Bing to Reward Mobile-friendly Sites in Search Results

BingBing (the other search engine) is following Google’s lead in rewarding mobile-friendly sites in mobile search results. Bing already tags mobile-friendly sites as such with a ‘Mobile-friendly’ label at the start of the search result.

Bing is not going quite as far as Google, however, in penalizing sites that are more relevant, but which are not mobile-friendly. The more relevant site will still be ranked higher than a less relevant one, even if the less relevant one is mobile-friendly and the more relevant one isnt. Presumably the mobile weighting kicks in when two sites are equally relevant and one is mobile-friendly, while the other is not.

In a blog post, Bing’s Shyam Jayasankar explains: “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. 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, webpages that are highly relevant to the given query that are not yet mobile-friendly will not get penalized.”

Jayasankar describes the process as “a fine balance”, adding that Bing believes it is now close and says Bing expects to start rolling out the mobile friendliness ranking changes in the coming months.

Bing is also been working on a tool that will allow Webmasters to analyze webpages using its mobile friendliness classifier in order to help them find and fix areas of their site that suffer from mobile friendliness issues.

The blog post also highlights the factors Bing takes into account when determining mobile-friendliness. Broadly speaking, these include navigation; readability of text; minimal horizontal scrolling; and content compatibility with the device.