Friday, December 2, 2016

Google Drops Their Feature Phone Crawler & Error Report in Search Console

No Feature Phone Crawler & Error Report Available in Google Search Console
November 29, 2016 Google Announced Goodbye to Content Keywords, Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Wrote on Webmaster Central Blog that they're doping Google's feature-phone crawling & indexing in Search Console. Although there are probably a lot of feature phones around, I wonder how many people actually use search with a feature-phone.

No surprise there, This does not impact how Google crawls or indexes smartphone content, just feature phones. Feature phones are those old Nokia phones that let you access websites in a text-based interface.

Google said that “Limited mobile devices, "feature-phones", require a special form of markup or a transcoder for web content. Most websites don't provide feature-phone-compatible content in WAP/WML any more".
"We won't be using the feature-phone user-agents for crawling for search going forward."
It Means, Google Bot won’t be using the feature-phone user-agents for crawling for search going forward. So you will no longer see those in Search Console logs.
Use "handheld" link annotations for dynamic serving of feature-phone content.
Some sites provide content for feature-phones through dynamic serving, based on the user's user-agent. To understand this configuration, make sure your desktop and smartphone pages have a self-referential alternate URL link for handheld (feature-phone) devices:  
<link rel="alternate" media="handheld" href="[current page URL]" /> 
 This is a change from our previous guidance of only using the "vary: user-agent" HTTP header. We've updated our documentation on making feature-phone pages accordingly. We hope adding this link element is possible on your side, and thank you for your help in this regard. We'll continue to show feature-phone URLs in search when we can recognize them, and when they're appropriate for users.
It means, that if you do have a feature phone support on your website, you need to use “handheld” link annotations for dynamic serving of feature-phone content.
We're retiring feature-phone tools in Search Console:
Without the feature-phone Googlebot, special sitemaps extensions for feature-phone, the Fetch as Google feature-phone options, and feature-phone crawl errors are no longer needed. We continue to support sitemaps and other sitemaps extensions (such as for videos or Google News), as well as the other Fetch as Google options in Search Console.
"We've worked to make these changes as minimal as possible. Most websites don't serve feature-phone content, and wouldn't be affected. If your site has been providing feature-phone content, we thank you for your help in bringing the Internet to feature-phone users worldwide!" Posted by John Mueller, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst.
This is a change from previous documentation for feature-phones of only using the "vary: user-agent" HTTP header. Feature-phone tools are going to disappear from the search console.

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