Bing will follow in Google footsteps and unveil its own mobile-friendly ranking algorithm in the upcoming months. Unlike Google, it will not set a date for when the algorithm will set in and is taking a slower approach to it in order to better communicate the changes and reduce potential whiplash from webmasters.
Despite the announcement about the importance of having a mobile friendly site, Bing is still focused on relevancy to user queries. Sites that are relevant but not mobile friendly will most likely still rank. This is because the second largest search engine on the World Wide Web is looking to find the right balance between relevant search results and user-friendly sites.
Along with the new Mobile-Friendly Ranking algorithm, Bing plans to unveil a new tool – Bing Webmaster Tools Mobile Friendly Tool – this summer in order to help webmasters test their websites. The tool will work similarly to Google’s mobile friendly testing tool by providing a yes/no type of answer and then suggestions on how to improve the site if the answer is no.
Criteria Bing Uses to Determine if Your Page is Mobile Friendly
Some of the more important factors were detailed in Bing’s feature blog on May 14, 2015.
- Navigation– The menus, buttons and links on the page should be large enough and spaced well apart to aid touch-based navigation. In the example below, you can see the large, easy-to-tap and distinct navigational elements on the mobile-friendly page. In contrast, the page on the right has hyperlinks that are too close to each other and could be prone to accidental clicks from mobile users.
- Readability– The text on the page should be readable without requiring zooming and lateral scrolling to access specific content. Keep in mind that readability is influenced both by font size and the viewport settings (defined in HTML tags). Here is an example of how readability impacts the mobile friendliness of the page:
- Scrolling– The content of the web-page should fit within the device width. Vertical scrolling is considered acceptable, but the need to scroll horizontally hampers the ability to consume your content easily. Well-designed mobile pages typically fit well to the device width in both portrait and landscape orientations.
- Compatibility– The content needs to be compatible with the device. For example, pages with flash content do not work well on iOS devices as discussed earlier in our November 2014 post. 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. We check for hints in the content rendered on the page to determine if any compatibility issues exist.
If you have concerns or suggestions about the new algorithm update, provide Bing your feedback on the Bing Listens portal.
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