SEO Strategies for Mobile Versus Desktop Rank

SEO Strategies for Mobile Versus Desktop Rank

SEO strategies for mobile versus desktop

Different Devices Call for Different SEO and Content Strategies

Making your site responsive isn’t enough to call it mobile-ready. To truly prepare your SEO strategies for mobile search, you need to understand how people are using these devices to find the things they want to shop for. In 2015, Google announced that mobile traffic has officially surpassed desktop traffic worldwide.

Smartphones have completely changed the buyer’s journey. A consumer can drop into your funnel at any point, and from any channel. It can take any number of touch points across multiple platforms and devices before a consumer converts.

Today’s consumer reads reviews, scans organic and paid search results, and comes across organic and paid social posts before buying a product. Consumers are doing this at a higher rate from their mobile devices.

Why Optimize for Mobile

SEO Marketing Platform Brightedge, has been tracking Google’s mobile-first indexing experiment. The company tracked SERP listing data for about 25 million keywords, and discovered that 79 percent of listings have a different rank on mobile devices than they do on desktop. Brightedge’s findings also uncovered that 35 percent of the time, the top-ranking URL of a domain for a query is different on desktop than mobile.

How to Prepare

In 2016, Google announced they would be developing a mobile-first algorithm, as a direct response to the increasing usage of mobile devices across its user-base. There’s no way to predict exactly what impact the algorithm update will have, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to Google. Preparing means optimizing for mobile and desktop. It’s not an either-or approach.

To win at mobile, you’ll need to understand user intent, how customers use mobile, and how your site appears on mobile devices. Google uses micro-moments to determine what to show in the SERP. For example, if searcher seems to be looking for a local business – Google will respond with three local listings on top of the SERP. However, if the searcher types in a question, then the SERP will respond with a Google quick answer on top. Google varies the number and placement of videos and images on the SERP depending on the searchers likely intent as well.

To prepare, you need to understand how users are interacting with your SERP results by device. For example, a consumer who types in an “I want to know” query from a mobile device, is more likely to click-to-call then fill out an email. However, a desktop user is more likely to email than call. A consumer who searches for a product on a mobile device is more likely to be searching for a local business to make a purchase right away, while someone searching from a desktop could be looking to make an online purchase or learn more about the product.

SEO and Content Strategies for a Mobile-First Approach

Begin by performing keyword research on mobile devices. Consumers often use different keywords and phrases when searching on mobile devices, partially due to the increase in voice search. You’ll need to create different keyword lists for mobile and for desktop. Content will need to be tailored too. Save your longer, in-depth pieces for desktop users and those further down the purchasing funnel. For mobile, see what micro-moment Google anticipates, by analyzing the mobile SERP for that search. From there, you can develop brand content that best fits the mobile user, and ensures your content is mobile-friendly.

Consumers obtain information, interact with content and make purchases in different ways depending on which device they’re using. By optimizing SEO for both mobile and desktop, you can maintain and even grow your rankings in a mobile-first world.


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