Googlebot Gets Smarter with Expanded Crawl Errors Feature
Today on the Google Official Google Webmaster Central Blog the availability of the Expanded Crawl Errors feature in Webmaster Tools to help webmasters identify pages on websites that show errors that only occurred when a website was crawled by Googlebot-mobile for smartphones (i.e. crawl errors that did not occur for Googlebot-desktop).
As smartphone usage continues to explode with users accessing more and more content from these devices, it is now more important than ever to ensure that your website performs for mobile users.
As can be seen by the above bar chart, a full 84% of Smartphone users in the US use conduct Google searches from their smartphones. This data should illustrate why the stakes are so high, both for Google and publishers.
The new Webmasters Tools Smartphone Errors Tab within the crawl errors page provides webmasters with a view of crawl errors specifically identified by Googlebot for smartphones.
Identifying Different Types of Smartphone Crawl Errors
The types of smarthphone errors that the Expanded Crawl Errors feature can help webmasters detect and then fix include:
- Server errors,
- Soft 404,
- Faulty redirect,
Identifying these kinds of common website configuration issues often encountered by smartphone users is now made easier by consolidating the information in the smartphone tab.
This goal of the Expanded Crawl Errors feature is to arm webmasters with the information they need to help ensure their websites can be made more responsive for smartphone searchers while optimizing content so that Google can better index it.
The end result for smartphone users is that they will be able to find the information they are searching for resulting in an enhanced mobile search experience.
The Cost of Not Getting Mobile Search Right
According to the feature announcement on the Google Webmaster Central Blog,
Some of these problems, detected by Googlebot as crawl errors, significantly hurt your website’s user experience and are the basis of some of our recently-announced ranking changes for smartphone search results.
In addition to negative impacts to Google search engine rankings, the cost of not addressing these kind of mobile configuration errors includes poor user experience, negative impact to brand.
Remember, the future of search is mobile. You know. I know it. Google for sure knows it. The Expanded Crawl Errors feature is designed to help webmasters identify and fix issues where searchers on smartphone receive an error or get redirected to an irrelevant page while non-mobile searchers are shown their desired content.
Now go forth and be responsive!
Here are some Google developer resources that readers may find helpful for building and maintain responsive websites optimized for smartphone users.
- Building Websites for Smartphone Users,
- How to Fix Website Errors Smartphone Users Typically Encounter.