple’s new mapping function, this app will eventually take over the iOS ecosystem. Since iOS users are the most active shoppers in the mobile space, this will become a major factor for businesses that attract a local clientele. Andrew Shotland has a great review of Apple Maps’ search functions, including a list of the databases these functions tap into.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Mobile | How To: Mobile Marketing | Microsoft: Bing Mobile | Mobile Search | Search Engines: Mobile Search Engines | Search Marketing: Mobile | SEO: Mobile Search


About The Author: runs Skypromote, an SEO agency in Boston and NYC, and has been doing search since 1998. You can follow him on Twitter @SherwoodSEO.

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  • Larry Addles

    Search engine land you never fail to give me information I actually want to read about. As a mobile developer that works with many small businesses I like readying stories like this as not only to I find them informative it also gives me hope in future entrepreneurship that someday someone will create something that can compete with google, bing, and amazon. Thank you for the information.


    Larry Addles

  • Temujink

    Good data points. With significant traffic originating from mobile devices, searching for mobile apps (that offer services and products) also would become relevant. So the app search engine like should also slowly gain popularity ?

  • Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    YouTube is a great channel and video marketing is in its infancy in our opinion. Even on a small screen, the human allure of video persists, and as you point out, YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google, not to mention that YouTube content also shows up in the Google blended search results. Google Maps, Apple Maps, Nokia Prime Place, Manta, etc. are all great opportunities to put your business squarely in the mobile SERPs. Thanks for sharing.


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