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What is Crawling in SEO?

Last Updated : 28 Dec, 2023
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Crawling in SEO is a process to discover and update new pages on google index. Google crawlers are programs that Google uses to scan the web and find new or updated pages to add to its index. Google crawlers check all kind of content including text, images, videos, webpages, links etc. Google crawlers follow links from one page to another and obey the rules specified in robots.txt files.

In order to develop and maintain the search engine’s index, web crawling aims to thoroughly and methodically scour the internet for fresh content. Search engines can keep their search results current and relevant to users queries by regularly discovering and reviewing web pages.

How does crawling works?

Crawling is a process to discover and update new pages on google index. The well known crawler of Google is known as Google Bot. It is responsible for fetching web, moving from one page to another through links and adding pages to Google’s list of known pages. Google crawls pages deposited by website owners on search console or through there sitemaps. Sitemap is a file that tell how many pages are in website and its structure. Google also crawls and index pages automatically depending on several factors

Factors that determine which pages to crawl

  • The popularity and authority of the site and page, measured by the number and quality of links from other sites and pages.
  • The freshness and frequency of updates on the site and page, measured by the date and time of the last modification or publication.
  • The crawl budget and rate limit of the site, which are determined by the size, speed, and responsiveness of the site.
  • The crawl demand and priority of the page, which are determined by the user interest, query freshness, and page importance.
  • The crawl rules and directives of the site, which are specified by the site owner in robots.txt files, sitemaps, meta tags, HTTP headers, and other tools.

So, after crawling your site is known to google or discovered by google.

How does Google crawler see pages?

Google crawlers looks the page from top to bottom. However google bot does not sees pages exactly as humans do because it does not render them with CSS or execute JavaScript. Google bot looks and analysis the content of the page and tries to decide the purpose of page. Google bots looks at other signals the page is providing such as robot.txt file which tells googlebot which page is allowed to crawl.

You can prevent pages from Googlebot crawling using robot.txt file

  • pages with duplicate content
  • private pages
  • URLs with query parameters
  • pages with thin content
  • test pages

Let us see how google bot works:

  • The first thing googlebot sees in page is <!DOCTYPE> declaration which tells google bot about version of HTML
  • Next it will see the html tag in the page it might also have language attribute. This helps Googlebot to understand the content and provide relevant results
  • After that googlebot will look at head tag which contains title which is not shown to users and then meta description tag which defines short summary of the page that may appear in the search results.
  • The <head> tag may also contain links to external resources, such as stylesheets, scripts, icons, and fonts, that affect how the page looks and behaves
  • The <body> tag may have various elements that structure and format the content, such as headings (<h1>, <h2>, etc.), paragraphs (<p>), lists (<ul>, <ol>, etc.), tables (<table>), images (<img>), links (<a>), forms (<form>), and more.

For example:

Googlebot may use headings to identify the main topics of the page, images to enhance the visual appeal of the page, and links to discover new pages to crawl. After that it will check the closing head tag

What influences the crawler’s behavior?

Following are the factors which affects crawler’s behavior

  • It has a crawl budget, means the number of pages that it will crawl is limited in a specific time period if the crawl limit of day of your site is over than crawlers wont crawl more pages
  • Crawl demand represents interest of google in a particular website.
  • There are various algorithms which guide the crawlers which links to follow, prioritizing pages on basis of relevance and freshness, no indexing duplicate pages.
  • It respects directives and meta tags on webpages that indicate how certain content or pages should be handled, like noindex, nofollow, or nosnippet.

FAQs of Crawling in SEO

What is SEO indexing vs crawling?

Crawling is a process to discover and update new pages on google index. Well known crawler of Google is known as Google Bot. It is responsible for fetching web, moving from one page to another through links and adding pages to Google’s list of known pages while Indexing is the process that stores information they find in an index, a huge database of all the content they have discovered, and seem good enough to serve up to searchers. 

What is crawling on a website?

Crawling in the context of website is an automated process by which web crawlers also known as spiders or web bots visit the website for data and information retrieval.

What is web scraping and crawling?

Web Scraping is a manual or automated process to extract specific data or information from a website. Web Scraping is used for various purposes like data mining, research, competitive analysis, price monitoring and many more. Crawling is a process to discover and update new pages on google index. Well known crawler of Google is known as Google Bot. It is responsible for fetching web, moving from one page to another through links and adding pages to Google’s list of known pages.

Why is Crawling important in SEO?

Crawling is important in SEO because it allows search engines to find, index, and rank web pages. It makes your content search engine friendly, increasing its visibility in search results. Crawling effectively helps search engines understand the structure and relevance of your site, resulting in increased organic traffic and search rankings.

What is crawl rate in SEO?

Crawl rate can be defined as how many times Googlebot make request to your website per second when google bots crawl to your website. It varies from website to Website. If content is updated in your website then you can make recrawl request.

Related Articles:

Identifying and Resolving Crawl Errors in Organic Search
Role of Search Indexer in Information Retrieval of Search Engine
How to Tell Google Which Pages Not to Crawl
Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization | SEO: A Complete Reference
What is SEO
Types of Search Engine Optimization
SEO Full Form | What Does SEO Stand For?
SEO Concepts A to Z – Mastering Search Engine Optimization

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