Google has updated its favicon search developer documentation to remove the Favicon user agent section and also to clarify that you need to allow Googlebot and Googlebot-Image user agents for Google to index your favicons and display them in Google Search.
What Google said. “Clarified in the favicon documentation that both the favicon file and the home page of the site must be allowed for crawling by Googlebot-Image and Googlebot respectively. Also removed information about the Google Favicon HTTP user-agent string throughout our documentation, as this is no longer used. The removal of the HTTP user-agent string means no changes for site owners. Google Favicon depended on the Googlebot-Image and Googlebot robots.txt user agent tokens, which remain supported. ,” Google wrote.
Favicon user agent. Google removed the section in that document for the Favicon user agent, here is a screenshot of that section before Google removed it:
Allow Googlebot. Google said if you want to ensure Google is able to discover your site’s favicon, you need to allow both Googlebot and Googlebot-Image user agents from crawling your website. Google updated the document to read, “The favicon file must be crawlable by Googlebot-Image and the home page by Googlebot; they cannot be blocked for crawling.” Previously the document only wrote, “Both the favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google (that is, they cannot be blocked to Google).”
Why we care. If you are having issues with Google showing your site’s favicon in the search results, then make sure to review the new developer documents on this topic. Also make sure you are not disallowing Googlebot and Googlebot-Image in your robots.txt directive.