Tag Archive | "Desktop"

Desktop, Mobile, or Voice? (D) All of the Above – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Dr-Pete

We’re facing more and more complexity in our everyday work, and the answers to our questions are about as clear as mud. Especially in the wake of the mobile-first index, we’re left wondering where to focus our optimization efforts. Is desktop the most important? Is mobile? What about the voice phenomenon sweeping the tech world?

As with most things, the most important factor is to consider your audience. People aren’t siloed to a single device — your optimization strategy shouldn’t be, either. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Dr. Pete soothes our fears about a multi-platform world and highlights the necessity of optimizing for a journey rather than a touchpoint.

Desktop, Mobile, or Voice? All of the above.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, everybody. It’s Dr. Pete here from Moz. I am the Marketing Scientist here, and I flew in from Chicago just for you fine people to talk about something that I think is worrying us a little bit, especially with the rollout of the mobile index recently, and that is the question of: Should we be optimizing for desktop, for mobile, or for voice? I think the answer is (d) All of the above. I know that might sound a little scary, and you’re wondering how you do any of these. So I want to talk to you about some of what’s going on, some of our misconceptions around mobile and voice, and some of the ways that maybe this is a little easier than you think, at least to get started.

The mistakes we make

So, first of all, I think we make a couple of mistakes. When we’re talking about mobile for the last few years, we tend to go in and we look at our analytics and we do this. These are made up. The green numbers are made up or the blue ones. We say, “Okay, about 90% of my traffic is coming from desktop, about 10% is coming from mobile, and nothing is coming from voice. So I’m just going to keep focusing on desktop and not worry about these other two experiences, and I’ll be fine.” There are two problems with this:

Self-fulfilling prophecy

One is that these numbers are kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. They might not be coming to your mobile site. You might not be getting those mobile visitors because your mobile experience is terrible. People come to it and it’s lousy, and they don’t come back. In the case of voice, we might just not be getting that data yet. We have very little data. So this isn’t telling us anything. All this may be telling us is that we’re doing a really bad job on mobile and people have given up. We’ve seen that with Moz in the past. We didn’t adopt to mobile as fast as maybe we should have. We saw that in the numbers, and we argued about it because we said, “You know what? This doesn’t really tell us what the opportunity is or what our customers or users want. It’s just telling us what we’re doing well or badly right now, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”


The other mistake I think we make is the idea that these are three separate audiences. There are people who come to our site on desktop, people who come to our site on mobile, people who come to our site on voice, and these are three distinct groups of people. I think that’s incredibly wrong, and that leads to some very bad ideas and some bad tactical decisions and some bad choices.

So I want to share a couple of stats. There was a study Google did called The Multiscreen World, and this was almost six years ago, 2012. They found six years ago that 65% of searchers started a search on their smartphones. Two-thirds of searchers started on smartphones six years ago. Sixty percent of those searches were continued on a desktop or laptop. Again, this has been six years, so we know the adoption rate of mobile has increased. So these are not people who only use desktop or who only use mobile. These are people on a journey of search that move between devices, and I think in the real world it looks more something like this right now.

Another stat from the series was that 88% of people said that they used their smartphone and their TV at the same time. This isn’t shocking to you. You sit in front of the TV with your phone and you sit in front of the TV with your laptop. You might sit in front of the TV with a smartwatch. These devices are being used at the same time, and we’re doing more searches and we’re using more devices. So one of these things isn’t replacing the other.

The cross-device journey

So a journey could look something like this. You’re watching TV. You see an ad and you hear about something. You see a video you like. You go to your phone while you’re watching it, and you do a search on that to get more information. Then later on, you go to your laptop and you do a bit of research, and you want that bigger screen to see what’s going on. Then at the office the next day, you’re like, “Oh, I’ll pull up that bookmark. I wanted to check something on my desktop where I have more bandwidth or something.” You’re like, “Oh, maybe I better not buy that at work. I don’t want to get in trouble. So I’m going to home and go back to my laptop and make that purchase.” So this purchase and this transaction, this is one visitor on this chain, and I think we do this a lot right now, and that’s only going to increase, where we operate between devices and this journey happens across devices.

So the challenge I would make to you is if you’re looking at this and you’re saying, “Only so many percent of our users are on mobile. Our mobile experience doesn’t matter that much. It’s not that important. We can just live with the desktop people. That’s enough. We’ll make enough money.” If they’re really on this journey and they’re not segmented like this, and this chain, you break it, what happens? You lose that person completely, and that was a person who also used desktop. So that person might be someone who you bucketed in your 90%, but they never really got to the device of choice and they never got to the transaction, because by having a lousy mobile experience, you’ve broken the chain. So I want you to be aware of that, that this is the cross-device journey and not these segmented ideas.

Future touchpoints

This is going to get worse. This is going to get scarier for us. So look at the future. We’re going to be sitting in our car and we’re going to be listening — I still listen to CDs in the car, I know it’s kind of sad — but you’re going to be listening to satellite radio or your Wi-Fi or whatever you have coming in, and let’s say you hear a podcast or you hear an author and you go, “Oh, that person sounds interesting. I want to learn more about them.” You tell your smartwatch, “Save this search. Tell me something about this author. Give me their books.” Then you go home and you go on Google Home and you pull up that search, and it says, “Oh, you know what? I’ve got a video. I can’t play that because obviously I’m a voice search device, but I can send that to Chromecast on your TV.” So you send that to your TV, and you watch that. While you’re watching the TV, you’ve got your phone out and you’re saying, “Oh, I’d kind of like to buy that.” You go to Amazon and you make that transaction.

So it took this entire chain of devices. Again now, what about the voice part of this chain? That might not seem important to you right now, but if you break the chain there, this whole transaction is gone. So I think the danger is by neglecting pieces of this and not seeing that this is a journey that happens across devices, we’re potentially putting ourselves at much higher risk than we think.

On the plus side

I also want to look at sort of the positive side of this. All of these devices are touchpoints in the journey, and they give us credibility. We found something interesting at Moz a few years ago, which was that our sale as a SaaS product on average took about three touchpoints. People didn’t just hit the Moz homepage, do a free trial, and then buy it. They might see a Whiteboard Friday. They might read our Beginner’s Guide. They might go to the blog. They might participate in the community. If they hit us with three touchpoints, they were much more likely to convert.

So I think the great thing about this journey is that if you’re on all these touchpoints, even though to you that might seem like one search, it lends you credibility. You were there when they ran the search on that device. You were there when they tried to repeat that search on voice. The information was in that video. You’re there on that mobile search. You’re there on that desktop search. The more times they see you in that chain, the more that you seem like a credible source. So I think this can actually be good for us.

The SEO challenge

So I think the challenge is, “Well, I can’t go out and hire a voice team and a mobile team and do a design for all of these things. I don’t want to build a voice app. I don’t have the budget. I don’t have the buy-in.” That’s fine.
One thing I think is really great right now and that we’re encouraging people to experiment with, we’ve talked a lot about featured snippets. We’ve talked about these answer boxes that give you an organic result. One of the things Google is trying to do with this is they realize that they need to use their same core engine, their same core competency across all devices. So the engine that powers search, they want that to run on a TV. They want that to run on a laptop, on a desktop, on a phone, on a watch, on Goggle Home. They don’t want to write algorithms for all of these things.

So Google thinks of their entire world in terms of cards. You may not see that on desktop, but everything on desktop is a card. This answer box is a card. That’s more obvious. It’s got that outline. Every organic result, every ad, every knowledge panel, every news story is a card. What that allows Google to do, and will allow them to do going forward, is to mix and match and put as many pieces of information as it makes sense for any given device. So for desktop, that might be a whole bunch. For mobile, that’s going to be a vertical column. It might be less. But for a watch or a Google Glass, or whatever comes after that, or voice, you’re probably only going to get one card.

But one great thing right now, from an SEO perspective, is these featured snippets, these questions and answers, they fit on that big screen. We call it result number zero on desktop because you’ve got that box, and you’ve got a bunch of stuff underneath it. But that box is very prominent. On mobile, that same question and answer take up a lot more screen space. So they’re still a SERP, but that’s very dominant, and then there’s some stuff underneath. On voice, that same question and answer pairing is all you get, and we’re seeing that a lot of the answers on voice, unless they’re specialty like recipes or weather or things like that, have this question and answer format, and those are also being driven by featured snippets.

So the good news I think, and will hopefully stay good news going forward, is that because Google wants all these devices to run off that same core engine, the things you do to rank well for desktop and to be useful for desktop users are also going to help you rank on mobile. They’re going to help you rank on voice, and they’re going to help you rank across all these devices. So I want you to be aware of this. I want you to try and not to break that chain. But I think the things we’re already good at will actually help us going forward in the future, and I’d highly encourage you to experiment with featured snippets to see how questions and answers appear on mobile and to see how they appear on Google Home, and to know that there’s going to be an evolution where all of these devices benefit somewhat from the kind of optimization techniques that we’re already good at hopefully.

Encourage the journey chain

So I also want to say that when you optimize for answers, the best answers leave searchers wanting more. So what you want to do is actually encourage this chain, encourage people to do more research, give them rich content, give them the kinds of things that draw them back to your site, that build credibility, because this chain is actually good news for us in a way. This can help us make a purchase. If we’re credible on these devices, if we have a decent mobile experience, if we come up on voice, that’s going to help us really kind of build our brand and be a positive thing for us if we work on it.

So I’d like you to tell me, what are your fears right now? I think we’re a little scared of the mobile index. What are you worried about with voice? What are you worried about with IoT? Are you concerned that we’re going to have to rank on our refrigerators, and what does that mean? So it’s getting into science fiction territory, but I’d love to talk about it more. I will see you in the comment section.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Eye Tracking in 2016: How Searchers Interact with Mobile SERPs vs. Desktop

Posted by rMaynes1

[Estimated read time: 8 minutes]

In 2014, Mediative released an eye-tracking study that looked at how Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) has changed over the last decade, and how searcher behavior has adapted as a result. We learned that:

  1. Top organic results are no longer always in the top-left corner, so users look elsewhere to find them.
  2. Mobile devices have habitually conditioned searchers to scan vertically more than horizontally. Searchers are looking for the fastest path to the desired content.
  3. People are viewing more search results listings during a single session and spending less time viewing each one.
  4. Businesses that are positioned lower on the SERP (especially positions 2–4) see more click activity than they did several years ago, making this real estate much more valuable.
  5. The #1 organic listing still captures the most click activity (32.8%), regardless of what new elements are presented.

On a desktop, the #1 organic listing is shifting further down the page, opening up the top of the page with more potential areas for businesses to achieve visibility.

The way website listings are presented on a mobile search engine results page is significantly different from how they’re presented on a desktop. The decrease in available screen size means there are a limited number of listings immediately visible to searchers, and competition for the top spots can be fierce.

The 2016 eye-tracking study

In this latest eye-tracking study, Mediative took 49 participants of mixed age and gender, asking them to complete 41 search tasks on an iPhone 5 using Google. We used the X2-60 Tobii mobile device eye tracker to track where they looked on the screen, measuring time to first look, how many participants looked, and how many participants clicked on each listing.

The Tobii X2-60

An example of one of the tasks we asked? “You’re interested in taking a vacation to New Orleans. Use Google to find cheap flights from Toronto to New Orleans.” Participants were shown the mobile SERP below:

The area highlighted in the image above shows what’s viewable on the mobile screen, before scrolling is necessary.

Ultimately, we wanted to know:

1. Where on the mobile SERP do searchers look and click the most? How does this differ from desktop searchers?

2. How important is the location of a listing on the SERP to win views and clicks from searchers?

3. Does the need for scrolling negatively or positively impact the views and clicks that listings further down the page receive?

4. What can advertisers do to ensure their Google listings are seen and clicked on a mobile SERP?

Key findings:

1. The #1 organic listing still captures the most click activity; it just takes 87% longer for it to be first seen on a mobile compared to a desktop.

In cases such as the one shown below, the knowledge panel that appears to the right of the results on a desktop (left image) becomes a key feature at the top of the mobile SERP (right image). Searchers have to scroll in order to see the organic listings that can be seen without scrolling on a desktop. This didn’t deter searchers from seeking out the top organic listing, however — it just took longer.


The relevancy of your listing to the searcher’s intent becomes more important than ever as it’s taking longer for people to first lay eyes on the organic listing. This provides more of an opportunity for them to be distracted by other brands and features on the SERP that appear before the organic listings.

2. Only 7.4% of clicks were below the 4th organic listing versus 16% on a desktop, and only 62.9% of tasks resulted in a scroll-down.


Being above the 4th organic listing — whether in an organic, local, knowledge graph, paid position, etc — is critical. Fewer and fewer clicks are going to listings below the top 4 organic listings, leaving less opportunity for advertisers to drive traffic to their sites.

Mobile SEO needs to be taken extremely seriously. However, many businesses don’t realize the importance of optimizing their sites specifically for mobile, resulting in ranking lower on a mobile than on a desktop.

  • Invest in putting as much relevant content into your SERP listing and use available tools such as Schema to ensure that your listing stands out on the screen, increasing the likelihood of capturing clicks.
  • Take advantage of the fact that other elements are presented above the organic listings, where over 35% of the page clicks on mobile were won.
  • Track mobile rankings separately so as to optimize specifically for mobile, depending on the results that are seen.
Tips to rank higher in the mobile SERPs:

  • If you have an app, ensure it’s indexed. More and more, apps are going to be competing with websites for rankings and traffic.
  • Remember you’re dealing with a reduced space, so ensure your most important information is at the very beginning of page titles and descriptions, including priority keywords in the body of the website content.
  • Websites with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) might result in higher rankings. Although not confirmed by Google, the company did reiterate the importance of page speed and the need to improve page load times, of which AMP is one way to achieve this.

3. 11% more clicks went to the knowledge graph on a mobile phone compared to a desktop, and almost 22% less clicks went to the top #1 organic listing on a mobile compared to a desktop.

A heat map showing the views captured by a knowledge graph result on a mobile phone. The displayed knowledge graph is shown to the right.

The introduction of more elements at the top of the page requires significant scrolling before the lower organic listings are reached, and these additional elements took a portion of clicks away from the top organic listings in that time.

When we studied mobile SERPS that only included organic listings, we found that:

  • 99% of people looked at the top organic listing vs. 83% on a desktop
  • 40% of page clicks were to the top organic listing vs. 34% on a desktop
  • 75% of page clicks were to the top 4 organic listings vs. 60% on a desktop

When we studied mobile SERPS that also included paid listings, local listings, a knowledge graph, etc, we found that:

  • 78.5% of people looked at the top organic listing vs. 99% on organic-only pages
  • 33.2% of page clicks were to the top organic listing vs. 40% on organic-only pages
  • 57% of page clicks were to the top 4 organic listings vs. 75% on organic-only pages


Features on the mobile SERP such as the knowledge graph results have the potential to capture a significant amount of attention away from the organic listings. The major difference between a knowledge graph on a desktop versus a mobile phone is that scrolling is required on a phone to see organic listings. Once again, the importance of a strong mobile SEO strategy cannot be understated. If you find your organic listing is losing too many clicks to the knowledge graph, find other keywords that don’t produce the knowledge graph and include them in your optimization strategy.

4. The top sponsored ad is seen by 91% of searchers.


Mobile screen real estate is extremely valuable. You have two ways to try and earn as much of that real estate as you can: paid search and mobile SEO. Although paid search can’t guarantee that you’ll always appear at the top of the results, a good paid search campaign can definitely help capture more clicks.

Consider paid text ads if you’re looking to improve website traffic, or optimize for local searches if appropriate, rather than focusing all efforts on ranking #1 in the organic listings. As three paid ads on mobile become more common, brands must be prepared to see a drop in traffic from organic listings, and perhaps consider increasing their investments in paid search.

5. 19.2% of page clicks on average went to the top 2 sponsored text ads, compared to 14.5% on a desktop.


Paid search represents a bigger opportunity for traffic to your site on a mobile compared to desktop, especially if ad extensions are present.

Tips for using paid search ad extensions to push organic listings from view:

  • Location extensions ensure the business address is shown alongside the ad.
  • Call extensions add the ability to call the business directly from the paid ad.
  • App extensions show a link below the ad text that allows people to download your app
  • Site link extensions add links to various website pages from within the ad.
  • Call-out extensions add descriptive text to your ad to describe more about what you do or offer.

6. 47% more clicks went to the map and local listings when they were above the organic listings.


The positioning of the local listings, whether below or above the organic listings, can have a significant impact on the views and clicks captured by each of the local listings or the organic listings. With only three local listings appearing on mobile, it’s important for your business to be there, especially if your website is struggling to rank in the top 4 organic listings.

Tips to rank in the local listings and capture more clicks:

  • Have a complete and accurate Google+ page for every location. Focus on the number of citations and NAP accuracy across third-party sites and local directories.
  • Get reviews! The stars in the listing only appear once 5 reviews have been generated
  • Ensure your site is full of locally relevant, useful content, with plenty of local keywords used throughout

Measure more than just clicks. Clicks to a local listing from a mobile device can result in a reduction in traffic to the brand’s website, as the local listings link to the Local Finder. It’s therefore important to measure impression data from local listings as well as traffic to business Google+ pages, as this can contribute to driving traffic to local stores and businesses.

To conclude

There’s no doubt about it: being listed at the top of the SERP is critical on a mobile device. People may scroll up and down, but ultimately, with over 92% of clicks going to an area above the 4th organic listing, if your business listing is below that, you’re almost invisible on a mobile search. Mobile must be taken seriously, but there are still far too many businesses that don’t see that importance and are still focusing all their efforts on desktop.

To discover out more takeaways and tips, plus average click-through rates per SERP element, download the full study on our site!

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