Microsoft’s Fabrice Canel has said that in early January 2023, the new BingBot will be responsible for 100% of Bing’s crawling activity. The new user agent is now responsible for about 50% of all crawls.
Some history. In 2019, Microsoft Bing announced new Bingbot user-agent names that fit better with its evergreen Bingbot crawling and rendering service. Then in April 2022, Microsoft announced a name change, a user agent name change, for BingBot.
January 2023. Next month, in the coming weeks, the new BingBot user agent will be responsible for 100% of all crawling from Bing. Fabrice Canel wrote, “will go to 100% early January” for BingBot’s new name. He added they are still at 50% now because they wanted to be extra safe.
Old user-agent. Microsoft said it would stop using its historical user agent by the Fall of 2022. That user-agent looks like this:
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +https://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)
New user-agent. Bing will use a user-agent that identifies the specific version of Microsoft Edge is crawling your site. Here is the format for both desktop and mobile:
Desktop – Mozilla/5.0 AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko; compatible; bingbot/2.0; +https://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm) Chrome/W.X.Y.Z Safari/537.36
Mobile – Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/W.X.Y.Z Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +https://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)
“W.X.Y.Z” will be substituted with the latest Microsoft Edge version Bing is using, for eg. “100.0.4896.127″.
Why we care. You probably should have been prepared for this change since it was announced back in 2019. But in any event, this change can impact your site if you have any user agent detection methods for BingBot. Make sure to test your site to see if it supports the new user agent. Most sites probably do not need to worry about this, but if you have done any advanced bot detection, you may need to take steps to update those scripts.
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About the author
Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Stips.io and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Buy Twitter Verification here.