Amazon Is Most Visible US Retail Site In Mobile Phone Searches On Google, Finds New Study

Searchmetrics analyzes mobile phone search performance of top retail sites in wake of Google mobile-friendly update

San Mateo – June 04, 2015 Amazon.com is the most visible US online retail website in mobile phone searches on Google.com followed by Walmart.com and HomeDepot.com according to a new study released today. The research by search and content optimization leader, Searchmetrics, reveals that leading retail sites that perform well in desktop searches also perform well in mobile phone searches in the wake of the recent Google mobile-friendly update.

Searchmetrics compared the search performance of ten leading US retail websites1 in desktop and mobile phone searches to assess the impact of the Google mobile-friendly update, the algorithm change designed to downgrade the mobile search rankings of those web pages not deemed to be user-friendly on mobile phone displays.

“Our study broadly finds that those sites that are highly visible in desktop searches also perform well in mobile phone searches,” said Marcus Tober, CTO and founder of Searchmetrics. “This indicates that the leading retail sites we included in the research are unlikely to have been dramatically affected by the Google mobile-friendly update – probably because these retailers have already been working hard to optimize their sites to support a good user–experience on mobile phones. However it is likely that some smaller sites who have not invested in the mobile user experience of their sites will have seen a drop in search performance and traffic from mobile phones.”

The study analyzed the search results for millions of search terms to calculate a Desktop Visibility score and a Mobile Visibility score for each of the retail sites in the study2. These index scores, which are presented as metrics within Searchmetrics’ software, reflect how frequently sites appear in search results and how highly they rank.

As shown in the table underneath, Amazon performs best in both mobile and desktop searches with a mobile visibility score of 11,145,359 and a desktop visibility score 11,351,308.

Retail Sites US 2015-6

Studies have shown that people don’t often use mobile phones to make the final purchase, but they do use them heavily to research products ahead of making a purchase via a desktop or laptop or by visiting a store. So it’s vital for retailers to track their sites’ visibility in mobile phone searches and ensure they are ranking well – and that includes ensuring their site is optimized to deliver a superior user experience on mobile phones,” explained Tober.

Most visible US online retail website in mobile phone searches on Google.com


1 The study analyzed the top ten retail sites in the National Retail Federations list of top 100 retailers https://nrf.com/2014/top100-table

2 How desktop and mobile search visibility is measured
Searchmetrics tracks the paid and organic ranking of millions of keywords every week. It calculates the desktop and mobile visibility scores based on several relevant parameters, some of which are:

  • The number of times a domain appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) across the keyword set within desktop and mobile searches.
  • Its prominence within those SERPs (a higher ranking equates to a higher visibility score)
  • The competitiveness of the keyword (higher search volumes equate to a higher visibility score)
  • The SERP click-through-rates (CTRs), (the probability of a result being clicked according to its position on the search engine results page)

The mobile visibility score is an estimate based on national search performance (in reality Google presents localized search results on mobile devices that reflect the location of individual devices).The search volume and CTRs for mobile searches are different to desktop searches, however the Mobile Visibility score calculation uses the same search volumes and CTR as desktop searches in order to enable comparison.

While the visibility scores can relate to a website’s real traffic, it is important to remember that traffic can come from many different places online. Therefore the visibility scores are only indicators of visibility that comes from a website’s organic search channel.

About the study
Searchmetrics analyzed the mobile and desktop search performance of ten retail sites as of w/ May 11, 2015. The ten retail sites were taken from the top ten retail sites in the National Retail Federation’s list of top 100 retailers (https://nrf.com/2014/top100-table). Mobile and desktop search performance was compared for the ten retail sites using the Searchmetrics Mobile Visibility score and Desktop Visibility score.