Bing Follows Google’s Lead (Again)
Bing has announced a mobile search update of its own following Google’s big news from last month.
According to the search engine, it has been investigating various approaches to deliver the best possible search experience on Bing since November 2014, and is now unveiling its mobile friendliness roadmap, insights from user experience changes and factors that impact mobile friendliness of webpages.
For starters, Bing notes that it recently started tagging search results as “mobile-friendly” to help searchers skim through results. This update has resulted in great feedback according to Bing, with users strongly preferring pages marked with the mobile-friendly tag. Because of this feedback, Bing will begin rolling out mobile friendliness as a signal in ranking.
“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,” the Bing blog states. “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. While the changes will improve ranking for mobile-friendly pages, webpages that are highly relevant to the given query that are not yet mobile-friendly will not get penalized.”
That said, Bing notes that it will take a few iterations to get its new ranking update right, but will begin rolling out the update in the coming months. Moreover, Bing says it is working on a tool to allow Webmasters to analyze webpages via the company’s mobile friendliness classifier. This tool will become available in the next few weeks and will help users fix areas of their sites that have mobile friendliness issues.
Lastly, Bing is shedding light on the factors it uses to determine mobile friendliness. The first is navigation, as menus, buttons and links should be large enough and spaced well enough to aid in touch-based navigation. The second mobile friendliness factor is readability (content should be readable without zooming), followed by scrolling (vertical scrolling is acceptable) and device compatibility (no flash). Plus, there are other factors Bing is considering, such as the friction pop-ups can create.
“Our priority is delivering the best search experience for our customers, and we are committed to evolving Bing search to ensure that we are delivering the most relevant and helpful results. Mobile-friendly webpages are key to satisfying on-the-go information needs, so it is important to optimize sites for an increasingly mobile user base. We are very interested in hearing your thoughts on mobile friendliness and any feedback you may have on our plans.”