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Bing Strives Toward Mobile Friendliness

Perhaps in an effort to keep up with Google’s new mobile-friendly labels in its search results, Bing is also taking some time to discuss the importance of mobile to search.

Though back in March Bing’s mobile search results weren’t any different from those you’d see on desktop, Microsoft’s chief executive (CEO) Satya Nadella spoke then about our “mobile-first, cloud-first” world. Since then, Bing has taken to using device-specific crawlers that probe websites to gauge the user experience and inform algorithms on various devices and platforms. In other words, mobile friendliness.

According to comScore research, the number of mobile Web users has been on a steady increase, jumping from 400 million in 2007 to nearly 1.8 billion in 2014. comScore expects this year to be the first in which mobile Web usage is expected to surpass that of desktop, despite mobile’s inherent difficulties. Those include the difficulty of typing URLs correctly on a tiny phone keyboard, sites that aren’t optimized for mobile with tiny fonts or Flash pages, and the frequency with which URLs redirect users to mobile versions. All of these challenges are taken into account when Bing ranks pages on its mobile searches.

The rankings are based on general mobile friendliness, taking into consideration factors like content compatibility, content readability, and mobile functionality. Since different devices don’t automatically direct users to the appropriately optimized page, Bing recommends responsive Web design and granting its crawlers access.

“The recent update marks the beginning of our journey toward increased mobile relevance and is now improving a small but steadily growing percentage of our mobile queries,” wrote Mir Rosenberg, principal program manager, in a blog post, promising more enhancements in the near future.

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