On the heels of Google’s Mobilegeddon update – which was intended to not-so-gently push websites toward becoming mobile friendly – Bing has announced its own mobile update. Unlike Google, Bing will slowly roll out the update in order to help websites make adjustments and receive feedback from website operators. Bing’s update represents more of a collaborative effort rather than a crackdown, which means big benefits for online stores. If your website is still scrambling to recover from Mobilegeddon, here are some changes you can implement in order to be labeled as a mobile friendly site according to Bing’s standards.
The Bing Label. One of the first new elements tested by Bing is a label that appears next to search engine results, easily indicating which sites are mobile friendly. After receiving positive feedback from both consumers and website operators, it looks like this new label is here to stay – at least for now. The question then becomes: how can sites go about earning this label and reaping the benefits of publishing a mobile friendly site?
Determining Whether Your Site is Mobile Friendly. Again, Bing is working with webmasters to help them prepare for this impending algorithm change. Later this summer, they will be offering a mobile friendly testing tool that will quickly analyze whether or not your site meets mobile standards. If the answer is no, it will also provide specific suggestions about things you can do to make your site easier to view on mobile devices.
What Factors Make a Site Mobile Friendly? While search engine algorithms tend to be cloaked in mystery, there are a handful of very clear characteristics that they will be examining in order to determine mobile friendliness. If you address these categories over the coming months, you will be able to head off any trouble and stay competitive in a search market that is increasingly mobile.
- Clickable buttons. How often have you tried to navigate a site on your phone and ended up clicking the wrong link because the buttons were too small or too close together? This can be especially frustrating if you are trying to make an online purchase and one click ends up emptying your cart, putting you back at square one.
Fat fingers aside, mobile friendly websites need to keep this factor in mind and ensure a clickable user experience, even for relatively small smartphones. This is especially important for online stores where customers aren’t just watching videos or browsing, but actually trying to buy specific items. Having to repeatedly use the back button to navigate to the intended page may result in customers leaving the site altogether.
- Scrollable design. A mobile friendly design may create a super long page that requires a lot of up and down scrolling, but this is far more desirable than having visitors also scroll from side to side. The less work they have to do to view your page, the better.
- Easy to view. In addition to a scrollable design, you also want to make sure that fonts and images don’t appear too small. A certain amount of zooming-in is to be expected, but your site should at least try to accommodate mobile devices.
This is an important design element for all websites, but especially for those selling products. If potential customers can’t zoom in for a closer view or read product specifications, they are much more likely to take their business elsewhere.
While you may be resistant to a search engine dictating how and when you update your site, these changes are in the best interest of both consumers and e-commerce sites. Fortunately, Bing is working directly with website designers to ensure the transition is as easy as possible for everyone involved. Since their mobile update announcement, Bing has sought the feedback of everyone involved, continuously making needed adjustments as the process continues toward a final deadline. The goal isn’t to punish websites and online stores, but to work together to offer a better product for consumers. Making your online store more mobile friendly will only help you in the long run, garnering you more visitors and increasing profits.