Google announced they are retiring GoogleBot-News and will be now using exclusively GoogleBot for crawling Google News content.
Google News recently updated our infrastructure to crawl with Google's primary user-agent, Googlebot. What does this mean? Very little to most publishers. Any news organizations that wish to opt out of Google News can continue to do so: Google News will still respect the robots.txt entry for Googlebot-News, our former user-agent, if it is more restrictive than the robots.txt entry for Googlebot.
Here is the FAQ on how this impacts your news site:
- Although you'll now only see the Googlebot user-agent in your site’s logs, no need to worry: the appearance of Googlebot instead of Googlebot-News is independent of our inclusion policies. (You can always check whether your site is included in Google News by searching with the "site:" operator. For instance, enter “site:yournewssite.com” in the search field for Google News, and if you see results then we are currently indexing your news site.)
- Your analytics tool will still be able to differentiate user traffic coming to your website from Google Search and traffic coming from Google News, so you should see no changes there. The main difference is that you will no longer see occasional automated visits to your site from the Googlebot-news crawler.
- If you're currently respecting webmaster guidelines for Googlebot, you will not need to make any code changes to your site. Sites that have implemented subscriptions using a metered model or who have implemented First Click Free will not experience any changes. For sites which require registration, payment or login prior to reading any full article, Google News will only be able to crawl and index the title and snippet that you show all users who visit your page. Our Webmaster Guidelines provide additional information about "cloaking" (i.e., showing a bot a different version than what users experience). Learn more about Google News and subscription publishers in this Help Center article. Rest assured, your Sitemap will still be crawled. This change does not affect how we crawl News Sitemaps. If you are a News publisher who hasn't yet set up a News Sitemap and are interested in getting started, please follow this link.
- For any publishers that wish to opt out of Google News and stay in Google Search, you can simply disallow Googlebot-news and allow Googlebot. For more information on how to do this, consult our Help Center.
Vanessa Fox adds some additional information that this makes it hard for news sites to see how well Google News is crawling their content. Without being able to track Google News Bot vs GoogleBot you cannot differentiate the crawling of the two. Of course, Google Webmaster Tools still gives you crawl and other errors differentiated between web and news crawls - so you do have that.
Anyway, this is a change that publishers should be aware of.
Forum discussion at Google News Help.