Today, Bing published details about a future update that promises to improve how it delivers mobile-friendly search results to mobile searchers. Bing’s approach is not unlike Google’s, although there are some subtle differences.
The key difference here is that Google gave a firm date as to when its mobile-friendly update would be rolled out, while Bing has opted to be a bit more vague. Bing has not given an exact date, other than to say it will be launched in the next few months.
Another difference is how Bing promises to maintain a balance between mobile-friendliness and relevance. Google’s mobile search results now exclude any page that’s not mobile-friendly, which may not necessarily be the case with Bing’s new algorithm.
Bing says that non-mobile-friendly web pages may still be included in mobile search results if the content contained within is determined to be the most relevant to the user’s query.
“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. This is a fine balance and getting it right took a few iterations, but we believe we are now close.”
This is intriguing, and I look forward to seeing in practice how well this works out from a user’s standpoint. Will users care how relevant a page is to their query if it’s not formatted to fit nicely on their screen? I suppose we’ll learn more when this eventually rolls out.
Bing’s Criteria For Determining Mobile-Friendliness
Bing detailed its criteria for ranking mobile friendly web pages. In addition, the company will soon be releasing a tool for testing whether or not your site meets Bing’s criteria.
- Navigation – The menus, buttons and links on the page should be large enough and spaced well apart to aid touch-based navigation.
- Readability – The text on the page should be readable without requiring zooming and lateral scrolling to access specific content.
- Scrolling – The content of the web-page should fit within the device width, without the need for horizontal scrolling.
- Compatibility – The content needs to be compatible with the device. For example, if the page contains a video it must be viewable on mobile devices.
All of the above factors will need to be in place in order for Bing to consider a website truly mobile-friendly.
This update will be rolled out “in the coming months”, and Bing says you can expect more details to be revealed leading up to the launch.