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Analyzing Mobile SEO in Google Analytics

May 6th, 2011 | | Analytics, Mobile SEO

The Hanapin team attended a mobile webinar this week and learned some surprising facts about mobile search. Mobile queries have increased 4x in the past year alone. If that statistic doesn’t sound shocking, how about this: there are three times as many smart phones being activated every minute than there are babies being born. Mobile search is exploding, but despite these statistics 79% of large online advertisers do not have a mobile optimized site.

This post will walk you through how to analyze mobile data to determine if you should start developing a mobile version of your website.

Where Do I Find Mobile Data?

Depending on the version of analytics you’re using, old or the new beta, the mobile data is in two slightly different locations.

Mobile Analytics Navigation

You can also use filters to view mobile data. The older analytics has a Mobile Traffic default filter already set. In the beta version there is a Visits from iPhones default filter, but no Mobile filter yet. I’d check regularly though because I discover something new has been added to the beta analytics almost every day.

Since I just want to analyze organic mobile traffic, I created my own mobile organic advanced filter. To create this filter, have the Mobile dimension exactly match Yes (there’s no drop down menu yet in beta analytics so make sure the Yes is capitalized or else the filter won’t work). Then click Add ‘And’ statement and set the dimension Medium exactly matching organic. Your filter settings should look like the screenshot below.

Mobile SEO Analytics Filter

Once you have this filter set up you are ready to begin analyzing your organic mobile data.

How Much of My Organic Traffic is From Mobile Devices?

To begin to get a picture of organic mobile traffic, I set my date range for the past year and went to the visitors overview page.

Mobile Organic Traffic

Mobile traffic for this client was steadily growing in 2010 but spiked up at the end of the year and have remained at higher levels throughout 2011. From May 2010 to May 2011 mobile traffic grew 266%. This chart also shows that organic mobile visits made up 4.56% of total for the year, but I want to know what percent of total organic visits mobile was responsible for.

To determine that I set both the organic mobile filter and the non-paid search traffic filter. This makes it easy to compare the mobile organic visits to the total organic visits.

Mobile Organic to Total Organic

I looked at the data over three time periods, 12 months, 6 months, and 3 months, to get a better idea of the growth of mobile over the past year.

Percent of Organic Mobile Visits

Over time, the percent of organic visits coming from mobile phones has risen. In the last 3 months it made up 9% of total visits and will likely only continue to grow.

How Do Mobile Visitors Interact With My Website?

Now that I’ve determined my organic mobile traffic is growing, I want to see if these visitors interact with my site differently than users search on a computer. If you go back to the Mobile tab and scroll down you’ll see a breakdown of performance by each mobile device.

Mobile Device Performance

To determine if mobile visitor interaction was different than the average visitor interaction, I compared the average performance of organic visits to each mobile device. Using excel, I calculated the % difference of Pages / Visits, Avg. Time On Site, and Bounce Rate for each mobile device compared to the total organic averages.

Mobile Device Website Interaction

I want to focus mainly on the performance of the iPad, iPhone, and Android as they make up over 92% of current mobile organic visits and have enough data to show some trends. The iPad has a slightly lower average pages per visit, but a higher than average time on site and slightly lower bounce rate.

Even though the iPad is classified as a mobile device, the experience of searching on an iPad is most similar to a desktop or laptop computer and should be treated as such. Where I begin to see some difference in visitor interaction is on the iPhone and the Android. Both have a much lower average pages per visit and a much higher bounce rate, showing a decrease in visitor interaction with our site. Although average time on site is slightly less than average on the iPhone, it’s 32% higher on the Android. This may seem like a good sign, but remember your site may load differently on a smart phone so check your site speed to see if mobile visitors are spending more time on your site looking at product or waiting for it to load.

How Well Does My Mobile Traffic Convert?

So now that you’ve looked a mobile traffic and site interaction, it’s time to determine how well your mobile traffic is converting. The client in this example is and Ecommerce client, so I want to look at revenue brought in by mobile devices. To view this data go to Conversions >> Ecommerce >> Overview (just Ecommerce >> Overview in non-beta).

Ecommerce Mobile Conversions

The mobile conversion rate is 57% less than the average organic conversion rate, a sign that you might need to create a better mobile user experience. Mobile transactions and revenue make up about 3.5% of the total, but mobile visits over this 6 month were 7.8% of the total showing again that you aren’t getting as much out of these visitors as you could. What was surprising to me though was that the average transaction value was higher than the total organic average. This shows that mobile shoppers are just as willing to spend on your products as non-mobile shoppers.

Do I Need a Mobile Website?

To answer this question, let’s look at the data:

  • Over the past year, mobile visits grew 266%.
  • Mobile users view fewer than average pages per visit.
  • Mobile users have a higher than average bounce rate.
  • Mobile users have a 57% less than average conversion rate.

For this client it is definitely time to start developing a mobile version of their site. Analyze your mobile traffic and see what the data is telling you.


Bethany is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.

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  • http://www.lowcountrymarketingconsultants.com/other-services/ Seo Myrtle Beach

    With more and more people now accessing mobile websites its very important for any online business to focus on mobile SEO, the information that this post is providing is indeed very good as from this we can easily analyze the mobile SEO in Google Analytics. Many thanks for this post.