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Bing’s Mobile Algorithm Friendlier, Less Useful than Google’s

For the last few months news from the SEO community has been centered mainly on whether websites are “mobile friendly” and how much this will help them. If you’re sick of talking mobile, or haven’t gotten your own site up to snuff yet, you may groan to hear that Bing is now launching its own mobile search algorithm. But don’t worry: this one wears kid gloves.

Many view the move as copycatting Google, which just finished rolling out its own mobile algorithm. I doubt that’s quite the reason behind it, though. Bing has been working on its mobile search factors for at least a year, and both search giants understand the value of getting mobile searches to perform better—which means handling them differently than regular searches. It’s even possible that Bing held back intentionally to learn lessons from any flubs with the Google rollout.

What Bing is Changing

Bing’s mobile update is a lot less ambitious than Google’s. They’re doing less total and they’re moving more slowly to do it. Here’s a summary of what to expect:

  • There is no firm deadline for the new algorithm to go into effect, and Bing hopes to develop it with feedback from website owners to make it go as smoothly as possible.
  • Like Google, Bing is now labeling websites as “mobile friendly” in the search results.
  • Unlike Google’s update, Bing is not privileging mobile-friendly sites. They say that relevant results are more important than mobile-friendly results. Non-friendly websites will still rank well if they have great content, just not as well as they could if they were also mobile optimized.
  • Bing will launch a tool to tell you whether your site counts as mobile friendly, but that tool is not live yet.

A Baffling Position

Some business owners got upset that Google was de facto forcing them to update their websites, and Bing’s “nice guy” approach is likely meant to avoid that kind of pushback. But the thing is, Google’s approach worked: it made more of us work with the technology consumers actually use, even if we came kicking and screaming the whole way. That means the internet works better for everyone, and that the most deserving businesses get a bigger share of the traffic.

If Bing wants to be the good cop to Google’s bad cop it’s hard to know why. They’re essentially promising their users less valuable search results, in order to appeal to the least technologically invested businesses. If they want to consolidate their position as the runner up in the search wars, they’re doing a great job.

Of course, this doesn’t mean going mobile friendly can fall to the bottom of the to do list. For one thing, most of your searches come from Google, and they’re much stricter than Bing. For another, even on Bing you will lose out to more mobile friendly competitors, assuming those competitors have the same quality content that you do.

Making your website mobile friendly is cheap and easy. To find out just how painless it is, let us give you a free consultation.