Mobile, Desktop Search Results Often Vary

With many mobile device owners using search as a substitute for Web navigation, mobile search activity is booming, according to figures from Google which show that the volume of mobile search queries increased fivefold in just the last two years. The transition from desktop to mobile search is also driving a major shift in search results -- and that in turn is having a major impact on search marketers, according to a new report from Searchmetrics.

Searchmetrics analyzed ten thousand keyword searches, focusing on the top 30 results in each case, and found that 36% of Web destination URLs shown in mobile search results differed from those appearing in the results for the same search conducted on a desktop or laptop. Meanwhile, 25% came from different hosts and 23% came from different domains altogether.



The shift is partly the result of efforts by Google and other search engines to deliver more relevant search results by incorporating new user signals, including information about their location, into search algorithms. Mobile search results also include smaller pages because publishers try to minimize data demands. Last but not least, mobile search results tended to include pages with fewer backlinks from other sites, reflecting the tendency of mobile users to share links via social media rather than linking to a site, and also are shaped by voice-based search behaviors.

Searchmetrics founder and chief technology officer Marcus Tober explained: “Google is increasingly focused on the intent and context of search queries. It understands that these vary between devices, and consequently delivers results quite differently on mobile phones and traditional computers. For mobile searches it has additional information about the searcher, such as their location, which also impacts the results it delivers. Our research demonstrates that marketers need to focus on different areas if they are to increase visibility on smartphones.”

Tober added: “With the volume of mobile searches increasing rapidly, marketers and SEO teams need to be aware of how their pages rank in mobile results, and understand the factors that correlate with higher positions -- as they are not necessarily the same as for desktop SEO.”

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