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Mobile Result Type: Apps Box, Organic & Top Stories

Google provides several specialty features in mobile search results and so we offer the following options that you can choose from to customize the type of search results you want tracked:
  • Organic
  • Apps Box
  • Top Stories
Throughout this document we refer to Google Mobile SERP Features, if you would like to learn more, we invite you to visit our Visual Guide to SERP Features and select the Mobile option.


Mobile Organic Results

The most common type of Google mobile results tracked is organic.

Google Mobile Organic Results
In this example, the organic results are competing with SERP features for top positions including a Knowledge Panel, People Also Search For panel, and People Also Ask causing users to scroll 3 screens down to reach organic results.

Mobile Results Type Setting: Organic
If you want to track organic results, then no changes to settings are needed because organic is the default setting. 

Rank Dashboard displaying Google Mobile Organic results
The Rank Dashboard has many result and feature settings to choose from, this is a view of current rank compared to the previous day, week and month. In the URL column we see SERP icons indicating that some of Google's special SERP features were present for the keyword in the search results on the report date. Clicking the screen icon at the far right of any row launches the SERP Snapshot for the keyword. 

Organic Search Snapshot
The SERP Snapshot contains the actual search results that displayed when the keyword was checked by our rank tracker. In this example, we see the Google SERP features: Knowledge Panel, People also search for (Direct Answer), Related Questions (People also ask), and an Image box, followed by 10 Organic results (the primary campaign domain is matched and highlighted in position 3), and Related Search phrases are displayed at the bottom.    

Mobile Apps Box Results

For those doing ASO, we've long offered Google Play Store and iTunes Store search engines for mobile app tracking. Google Mobile tracking of apps became more interesting - and important - when Google launched Apps boxes in mobile search results. This feature is not limited to the Google Play Store, Google also serves iTunes apps in these packs based on the device being used to conduct the search, and so we added a new mobile results type option to assist with app store optimization tracking.

Google Mobile Apps Box
In this example, searching for "ted talks app" on an android phone, Google provided 5 colorful results in the Apps box. 

Search Engine Mobile Results Type Setting: Apps
The Rank Ranger default when you add a Google Mobile search engine to tracking is Organic results, so if you want to track Apps then you need to:
  • Select the Apps option
  • Select the device type: Android or iOS 

If you want to track both Organic and Apps, then you can add a second Google Mobile search engine to the campaign by selecting a Google Mobile Local search engine (learn more...) and leave the custom location blank (unless you want to track the app for a specific location).

Required Campaign Settings
In order to track an App, the campaign domain (in General Settings screen) needs to be set to either:

Default tracking mode
must be selected in the General Settings screen

Target URLs must be utilized for all keywords in the Keywords screen (learn more...)
Apps Pack links contain referral data, for example, The Weather Channel has an app in the Google Play Store and when I view it that listing URL is:

The Weather Channel Android App

However, when I tap The Weather Channel app in Google's Apps Box from a search on my phone, the URL is:

And that can be different if the interface language other than English (hl=en), and based on the referrer source at the time of the search.

When adding Target URLs for Android Apps in the Google Play Store, it is important to strip the URL down to the basics for the app and then add an asterisk * at the end - that creates a wildcard that will provide rank tracking results for any additional code added to the URL in the search results.*

App in Multiple Stores
If your App is in both the Google Play and iTunes stores, then you need to create a separate rank tracking campaign for each. You can combine reports for both campaigns in a PDF report or marketing dashboard. 

Rank Dashboard displaying Google Mobile App Box results

In this example the Targeted URL column display has been enabled in the Rank Dashboard, providing confirmation that the links to the Apps that displayed in the mobile search results matched the App links entered as Target URLs.  We noticed AdWords in the search results for this app, so the Average CPC column has been enabled to provide an opportunity for analysis of cost for each keyword. And Landing Page Metrics for relevant social share channels were enabled to provide engagement stats.

Google Play Store search tracking is provided by adding a second search engine to this campaign, and they can be compared side-by-side in the Search Engines report, but for this example we're using the Rank Dashboard because we want to show you the SERP Snapshot.

Apps Box SERP Snapshot
If you compare the SERP Snapshot to the mobile phone result at the beginning of this section, you'll see that the App Box results were in the first 5 display positions. The snapshot provides the additional results of that search which included a Related Questions (People also ask) section, 2 AdWords ads, and Related Search phrases.

Mobile Top Stories Results

This option is for tracking news results in Google's Mobile Top Stories box.

Google Mobile Top Stories Results
In this example, a mobile search for "samsung galaxy s9" produced 2 Top Stories, in addition to a mobile news carousel.  

Mobile Result Type: Top Stories
To track Top Stories, simply add a Google Mobile search engine to a rank tracking campaign and select Top Stories in the Mobile Result Type settings, and click the Save button.

Rank Dashboard displaying Google Mobile Top Stories results

In this example, the Rank Dashboard has been filtered for specific keywords relating to the search conducted on the mobile device in the mobile phone image above. SERP indicators have been enabled and they reveal that 2 pages ranked in the Top Stories results for related keywords, one for the amp version of the page. One of the keywords also ranked on Google Mobile Organic and Google Desktop Organic on that same day, but in lower positions than the Top Stories item ranked on Mobile.

Top Stories SERP Snapshot
The SERP Snapshot, accessed by clicking the screen icon at the end of any keyword row in the Rank Dashboard, provides page titles and links to the top news results in Google Mobile search, along with Image Box, Related Search phrases, and any other SERP features that Google displays in the mobile search results for the keyword. 

Learn more about tracking rank for Google Top Stories.

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