How To Achieve Mobile Search Ranking Clarity

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 and for smartphones at, 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/ (GUI) MMP/2.0 (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +

feature phone google results

Feature Phone Google Results

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; +

smartphone google results

Smartphone Google Results

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.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Mobile Search


About The Author: is a SEO Manager at Covario, SEO course instructor at San Diego State University, contributor to The Art of SEO : Mastering Search Engine Optimization published by O’Reilly and owner of Mobile Martin based out of San Diego, California.

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  • Raffaella

    Hi Michael,
    that’s great and totally agree. I just have a question regarding the SEOBook Rank Checker tool. As far as I know the plugin allows only to set up options to target countries and engines types, but it doesn’t allow to check rankings for devices. Is that because that’s the free version? Are you aware of any other keyword ranking tool that checks devices as well?

  • Michael Martin


    If you change your user agent within the FireFox browser & then use the SEOBook Rank Checker it will pull those mobile device results without adjusting anything within the Rank Checker itself – although often I had to do an eyeball test to verify/adjust the results.

  • Raffaella

    Ok I see what you mean..


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