If you’ve been trying to optimize your site for search engines, chances are that you’ve had a passing introduction to Google’s crawlers or spiders. They are officially called Googlebots, and their job is to crawl through your website and index it so Google knows that it’s in perfect working order to put up in the search results.
However, the thing is that these crawlers don’t visit every page of your website instantly and might take weeks to index it completely. This can put a hamper on your SEO efforts; all these web pages and no one to look at them.
When this happens, all you can do is optimize your crawl budget.
Crawl budget is a new term for website owners. Most people think of it as a magical tool to speed up the ranking process. However, it does not work that way.
Here is a complete guide to help web admins, digital marketers, and SEO specialists understand all about the crawl budget.
Crawl budget is the number of web page URLs Googlebot crawls and indexes in a given timeframe, i.e., the maximum number of URLs that Google crawls on a website. It is a significant factor in determining your visibility and ranking in Google search results.
If you want to index your web pages and appear in the search results, you need to invite the crawlers to your website by luring them in with what they need.
Google determines the crawl budget for each URL, but it is not always the same. In most cases, the key to a higher crawl budget is a higher page rank. The crawl budget also determines if the most important pages will be crawled or not, and if they will, then how often is it going to be. The best part is that in-depth crawls and indexing are also executed as per Google’s wish.
Therefore, if you wish to build good relationships with Googlebots, gain the search engine’s trust by offering good backlinks, quality content, and all that good SEO that it absolutely loves. So gear up some SEO tactics and improve your website to invite the crawlers to your URLs.
We already know the fact that search engines deal with millions of web pages at a time. Still, there are three basic steps that it follows to gather results for a search.
Whenever a search is entered in a search bar, the search engine sends out crawlers to the millions of pages indexed on the web. Crawlers access the indexed pages more frequently than the newer websites, and Google takes an ample amount of time to analyze the pages before ranking them in SERPs.
All the pages that show up top in results are relevant to the words typed in the search bar and the most credible in the eyes of the search engines.
Without crawlers, the webpages will never be indexed, and they will never appear on the SERPs. Also, suppose the number of pages on your website exceeds its crawl budget. In that case, you’re going to be left with pages that might never get indexed unless Google increases the budget.
Crawls budget plays a significant role in SEO operations. In fact, the SEO experts introduced the term “crawl budget” to determine the system and algorithm of the search engines.
This helps the SEO specialists understand and indicate how crawling will work for a particular website. How many pages will be crawled? How many times the pages will be crawled. Which pages will be crawled? It is a term that defines the attention a website will receive from the search engine.
However, a crawl budget is the last thing that website managers should worry about. As long as their website is well structured, SEO optimized, and has credible and high-quality content. Crawlers will get to the website independently. However, the web pages need to be indexed to make that work.
One more thing to remember is that crawlers have their priorities. Crawlers’ priority matrix prioritizes large sites with low frequency and small sites with high frequency. However, that depends on the business models and verticals.
For an in-depth understanding of the crawl budget, here are a few key concepts that you would need to know to get started.
Sometimes it isn’t the crawlers that work will full force to bring the website to the SERPs, but the demand for specific URLs. Therefore, Googlebots also consider the request of particular URLs they get from the index directly. This helps the bots to decide how active the URLs are.
These two factors further determine the crawl demand for URLs.
URL Popularity: Popular URLs are indexed more frequently. The popularity of a URL depends on the number of inbound and bound links a web page has. To increase your website’s reputation, optimize it using robust digital marketing and SEO strategies.
Staleness: Googlebots avoid sending crawlers to stale URLs, and neither benefits them. These old and redundant links tell Google that the pages have outdated content.
Google uses both the crawl rate limit and crawls demand to determine the number of URLs that will crawl – the crawl budget.
Now that you know all about crawlers and crawl budgets, let us figure out a crawl budget is vital for SEO.
Google understands that if it isn’t careful, its bot will impose extreme constraints on websites. Therefore, it has developed control systems to ensure that the crawlers only visit sites that can stand the added traffic. This control system is known as the crawl rate limit, which helps Google determine the crawl budget for websites.
Here’s how the crawl rate limit works:
However, if the predefined limit doesn’t work for your website, you can change it through the Google search console. You can open the Crawl Rate Settings page for your owned website and change it.
If you want search engines to rank your indexed pages as much and as quickly as possible, keep adding new pages and updating the old ones to infuse fresh content into your site. You would also need to update the URLs to lead the search bots to your web pages.
Once you have updated everything, Googlebots or crawlers will soon show up searching for new content and indexing your pages. As soon as your pages are indexed, you will be able to benefit from them.
However, if your pages and website are not SEO optimized, your crawl budget will go wasted. This is the most superficial relation between SEO and the crawl budget. If you want to utilize your crawl budget fully, improve your website’s SEO practices so that the pages would get indexed as soon as possible.
Waste your crawl budget at your own peril because the search engine will never reach your website and waste all the SEO efforts that you would have done so far. This will affect the ranking of your website, leaving it isolated.
Now that you have understood the relation between the crawl budget and SEO let’s dive deep into the mechanism.
Suppose the number of pages on your website exceeds the crawl budget for your website. In that case, the exceeding web pages might never be indexed. Nevertheless, most website owners don’t care about that because it is commonly believed that Google is pretty good at finding and indexing the page independently.
While that is true, you might want to pay attention to the crawl budget if you have:
A massive website with over 10,000 web pages and URLs can be troublesome for Google. Moreover, it will be challenging for Google to rank them all for identical or similar queries.
When you add new pages to your website, they are new to the search engine. Suppose you want Googlebots to find them. You need to ensure that the webpages fall under your crawl budget so that they can be indexed as soon as possible. If not, then Google will not index those pages. And remember, being indexed is not the same thing as being ranked.
Many pages on the web are often redirected to others due to various reasons. However, this redirected URLs or redirection chain eats up your website’s crawl budget, as each redirected page also needs to be indexed.
Suppose your website has a higher spam score, outdated content, broken or unindexed URLs, and consequently, offers a poor user experience. If that is true, the visitors might be bouncing sooner than expected, leading the crawlers to believe that your website isn’t good enough to be ranked higher on the SERP.
Certain technicalities come into play when crawlers visit your web pages and influence the crawl budget. Bots can get stuck in loopholes when they visit a site and do not find what they are looking for. This discourages the crawlers from going back to the specific website, which highly affects the site’s credibility.
With that said, if you want your SEO practices to be efficient for all of your web pages, you need to ensure that you have a maximized crawl budget. If you are wondering how to do that, you can implement a few methods to maximize the crawl budget for your website.
Before that, remember that everything that comes into play to improve your website’s rankings is essential for maximizing the crawl budget for your website.
As mentioned earlier, it can be challenging to get Googlebots to index your website once your crawl budget is all used up. But it isn’t impossible.
Here’s what you can do to make the most of your Google-given budget:
A site map works as a map to your website and guides the crawlers across the website. It documents all your web pages and resources in a structured tree-like format to stay organized. Without a proper sitemap, Googlebots will have to go through your entire website, which will confuse them in deciding which pages should or shouldn’t be indexed.
However, with a sitemap, Google will know the size of your website and the importance of each page. The site map will make an appropriate crawling pattern for your website, making it easier for the crawlers to navigate across the web pages. Besides, Google recommends having sitemaps for better analysis of the websites.
If you want Googlebots to visit more of your web pages, you should ensure that your website is fast, responsive, and functional. This way, the crawlers will be able to visit more pages on your website with crashes or delays.
Google itself states, “Making a site faster improves the users’ experience while also increasing the crawl rate.” In addition, it suggests checking crawl errors reports in the search console.
Having unresponsive and slow web pages will waste Googlebots valuable time and lead them to other web pages while abandoning yours.
Google states that popular URLs appear more often on the SERPs and remain fresh on the index for longer. With that said, popularity on SERPs provides link authority to the URL, which can be forwarded to other URLs of the same website.
Keeping a flat website architecture ensures that the link authority of some of the pages can fluently stream to all other URLs of the website.
When ranking pages on the SERPs, Google gives priority to those pages that have quality content with updated information. If you want your web pages to rank higher on the SERPs and work to maximize your crawl budget, ensure that you have quality content that offers value to the audience.
Another major factor that comes into play in this situation is duplicate content. If you want to maintain quality, you need to produce original content for your web pages. Duplicate content is worthless for your website because Google has everything indexed with timelines. Adding replicated content to your web pages will only harness unreliability for your web pages.
Original high-quality content, verifiable resources, and credible links on your web pages give good signals to the search engines and ultimately help you rank higher.
Googlebots detect the inbound and outbound link on the webpages, where internal links also play a significant role in ranking. The pages with more internal and external links are also ranked higher on the SERPs – a basic rule of thumb for SEO that maximizes the crawl budget.
Internal links also help the crawlers navigate throughout the website by redirecting them from one page to another. In case your website does not have a sitemap, internal links will also fulfill that void to some extent, making it easier for the crawlers to navigate.
Respecting your crawl budget can make your website successful in the long run, but it’s nothing to be worried about. It really isn’t much of a problem for smaller websites. The concern rises when you are running a large-sized website with over 10 thousand web pages.
With that said, crawl budget works hand-in-hand with SEO, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to better ranking on the SERPs. Hundreds of factors come into play when Google ranks the websites on the SERP for any given query. This is where crawling plays a significant role but does not influence the ranking.
However, all of this complex information can be quite overwhelming for the new practitioners. Therefore, it is best to consult experts about the crawl budget and optimize it for higher search rankings.