Most people do not understand crawl budget fully, which is why it’s important to learn how to optimize it for the best possible results. When website owners and managers think about SEO, what typically comes to mind is a list of factors that help in ranking, such as keywords, clean sitemaps, impressive designs, proper use of tags, and fresh content. However, an important aspect that many people overlook is the crawl budget.
Here, you get to look at the relationship between crawl budget and SEO. You also get to learn how to optimize crawl budget.
Table Of Contents
Understanding Crawl Budget
Before you delve into crawl budget optimization, it is important to understand the basics of crawl budget. Search engines and web services crawl web pages by using web crawler robots, also known as spiders. This is how they collect information about the pages they need to index.
Crawl budget basically refers to the number of times a spider will crawl your web page in a given time period. If Google hits your site 30 times in a day, the crawl budget is 900 per month. It is possible to use tools such as Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console to find out the approximate crawl budget for your website. You just need to log into crawl, go to crawl stats, and look at the number of pages crawled per day.
A good example of these crawlers is Googlebot, which Google uses to identify new web pages and add them to the index. Bingbot is Microsoft’s equivalent. There are many other web services and SEO tools that depend on these bots when it comes to collecting important information. Some of these spiders can crawl billions of pages in a day to gather the required data.
Factors That Affect Crawl Budget
Google and other search engines establish crawl budgets for websites automatically after accounting for four main factors. These include:
- The size of the website, with larger sites requiring higher crawl budgets
- The effect a website’s server setup has on its performance/load times
- The frequency of updates, with regularly updated content getting more priority
- Dead links and internal linking
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Factors That May Have a Negative Impact
Various factors might have an adverse effect on crawl budget. For example, if your website has many low-value URLs, it may have a negative effect on the site’s crawlability. Here are a few others:
- Hosting and server setup. Just how stable a website is plays an important role in its crawlability, because crawlers refrain from continuously crawling websites that crash repeatedly. This requires having a reliable web host and getting enough server space. Googlebot looks at fast loading speeds as an indication of healthy servers, which enables it to access more content over a given number of connections.
- Session identifiers and faceted navigation. Session identifiers refer to unique numbers that servers assign to identify specific website visitors for the duration of their visit. Faceted navigation aims to simplify how web users find the information they seek in a personalized manner. However, websites with many dynamic pages may face challenges with accessibility, and any such problem might prevent crawlers from indexing more pages.
- Low quality and duplicate content. Crawlers may lower your crawl budget if they find much of your website’s content to be of low quality. Crawlers don’t take too kindly to duplicate content either.
The Importance of Crawl Budget Optimization for SEO
Crawl budget optimization plays an important role in SEO because it helps increase your website’s visibility as well as the organic traffic it attracts. The process requires addressing various nitty-gritty to make sure that crawlers can access and index the most important pages of your website in an efficient manner.
Bear in mind that if the number of pages your website has is in excess of the crawl budget, search engine crawlers will not crawl them. While Google is now proficient in crawling a significant number of websites in a short span of time, the size of your website still plays a vital role in determining crawl budget.
For example, since Google finds it easy to crawl websites with less than 1,000 URLs, owners of small websites don’t really have to worry about this aspect. However, problems may arise with websites that have thousands of pages or ones that rely on URL parameters to auto-generate new pages.
Is Crawl Budget Optimization Similar to SEO?
The answer to this question is yes and no. Both optimization techniques work in increasing visibility and improving your search engine result page position. While SEO works closely with user experience, crawl budget optimization is all about pleasing the bots. In simple terms, the latter leans more on how crawlers will access your web pages.
By understanding crawl stats and working on crawl budget optimization, you may expect better visibility through search engines, which then translates into increased organic traffic.
How to Optimize Crawl Budget?
According to calculations by Siteefy, 175 new websites go live every minute, which amounts to over 250,000 new websites per day. Search engines have finite resources and when they have to deal with near-infinite information, they manage to crawl only a portion of all the available content. In addition, they index only a fraction of the content they crawl. If your website has redundant or complicated URLs, crawlers will need to spend more than usual time to access your content.
The tips for optimizing crawl budget on large sites that follow help you understand the different steps you need to take to ensure that your site remains crawlable at all times. You may also rely on them if you’re wondering how to increase crawl budget.
1. Make Sure All Pages Are Crawlable
A web page becomes crawlable only if search engine bots can access it and follow all the links within the site. This means you will need to configure the robots.txt and .htaccess to ensure they do not block the critical pages of your site. If there are pages that depend on rich media, you might want to consider providing their text versions.
If you do not intend to have a page show up in search result pages, you should do the exact opposite of what you did above. It is important to note that just setting the robots.txt to disallow is not enough to block crawlers. If there are external links that continue to direct visitors to the page, search engines might think it is important and index it. The only way to prevent indexing is the use of the noindex robots meta tag. Keep in mind that you should not use the robots.txt disallow feature because the page will need to be crawled for crawlers to obey the noindex command.
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2. Use Rich Media Files With Caution
3. Avoid Redirect Chains
Every URL you redirect to will waste a piece of your crawl budget. If the redirects are in a long chain, that is, many 301 and 302 redirects in a row, it is possible that spiders will abandon the crawling process before getting to the destination. This means they will not index the page in question. It is important that you limit the number of redirects on your site and make sure there are none in a row of more than two.
4. Fix All Broken Links
Googlebot initially did not lose sleep over a broken link. However, you might want to consider one important factor. Over time, Google has leaned toward giving users a great experience. A broken link or a 404 error might make things difficult for users, which, in turn, might attract the attention of Googlebot.
5. Consider Dynamic URL Parameters
Crawlers treat all dynamic URLs leading to the same pages as separate pages. This means there is a chance you might be wasting your budget. You can just go to Google Search Console, click on Crawl, and then select Search Parameters. In doing so, you get a chance to inform Googlebot that the CMS adding parameters to the URLs does not mean that there’s a change in the content of the page.
6. Keep Your Sitemap Clean
Sitemaps on your site assist web users and spiders alike. The maps make sure that the content on your website is easy to find by keeping it well organized. As a result, you need to keep your website’s sitemap up-to-date. You should also strive to get rid of clutter that can cause harm to your website’s usability. This includes all the unnecessary redirects, blocked pages, non-canonical pages, and 400-level pages.
There are several tools that can help you in cleaning your sitemap. Most such tools clean sitemaps with ease, including all pages blocked from search engine indexing.
7. Use Feeds
There are feeds such as RSS, Atom, and XML that provide content to users even when they are not going through your website. With these feeds, users can get notifications when you publish new content. RSS feeds can greatly boost engagement and readership. They are also highly visited by Googlebot crawlers. If you add new content in the form of blog posts, product pages, or other website updates, you should ensure its proper indexing by submitting it to Google’s Feed Burner.
8. Use External Links
Link building remains an important topic and it is bound to stay the same for a long time. There might be link-building elements from the past that are no longer in vogue, but the need for humans to connect, whether physically or online, will never be different. The number of external links on your web pages has a close relationship to the number of times crawlers will go through your website.
9. Pay Attention to Internal Link Integrity
While internal link building does not affect crawl budget directly, it is an important element and deserves due attention. When a website has a well-maintained structure, it is easier for users to find the content they seek. Bots will also find the content and this will not waste your crawl budget. When the structure is more accessible to users and they can find what they are looking for in a few clicks, it translates into a great experience. If users are happy, search engines will appreciate your website by improving your position on their result pages.
If you make it easy for search engine bots to discover your website and index it, you will get your fair share of crawls. This way, you benefit from faster updates whenever you publish new content. In the process, you will also improve user experience. This will enhance visibility and ultimately lead to better search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings.
You may have noticed that all the efforts that improve a website’s crawlability also have a positive effect on searchability. If you’re still wondering how to optimize crawl budget, seeking assistance from a digital agency that specializes in this realm might be in your best interest. This could be crucial if you’re hoping to make the most of your search engine optimization efforts.