Microsoft has recently added an interesting feature to the mobile version of its ‘Bing’ search engine. If a site is mobile-friendly, Bing now adds a discreet label to the site’s description that lets web-users know that they can use the site comfortably on their mobile phones. Google already has a very similar feature, so Bing is ‘playing catch-up’ to a certain extent. But what might be the greater significance of Microsoft’s decision to include a ‘mobile friendly’ label in its search engine’s results?
Google implemented its version of the ‘mobile friendly’ label last year. Shortly after it went into effect, the company announced its intention to introduce a more significant feature: a ranking algorithm that favours mobile-friendly sites – this came into effect on the 21st April. As a result, one might reasonably speculate that Microsoft intends to bring a similar algorithm into effect for its search engine. After all, if its ‘mobile friendly’ label is an imitation of Google’s, it would make sense for the company to mimic the second part of its rival’s strategy as well. Mobile phones are an increasingly important part of the internet landscape: an ever-increasing number of customers use their phones to search the web every day. As such, it’s perfectly logical for Microsoft to follow in Google’s footsteps and prioritise mobile-friendly sites in their search results.
But what does this mean for online marketers? Google and Bing both now utilise a ‘mobile friendly’ label and it’s highly likely that Bing will soon join its rival in using mobile-friendly ranking algorithms. As such, ensuring that your site is compatible with mobile platforms has never been more important. If you want to give your website the best chance of survival in the shifting online landscape, you need to make sure it’s easy to access and use on mobile phones.
The shift towards mobile-centric results pages and search algorithms is inevitable. What’s more, it’s been inevitable for quite some time. After all, search companies can’t be expected to ignore the ever-growing ubiquity of web-connective phones in our society. As such, Microsoft isn’t doing anything unexpected by introducing a ‘mobile friendly’ label to Bing: the company is simply updating its search engine to accommodate the changing way in which people access the web. Microsoft is evolving and, if you want your site to thrive, you should evolve too!