Where in the World is Googlebot? Google Now Crawls Locale-Adaptive Pages

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Google's crawlers can now handle locale-adaptive pages, the company announced yesterday.

Locale-adaptive pages dynamically serve different versions of a page to users depending on their language settings or IP location. Typically, locale adaptivity is used to provide users with local-specific content, or content in their own language.

Previously, Google would only see the US version of a page, according to Search Engine Land's Barry Schwartz.

In a joint announcement by software engineer Qin Yin and webmaster trends analyst Pierre Far, Google wrote:

Today we're introducing new locale-ware crawl configurations for Googlebot for pages that we detect may adapt the content they serve based on the request's language and perceived location."

They continued: "You may notice changes in how we crawl and show your site in Google search results without you altering your CMS or server settings."

The blog post also advises webmasters to continue to use rel=alternative hreflang annotations for locale-adaptive sites, as the company has previously recommended.

Google gives more details in its help page covering the new feature:

Currently, Googlebot recognizes a number of signals and hints to determine if your website serves locale-specific content:

  • Serving different content on the same URL—based on the user's perceived country (geolocation)
  • Serving different content on the same URL—based on the Accept-Language field set by the user's browser in the HTTP request header
  • Completely blocking access to requests from specific countries"

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