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Will Googlebot Speak HTTP/2 Soon?

by | Sep 20, 2020 | Structured Data

Google recently dropped a bomb stating that Googlebot will soon speak the HTTP/2 language. 

What does this mean? It means that Google will soon support crawling over HTTP/2 websites. Google confirmed this upgrade by announcing it on their Twitter Handle.

The new update can confuse you and lead you to scratch your head in wonder! No need to worry as this blog post will clear all the confusion in your head!

 We will be answering all possible questions concerning updates and will also be giving our take on it. So Let Us Get Started!

  1. What Is Google’s Latest Announcement?

     Google recently announced that Googlebot is   learning the HTTP/2 language and will soon support crawling over HTTP/2 for selected websites. This new update is going to begin from Mid November 2020.

  1. What Exactly Is HTTP/2?

   Created in 2015 by the IETF’s HTTP working group, HTTP/2 is the successor to HTTP network protocol and is a binary protocol which includes features like server push, header compression, multiplexing and concurrency that makes crawling of websites easy and efficient. HTTP/2 has three main goals: make the website crawling process simple, full of high performance and robust. The architecture and features of HTTP/2 are what makes the said goals achievable.

  1. How Will This Process Be initiated?

    Currently, Google has only stated information    related to Phase 1 of the process. The phase 1 will see Googlebot crawling over h2 for a few websites. The selection will be made depending upon whether your website supports h2 and if your website and Googlebot will benefit from crawling over HTTP/2. Websites servers who only talk HTTP/1.1  need not worry as there is no clear drawback for not using the said protocol and crawling process will not affect them in any way.

  1. Why  Is Googlebot Learning To Speak HTTP/2?

   Googlebot is aware of the fact that constant change  and update is the only way to improve and survive. Crawling over HTTP/2 will make server resource usage efficient. With HTTP/2, Googlebot instead of requiring multiple connections will open a single TCP connection to the server for transferring multiple files. This will lead to fewer open connections which will help Googlebot save many of its resources.

  1. How HTTP/2 Protocol Going To Be Better Than Its Predecessor HTTP/1?

HTTP/2 protocol is a binary protocol which has many benefits. It consumes less bandwidth, is less prone to errors than HTTP/1.1 and is efficiently passed and multiplexed in nature this means that it can create multiple requests parallely over a single TCP connection. This is what gives HTTP/2 an edge over HTTP/1.1

  1. Is It Necessary For All Website Servers To Upgrade Themselves To The HTTP/2 Protocol?

The choice is yours. If your website attracts visitors using up-to-date browsers, then you should update your server to HTTP/2. Googlebot will switch to crawling over h2 sites which will benefit from this process, if there are no benefits for crawling over h2 then Googlebot will continue to crawl over h1. So the choice is yours.

  1. Do Websites That Are Crawled Over HTTP/2 Have A Higher SEO Ranking Than Websites Using HTTP/1.1 As Their Server?

Websites crawling over h2 do not have a higher SEO ranking than websites that use HTTP/1.1 as their server.

  1.   What Are The Prominent HTTP/2 Features That Are Supported By Googlebot?

      HTTP/2 has prominent features like:

  1.  Multiplexing & Crawling: The feature will use a single or few TCP connections leading to spending a few resources.
  2.  Header Compressions: The feature will further save resources by drastically reducing header sizes.
  3.  Server Push: The feature is its evolution phase so no specific comments can be made about it yet.
  1.  How Will Website Owners Know That Their Site Is  Crawled Over h2 And Can They Forcefully Upgrade To h2?

If a site becomes eligible for crawling over h2, the owner of the website registered in the Search Console gets a message stating the same. The website owner can also check in their server logs for the same. Website owners cannot force Googlebot for crawling over h2. Googlebot crawls over h2 only when it is beneficial for the website and the Googlebot.

  1. What Test Do Website Owners Have To Use To Know Whether Or Not Their Site Supports h2?

Many tools and ways are using which website owners can check whether or not their website supports h2 Online tools, chrome extension named claire, a command-line tool called is-http2 and many other tools can be used for site support tests.

  1. Why Is Googlebot Not Crawling Over Every h2  Enabled Website?

Google has stated clearly that only those websites that Googlebot will crawl over h2 of only those websites that benefit from it. This is the reason for not crawling over every h2 enabled website.

  1. Does Googlebot Speak Plaintext HTTP/2 (h2c)? 

Only those websites that use HTTPS and Support HTTP/2 will be eligible for crawling.

  1. Can Website Owners Opt-Out Of This New Update?

        Yes, they can. Website owners can do this by instructing their servers to respond with a 421 HTTP Status Code every time Googlebot attempts to crawl their site over h2. If this method feels tedious and is not possible for them, then they can send a message to the Googlebot team.

Our Thoughts…

Googlebot speaking HTTP/2 will generate many benefits. Simply put, it will make website crawling SIMPLE, EFFICIENT AND ROBUST. It will also require either a few or a single TCP connection which will use many resources of the Googlebot and also make server crawling faster. Since this update is yet to be released we cannot point out its negatives. Google’s preliminary tests have not shown any negative impact on the site indexing process. So it is too soon to state negatives.

We do feel that Googlebot learning to speak H2 will modernise the crawling process and make it futuristic, simpler and faster.

Nirlep & Dharmesh

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