Basics of Crawling and Indexing
How to get your blog on Google?
No one can think about better page rank and high position in search engine results pages (SERPs) without adequately crawling and indexing the website. This necessity highlights the importance of technical SEO in e-commerce and blogging.
The high-quality content will not guarantee the rewards unless your site or product pages do not figure in top search results. Therefore, understanding the processes of crawling and indexing is crucial for creating SEO-friendly pages.
What are Crawling and Indexing?
The web pages should first be crawled and indexed to get in search engine results pages. Search engines use crawlers to get data or information from the World Wide Web. These crawlers or spiders are nothing but programming scripts written using different search algorithms to get data from all over the internet.
The process of gathering information from the sites and sending them to search engines is called crawling. Sometimes people get confused that crawling and indexing are the same, but they are different processes.
The process of crawling starts with seed URLs and sitemaps submitted by webmasters. The crawler or software agent parses the page and identifies all the hyperlinks. These newly discovered links are added to the URL list (queue) to visit later.
The document object model version of the web page is used for scanning. The crawling process uses many graph search algorithms to explore the web pages and their content. This way, the crawlers travel all over the internet by exploring the links which they encounter.
In this journey, they collect the words. They also see the location of words on the page where they are used. So they also look into headings, meta-tags, titles, and alt texts (for images). The words found in these crucial places have high value for site ranking. From the SEO angle, the important keywords should be placed in the titles and headings.
The organization, arrangement, and storage of the information for later retrieval are known as indexing. In simple terms, the words and their web page locations are placed in a huge central repository. This giant search index is arranged according to the pages' relevancy, popularity, and page rank.
It is this indexed database from which data is retrieved when a user makes a search query. The crawling and indexings are never-ending processes, and crawlers are always busy retrieving relevant information from the web network to provide up-to-date information to the users.
What is the crawl budget, and why is it needed?
The search engines have their limitations for crawling. The biggest challenge for them is to provide the best answers to search queries in a faster way. Therefore they can’t crawl every page on the web due to time and other constraints.
The crawlers need to prioritize the selection of the links when they encounter new ones. But how they decide which links to be discarded or not? When crawlers look for data for a specific topic, they assume that a particular topic must have some essential keywords around which the page content is framed and frequently appear in the content.
They eye on these keywords, and along with other page rank factors, they decide on the priority links. So we can say that finding profitable keywords is crucial for SEO-friendly content.
The number of pages crawled per domain is called the crawl budget. Crawling all the pages of sites also makes them slow by sending HTTP requests and downloading the pages' content.
How frequently are the websites crawled? Spiders or auto bots crawl every site, but crawling timing and frequency depend on many factors.
Few sites are crawled many times in just one minute, but many websites are crawled once in 6 months or a year.
For example, “news” sites regularly updated every day may get crawlers 2-3 times in one minute.
Therefore keeping the site updated is the key to attract spiders.
If you want to know about your site crawling, you can type “site:mysite.com” in the Google search bar.
You will see the list of all the blog pages which are indexed.
You can also check the Google crawl report by using the Google console.
And also, check the robot.txt file to see whether any page has crawling permission or not. This file has a set of instructions for crawling and indexing. If any site does not add SEO value to your site, then you can disallow that file.
How can I fetch a particular URL page for crawling?
Google provides a facility for making requests for re-crawling. If you have made some modifications to your page but still not crawled and showing old content, you can fetch URL from Google Search Console. Again this is a request for re crawling, and the decision lies with crawlers.
The most important factors which can influence site crawling frequency are backlinks profile and page rank.
How these two factors impact the frequency of crawling? As mentioned earlier that it is not simply possible to crawl trillions of pages on the web network.
Doing this will overeat network bandwidth, overload web servers, take too much time to crawl and index, and retrieve information from the too big search index.
Such hurdles pose significant contemporary challenges for search engines.
Therefore, spiders or auto bots decide the next link based on its relevance and authority.
Naturally, pages with more quality backlinks will have meaningful and relevant content. The other advantage is that crawlers find such important pages in less time. (too many links point to them, so because of this rich connectivity, they are found easily).
The unimportant links or pages are ignored because they have no or low relevancy to the search query topic. Pages with high rank are also crawled more frequently.
How internal links affect the crawling rate?
Good site architecture not only increases user experience but also plays a role in attracting crawlers. Making the blog more accessible for crawlers can increase the crawl rate.
If you want your essential pages to be crawled, they should not be too deep in the site hierarchy. A user should find them within 2-3 clicks. The crawlers may ignore too deep pages.
The categorization and hierarchical order of product pages should be logical for an e-commerce site.
What can you do for better crawling and indexing?
Many factors affect the crawling rate and indexing. For example, historical data can also influence crawling. The search engines believe that older sites can have more credibility and authority.
Below are some crucial suggestions for improving the crawling rate and budget.
Search engines always look for fresh and unique content, so updating pages with new texts, videos, images, etc., helps in frequent crawling.
The more external links from credible and authentic sites give positive signals for your site's quality content. Earning backlinks with white hat practices in an ethical manner will improve both crawling and ranking.
Incorporating a good and trusted site’s links to other websites in your content will increase the content's relevancy. Include links according to the need in a contextual manner.
Submitting a proper sitemap helps search engines in crawling.
It would help if you had a good design strategy for your site from the beginning. The smooth and hassle-free navigation will help crawlers. The websites with good architecture can incorporate unlimited pages and avoid major usability issues when they become bulky at a later stage.
Avoid duplicate content because the crawlers look for unique and value-rich content.
The crawlers or spiders are nothing but code written to scan and parse the documents. They can’t parse dynamic content like java scripts, flash files, images, video, audio, etc. Minimize the dynamic content and use some text or tags which can make understand spiders about the content.
Avoid any black hat link-building tactics. These can invite penalties from search engines.
Check disallow and no-index tags to avoid any technical crawling errors.
Optimize your anchor texts. They should be unique and contextual. The keyword-heavy anchor texts can give signals of spammy behavior. Avoid similar anchor texts.
The frequent shutdowns of web servers decrease the credibility of the site in the eyes of crawlers.
The crawlers can reduce the crawling rate for the sites with lousy loading time and slow speed.
The low speed can take more time for a spider to fetch information from the web servers to decrease the crawl budget.
Proper crawling and indexing is an essential part of technical SEO. If Google has a problem crawling and indexing your blog post, it will never make it into search results. Wasting of craw budget for your blog will result in less frequent crawling hence low search rank for blog posts.