Google announced changes in late 2016 to how it indexes websites in relation to mobile vs desktop users. The shift was towards a mobile first index, meaning that Google would use the mobile responsive version of a website as its primary index.
The switch by Google ties in with the significant increase in mobile web traffic. In recent years, mobile traffic exceeds that of more traditional desktop traffic. Research puts total web traffic from mobile devices at around 57% .
Despite the change to indexing, it doesn’t mean that searches on mobile and desktop will give the same results. Google’s constant endeavour is to provide users with a superior search experience and therefore personalises results based on the device being used. The same research report found that results between mobile and desktop differ around 80% of the time.
SEO strategies must consider how Google is interpreting websites on both mobile and desktop in order to achieve the best rankings on both device sets. Taking this into account, this may require different information to be prioritised on mobile in comparison to desktop versions of a website. Ultimately, our advice is to consider user experience on these different devices and how this might affect the content that should be displayed.