Tesco.com Is Most Visible British Supermarket Site In Mobile Phone Searches On Google, Finds New Study

Searchmetrics analyses mobile phone search performance of top supermarket sites in wake of Google mobile-friendly update

London – June 15, 2015__Tesco.com is the most visible British supermarket website in mobile phone searches on Google UK (google.co.uk) performing three times better that nearest rival, Asda.com according to a new study released today. The research by search and content optimisation leader, Searchmetrics, reveals that leading supermarket 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 nine leading British supermarket 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.

“When Google announced its mobile-friendly update, there was speculation about the major impact it could potentially have on brands. However, our analysis indicates that the effect has not been significant on the leading supermarket retail sites we included in the research. Probably because they made sure their sites were already well optimised for mobile phones,” explained Marcus Tober, CTO and founder of Searchmetrics.  “It’s likely that some smaller sites who have not invested in the mobile user experience of their pages will have seen a drop in search performance and traffic from mobile phones.”

Tober also suggested that it was likely that Google will continue to adjust its algorithm for mobiles searches making it important for online businesses to track the mobile search performance of their pages and continue into invest in the mobile user experience.

Searchmetrics analysed the search results for millions of search terms to calculate a Desktop Visibility score and a Mobile Visibility score for each of the supermarket 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, Tesco performs best in both mobile and desktop searches with a mobile visibility score of 633,970 and a desktop visibility score of 607,450, over three times higher than the scores for second-placed Asda in both mobile and desktop searches.

Searchmetrics Analysis Supermarkets UK 2015

Research suggests that people don’t always 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.  In many cases in-store customers might check product prices and offers in a competitive store before making a purchase,” explained Tober.  “So even if you are not selling through your website – as was the case in some of the supermarkets in our study – it could still be very important to have good visibility in mobile searches.”

Searchmetrics Supermarket Sites UK 2015


¹The study analysed the top nine British supermarket sites according to Kantar Worldpanel http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11521602/Aldi-overtakes-Waitrose-as-Britains-sixth-largest-supermarket.html

²How 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 parameters, including:
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 localised 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 traffic that comes from a website’s organic search channel.

About the study
Searchmetrics analysed the mobile and desktop search performance of nine UK supermarket sites as of w/c May 11, 2015.  The list of nine leading supermarket sites was taken from list created by Kantar Worldpanel: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11521602/Aldi-overtakes-Waitrose-as-Britains-sixth-largest-supermarket.html. Mobile and desktop search performance was compared for the nine supermarket sites using the Searchmetrics Mobile Visibility score and Desktop Visibility score.