What is Fetch & Render with Googlebot?

When working on building up the best website, you think so much about what your audience wants and needs. If you’re an e-commerce site you try and make your descriptions as optimized as possible while simultaneously providing information on how great your product is. If you’re an information site, you try to make your site easy to navigate and understand. You can generally tell if you’re doing a good job at making your website worthy of your audience by going through Analytics and looking at a few metrics like bounce rate, sessions, and click-through rate.

But as any good SEO knows, the people visiting your website aren’t the only ones you need to appeal to, you have another audience–search engines, particularly Google. One way that you can use Google Search Console to your advantage is the Google Fetch feature in Search Console.

Google Fetch is a feature in Google’s Search Console that allows you to check specific URLs on your website to see if they are working properly or to see if you have any hangups on your site that need fixing in order to improve.

Using Fetch as Googlebot

  1. Open Google Search Console and make sure you are logged in to the correct account.
  2. Under “Crawl” select “Fetch as Google”
  3. Enter the specific URL path that you are wanting to Google to fetch. For example, if you wanted to search for http://www.examplesite.com/blog/google-search, requesting blog/google-search would fetch that page.
  4. Choose the specific Googlebot your want to do the searching (either Desktop or Smartphone).

Fetching and Rendering as Googlebot

Performing a Google Fetch and Render does more than just let you see if your web page is free of errors and mistakes, it lets you take your Fetch to the next level by letting you see the page as you see it, compared to how Google sees it during a crawl.

To do this, Googlebot takes all of the HTML, JavaScript, CSS and other codes and files that it understands to present to you a visual layout of the page that you have requested. Presented next to your browser’s view of the page, you can see if there are any differences that you need to address in order to have Googlebot crawl the page you want it crawled.

Desktop vs Smartphone Fetch and Render

As previously mentioned, Search Console’s Fetch and Render option allows you to see how your webpage appears on Google as opposed to how it looks for you. But as you probably know, desktop coding doesn’t necessarily always translate to mobile. Some plugins try to streamline the process, but that doesn’t always do the trick. By specifying the “Smartphone” option when using the Fetch and Render tool, you can check to see if smartphones can properly pull up your page’s content in addition to Google. If the page pulls up properly, great! If not, go through the error codes provided by the Fetch and make necessary changes.

Requesting a Page Indexing After a Fetch

Once you have completed a Fetch or Fetch and Render request, you can request Google to index that page. This feature will have Google going through your page and indexing the content of your webpage. If you recently optimized a webpage and don’t want to wait until Google’s crawlers make their way back to your website, this is a great way to get that new page on Google’s radar. Indexing is an extremely powerful feature that can absolutely help you make the best of Search Console and its features.

Like any great free tool, Fetch as Googlebot only allows a certain amount of indexing requests. Currently, Google Search Console allows 500 individual URL requests and 10 requests for not just the initial URL requested, but all the direct links from that pages.

When You Should Use Fetch as Google

The best time to use the Fetch as Google tool is after you’ve added some new content to a webpage. When you add new content, especially when that content is meant to help bolster the quality of a page, you want Google to know that your page now contains that new content. That fresh indexing of your page can make a huge difference.

Once again, Fetch as Googlebot is an extremely powerful tool that can help you to gain complete control of your website and make sure that you are putting your best foot forward to search engines.

Brandon Treadway
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