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Difference between mobile and desktop SERPS

     
9:31 am on Jan 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A recent thread contains the following:

Not sure if anyone here has seen one (first I've heard of it), but Google has emailed a friend of mine basically telling him that his site was a non-responsive site and that as a result it would do poorly in search results for searches performed from mobile devices.


My question is, how different are the SERPS for mobile and desktop? And I want to exclude the obvious difference of geotargetting.

Aside from geotargetting, try as much as I can, I can't see any difference between the mobile and desktop SERPS. Is there any difference?

The SERPS don't appear to even take account of a "mobile friendly" site and one which is not. Have you found any differences?
4:10 pm on Jan 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Have you found any differences?


Even though Google says certain things and even though I keep reading similar things I see absolutely no difference at the moment.

Obviously they may be doing something in the background and it may be about to be released since I have been having trouble for months now in getting new sites any traction whatsoever and these have ALL been fully responsive html5 sites which should be flying in their SERPs yet can't hardly be found anywhere.

Plus the sites of mine which are ranking and mobile friendly are not listed as such whereas some sites with m.example.com are list as mobile friendly.
5:05 pm on Jan 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Are there differences? YES

Is it different only because its mobile vs desktop? Nope

As you mentioned there is geotargetting going on, serps are also influenced by your previous searches and a bunch of other things. So mobile serps can easily be different from desktop serps. Of course results may vary depending on industry & keyword.

Let's not forget that the serp layout is different since mobile serps usually cram everything into one column (adwords, map, etc) so ranking #3 can be much better value on a desktop serp vs a mobile serp that has extra things above your #3 ranking.

All of this really doesn't matter to me. What matters is that there are a huge amount of mobile & desktop users so I want the best experience for both groups of users so I can make more money :)
5:58 pm on Jan 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The SERPS don't appear to even take account of a "mobile friendly" site and one which is not. Have you found any differences?


We've had several hundred mobile versions of our most popular pages for just over two years now, with tags that tell Google which is the desktop version and which is the mobile version (according to Google's own instructions). As far as I can tell, Google has listed the desktop versions in its SERPs more often than not.

Still, that doesn't mean things aren't about to change. Why would Google be warning people of forthcoming changes in its mobile search results if it planned to maintain the status quo?
6:42 pm on Jan 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have only rarely seen differences between mobile and desktop. I do expect that to change at some point, but I haven't seen it yet.
9:50 pm on Jan 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Query: Are the results that you get when you go to google dot com on a mobile always the same as the results that you get from the google app? I tried a few different searches (not logged in) and the results seem to be identical. But then, they're also identical to desktop results, barring assorted sidebars, so I don't wholly trust my sample.

Do you have to be signed in to get the "mobile-friendly" information?
2:07 pm on Jan 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Do you have to be signed in to get the "mobile-friendly" information?



I only use the G.co.uk version not the app.

No, I'm not signed in when I get the "mobile-friendly" tag in the SERPS. But that tag does not appear (quite rightly) when I'm on my desktop. And doing a quick check nor does it appear on my tablet.

I've thought for a long time that G pretends it has a mobile strategy for the SERPS and has done a very good job in convincing people that mobile and desktop / tablet SERPS are different.

Maybe now they are building up to doing something different for the two. For me though I am going to ignore it all (including their current e-mail) until they actually do something.

Shaking their cage but taking no action is winding many up with no discernible sensible course of action.
6:01 am on Mar 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It does not matter whether you have fast loading website or slow loading site optimized for mobile. If you desktop site is running well in all type of browsers then Google will use your desktop signals for ranking your mobile website too. Even after April 21st.
3:03 pm on Mar 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Sudipto, is that fact or opinion? From what i now see G is doing they will make the mobile and desktop Serps different after 21 April. They have announced that now.
3:32 pm on Mar 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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[seroundtable.com...]

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.


To me this reads as Sudipto says:

If you desktop site is running well in all type of browsers then Google will use your desktop signals for ranking your mobile website too.


If it works well then surely it is fine, but then again this is G we're talking about.
5:48 pm on Mar 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Aside from whatever universal tracking they run via Google itself and their network (YouTube, DoubleClick etc) they also have the ability to run (you would have hoped) very informative and effective direct and closely related comparisons via Android.

Site A (not responsive, or with no mobile version) on desktop. Site A on Android.

Site B (deemed to be 'like' site A, and responsive) on desktop. Site B on Android.

Given the big deal they're making out of this (use of the word 'significant') my own guess is that they will not be using desktop signals for mobile. If your desktop site satisfies their mobile criteria, then all should be good. But I don't see them extrapolating desktop data to mobile when they can go 'straight to the source' as it were.
8:26 pm on Mar 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've looked into the whole desktop vs mobile rankings and they were almost the same across 20k+ keywords (based on same loc). I have a feeling this new mobile update will change that.