A Search Performance Per Device Dashboard to Analyze Mobile vs. Desktop Website Search Behavior

Last month Google announced that instead of switching to a Mobile First Index for all sites in September this year, is now going to do it in March next one to give us a bit of more time due to the uncertain times we’re going through.

And although since a while ago many of our sites have been already migrated -those for which Google saw were already prepared- and for those that don’t, best practices have been already shared, and we have also switched our SEO related activity to a Mobile first context, in fact when I asked last year a few SEOs answered saying that they had already switched their SEO activities to be “mobile only” and we can see already SEO tools data that is only available for mobile search results, and not desktop anymore.

The reality is that although in general, sites mobile traffic trend has increased a lot in the last years, in many cases, search traffic has switched to be -and has remained for a while- split between mobile and desktop and in a few cases, search traffic is still desktop reliant due to the site business nature (for example, SaaS that is “work oriented”, with users accessing from their laptops at work to search for information about it, buying it and then also using it).

When checking Google’s organic search behavior of Websites I have access to, I see that mix: from sites that are still very reliant on desktop search traffic like the first 3 below, to those last 3 for which the opposite is true, heavily dependent on mobile, due to their sector and business model.

Additionally, it’s important to note how this can change a lot for the same site too based on the country and beyond the numbers, the specific behavior of the mobile and desktop searches can be also different, due to the diversity in context and scenarios in which users search through each device, and due to which is then critical to avoid only focusing on “Mobile only” or on “device agnostic data”, and why is fundamental to segment the data per device.

The findings can help you to better understand the different journeys of your visitors based on the different device scenarios, prioritize the content development, format, and placement within the site structure and navigation to make it much more easily findable in each case, which is also a reason why I prefer dynamic serving than just a responsive Web design if possible.

To facilitate the analysis I’ve created this free Google Data Studio Dashboard using Google Search Console Data that you can copy here, that helps to quickly assess your sites top search behavior per device, let’s see how! 

The site main Google Search Console search performance metrics are segmented by default already per device: impressions, clicks and average position evolution, as well as these current metrics along the avg. position for the selected time range. For example, below it can be seen how mobile impressions and clicks have been increasing more heavily in the last months along a better avg. position:

As mentioned before though, something to also validate if you work with a global site is the difference in device behavior per country, which the dashboard also helps to do by showing the Desktop vs. Mobile impressions, clicks CTR and avg. position per country.

For example, it can be seen how in the case below, although the overall site activity is higher in desktop, which remains the case for the top country which is the US, when checking the second one that is India, is the other way around and there are more clicks attracted through mobile search.

The dashboard also segments and show independently a list of the top mobile and desktop queries, which as can be seen below, might be different for each. For example, the “customer service” related keyword as well as the one marked in red in the top mobile queries are not shown in the case of the top desktop ones.

The dashboard then allows you to further analyze this difference by also showing a table below the top mobile and desktop queries, showing the top keywords along their devices, that you can also filter for specific queries to further check the metrics for any term you want in mobile, desktop and tablet in different rows, facilitating the comparison.

In case you also wanted to compare every top query metrics for desktop vs mobile in columns, you can do it so with the next table that will also allow you to select a specific query or a few of them at the same time:

Finally, you can also do something similar per top ranked pages, showing the top pages for mobile and desktop, with a table that allows you to see for which queries each pages are ranking and attracting more traffic per device too. In this table you’ll also be able to further filter per page, query or device.

Copy the Google Data Studio Search Performance Per Device Dashboard here.

I hope this dashboard allows you to potentially discover more search behavior insights and opportunities to refine and prioritize better your optimization efforts based on the used device!