Home > Blog > How Does Bing’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Differ From Mobile-First?

October 22, 2018

How Does Bing’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Differ From Mobile-First?

For those of us navigating through the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, Google’s movement towards mobile-first indexing has completely changed the way we design, develop and optimise sites. The increasing focus on mobile-friendly content has devastated traditional SEO practices, creating a need for all webmasters and SEOs to start adapting their methods as a result – but is it all Google’s doing?

While Google is currently the leading search engine with 82.85% of the total market share in 2018 so far, other competitors like Bing, Yahoo and MSN all have their very own algorithms and navigating these can prove beneficial for attracting leads from another pool of users. Bing in particular announced a brand new mobile-friendly update not too dissimilar to Google’s own changes. While there was no timeframe set for how quickly this would be rolled out, keeping on top of the updated regulations could prove beneficial to a site – but where can you start?

What Is Bing’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm?

Bing’s mobile-friendly algorithm update is similar to mobile-first in that it has brought about a focus on mobile-friendly sites as a ranking factor. In a blog release by the company back in 2014, they stated that:

“Traditionally, Bing wasn’t heavily relying on specific device and platform signals to provide web results… you would get similar results on your PC, Mac or smartphone.”

The blog discussed challenges, potential changes for the future and declared that the company would be taking webmaster response into consideration with any further changes that would be made. Their mobile ranking techniques are said to be the following:

  • The identification of mobile and device-friendly web pages
  • The analysis of web documents from a mobile point-of-view, including content compatibility, content readability and mobile functionality
  • More mobile-friendly URLs would be included once again in the SERPs
  • Results pages would then be ranked using all of the above in conjunction with one another.

While this isn’t too dissimilar to Google, one thing that did seem to be clear initially was that while Google was focusing on mobile sites as a leading ranking factor in general, Bing’s focus was on device-specific results pages.

Relevancy Or User Friendly?

As mentioned before, Bing’s leading focus for mobile-friendliness seems to rest in relevancy, while Google’s focus seems to be the mobile-ready nature of a site. The update blog released by Bing discussed relevancy factors at length, as well as providing an insight into their plans for focusing on mobile friendly search results in the future. Nowadays, far more users are searching using mobile than with desktop on Bing and as a result, determining the relevancy of results is crucial to improved user experience.

By removing sites that were not mobile friendly from the SERPs of mobile devices, being able to better determine which pages would be beneficial for users was made much simpler. For example, Bing’s update would bring the mobile versions of a site to the forefront in the SERPs. An IMDB page for an actor would be listed as ‘m.imdb.com/…’ on mobile as opposed to ‘www.imdb.com/…’ which ultimately gave users a much better insight as to whether a web page was likely to be readable and easily navigable before they’d even clicked.

However, Google does precisely the same thing, so what makes it different? Well, this is where the true measurement of relevancy comes in. While Google’s focus on E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) and, of course, the ongoing crawling for high-quality content has penalised low-quality websites accordingly, Bing’s updates may be focusing a little more liberally on how relevant a website is. This was more of an issue earlier on in the mobile-friendliness battle, as fewer sites were mobile-friendly than we see today.

Instead, most companies, webmasters and other organisations are focusing on providing an easy mobile experience and as a result, we’re seeing Bing and Google’s algorithms run far more parallel than before.

The Label

While Bing and Google’s algorithms are often bringing up similar results to one another, the way that these are listed is still different. For Google, there is no label, with the exception of the ‘m’ subdomain but for Bing, things are made a little simpler. If mobile-friendliness is a key focus for a user, they can browse the results and select only web pages with a very clear ‘mobile’ label.

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With Google’s mobile-first indexing, this label is arguably not a necessary feature. Users can trust that the websites they are opting for are mobile-friendly and ready for their use. On Bing, however, due to a focus on relevancy as well as mobile-friendliness, this particular label may prove useful.

The Tools

Both Bing and Google’s updates come with a useful tool for testing the mobile friendly nature of your site. Each will run a crawl of a URL without any cost or log in requirement in order for you to better assess whether or not your website is ready for the new algorithm changes. Let’s take Amazon, for example:

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

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Bing’s Mobile Friendliness Test Tool

img4Both Bing and Google offer advice as to whether a page is loading slowly, had limited features available to use on the site and more, but it appears that Google is more sensitive to these than Bing. For Amazon, Google lists Amazon as having ‘page loading issues’, claiming that not all page resources could be loaded. Bing doesn’t offer this analysis, though it’s unclear as to whether this is due to the tests.

While Google dominates the world of search with consistent updates and a huge share of the market, Bing has certainly been doing its part to keep up with the changing times. Through offering a mobile-friendly ranking criteria that focuses on relevancy as a key factor, they have produced something very similar to Google’s own mobile-first indexing while still offering a unique twist on how they approach the mobile age. Regardless, webmasters, SEOs and businesses alike need to start adapting their sites for mobile use in order to appease any search engine, if they haven’t done so already.

If you need support in adapting your website for mobile, feel free to get in touch with the team here at Absolute Digital Media for more information.

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Author:

Ben Austin

With a solid background in the sales and finance industry, Ben was inspired by the possibilities of SEO after propelling his own website to search engine success. With a natural flair for digital marketing and a strong work ethic, his entrepreneurial streak soon took over, leading to the birth of Absolute Digital Media.

Naturally ambitious by nature, Ben didn’t stop here, instead pushing the business to new heights, offering a wider range of services to more and more clients. He is now proud to employ a number of SEO, PPC, web design, social media, copywriting and marketing professionals and is driven by all things digital marketing. His passion and persistence have led the company to multiple awards and accolades, such as the company being announced as in the Top 100 Independent Agencies in the UK by The Drum Independent Agencies Census and finalists of the UK Biddable Awards and RAR Digital Awards in 2017. When he’s not busy leading the company on new ventures, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife and children.


Email b.austin@absolutedigitalmedia.com

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