Study Says Websites Risk Losing Search Discovery If Mobile Optimization is not a Priority

Nov 13, 2014

Google results vary widely on mobile devices- from as low as 20% to as high as 43% difference for individual search queries -- in comparison to identical searches via desktops and laptops, according to new research announced by Searchmetrics, a provider of enterprise search experience optimization platform.

The data, which is based on the comparison of several thousand keyword searches, indicates that more than a third (36%) of web destinations (URLs) shown in mobile search results are different from those that appear for the same searches carried out on a desktop or laptop. On average, nearly a quarter (23%) were even results from completely different websites.

Rather than typing a complex URL on a small, on-screen keyboard, search has become the quickest and easiest route to finding information on a mobile phone, which is backed by Google estimating that mobile queries grew five-fold in the last two years. The difference offers a wake up call for brands that rely on search discovery for new customers and sales.

The Searchmetrics study also indicates that mobile search results on tend to include pages with fewer backlinks from other sites than the results for the same searches on desktop and laptop. This makes sense because mobile content generates fewer adhoc links, as mobile users are much less likely to link to dedicated mobile pages, preferring to share/like through social media.

The findings, based on an analysis of search results for ten thousand relevant informational and transactional keywords, are focused on the first 30 results. The report, which outlines the full results from the wider Searchmetrics US Ranking Factors 2014 study, can be downloaded here.