Microsoft announced on Thursday that its Bing search engine will prioritize mobile-friendly websites, signifying the growing importance of smartphones and other mobile devices. The move from the software giant follows a similar move from Google a few weeks before.
Why Microsoft is going mobile-friendly
Operators, advertisers and those who look to optimize their search rankings will surely feel the impact of the decision. Microsoft, in a blog post, said that, based on the data from Bing, it was found that “mobile users are able to satisfy their information needs much faster on searches that return more mobile-friendly results.” And based on these findings, “We will be rolling out mobile friendliness as a signal in ranking.”
However, Microsoft said that mobile friendliness will be just one of the many factors considered when search results are displayed. The software giant said that Bing mobile searches will always display the most relevant results even if they are not mobile-friendly. Those pages that are significant from a search point of view will not be affected even after the mobile-friendly pages get a boost. The above-noted changes will be visible in the coming months.
Mobile phone searches make up over half of the total internet searches around the world, a trend that received a boost from developing countries where smartphones are more in demand compared to computers.
Factors determining mobile friendliness
Microsoft, in its blog post, mentioned the factors that determine if a particular link is mobile-friendly or not. Navigation is the first factor, according to the blog, as the software giant noted that buttons, menus and links should be large enough and have the proper spacing to help in touch-based navigation.
Secondly, the content on the page should be readable without the need to zoom and it should have lateral scrolling to access specific content. Also the content of the web page should be well settled within the mobile screen. Lastly, the content must be compatible with every smartphone.
Additionally, Microsoft noted in its blog that it is working on Webmaster to analyze webpages using a mobile-friendliness classifier in order to make it easier to understand the results. Microsoft will launch the tool over the next few months and help webmasters determine and resolve the areas of their site that have mobile-friendliness issues.