How Google crawls your site and its impact on SEO
January 18, 2022
Google and other major search engines use web crawlers (also called bots or spiders) to discover new content and web pages online. It’s the main way that search engines discover pages/content to add to their index, allowing the page to be found in their search results.
Once you understand this, it’s easy to see why it’s important for your web page and content to be easily accessible by search engine crawlers. It can not only improve the ease with which your new content is added to a search engine’s index but it can also improve your rankings.
In this post, you’ll learn how Google crawls your website and how your website’s crawlability impacts your search engine performance.
If you need help improving your website’s crawlability, or you have any questions after reading this post, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email, our website’s chat feature or on our social media channels.
Why it’s important to understand how website crawling works
When first starting out in SEO, it can be tempting to start building links and writing content without first learning how search engines work. However, taking the time to understand the search process before getting started will improve your results since it allows you to better focus your SEO efforts on those tasks that will have the biggest impact.
Website crawling is the first of three stages that search engines go through to return the best possible results to their users. Since it’s the first step search engines need to complete to show your web page in the search results, an issue with the crawlability of your website can prevent your web pages from showing up in the search results at all!
Understanding what website crawling is and how it works is the first step to improving your website’s crawlability. If you’re working with an agency, it can also help you better understand what they’re doing and why.
Website crawling – What you need to know
Website crawling is done by a computer program called a web crawler. This computer program travels from one web page to another, often via links on the page, documenting important information about the page for future reference.
Google and other major search engines crawl websites and add important data on the page to their index. This includes, among many other things, the content on the page, links on the page and image data. This index is then used to order web pages in the search results.
Any pages that can’t be accessed by a search engine’s crawler cannot be added to their index and therefore won’t be visible when searched.
Googlebot is the name of the crawler that Google uses to crawl the web. It is used to discover new content, allowing Google to update their index.
According to Google, Googlebot pays special attention to a range of different things, including:
- New pages/sites
- Changes to existing content
- Dead links
- Website freshness
How crawling impacts SEO
A crawler renders and stores information on a website in a particular way, and it can’t always access certain types of code. If important information is missing from a page, or it can’t be accessed by a search engine crawler, this can negatively impact your search engine rankings since the information can’t be taken into account when ranking a page.
For example, the content on a page and the words used in it help search engines understand what a page is about. If for whatever reason, a search engine crawler can’t access the main body content, it cannot be taken into account when ranking the page. This means that the page will be ranked solely based on its URL, title and the other information that it does have access to. This puts the page at a major disadvantage compared to other pages on the same topic with crawlable body content.
By ensuring that all information is easily accessed and indexed by crawlers, you can vastly improve your page’s SEO performance. This, in turn, can help you drive more traffic and customers to your website.
Improve your website’s crawlability
There are a number of things you can do to improve your website’s crawlability. Some of these include:
- Creating a sitemap and submitting it to major search engines
- Optimizing your robots.txt file
- Optimizing your website structure/architecture
- Improving your internal and external linking efforts
- Keeping your content up to date
- Optimizing your website’s code
- Improving your page speed
Even though these are some of the most important things you can do to ensure your website is easy to crawl, there are countless other things you can do.
Here at Racer, we have ample experience optimizing websites and improving their search engine performance. If you’d like help improving your website’s SEO, please feel free to get in touch.
Crawling is an important part of the search process that every website owner should understand. Hopefully, after reading this post, you now know what search engine crawlers are, how they work and why it’s so important to ensure your website is easily accessed by search engine crawlers.