Track Smartphone Crawl Errors in Google Webmaster Tools
December 5, 2013
Google recently announced that there is a new filter within the crawl errors section of Google Webmaster Tools which allows users to track smartphone crawl errors. Many webmasters out there can already attest to the value of the crawl errors tool for fixing broken links on desktop sites. However, with more and more internet users move towards accessing websites via their smartphones, this is incredibly useful tool can now help webmasters assess and address mobile website performance issues.
In many cases, these crawl errors are the result of smartphone-optimized websites that are misconfigured and do not show users the information they are seeking. Smartphone users that experience these problems are either shown an error page or are redirected to an irrelevant page. In a recent Google+ post, Pierre Far who handles Google’s smartphone Webmaster topics says these crawl errors can “hurt your site’s user experience and can affect your site’s ranking.” This new crawl error function points webmasters in the right direction to get these errors fixed.
There are four main types of smartphone crawl errors that are identified with the new filter. They are as follows:
- Server errors: A Googlebot encountered an HTTP error status code when it crawled the page.
- Not found errors and soft 404s: The page can shows a “not found” message to Googlebot, either by returning an HTTP 404 status code or detecting the page as a soft error page.
- Faulty redirects: This is an error specific to smartphones occuring when a desktop page redirects smartphone users to a page irrelevant to their search query.
- Blocked URLs: These occur when a website’s robots.txt explicitly disallows crawling by Googlebot for smartphones.
Identifying these problems with Google Webmaster Tools’ smartphone crawl errors filter is only the first step. In the case of 404 or faulty redirects, it may just be a matter of setting up a redirect to the proper relevant or smartphone-optimized page. Blocked URLs can be resolved by allowing the Googlebot to crawl smartphones. For more information on fixing these errors, check out the Google Developer page for common mistakes with smartphone sites here.
So next time you’re in your website’s Google Webmaster Tools, take some extra time to check out the smartphone tab in crawl errors. Your mobile visitors will appreciate it!