Mobile vs Desktop Traffic in 2021

A new SEMrush blog post titled “SERPs, Traffic and Trends: Mobile vs. Desktop in 2021”, begins by alerting everyone that Google is finally going to implement mobile-first indexing in March 2021 – this month!

To better understand what this mobile-first indexing could mean, SEMrush then performed a series of tests using 2020 search-related data.

This Mobile-vs-Desktop study had the following key findings: 

  • Search traffic surged by 22% in 2020 compared to 2019 for the 1,000 most visited websites in the world.
  • 66% of all site visits came from mobile devices in that time.
  • Bounce rates were higher and total times on site were shorter on both mobile and desktop, indicating that user engagement is growing increasingly difficult to achieve.
  • Only 17% of websites retained their positions across both mobile and desktop SERPs, and 37% of URLs were actually thrown out of the top-10 when the search query was made from a mobile device.

SEMrush then provided more detail on those findings and looked at what they could mean for you.

Bottom line: Desktop might have had a slight resurgence in 2020 (think pandemic driven at-home life-style), but there is only one direction for search experiences and it’s headlong into mobile.

SEMrush recommends the following three actions to take to step into the mobile future that’s already here:

1. Gather insights about your competitors’ and industry’s traffic trends
Use tools like Semrush’s Traffic Analytics to identify market averages and benchmark the competition. If most of the key players within your niche get 60% of their traffic from mobile, but you’re only getting 30%, check your site for potential issues like slow load speeds or site architecture.
2. Assess your own mobile performance regularly and take action swiftly
Utilize Semrush’s Position Tracking to get daily data updates on your mobile rankings for target keywords within a target location. By monitoring unique metrics like Visibility (based on your SERP positions and CTR estimates) and Share of Voice (Visibility + the keyword’s search volume and traffic estimates), you can track changes in your online presence and react accordingly to outmaneuver the competition.
3. Ensure multiple touch points across devices
Don’t assume that users will only engage with you on one device; the reality is that they’ll probably use both mobile and desktop interchangeably when it comes to the purchase journey. Optimize for mobile and make it easy for people to switch to desktop to complete a purchase by letting them save shopping carts, for instance.

My blog post only scratches the surface of this SEMrush study. I urge you to read the entire study at “SERPs, Traffic and Trends: Mobile vs. Desktop in 2021”.