It can be bit complicated for websites with a high number of smartphone visitors to figure out issues like 404 errors when only smartphone visitors or desktop users may be affected. Often, users don’t realize there is a problem because the majority of the time, they’re doing troubleshooting and maintenance from a desktop computer; they just don’t notice the mobile issues unless someone specifically alerts them.
Google Webmaster Tools realizes this is an issue, especially with mobile traffic increasing at such a rapid rate. They’ve made some changes to their crawl errors page to include specific smartphone crawl errors that the Googlebot-Mobilebot discovers while crawling the web as a mobile useragent.
Pierre Far, a webmaster trends analysts, has announced that webmasters can now find a wide range of crawl information and errors for smartphones:
- Server errors: A server error is when Googlebot got an HTTP error status code when it crawled the page.
- Not found errors and soft 404s: A page can show a “not found” message to Googlebot, either by returning an HTTP 404 status code or when the page is detected as a soft error page.
- Faulty redirects: A faulty redirect is a smartphone-specific error that occurs when a desktop page redirects smartphone users to a page that is not relevant to their query. A typical example is when all pages on the desktop site redirect smartphone users to the homepage of the smartphone-optimized site.
- Blocked URLs: A blocked URL is when the site’s robots.txt explicitly disallows crawling by Googlebot for smartphones. Typically, such smartphone-specific robots.txt disallow directives are erroneous. You should investigate your server configuration if you see blocked URLs reported in Webmaster Tools.
The mobile crawlers are already live in Webmaster Tools. Simply log into your account, click on “Crawl Errors” under the “Crawl” submenu, and select the smartphone tab to view any crawl errors from your website.