Google launched their mobile-friendly testing tool about one year ago, and Bing has finally made the same move (took long enough). We thought we were going to see a tool from Bing over the summer, so after much anticipation they finally announced the tool here. As you might expect, the new tool offers a free way for you to analyze your mobile website and see whether or not it is “mobile friendly” according to the Bing algorithm. Consider some of the key factors, what it means to be “mobile friendly” on Bing, and what it means to you below.
How the Bing Mobile Friendliness Tool Works and Getting Started
You’ll find that the tool works similarly to Google but with a few different criteria for evaluation. To get a general idea of how it all works and how your website is crawled and evaluated, consider the following quote from the Bing announcement:
“When you submit the URL of a page to be analyzed to the mobile-Friendliness Test tool, our Bing Mobile crawler fetches and renders the page, extracting important features that are used by the tool to determine how the page performs against each of the above factors. The outcomes are then aggregated into a consolidated mobile-friendliness verdict for the page.”
So that is generally and technically how it all works. To get more specific, the announcement outlined several points of what makes a webpage mobile friendly. The Tool will therefore run a check on all of the following factors:
- Viewport configuration. The viewport Meta tag has to be set with the content width equal to “device-width” in order for mobile-friendly pages to work well on different devices. Below is a sample given in the announcement:
<meta name=viewport content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1”>
- Zoom control. This check will let you know if users are able to zoom the page easily (because of your configuration of the viewport). Using the scale-related viewport settings should help make sure your pages are zoom-able.
- Width of page content. Your content width should not be larger than the width of the screen. Otherwise, users will be horizontally scrolling, which doesn’t make for a good user experience.
- Readability of text on the page. This has everything to do with font size to the viewport scaling. In other words, the average area occupied by text when someone zooms a page out to fit with the screen.
- Spacing of links and other elements on the page. This makes sure that your links and “tag targets” are large enough to click at maximum zoom out.
- Use of incompatible plug-ins. Something like Flash would be considered incompatible. If something used was not intended for a mobile screen, this could pull up an error message or have terrible user experience.
- Resources blocked by Robots.txt. The tool will also check for whatever might be blocked by robots.txt rules. In short, if you get this red flag when running your report you may need to update your robots.txt file, which you can learn more about here.
Just as with the Google tool, when you run the report of your website you will get recommendations for what you need to fix in order to become mobile-friendly. To get started, you simply visit this link and type in a URL. The screenshot below shows a report that I ran:
As you can see, I evaluated the website Will Run for Food and they got two green check marks but three red “x.” Once you know what each of the criteria means (see above points), then you can simply make the changes and improve your website. Again similarly to Google, all of the updates happen in real-time, so when you make a change you can simply run the free report again and see if the changes you made worked.
If you’re still not convinced about the importance of mobile on all search engines including Bing, I highly recommend checking out these statistics we gathered a few months ago. Then, give the tool a try and let us know what you think or if you have any questions below.