How can I see what Googlebot renders?

Modified on Thu, 09 May 2024 at 10:13 AM

This support document describes the process of loading a page as Googlebot. The article assumes you'll be using Chrome, but most browsers should have a similar functionality. 


Scenarios for Rendering a WebPage as GoogleBot

Loading a page as Googlebot can be useful for the following scenarios:

  • Confirming deployment when using Robots Only
    A critical part of the Schema App process is confirming that JSON-LD is being loaded on your page. Viewing a page as Googlebot can be one method of confirmation.
  • Using a dynamic rendering solution, e.g.
    As Google Search docs describe, dynamic rendering means switching between client-side rendered and pre-rendered content for specific user agents. This means the JavaScript content is loaded on a server side and only the results (rendered) are sent to the client.
  • Validating what is being rendered for Googlebot
    There might be a discrepency in what's rendered for a user versus for a bot. One strategy for troubleshooting this is loading the page as Googlebot sees it. 

How To Load a WebPage as Googlebot

If you want to test locally in your browser it is possible to alter the user agent for these purposes. 

Step 1: Open Developer Tools and Select Network Conditions

In Google Chrome, open the developer tools (CMD|CTRL+SHIFT+I) and navigate to the Hamburger Menu on the right side of the screen. Select "More Tools" > "Network Conditions". 

Step 2: Select your preferred User Agent (Typically GoogleBot) and Disable Caching

Once you click on Network Conditions, panel should appear at the very bottom of your window. Under "Network conditions" you can set the user agent. For most cases choosing Googlebot will show you the results. You can test your own user agents as well by selecting custom. 

Be sure to select the "Disable Cachine" tickbox, to ensure that the scripts fire when you refresh and re-load the page. Not doing so can result in scripts being present (visible) but not functional (not deploying JSON-LD to the live URL). 

Step 3: Reload the Page

Refresh the page to ensure your user agent changes are reflected. Note that if you close the Dev Tools panel, your user agent will revert to the browser default.

Tools for Frequent Switchers

If you find yourself switching User Agent often, you may want to install a plugin that gives you quicker access.  A plugin like User-Agent Switcher for Chrome makes it easier to change agent at the click of a button:

However, you do have to do a little extra initial legwork to set it up with the specifics of the agents you want to spoof.  So this tool is only worthwhile if you think you'll be switching agent more than once.

If you do go down this route, please check out the list of google bot User Agents for details you can copy and paste into your User-Agent Switcher plugin configuration.

Was this article helpful?

That’s Great!

Thank you for your feedback

Sorry! We couldn't be helpful

Thank you for your feedback

Let us know how can we improve this article!

Select atleast one of the reasons
CAPTCHA verification is required.

Feedback sent

We appreciate your effort and will try to fix the article