By Carrie-ann | Oct 05, 2021 | Search Engine Optimisation, SEO

Why Mobile and Desktop Google Rankings are Different

There are two different types of searches: mobile and desktop. In some cases, Google rankings can differ slightly between the two and there are several different factors that cause this to happen.

As a trusted SEO expert, I aim to provide a level of clarity on all areas of online optimisation. So, let’s explore this topic in a little more detail to ensure that your digital strategy is designed to deliver maximum visibility for your business.

What Causes Mobile and Desktop Google Rankings to Differ?

There are several reasons why a website might not achieve the same level of success in mobile rankings as it does in desktop rankings. But how can this be true for websites that have successfully switched over to mobile-first indexing?

The thing is, ranking and indexing are two very different things. So, although we are living in a mobile-first indexing world, this certainly doesn’t automatically mean that desktop and mobile versions will achieve equal rankings.

Mobile-first indexing is primarily concerned with the technical element of indexing a piece of content. Googlebots are used to complete this process and only when content has been indexed does the ranking element come into play.

Contextual Personalisation and Google Rankings

In certain situations, context also plays a significant role in rankings. So, a range of factors from the device a searcher is using to the intent behind that search can change the way that search engine results pages (SERPs) are displayed.

So, differences between mobile and desktop rankings should almost be expected and there are a range of reasons for this including:

– Mobile friendliness
– Speed
– Relevant SERP elements

With regards to that last point in particular, let’s say that you’re conducting a search using a mobile device whilst you’re out and about. Google will use that information and will probably assume that you might want to see more localised results. Conversely, if you were conducting a search on a desktop device, Google will recognise that you might want to see more video content.

So, to ensure that it is delivering results that meet the unique needs of each searcher, Google tries to display a combination of different results including different content formats.

Are Lower Mobile Rankings a Sign of Mobile Page Speed Issues?

While you should always question the overall mobile friendliness of your site in these circumstances, there could be other factors influencing this outcome. Sometimes this can occur because a device is connecting to the internet in a particular way that means Google uses different personalisation settings.

There are many nuances associated with search engine rankings, which is why it is important that your trusted SEO expert takes a comprehensive, detailed view of your overall digital strategy. The good news is that if there are discrepancies between your site’s mobile and your desktop rankings, there are likely to be clues within your analytics information that will help us to diagnose the issue and fix it in order to drive additional success for your business.