Why SEO Ranking For Desktop & Mobile Is Different

Not all SEO rankings are the same, as you'll soon find out with desktop vs. mobile. See what sets them apart and how to use them to your advantage

Search engine optimization is a fantastic way to reach your target audience. Any digital marketer will agree that a solid SEO campaign can make a difference in any business. However, there’s a distinct difference between SEO rankings on desktop and mobile. But why? 

Desktop vs. Mobile: What’s The Difference?

The answer as to why SEO rankings for desktop and mobile are different is relatively simple. In short, both experiences are different. And if you’re not careful, your business could end up making some serious SEO mistakes if you’re going into a campaign without the right info.

More specifically, the user experience for each platform differs enough that SEO rankings are distinct. 

For example, mobile users tend to seek out information more quickly than desktop users. Google recognizes this and helps mobile users seek out information with visual aids and different SEO rankings.

That’s why it’s crucial for the success of your business to invest in mobile SEO

Different Platforms, Different Users

Although it may seem like a user accessing your site via mobile or desktop will have similar browsing habits, it’s actually more distinct than you may think.

Mobile browsing is the newer focus for Google’s SEO rankings. But why? The users and their personal position along the marketing funnel. In short, user intent. User intent is absolutely vital to good marketing, and it requires a lot of research and exploration. Marketers and SEO experts need to examine what users are searching for and resonating with. With that in mind, an SEO specialist needs to tailor a campaign with applicable keywords for SEO rankings.

Keeping in line with the general intent of mobile users, in that they’re in a ‘rush’ to achieve their ends, they are more likely to journey further down the marketing funnel. In short, mobile users are essentially at the checkout page while desktop users are still reading and educating themselves on a product or service.

Desktop users, however, tend to be a little more reticent to jump all the way down the funnel. Now, is this universal? No, but there’s enough of a trend where the data can jump out and paint a helpful picture for digital marketers everywhere.

Google’s Preference: Mobile First

Aside from axing broad match modified and started getting more specific with its search terms, it also invested in mobile.

With mobile-first indexing, Google outright states that it favors the mobile version of a website to index and rank on SERPs. Since Google users shifted overwhelmingly towards mobile, it makes perfect sense that Google bends to the whim of users, too.

There are a few caveats to mobile-first. And when optimizing for both desktop and mobile, it’s important to have Google recognize your company. For example, you need to have identical content for both web and mobile. Any deviation will result in traffic loss. 

Google reassures businesses that you can have different designs and different amounts of content for each, but you need to prepare for potential traffic loss if you opt for this decision.

When optimizing on mobile, make sure the pictures are high quality, have the same alt-text and metadata, and same URLs. These tiny mistakes could lead to a lot of annoyance, especially after months of a marketing campaign. SEO and Google can be fickle, so make sure you follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing!

Desktop vs. Mobile: Use To Your Advantage

Just because mobile gets users a little more proactive sometimes doesn’t mean you shun your desktop website. On the contrary, it means you need to optimize both versions of your site for all types of users in your target market. 

And SEO rankings could only signify a smaller piece of the puzzle. For example, even if you’re ranking well for something like best subscription marketing services, it only entices the potential customer to a point. If they click on your URL and find a poorly designed website, they might turn tail and run. 

As such, make sure your user interface and user experience are in tip-top shape. You don’t want to invest resources in SEO only to end up wasting it because of a shoddy website made with Canva websites.

Oh, and you’re going to want to invest heavily in voice search functions for your mobile website. It makes things easier, seamless, and accessible for more people. 


To sum it all up, you need to have a viable SEO strategy for both mobile and web. Use different SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush to research, implement, and track your sets of different keywords. Remember to monitor your website’s analytics to see if your ideas and campaigns are fleshing out. 

Just remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to both mobile and web. Time to get creative!

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