Last week Google announced mobile first indexing for the whole web. My mind goes to: what kind of mobile?
We talk about “mobile” and “desktop” in very broad terms. Within the world of “mobile” there is a large range of capabilities. I want to know specifics.
First stop, the list of Google crawlers. That provides details on
Googlebot ( Smartphone ):
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/W.X.Y.Z‡ Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
We are looking at
Android 6.0.1 on a Nexus 5X. A four year old operating system on a four year old device.
The version of Chrome isn’t specifically given, however, they have been pushing to index using evergreen Chrome. Looking through my own web server logs, that isn’t the case yet, at least not for mobile. Here is the full user agent string I’m seeing:
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2272.96 Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
Going back to Chrome 41.0.2272.96, a five year old browser.
What does all this mean?
If you want your site to provide a good “Googlebot experience”, your ideal test setup will include an old phone using an old version of Chrome. Most people won’t keep an old copy of Chrome around, so the only variable you will be able to control for is the old phone part.