Bing Follows Google’s Lead on Mobile Search

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Bing Follows Google's Lead on Mobile Search

Following closely on Google’s “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update, Bing has announced its own rollout of mobile friendly ranking signals over the next few months.

The short update is that both search engines are now factoring into search ranking whether a website is mobile “friendly” or not.

Basically if your site is not easy to use and navigate on a mobile device, your rankings may be going down.

Unlike Google, Bing has not set a specified date for these search adjustments to go into full effect, choosing instead to use a slow release they’re calling the “mobile-friendliness road map”.

Bing is taking this approach in order to better communicate the changes, reduce webmaster crisis moments, and allow time for them to receive feedback along the way.

Bing first released their mobile-friendly search tags as part of a test in April. This allows users to easily identify sites that comply with mobile on the search engine results.

This signaled to the rest of the world that more mobile search updates were to follow. Now, they’ve released specific information around what things they will include in their new mobile signals.

Major considerations for those managing websites include:

  • Content load: Does a web page content load appropriately on a mobile device? Flash is an example of a plugin no longer considered mobile friendly as it will not render on a Apple device.
  • Navigation: Buttons, menu display, and links- Are they easy to press with one finger and spaced out enough to ensure clean clicking?
  • Scrolling: Vertical page scrolling is expected when on a mobile device, however, all horizontal scrolling should be eliminated.
  • Text: Is it easily readable without zoom? While Bing does not specify sizing, Google has said a font size of 16 CSS pixels should be used as a base size.

bing

Bing is also releasing a tool this summer that will allow webmasters to test their sites for mobile compliance.

It will mimic Google’s existing mobile-friendly tool providing a simple yes or no answer on whether a site is mobile friendly with suggestions on what to improve if a “no” is given.

Keep in mind there is no degree of mobile friendliness – a site either is or isn’t. However, Bing’s algorithm will be real time, so as soon as Bing crawls the new mobile-friendly version of a page there will be a benefit due to the new signals.

For those wanting to dive into the geeky web developer side a bit more, here’s a tip:  Your web developer should also remember not to block resources such as CSS files or JavaScript from Bingbots.

These need to be fully crawled for the layout of a page to be understood, and thus appropriately labeled as mobile friendly.

While these changes will improve rankings for mobile-friendly pages, quality will remain the most important factor in search rankings for a website.

A page highly relevant to the search term requested that is not mobile friendly will still rank accordingly and not be heavily penalized.

Per Bing, this is because they are striving to reach a “fine balance” in terms of user-friendly rankings versus straight query relevancy.

So the shift to mobile continues on the web and wise businesses will be making plans to update their site to be mobile friendly.

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