As we all know Bing is working hard to provide better search experience to mobile users since last year or so. They have made many changes in their search algorithm in this process. Bing has recently announced mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. They have also discussed some of the factors they use to determine the mobile usability of the webpage.
Google’s mobile friendly algorithm update has just completely rolled out and here comes the news from the similar kind of search algorithm update by Bing. Google’s lead Microsoft owned search engine has officially announced in blog that they are going to consider mobile friendliness as a ranking signal for mobile search. According to Bing, Mobile search continues to grow as a percentage of overall Internet search queries. That makes it essential to provide the optimum output and superior experience to mobile users.
Testing with Mobile Friendly tag in search result
Bing has been testing with the “mobile friendly” tag in search result since a month or so. You can see the mobile friendly label in search results for the mobile optimized websites. According to Bing they got great feedback from this test. Also from user interaction data they come to conclusion that more and more users prefer to click through mobile friendly website. Based on all these data they have decided to use mobile friendliness as a ranking signal.
What is Bing’s Mobile Friendly algorithm?
It looks like Bing’s mobile friendly algorithm is going to work same as Google’s mobile friendly algorithm. It will promote the mobile friendly websites in mobile search result over non-mobile friendly websites. But Bing has also given priority to relevancy in the algorithm.
They said, “Our approach to mobile friendliness as a ranking signal balances the need to improve the ranking for mobile-friendly pages, with the continued focus on delivering the most relevant results for a given query. This means that for mobile searches on Bing, you can always expect to see the most relevant results for a search query ranked higher, even if some of them are not mobile-friendly.”
It means that they are not going to completely ignore the non-mobile friendly websites. Mobile friendly pages will surely improve the ranking, but pages that are non-mobile friendly and having highly relevant content to the query are not going to penalize.
Bing’s mobile friendly testing tool
Bing has announced on the blog that they are going to launch a tool to test the mobile friendliness in the upcoming few weeks. This tool will help webmasters to find and fix the mobile usability issues with their website. This tool is supposed to work in a same manner as the Google mobile usability tool. It will tell webmasters whether the website is mobile friendly or not. It will also give suggestions and recommendations to improve the mobile usability of the website.
Factors determining the mobile friendliness
Bing has revealed some factors that they use to determine the mobile friendliness of a website. Following are some basic criteria that Bing uses to define the mobile friendliness of a website.
Navigation – Navigation plays a crucial role in the performance of any website. The menus, buttons and the links should be large enough and well-spaced from each other to touch through fingure in touch based navigation.
Readability – Content readability is another important factor. The text on any page should be readable without zooming and lateral scrolling. One should consider both the font size and viewport setting to get the best readability for any page.
Scrolling – Vertical scrolling works fine in mobile friendly websites, but horizontal scrolling is not acceptable for any mobile optimized website. Content and page design should be fit perfectly for any device in both portrait and landscape operations.
Compatibility – Content compatibility is another factor that affects the most. Webpage content should be compatible with any device. Some devices do not support flash content, so it is better not to have any content that can cause compatibility issues.
Along with Navigation, Readability, Scrolling and Compatibility there are some other factors like friction created by pop-ups while navigating to the core content of page and many more. You must make sure that you allow the Bingbot mobile user agent to access all the necessary CSS and script files.
Unlike Google, Bing has not revealed any specific date when they are going to update the algorithm. They have said that they will update in forthcoming few months and will intimate webmasters before updating. This change is going to be real time algorithm change. It means once the algorithm fully rolled out, you won’t be able to see the change immediately. But you will be able to monitor the effect once your website gets cached by the Bingbot.
Whether you prefer Bing or Google, both the search engines are working hard to provide the best user experience for mobile users. That makes having a responsive website most essential now. Is your website mobile friendly? Take the mobile usability test today and switch to responsive design if you have non-mobile friendly website. What do you think about this upcoming algorithm update by Bing following the lead by Google? How much will it affect the mobile search experience? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.