Marketing 2 min read

Googlebot Now Crawling Sites Over the new H2 Protocol

Mudassar Iqbal /

Mudassar Iqbal /

Google is notifying site owners who have upgraded their request-response protocol that the Googlebot is currently crawling their sites over the new H2 protocol.

What is HTTP/2

HTTP/2, also known as H2, is the next major version of HTTP. As in the regular HTTP, H2 is also used for transferring data. However, it’s significantly more robust, efficient, and faster due to its architecture. HTTP/2 also implements some unique features on browsers and servers.

The new H2 protocol requires fewer server resources than the older HTTP/1.1 protocol. As a result, the Googlebot would be able to crawl sites efficiently, even when the server is under heavy-duty load.

In September 2020, Google announced that the Googlebot would start crawling some sites over HTTP/2. Now, it appears that the search giant is making good on its promise.

A few days ago, Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted about Google’s notice to site owners about crawling over the H2 protocol.

Illyes tweet reads:

“Just pressed the button to send a large batch of messages to sites which have been opted in to HTTP2 crawling. If something is not clear, follow the link in the message.”

Note that Google sent the notification to only select site owners.

Google Won’t Crawl All Sites Over H2 Protocol

Another tweet from Illyes suggested that Googlebot’s HTTP/2 crawling is slowly coming online. So, while publishers may have received the notice yesterday, the process could take a while.

Also, Googlebot will not switch to the new HTTP/2 protocol when there’s no clear benefit for the site.

According to Google:

“In our evaluations we found little to no benefit for certain sites (for example, those with very low qps) when crawling over h2. Therefore, we have decided to switch crawling to h2 only when there’s clear benefit for the site.”

The search giant points out that it could change the criteria for switching in the future.

Crawling with HTTP/2 depends on whether you set up your server to handle the new protocol. However, you can check here if you’re unsure.

Read More: Google Adds News Performance Report to Search Console

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