Mobile search results not only produce different rankings from desktop search but can also vary based on the mobile device type that the query was performed on, as has been written about here at Search Engine from myself and Bryson Meunier among others.
You can see mobile results directly from your desktop for feature phones at http://www.google.com/xhtml and for smartphones at http://www.google.com/m, but the rankings don’t quite correlate to what you would actually see on those device types.
So how can one qualify those different mobile results without having to do an actual search on those different types of mobile devices themselves?
An easy way to do so is by masking your desktop browser’s user agent by using the User Agent Switcher plugin on Firefox.
For a features phone, you can use simply use the feature phone user agent Google uses for its mobile crawler:
SAMSUNG-SGH-E250/1.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 UP.Browser/126.96.36.199.c.1.101 (GUI) MMP/2.0 (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
For a smartphone, you can use simply use the smartphone user agent Google uses for its mobile crawler:
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7 (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
Then you can use a rank checker within FireFox such as the SEOBook Rank Checker tool to gauge how you rank in feature phone, smartphone and desktop results.
You will see some similarities, but you will be amazed when you see actual ranking differences from desktop to feature phone to smartphones.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.