Google’s focus on the Mobile Web is making apps less relevant, and domains more relevant


When Apple first announced the App Store everyone’s first thought was, this could be the beginning of the end for domain names. Fast forward to 2018 and it looks like the exact opposite has happened…not because of apps, but instead because of the popularity of mobile responsive design.

When the concept of “Apps” was introduced mobile responsive web design just wasn’t where it is today. Mobile sites were often clunky and hard to navigate, apps offered a much better mobile experience. Thanks to major progress in front-end design world (i.e. HTML, CSS, and Javascript) mobile websites now are almost indistinguishable from apps, and some brands are starting to deprecate their apps in favor of a mobile responsive site.

Google has also helped to accelerate this trend by updating their algorithm to actually rank sites better that load faster on mobile…and the change goes into effect this month.

Is your company’s mobile site quick to load? If not, don’t be surprised if its ranking plummets on Google search results. In July, Google’s algorithm will change so that slow-loading mobile sites will suffer the consequences.While this has been a call for action for quite some time, Google will now use loading speed as a metric for mobile search result ranking. (Source – Business News Daily)

But it’s not just fast load times, Google has gone even further to pave the way for the growth in focus on mobile responsive design:

As of April 21, there will be more mobile-friendly websites in your search results. Google Webmasters write, “…we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” (Source – DTelepathy)

These changes mean that companies are going to be more serious about their mobile experience than ever before. Rewind a few years ago and companies could say, “well our mobile experience isn’t great, but that’s why we have an app!” Those days are gone, mobile responsive has won.

This means that every domain investors greatest fear has been mostly dashed (for now) since it’s clear that every company needs a good domain name, whether they target mobile or desktop. Also, think a little about the apps on your phone. How many of them to you use regularly? The reality is that most people only use around 5 apps on their smartphone, compare this to the number of mobile sites someone visits and, well, there really is no comparison.

New research on mobile behavior released today points to the growing struggle that app businesses face in establishing themselves as a must-have download on users’ smartphones. Today’s consumers are spending over 85 percent of their time on their smartphones using native applications, but the majority of their time – 84 percent – is spent using just five non-native apps they’ve installed from the App Store. (Source – TechCrunch)

If you’re reading my blog on a mobile device you probably notice that it looks nothing like the desktop version. Years ago I decided to put a focus on mobile which meant killing banner ads for mobile users to instead focus on what matters – content.

So take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay, while apps certainly do play an important role in our lives, it’s really only a handful of apps that do. The web plays a much bigger role in all of our lives, and at the core of the web is domain names.

What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Leonard Britt July 7, 2018, 8:26 am

    Just an observation – if I use the Google search app on my newer Kindle Fire tablet, the search results do not even show the domain. That is actually a little scary when I am searching for my bank account (no direct navigation allowed via the Google search app). Now since Google’s app seems to often get stuck on the last website i visited sometimes I will switch to Amazon’s Silk browser which does allow direct navigation and also shows the domain names of the sites in the search results.

  • Mark Thorpe July 7, 2018, 9:02 am

    Until Google changes it’s mind and updates their algorithm, over and over again.
    Google is the new Microsoft, making all the rules and forcing people to follow them.

    I also think that Google has something up their sleeve with their .App extension.
    Someday you might see Google use .App to try and dethrone .Com as the #1 domain extension.

  • Snoopy July 7, 2018, 4:50 pm

    Apps discourage search so goggle will probably kill it off.

  • rathead July 7, 2018, 6:44 pm

    this was a post i agree with. i give you two points and a pat on the head. and yes… it is saturday and i have been drinking.

  • fizz July 7, 2018, 9:51 pm

    Nice analysis, thanks Morgan.

  • Laborer July 8, 2018, 6:46 am

    I personally never saw apps as a threat. The biggest benefit of the internet was cutting out the middle man and being able to market directly and direct users to your content. The only way to do this is if you had a domain name. AOL back in the day had more percentage of users (percentage not total number as the internet has grown exponentially since then). They were the gateway but when they tried to control the content with a closed internet of sorts well we saw what happened. Same thing with Yahoo at first it was cool being accepted into their SE listings then the coolness gave way to less restrictions and freedom which Google’s SE offered. Google in the interest of business has slowly been hurting it’s image over the years as an open resource by controlling the content on it’s SE with more ads forcing companies to pay to play. Their future survival is to work towards becoming a more unbiased platform and not more control although it means more money in the near term…..oh my I find I’m on a tangent and I could ramble forever so I will stop writing here…..

  • Larry Scott July 8, 2018, 12:51 pm

    The best way to solve that is to have a website for your app.


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