he pandemic has forced us to spend more time at home. What does this mean for search volumes, trends, and devices?

There’s no doubt that our lives have changed radically in the past few weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Be it personal, social, or business life, we’ve seen so many shifts that go beyond any imagination. The way we spend our time on the internet couldn’t be unaffected and so is the way we search on Google. People spend more time at home because of the “stay at home” and remote working policies; it means that they’re back at their desktops, using mobile devices for specific purposes (such as social media). How does this affect SERPS (search engine results pages) and your law firm? Let’s break it down.

People staying at home, do they spend their time on smartphones?

Recent reports point out a significant increase in the time people spend on Social Networks. WhatsApp, a messaging app owned by Facebook, has seen a 40% increase in usage, while the same applies to other social media such as Instagram, China’s WeChat or Tik Tok (make sure to read our article about Tik Tok as the future of social media for law firms). As people don’t travel that often, it’s normal to expect a decrease in the usage of apps like Google maps or mobile shopping that usually happens “on the go”.

What happens with Search results?

 The latest trends had been pointing to and favoring mobile search results over desktop. The graph below explains it, showing that mobile search volume surpassed desktop in 2019.

The first question that arises is “why does it matter if the search is coming from mobile or desktop”? Well, there are critical differences, varying from the way your website is displayed to the way Google picks its results for each device. Another crucial aspect to consider is the consumer journey. Desktop usually means longer journeys, and you have to be prepared for everything this brings.

Recent reports show that search traffic is driven down during these last weeks, and mobile seems to have taken the biggest hit. In the week of March 15-21, mobile traffic was reduced by an average of over 20% while desktop traffic around 13%.

What should you consider when planning your law firm’s digital marketing strategy amid COVID-19.

  • Performance is a vital element for Google, so ensure that your law firm’s website is fully optimized for desktop and mobile. Check for broken links and test your website’s speed.
  • Content is key, and it should be equally accessible from all devices. Take some time to review it, create new (remember video is also content), or translate it in Spanish. Hispanic represent a great opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked. 
  • If you are running paid campaigns (PPC), confirm that your bids are updated and reflect the current situation. Search volume has decreased, but so have prices since people who act in fear have stopped or reduced their Ads. Device-level bidding is important and you should adjust your bids based on demand. You should stay informed about the peak search hours, which seems to be different lately and revisit your Ads schedule. If all these seem too technical, you should reach out to the experts for advice.    
  • Research keywords. Find what is a good fit for your law firm and identify negative keywords.
  • Retargeting through the display network can prove very effective. Health and medical searches are increasing and you should find the right places and geotarget people who could become potential clients in your desired practice area. 
  • Make sure you or your team takes care of the live chat, people might favor it over the phone when browsing on their desktop. 
  • Mobile search volume might be decreasing, but smartphone usage isn’t as people spend more time on Social Media. This is your chance to reach audiences in other networks.

What are the key takeaways?

  1. Search volume seems to be shifting from mobile back to desktop, but this is occasional. 
  2. Different devices mean different consumer journeys. Evaluate both and be ready for the opportunities that will arise.
  3. Monitor your paid campaigns in terms of ad spent, bids, device targeting, and peak hours.
  4. Evaluate your calls to action (live chat or phone call). Identify what works for each device.
  5. Be proactive, look for opportunities; Hispanic digital marketing is one of the shots you have to take.