This latest move by Bing is further evidence that users around the world are increasingly surfing the Internet using their mobile devices, instead of their desktop computers. The signs are certainly there. About a week ago, Google has confirmed that searches done on mobile devices have surpassed those made on personal computers in 10 countries, including major mobile markets like the United States and Japan. With the changing trends in viewing web content, Google, the most popular search engine in the world, had to adapt to the changes by updating its search algorithms to better portray which websites are accessed the most by users.
As for Bing, it is going the same route as Google but at a less dramatic fashion. Apart from starting to tag select search results with a "mobile friendly" label, Microsoft's search engine is now also looking to enhance the rankings for web pages that are optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
Compared to Bing's approach, Google's is more direct. Google is actually penalizing websites that have not yet been optimized for mobile viewing. In other words, web pages whose text is still not readable without tapping and zooming, or those sites that feature horizontal scrolling or unplayable video content will be flagged by Google.
Bing is not penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly. As a matter of fact, it will still display the most relevant search results, even if they are not optimized for mobile users (the content's relevance, after all, is still the most important determining factor, regardless of its mobile friendliness). But Bing does tend to rank mobile friendly pages higher than those that are not, and of course, the "mobile friendly" label does help users identify which search results they can view easier using their mobile devices.
As far as timelines are concerned, Bing has not announced any projected lead time for the deployment of the mobile friendly updates to its search ranking algorithms, only hinting that the process may take several months to complete.
All well and good for Bing as well as Google, but what does this mean for website owners and developers? The answer is obvious, of course. People or teams who create and maintain websites are now compelled more than ever to make their content easily viewable on mobile devices. Whether they accept it or not, it appears that the web really is going more mobile in the years to come.
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