Google drops their feature phone crawler & error report in Search Console

Growth Hacking

Google has announced they have dropped support for crawling the web as a feature phone and has also removed the crawl error reports in Google Search Console.

Google said “most websites don’t provide feature-phone-compatible content in WAP/WML any more.” Google said that because of this change, they have “made changes in how we crawl feature-phone content.” 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 web sites in a text based interface.

Google won’t be using the feature-phone user-agents for crawling for search going forward. So you will no longer see those in your logs.

Which means that if you do have a feature phone support on your web site, you need to use “handheld” link annotations for dynamic serving of feature-phone content. Here is what that code looks like:

<link rel="alternate" media="handheld" href="[current page URL]" />

You can learn more about that in the updated documentation at Google’s developer site.

Finally, since Google is no longer crawling the web as a feature-phone, the crawl error reports for feature phones has gone away. Google said “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.”

Here is a before and after of that report, notice the “feature phone” option is gone now:





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