Do mobile websites rank differently in mobile searches?

Does the fact that a website is mobile-device optimized have any bearing upon how high or low it ranks in a search on a mobile device?

I’m assuming, it’ll still be subject to the same search engine ranking. A cell phone is just a different means of accessing that search listing.

Is my assumption correct?

Please advise. Thanks in advance!

Has no effect…a mobile version of the site should have all the same content…

I don’t know if there is a difference now, but it’s entirely plausible that there would be at some point. Google already prefers fast sites (universally) because it’s part of the user experience and a factor in ‘quality results’. Preferring a site that will work well on the users device (mobile) when all else is equal is not beyond the realm of possibility.

What cranial-bore said. At this time a mobile site is seen as no different as the normal site. Search engines do not have a concrete way of determining whether something is “mobile”, “desktop” or “tablet”. In the future they may based on popular practices or institute their own that people would need to follow to distinguish between site versions. However, as far as I know that does not exist *yet. Search engines leave it up to the site itself to redirect or provide a responsive experience for a user based on device.

Interesting topic!

I’d say that it has no effect right now, and I hope that it never does… but it would definitely be interesting if it did have an effect in the future.

Personally I don’t think it would be fair to put sites with mobile versions higher up the rankings. Not all companies have the additional budget required for a mobile version of their site, and at the end of the day a mobile site is something you create specifically with your users in mind. It would be nuts to spend several days creating a mobile version just for the sake of jumping a couple of spots in the search results.

For people using the mobile search page (, Google does prioritise sites that it perceives as mobile-friendly. That doesn’t necessarily mean sites that have a mobile version, just those that would be better to use on a mobile device. So it would increase the significance of a fast pageload and simple navigation, as a couple of examples.

To me, that makes eminent sense. Some sites might be great to use on a PC, but absolutely suck on a mobile device. Some sites have a mobile version specifically geared to dealing with the sort of issues people are likely to have when they’re on a mobile. If Google can figure out what kind of device I’m using and send me to the most appropriate page, I’m delighted!

You’re forgetting something – Google isn’t here to be fair to webmasters, it’s here to give people searching for stuff the best page(s) it can for them, right there and then. It really doesn’t care less whether this means that big sites have an advantage over two-bit Mom & Pop sites – if the big sites are giving better results for people searching then it’s big sites that will appear at the top of the list.

It doesn’t often make much of a difference. I’ve just done some test searches on both the main and mobile sites, and the top half a dozen results are almost always the same in both, it’s only in the second half of the page where you occasionally see a few sites swap the order they’re listed in. No, it isn’t a big deal, and it almost certainly isn’t worth creating a mobile version of your site just for SEO reasons.

[COLOR=#464646]Personally I don’t think it would be fair to put sites with mobile versions higher up the rankings. Not all companies have the additional budget required for a mobile version of their site

I was going to post pretty much the same thing Stevie did. Google don’t care too much why anyone’s site is the way it is.[/COLOR]

Well for a while now I’m seeing different rankings on mobile devices compared to the same search via my desktop PC. Anyone know how I can improve my rank on mobile devices? Or is it simply a data-set lag?

[font=verdana]It’s unlikely to be a data-set lag … much more likely that Google has determined that the sites that it puts at #1 for a desktop search won’t be as helpful for mobile users.

The best way to optimise your site for mobile users (and improve your position in Google mobile search) is to KISS. No fancy-schmancy layouts, fewer images and keep the images that you do have small, keep scripting to a minimum, make sure everything is fully (and easily) accessible.

Remember that not everyone has a new iPhone, and not everyone has a good 3G connection. There are a lot of people out there with older a/o less capable phones, and a lot of people out there with slow or flaky connections. Google doesn’t want to send them to a complicated site that takes 3 minutes to load and then crashes their phone, which is why it prefers simple sites for the mobile search.[/font]

Sounds logical to me Stevie D. Thanks for the quick response and concise advice :slight_smile:

Just to confirm it’s definitely NOT a data set lag. My site is still nowhere on google mobile but page 1 on a desktop search!

I have 3 videos in a lightbox on the homepage so maybe Google thinks that’s too complex for a mobile site. Even though it looks fine on my HTC and my Brother’s iPhone.

I’ll test and report back :wink:

I’d disagree with this. As a mobile website is interacted with and consumed in a fashion different to that of desktop websites, the content, in turn, should be different.

My view is that you need to be much more concise and direct with your messaging. You shouldn’t wax lyrical as you may do on your desktop site to help with your seo and engage with customers. Mobile-users typically consume information at a much more speedy pace compared to when they use “normal” websites and hence you need to match that with the design and content you deploy.


I don’t think you need to thin down your content but you should make it much more navigable. Include more anchors and use menus effectively so that the user doesn’t have to scroll too much.

A quick update on my site … it’s Wordpress so I installed a mobile plugin which is supposed to detect the device and serve content appropriately. It switches to a mobile optimised theme when it detects a mobile device.

I was hoping Google would update the index accordingly since I’m now supposedly mobile friendly. As yet, no update. Still nowhere on Google mobile.

Anyone know how I can check what Google has cached for my site in its mobile index?

Just thought I’d quickly update this thread because google mobile has now updated the index to include my site :slight_smile: For those interested, the WordPress plugin I used to convert to mobile is: WP Touch