Like many other frequent Google users, you may doubt why Desktop Vs Mobile SERPs vary. Even by using the same browser for searching and typing the same keyword.

Many users who do not know how the Google search engine work and its changing algorithm may consider it as an error. However, those variation in SERP of desktop and mobile versions are actually intentional. These variations in search results are causing more problematic for businesses owners, digital marketers and agencies providing Search Engine Optimisation services.

Ranking in the first page top position of the desktop version for a specific keyword or query and ranking somewhere in the third or fourth page in the search results on mobile for the same keyword or query can cause a drastic change on the sales and on search visibility.

SEMrush conducted research which shows that more than 30% of pages that are present on the first page of desktop search results are moved way back top 10 results in the mobile search. Therefore, its quite obvious that search results vary from platform to platform. What causes the Google search to change the search results? The answer to this question is not quite simple and straight forward. Depends on many factors that determine how the search results are displayed on mobile and desktop.

So in this article, I tried to elaborate on the factors which cause Desktop Vs Mobile SERPs variations

  1. Mobile-friendly design
  2. Content optimisation for mobile
  3. History of searches performed
  4. Frequently clicked links
  5. Your geographic location
  6. Use of Google account
  7. Google ads on the page related to a query

Mobile-Friendly Design is the main factor for Desktop Vs mobile SERPs variation

In the current scenario, more than 50% of searches performed in Google search are via mobile and these numbers are increasing day by day. So Google started to give more preference to mobile searches and rolled out a new algorithm called Mobile-first index. Google started to index the mobile version of the web as its primary search engine index. Earlier Google is to crawl the web from a desktop point of view but now it changed to crawl the web from a mobile point of view.

Then what are the problems created by mobile-first indexing? For suppose, if the mobile version of the web page content does not match with the desktop version then the problem arises. Now, most of the sites are using responsive web design, there will be no problem because the content on both the desktop and mobile version are the same. The problem occurs when someone decided to shorten the content for the mobile version and leaving the desktop version unchanged. As mobile-first index started- the indexing of web page changed to mobile version from the desktop. So, the shorter form of content is indexed by Google. The shorter format is ranked by Google and the shorter format may not have that much important therefore ranking is lowered. This is one of the main reasons why desktop Vs mobile SERPs change.

Content optimization for the mobile

Most of the websites are now using responsive web design. A responsive website provides users with the same experience on all the devices by changing the size of the web page to that of a browser window. Everything on the page stays similar(has the same code and same URL). Generally, web site owners are optimizing the content for the desktop version and failing to do so on the mobile version.

The content of the web page optimized only for the desktop version may cause a problem for the mobile user to use. Like, the content on the web page is too small to read, difficulty in scrolling the page, buttons are too small to click. Ultimately it makes the user experience very difficult and the user leaves your site. If this occurs frequently, it affects the CTR of the page and leads to a lowering of rank in the mobile device.

History of searches performed

Do you know that the history of searches can lead to desktop Vs mobile SERPs variation? Have you ever remember everything you searched on the Google search engine? The answer may be no, but the Google search engine and your browser knows until you cleared the browsing history, cache and cookies. If someone search for a similar query or keyword repeatedly, Google will remember and offers the search results based on your prior searches.

This may be misleading for the website owner, a digital marketer who use to do a regular search with their business name or with a particular keyword. These repeated searches for a keyword may make favourable search results for that keyword and slowly move the rank higher for that keyword. This can be very misleading, to avoid this use a different browser or clear search results.

Previously clicked links

Searched on Google with the same keyword or phrases. Repeatedly clicked on particular links from the search results page this may lead to change in search results. The pages you clicked and visited, again and again, will start to move higher and higher in your results page. This creates a false impression that it ranks higher than actual.

If you want to see by your self? Then search with specific keyword and try clicking a particular link in the second page of search results repeatedly. You will be surprised how quickly that particular link moved up. Then Started to invisible on the first page for your mobile or desktop. However, this occurs only in your search results page of your computer or mobile using the same browser. This can also be misleading the ranking of a particular page in SERP. which indirectly affects desktop Vs mobile SERPs.

Geographic location

Entire Google search results depend on your geographic location. This means that search results will appear depending on the location settings on your device. If you search for the term “restaurant” in Google, the results will be the closest ones to you. In mobile devices, the location service is always on and quite accurate when compared with the desktop. This location change on the different device may cause a change in the ranking in the search engine results page.

Use of Google accounts

Everyone now has a Google account, they are using Google account to access their Gmail, Google Drive, Google play services. The Google account can be used at a time on several multiple devices. So Google collects data from that particular user and stores it. If you are logged into Google account while searching, your history can redefine your search results based on past behaviour.

In the current situation, every individual has an android phone. Which has integrated Google play services and maps. So the mobile user is connected with his Google account all the time. But only a few people own a laptop when compared to a mobile phone. Due to privacy issues, people do not log in to their Google accounts on desktops. So logged into Google account while searching can cause a variation in search results for desktop and on mobile.

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