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Searches on mobile phones deliver different results

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Mobile web searches are increasing exponentially with Google estimating that queries from mobiles grew five-fold in the last two years. With 92 per cent of UK adults who own a phone, 51 per cent of which are smartphones, and the increasing digital shopping landscape, this difference can no longer be ignored.

Searchmetrics data suggests that over a third of webpages shown in mobile search results are different from those that appear for the same queries on a PC. And 23 per cent were from completely different websites.

Search is normally the quickest and easiest route to finding information on a mobile phone, rather than typing a complex URL on a small, on-screen keyboard. Additionally, new functionality, such as voice-based Siri and advances such as Google Glass are also increasing the volume of mobile searches.

“Google is increasingly focused on the intent and context of search queries,” said Marcus Tober, Searchmetrics’ founder and CTO. “It understands that these vary between devices, and consequently delivers results differently on mobile phones and traditional computers.

“For mobile searches it has additional information about the searcher, such as their location, which impacts the results it delivers. Our research demonstrates that businesses need to focus on different areas than they do for desktop, if they are to increase visibility on smartphones.”

Indeed, when it comes to mobile, Google tends to include pages with fewer backlinks. This is because mobile content generally generates fewer adhoc links as people are less likely to link to dedicated mobile pages, preferring to share through social media.

“If more companies start using responsive design – which automatically optimises the same page to suit different devices – you would see fewer or even no overall differences in backlinks or social links because it’s the same URLs,” explained Tober.

Businesses need to be aware of how their pages rank in mobile results, and understand the factors that correlate with higher positions.

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