While I believe it’s highly unlikely that you’ll experience this issue, you should understand how to identify it. Thankfully, it’s fairly simple and just requires a little work with the right tools.
And here is a text only view:
Note: The cache is not always truthful, and it does not show the exact version of a page that Google has indexed. You may see a view like this, but the crawled code of the indexed page will show that all the content has been rendered. The indexed crawl is gospel when it comes to what content is actually indexed.
And here’s what you should be seeing if Google had rendered the page:
How Do I diagnose this issue myself?
With that in mind, let’s take you through the process of how to identify something like this.
You can refer to our previous article on how to check to make sure everything is rendered correctly, so we’ll skip past those steps that should be taken when undergoing any rendering troubleshooting. Here are the new steps you can take to help diagnose an issue with user-agents receiving different files.
Now, set the user-agent to Chrome (or any standard user browser), and run the crawl again. No other settings should change. Again, emulate the code.
If you’ve emulated the code and compared the Bot user-agent Code with the Browser user-agent Code, you’d see that the regular Browser user-agent loaded all of the content, whereas the Bot user-agent did not.
At this point, you’d know that there is something odd happening when it comes to the different user-agent’s. Unless you have full control over a site, the server etc., you’ll need to go to the developers and ask them to look into the issue.
As stated before, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll run into an issue like this, but it doesn’t mean you won’t. Sites are typically set up so as to provide all user-agents with the same experience, but you never know when developers may start tinkering with things. It’s not wrong to serve different types of files to different UA’s, but it can lead to issues like the above. Hopefully this left you with one more method of troubleshooting at your disposal on the off chance that you experience such an issue.