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Microsoft joins Google in prioritising mobile-friendly websites

Microsoft has announced that it will be prioritising websites that are friendly to mobile browsing in its Bing browser.

The Bing web browser recently started tagging search results with “Mobile-friendly” to highlight which ones have been optimised for smartphone viewing.

Now Microsoft is taking things a step further, and mobile-friendliness will be implemented as a signal in ranking.

What does this mean, exactly? It means that websites that have been properly designed to be easily viewable on mobile devices will receive a leg up in the search rankings – they’re more likely to be found further up the search results page than before.

This move echoes that of search market leader Google, which implemented a similar mobile-oriented tweak to its algorithms last month.

However, Microsoft insists that it has taken a balanced approach to such tweaking, with the focus remaining on the relevance of the link to the search query.

“This means that for mobile searches on Bing, you can always expect to see the most relevant results for a search query ranked higher, even if some of them are not mobile-friendly,” Microsoft says on the Bing blog.

“While the changes will improve ranking for mobile-friendly pages, webpages that are highly relevant to the given query that are not yet mobile-friendly will not get penalised.”

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Factors determining “mobile friendliness” in Microsoft’s mind include the ease of navigation (clear layout and big chunky buttons), readability, scrolling (preferably vertical), and compatibility.

These mobile friendliness ranking changes for Bing will be rolled out over the coming months.