Google mobile results have been updated, providing some game-changing results. This greatly contrasts with last year’s “Mobile-geddon” update, which in reality was nothing more than a small taste of what was to come.
I recently read that if your website was mobile friendly, you would not see any difference in visibility on search results, regardless of device.
After reviewing countless websites over the past day, I’m disputing that statement. Read on to find out why and how you can use Google’s latest update to your digital marketing advantage.
Mobile vs. Desktop: Latest Google Mobile Update
Easily displayed on Google Search Console, you can now see the difference in SERPs between keyword rankings on mobile and desktop.
It’s still early days, but there are hundreds of keywords for which a website will rank incredibly well for one device, but will fail to rank in the top 100 on a different device.
Is this the final wakeup call for site owners that don’t have fully responsive websites? Is Google saying “get mobile friendly or suffer the consequences”?
Perhaps it’s a way of getting brands to create more sophisticated paid marketing strategies based on varying organic visibility for certain keywords on Google mobile SERPs.
Or, to put it simply, more words to bid on means more money for Google.
Comparing Mobile Shopping Trends
Once you look at the stats, it’s easy to see why things are heading in this direction.
In recent years, shopping on mobile devices has dramatically increased. 54% of smartphone users report shopping more frequently on their phones now than they did this time just two years ago (source: Bronto). Other devices have seen comparable increases, as well:
- Smartphones: 54%
- Tablets: 48%
- Laptops: 45%
- Desktops: 36%
- Wearables: 30%
Additionally, younger people are much more likely to use a smartphone, tablet or wearable device to make a purchase, while the older generation prefer to stick to a desktop (including laptops). The differences in the way each generation searches, the products they buy, and the device they use may also explain why the keyword rankings have become so obviously different.
It looks like keywords groups might be moving towards “mobile” keywords and “desktop” keywords.
After all, why is Google Search Console telling me that there are absolutely no impressions for specific keywords on specific devices, when we know that this isn’t the case?
Currently, there are as many questions as there are answers.
These changes are happening all over the Internet as we speak, and there many unknowns. I still don’t get all the algorithmic factors, e.g. why one website still ranks for specific keywords against another on a specific device in a specific location, but it looks like a lot of technical mobile UX considerations are being utilised.
This will change how analysts maximise the opportunities from keyword research and the amount of research time they put into devising relevant strategies.
In light of this, keyword positioning reports are now fairly invalid unless you split these down by device and location. I suggest taking your top location and your top two devices as a minimum to understand how technology and location are affecting visibility and click-through rates.
This may end up costing a little more money as keyword rankings need to be tracked twice, but it’s a necessary expense. Otherwise, basic keyword tracking reports will be missing half of the information.
This isn’t the first time Google has surprised digital marketers with updates, and it certainly won’t be the last. What’s important is figuring out how to turn these surprises into successes.
Turning Surprises into Success
If you act swiftly, you could be one of the first to reap the benefits of this new system.
Consider creating and updating specific paid campaigns based on where there is and isn’t organic visibility and on which device, for example, or consider updating your customer journey analysis to account for visits by the same user across multiple devices.
Despite having to constantly hold on to our hats, we at Ambergreen believe that the Google mobile update demonstrates one of the best aspects of the digital marketing industry: it’s always changing, and it’s always open to new innovations and strategies.
If you want to get in on the ground floor and make the most of Google’s new mobile updates, get in touch to arrange a meeting or call. We’d love to discuss your business’s digital marketing goals and needs with you.