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May 15, 2015

Bing to Give Precedence to Mobile-Friendly Sites — But Only if Relevant

Microsoft Takes Softer Approach to Algorithm Update Than Google's 'Mobilegeddon'

Microsoft’s Bing search engine is receiving an overhaul to give ‘mobile-friendly’ websites more prominence in its search results.

The news comes about a month after Google’s own “mobilegeddon” was implemented. The change is a nod from the software giant to the growing popularity of mobile searches over traditional desktop searches.

Bing’s changes, however, will be less drastic than the measures taken by Google. Bing’s algorithm update will not remove relevant results from its SERPs in favor of mobile-only results, for instance.

“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,” Bing mobile relevance team member Shyam Jayasankar said.

“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, Web pages that are highly relevant to the given query that are not yet mobile-friendly will not get penalized.”

Mobile-friendlytagBing will make tools available to enable webmasters to analyze how mobile-friendly their pages are. The tools will be released in the next few weeks to give ample time for people to make changes ahead of the update.

One change that has already been implemented is the labeling of qualifying search results as “mobile-friendly.” The change enables users to satisfy their information needs more quickly, Jayasankar said.

Some factors considered when determining if a site is mobile-friendly include:

  1. Navigation– Menus, buttons and links must be easy-to-see and appropriately spaced to aid touch-based navigation.

Navigation

  1. Readability– The text on the page must be large enough for easy reading without zooming or lateral scrolling. Both font size and viewport settings (defined in HTML tags) should be considered.

Readability

  1. Scrolling– Web page content must fit within the device width. Vertical scrolling is fine, horizontal scrolling, however, hampers the ability to easily consume content. The fit should work for both portrait and landscape orientations.

Scrolling

  1. Compatibility– The content needs to be compatible with the device. For example, do not use flash content — it does not work well on iOS devices. This also applies to videos that cannot be played on mobile devices due to plugin dependencies, copyright issues or distribution decisions made by the content owner.

Compatibility


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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