What’s New With The Mobile SERP?

Industry News, Mobile Strategy

At the Engage Conference put on by SEM PDX last week, MobileMoxie CEO Cindy Krum started off the morning by talking about the changes in the mobile SERP and her outlook on how to best optimize for mobile. With digital marketing trends and best practices always shifting, we want everyone to be aware of the key takeaways from Cindy’s presentation.

SEO Strategy is Geared Toward Desktop

Searches on mobile represent more than half of searches worldwide. Despite searchers’ heavy mobile use, SEO tools are still focused on desktop. This poses an issue because 31% of desktop search results are not visible in the mobile search engine results page (SERP). Cindy believes these tools are also looking at mobile the wrong way, as they don’t take into account the latest updates to the algorithm.

Changes to the Mobile SERP

Google has made significant changes to the mobile SERP, and widespread SEO best practices have yet to catch up. These changes include the move away from organic position 1 and the new format of the mobile SERP.

The Move Away from Position 1

The first organic position on Google’s SERP is now more than halfway down the page on mobile. Instead, Google is prioritizing:

  • People Also Ask
  • Related search/Found in Related Search
  • Knowledge Graph
  • Rich snippets
  • Found On The Web

From the screenshot on the right, you can see that the first organic position isn’t visible, as Google prioritizes rich snippets for this search. During Cindy’s presentation, she posed the question: What is the value of organic position 1 if it is now halfway down the page?

New Format of the Mobile SERP

Cindy emphasized that Google has updated the format of it’s mobile SERP to position itself as an “answer engine” rather than just a search engine. Instead of an emphasis on the first organic position, the mobile SERP is now structured as:

  • Top: Featured Snippets
  • Middle: People Also Ask
  • Bottom: Related Searches

With the focus on Google becoming an “answer engine” the algorithm is looking to show users information that answers their questions right in the search results so users don’t have to click through to other websites. To do this, Google will now index and serve bits and pieces of website content, rather than an entire page.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to understand that measuring success based on position 1 is no longer relevant, as position 1 is no longer something Google emphasizes on mobile.

Analyze & Strategize with Holistic View

The way the new mobile SERP is now organized creates a problem for marketers who are trying to measure success. Google Analytics does not take anything that comes before position 1 into account. Cindy mentioned that 61.5% of mobile searches in Google get no website clicks at all, which means that Google Analytics is only representing 38.5% of mobile data.

When analyzing performance and measuring success, it’s important to look beyond just Google Analytics. You need to also review what the actual mobile SERP looks like and make strategy decisions based on the live SERP itself.

Improve Your Mobile Strategy

Looking to improve your mobile presence and update your mobile strategy? Reach out to us! We’d love to start the conversation with you and see how we can partner together.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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