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Bingbot Search Engine Bot Posing as an iPhone?

by Brian Rideout • October 02, 2015

bingAt BANG! we all about performance and making sure everything is working properly. So every time an error of some kind happens on a site the developer for the project get's an e-mail alerting them. Got a really strange one triggered by the Microsoft Bing "bingbot" indexing a site. Now it's not unusual to get errors from bingbot in fact, if you are reading this bing, please stop browsing pages without the ID attached to the URL... it's not going to work!

But this error was different. In the error message we always get what Web browser, or in this case bot is being used when the error is triggered. Typically it looks like this...

Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)

But today it had a whole different browser identity...

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 7_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/537.51.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/7.0 Mobile/11A465 Safari/9537.53 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)

Whoa! iPhone? Mac OS X? What's going on? But reading a little farther we see the magic clue Mobile. I suspect (just my opinion here) that bingbot is hitting the sites looking like an iPhone to test mobile friendliness, i.e. "Does this site respond differently if I view it from a phone?" That's a whole lot easier to believe than Microsoft and Apple jumping into bed together. Guess Bing is getting as serious as Google about checking for mobile friendly sites. And if Google and Bing (therefore Yahoo) are this serious about a mobile friendly site, shouldn't you be too? You can read a great introduction to Responsive Web Design right here on our website. Have questions after reading it? Contact Us to discuss how important and how easy it is to have a mobile friendly website.
 

About the Author

Brian Rideout is the Chief Pixel Pusher of BANG! Web Site Design. A veteran in the industry (sounds better than saying he's old) he's been helping businesses succeed in the game of Internet Marketing since 1996.

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