The Gap Between Mobile and Traditional Desktop Search Widens
New BrightEdge data shows dramatic differences in mobile and desktop search results and the divergence of the desktop and mobile content experience
SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwired - August 23, 2017) - New data released by BrightEdge, the leader in enterprise SEO and content performance marketing, reveals that mobile website traffic is outpacing traditional desktop traffic with mobile searches on Google now representing 57 percent of all search traffic. In addition, the research also indicates a significant shift to a new mobile-first index.
In October 2016, Google announced that it was running experiments to make rankings dependent on website mobile optimization, as well as show mobile site previews in search results. BrightEdge research data confirms that two distinctly different content experiences are already being presented to mobile and desktop users. Going forward, BrightEdge will continue to report on mobile and desktop disparity monthly.
Key finding #1: Mobile Traffic Outpaces Desktop as Mobile Revenues Accelerates
According to BrightEdge research, mobile searches represent 57 percent of all search traffic on Google. With Facebook recently reporting that mobile advertising drove 87 percent of ad revenue, mobile alters the traditional digital advertising landscape and presents challenges to marketers to deliver a consistent customer experience across devices and channels.
"Mobile traffic is huge for us and our industry -- above the 57% BrightEdge is reporting. We are developing content with a mobile-first perspective to connect with our users with info, use advice, and reviews -- especially when they are near a store where they can easily purchase." Carlos Spallarossa, Director of SEO, L'Oréal
Key finding #2: Google's Mobile-First Index Is Becoming More Prominent
BrightEdge data tracked Google's experimentation with the mobile-first index since the index was initially announced in 2016. In June, 79 percent of all searches were different across mobile and desktop. This indicates that marketers must optimize for both mobile and desktop to deliver the best customer experience.
Key finding #3: Optimizing for Mobile & Desktop is Mission-Critical
The new research confirmed that emergence of two separate search indexes -- one for desktop and one for mobile -- with 47 percent of keywords in positions 1-20 rank differently on search on mobile and desktop SERPs.
The nuances and implications of a mobile-first index are significant. For example, brands will find that their rank changes across mobile and desktop, driving changes in conversions and revenue.
Different types of content will appear for the same search term based on if the user is using a mobile device or traditional desktop computer.
Key finding #4; Winning with Micro-Moments Requires a Fresh Look at Content Strategy
Not only does Google rank differently across mobile and desktop, it is also surfacing different content across mobile and desktop 23 percent of the time.
The range across verticals is 14-35 percent, a trend that is likely driven by the following factors:
- Google is optimizing the customer experience -- which is different across mobile and desktop.
- Brands thinking about micro-moments must identify customer intent, and through these findings drive content creation to win those specific micro-moments.
- Even though marketers are moving toward responsive sites, it is important to recognize how devices are driving and influencing the search intent and providing insights into customer needs.
In June, BrightEdge analyzed the content shown for particular queries and found that the top-ranking page was different between mobile and desktop for an average 23 percent of the time among the top 20 ranking keywords.
- This means that while a brand may appear on the first page for a desktop query, 23 percent of the time it will also return a different top-ranking page on the mobile SERP.
- Brands that don't track mobile carefully will have traffic arriving on pages that are almost certainly different than they expect.
BrightEdge Advisory: Making the most of the mobile opportunity
BrightEdge has found that not all mobile content is created equally; what works and reads well on one device type may not work on another (for example, mobile vs. tablet). Mobile content success is based on understanding the customer experience and serving content for the customer in key moments along their purchasing journey.
- To take advantage of this opportunity, BrightEdge advises that marketers:
- Design and optimize their websites for speed and mobile friendliness
- Identify and differentiate mobile vs. desktop demand
- Understand different online consumer intent signals
- Produce separate mobile and desktop content that resonates on multiple device types
- Focus on optimizing mobile content and mobile pages to improve conversions
- Track, measure, and compare mobile and desktop results continuously
The full research report can be found here:
BrightEdge, the global leader in enterprise organic search and content performance, empowers marketers to transform online content into business results such as traffic, conversions and revenue. The BrightEdge S3 platform is powered by a sophisticated deep learning engine and is the only company capable of web-wide, real-time measurement of content engagement across all digital channels, including search, social and mobile. BrightEdge's 1,500+ customers include global brands such as 3M, Microsoft and Nike, as well as 57 of the Fortune 100. The company has eight offices worldwide and is headquartered in Foster City, California.
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