Following Google, Microsoft's Bing To Favor Mobile-Friendly Sites
Redmond is following in Google’s mobile search footsteps. Microsoft is changing its search algorithm with mobile in mind. Like Google, which is now highlighting more mobile-friendly Web sites and more relevant app content in its search results, the software giant recognizes the surge in mobile search.
Of course, mobile advertising is tied to mobile search so search engines are racing to morph. The global mobile advertising market will hit two significant milestones in 2015, according to new eMarketer figures. First, it will pass the $100 billion spending mark. Second, it will make up over half of all digital ad expenditures.
“You might have noticed we recently started tagging search results as ‘mobile-friendly,’” said Shyam Jayasankar, a program manager at Microsoft. “This enables the user to skim through the search results to know which ones will quickly answer their information needs.”
4 Key Principles
Bing’s approach to mobile friendliness as a ranking signal aims to balance the need to improve the ranking for mobile-friendly pages with delivering the most relevant results for a given query, according to Jayasankar. That means the most relevant results are still ranked higher even if they are not mobile friendly, he said.
“While the changes will improve ranking for mobile-friendly pages, Web pages that are highly relevant to the given query that are not yet mobile-friendly will not get penalized,” Jayasankar said. “This is a fine balance and getting it right took a few iterations, but we believe we are now close.”
Bing plans to start rolling out its mobile friendliness ranking changes in the months ahead and will soon offer a tool that will help webmasters analyze pages and understand the results. Factors that determine mobile-friendliness include navigation, readability, scrolling, and compatibility.
Jayasankar offered four specific pointers for Web developers to consider: the menus, buttons and links on the page should be large enough and spaced well apart to aid touch-based navigation; the text on the page should be readable without requiring zooming and lateral scrolling to access specific content; the content of the Web page should fit within the width of the device; and the content must be compatible with the device.
Bing’s Copycat Move
Google seems to be a few steps ahead of Bing. Google has already created three new ad experiences for some of the hottest industries: automotive, hotels and mortgages. For example, Google said millions of people search for hotels every day and it has designed a mobile experience that could drive more revenues to hotelier’s bottom lines.
Nevertheless, Bing is heading in what many industry watchers believe is the right direction. We asked Greg Sterling, Vice President of Strategy and Insight at the Local Search Association, for his thoughts on the news. He told us the rationale behind Google's move also applies to Bing.
“It equally wants to improve the mobile search experience for Bing users. Bing typically also follows Google's lead, mostly duplicating the policies and feature updates that Google implements,” Sterling said. “Regardless of its own ranking change, Bing will be the beneficiary of the changes made by publishers and webmasters responding to the earlier Google mobile-friendly update.”
Posted: 2015-05-24 @ 11:15am PT
Microsoft is always playing catchup. It's all part of the corporate culture problem at MSFT. There is still a massive layer of level 64 and above managers there that have no clue what they are doing. Satya hasn't done much to clean house at the middle management layer and it shows.
You find in Redmond there are smart people at the very top and smart people at the very bottom. But then you have a huge gap between filled with bumbling middle management. And nothing can solve this problem but a good housecleaning.
Unfortunately all the layoffs they have had were managed by middle management. So they just churn up the lower ranks.
The result is we have seen all the smartest people leaving MSFT for Google, Amazon, and others.