This week Bing announced it will add its own mobile-friendliness algorithm to its search results, WordPress released a security update, Google added a new Search Analytics report for web developers, and the FCC denied delay of net neutrality rules.

Bing will roll out its own mobile-friendly algorithm in the upcoming months

This week Bing announced they would be following Google’s lead, but are taking a slightly different approach to mobile-friendly search rankings. Bing announced in November that they were investing in mobile-friendly pages, and have since added “Mobile-friendly” tags to relevant sites, resulting in positive user feedback. However, Bing will not be rolling out Mobilegeddon. Instead, the mobile-friendliness signal will focus on balancing mobile-friendly pages while continuing “to focus on delivering the most relevant results for a given query.” So pages that are not mobile-friendly will not be penalized, and users can expect sites that contain more relevant results to be shown before mobile-friendly ones with less relevant content.

Shyam Jayasankar, a spokesman for the Bing Mobile Relevance team said, “This is a fine balance and getting it right took a few iterations, but we believe we are now close.”

Mobile-friendliness detection will focus on several important factors, but highlighted some of the more important ones:

  • Easy navigation – links should be far enough apart to easily navigate and click the right one.
  • Readability – Text should be readable without requiring zooming or lateral scrolling.
  • Scrolling – sites should typically fit within device width
  • Compatibility – the site must only use content that is compatible for the device; i.e. no plugin issues, flash, copyright issues on content, etc.

Bing also mentioned considering pop-ups that make it difficult to view the core of the page as a ranking signal (oh please, oh please!). They also stressed that Bingbot mobile user agents must be able to access all the necessary CSS and script files required to determine mobile-friendliness, and that they were very interested in listening to feedback on the mobile ranking.

WordPress security update addresses additional security issues

WordPress rolled out its second security update this month to address a security flaw which affected millions of websites. The exploit comprised of the vector based icons, called Genericons, that are often included by default into WordPress sites and plugins (including the Twenty Fifteen theme). The flaw was pointed out by security researchers from Sucuri, a cloud-based security company, who noted that it may be a “bit harder to exploit” than other vulnerabilities , but could allow attackers to take control of the sites.
The flaw leaves websites open to a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability, similar to security risks we’ve seen WordPress address in the past month.
Make sure your site is up to date to keep it secure!

Google adds more precise data in their new Search Analytics report

Google has added a new feature to the Webmaster Tools to help website managers understand how users find your site as well as how the content will appear to them in Google search results. The new Search Analytics report contains data that is more recent and calculated differently from Google’s Search Queries results. The report was added to give users additional options for traffic analysis, allowing them more granularity with the ability to filter content and decompose search data for analysis. A fun example Google used to show off the new tool was a comparison of mobile traffic before and after the April 21st mobile update. The Search Queries report will remain available in Google Webmaster Tools for three more months to allow webmasters to get adjusted.

FCC refuses to delay net neutrality rules

USTelecom, AT&T, and CenturyLink jointly filed a petition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to stay the FCC’s Open Internet order. USTelecom president Walter McCormick explained that they are “seeking to stay this ill-conceived order’s reclassification of broadband service as a public utility service.” The FCC denied the petition, refusing to delay net neutrality rules. Digital rights group, Public Knowledge, commended the decision, arguing that the reclassification would enable the FCC to enforce consumer protections in the future. Several groups have filed separate lawsuits, bringing the total number of lawsuits filed challenging net neutrality regulations to 10. This week, Free Press and New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) filed a motion to intervene in the legal challenges against the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules. In the motion, Free Press stated that they “rely on an open Internet to communicate with its members, activists, allies and the public in furtherance of its mission.” and therefore were considered a “party in interest in the proceeding”.