Bing announced on its blog that they will too be putting forth a focus on mobile SEO. Expect a Bing “Mobilegeddon” in the near future. Not that this was a surprise to any of us as it seems that Microsoft tends to replicate what Google does in most cases. Judging by the looks of things, the Bing mobilegeddon had been in planning since around November 2014 though. Ironic? Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm was in development during the same time as well. Now there is two search engines to worry about in terms of mobile search compliance.
It has become quite clear over the last couple of years that mobile search will continue to propel. And now even Microsoft recognizes the importance of mobile and therefore planning to rollout its own version of a mobile-friendly algorithm.
Mobile-friendly Tag in Search Results
Alike Google, Bing has begun tagging websites with the all too familiar ‘mobile-friendly’ tag. Similar to Google it indicates that a particular domain is mobile compliant. The intent behind a ‘mobile-friendly’ tag in the mobile SERPs is to notify users of specific websites that are viewable on mobile devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets). From a user experience standpoint, Bing believes that their mobile users will be more inclined to interacting with a brand that offers a mobile-compliant website.
According to Bing’s quality assurance and UX/UI team, they are reporting increased user engagement with websites that do offer a mobile experience. As a matter of fact, majority of Bing’s search audience are not turning primarily to search on mobile devices. There seems to be a repetitive pattern occurring here in terms of search behavior across various search engines including Google. According to a recent case study, Google has reported that nearly 60% of its web traffic now comes from mobile devices. It seems that Bing is experienced similar search trends.
Mobile-Friendly Web Page Rankings
In the upcoming Bing “Mobilegeddon”, the Microsoft search engine seeks to focus on the mobile experience but also intends on rolling out their own mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. In its official announcement, Bing announced that mobile-friendly compliance will be utilized as a ranking signal. So, in essence expect to incur potential penalties on your website if it is not mobile compliant. The methodology behind the mobile-friendly algorithm is to focus on delivering the most relevant search results to end users. Websites that do contain the “Mobile-Friendly” tag can expect a slight ranking boost over competitors who may not have a mobile-compliant website.
Bing also announced that Bing Webmaster Tools will offer an additional option that will allow webmasters to monitor mobile-compliance while making any necessary adjustments to improve their visibility.
Check out my recent interview with Duane Forrester from Bing that I performed recently. In the interview he talks about improvements to Bing Webmaster Tools to assist webmaster with thorough monitoring of their website performance.
Essentials for a Bing Mobile-Friendly Website
Over the last several months, Bing has been working diligently on improving their mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. This new algorithm will be able to detect the mobile-compliance of websites in ensuring an optimal user experience.
Here’s what we know thus far about the signals that will be used in the upcoming Bing “Mobilegeddon” mobile ranking algorithm rollout.
- Navigation – menu items should be easily accessible and prominent to mobile users. Each should be large enough in size and proportionate enough to allow for seamless interaction. In the example below you will notice the proximity issues to the right that would invoke a poor mobile experience for a Bing search engine user.
- Readibility – typography and fonts are factorial to a mobile user experience. A struggled with readibility due to negligent font or overall typography usage can refrain a user from interacting with a certain website. There’s one thing that you need to be mindful of when it comes to readibility in general for the mobile user. Ensure that mobile fonts and overall typography are legible for the average user to where they do not need to struggle with the ability to peruse through information on specific pages. Take a look at the apples-to-apples comparison example shown below.
- Scrolling – one of the other intricate elements of Bing’s upcoming “Mobilegeddon” focuses on scrolling of web page content. Have you ever ran across a web page that forces you to view its content by having to scroll left and right or top to bottom? The confinement of content within its respectable viewport area is considered to be another requirement that Bing will seek to determine as part of its upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm. Here’s an example of a web page that forces the user to scroll.
If you take a closer look in the second image within the screenshot you will notice that there is a horizontal scrollbar in the particular web page. This indicates to the end user that they will need to scroll left to right in order to view the full content of that particular page. The result of such behavior is the outcome of a mobile incompliant web page. One that Bing typically would not serve to an end user during a mobile search process.
These are only a few of the most important mobile-friendly ranking factors that Bing has decided to announce. There are additionally elements factorial to determining the mobile compliance of your website. Giving away the secret sauce to the mobile-friendly algorithm is so unlike Bing so don’t set your hopes up too high. One of the eminent things that Bing has been very upfront about though is to ensure that each website allows access to its web pages by the Bingbot mobile user agents.
Preparing Your Website for Bing’s “Mobilegeddon”
As stated above, there are several areas you need to focus on with website optimization. However, in order to simplify things here’s a quick rundown of the elements that play a factorial role in the upcoming Bing “Mobilegeddon” mobile-friendly ranking algorithm.
- Navigation – ensure that each menu item sitewide is easily accessible to a mobil user. This includes the elimination of any close proximity menu items that would prohibit the user from easily accessing that particular page of your website.
- Readibility – as outlined earlier, typography and font usage plays a large role in user engagement. For example, if your site uses an imported font from a Google font gallery then ensure that it is mobile compliant for all major smartphones and tablets. Checking the font size for mobile devices may also be something to investigate further. There is nothing more annoying then reading content on a web page that is either too small or ridiculous large.
- Scrolling – your mobile users should not have to scroll (horizontally or vertically) on specific pages in order to access its content. This is where mobile queries and CSS come into play. If your website is not mobile compliant than I would strongly suggest the inclusion of mobile queries. Check out this great tutorial on how to accomplish such task to where individual pages of your website are mobile-friendly using CSS attributes.
I’m led to believe that in the upcoming Bing “Mobilegeddon”, the Microsoft search engine will be announcing additional mobile-friendly ranking algorithms. Until then though I would strongly focus on ensuring that the above elements are properly integrated within your website and its individual pages. Why? Unless you plan on suffering traffic loss and additional sales potential than I would strongly urge anyone with a non-mobile compliant website to implement these specific elements.
Is your website mobile-compliant? Are you not getting enough traffic or sales? Contact me today for a FREE 1-hour consultation to help you identify your website problems.