John Mueller in a Google Hangout on Google+ this past Friday was asked a question around why would a site that is mobile-friendly according to Google, not rank as well on mobile search than it does on desktop search.
For example, if you rank #2 in Google for [blue widget] when you search on your desktop, why would that site rank #22 for the same query when doing the search on mobile. Again, the site is mobile friendly.
I saw the site and query example and there is absolutely nothing that I can find that would make it rank lower on mobile - in fact, it should rank slightly higher on mobile because it is mobile friendly while many of the sites that it outranks on desktop are not mobile friendly on mobile.
I cannot share the query or the site but John Mueller of Google saw it and listen to how he answered the question at the 4:40 mark into the video. He said:
So just to give some context to everyone else you're seeing essentially a site showing up normally in rankings on desktop, and very low on mobile.
And from our point of view, sometimes that can happen. But it's always good to kind of look into the details to see is everything working as expected on our side, or do we have to tweak something there.
So I've been talking with the mobile team about that specific case to see if there's something we can do to kind of recognize these things a little bit better.
He wasn't able to give the SEO a timeframe on when or if it would be resolved but from the sounds of it, it seems like a Google issue?
Here is the video embed:
Any thoughts without seeing the query at hand?
Forum discussion at Google+.