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Considering the number of sites found in the Internet space, we may ask ourselves whether search engine robots are able to reach every one of them. Unfortunately, this is impossible. Even robots have their limitations and need targeting, which pages they should scan and which not necessarily.
What really determines the crawl limit and how to wisely manage the available ‘budget’?
What is a crawl budget?
Crawl budget has no specific definition and is often a difficult concept to explain. However, we can identify it as the number of pages that Google’s robots are able to scan and index at one time within a given site. Crawl budget is based on two indicators – Crawl Rate Limit and Crawl Demand.
Crawl Rate Limit is the number of connections that can occur simultaneously when crawling a site. It was put in place to reduce server overload and maintain adequate site performance during crawling. In addition to the overall quality of the site in terms of SEO, CRL is also affected by the so-called crawl health, which is the server’s response time to the actions of the Google robot, which in practice also translates into the frequency of indexing. To check and analyze the Crawl Rate Limit indicators, it is worth looking at Google Search Console.
Crawl Demand is an indicator based on the evaluation of the activities carried out on the site. If a site has regular content and updates and the site is popular robots will consider it worthy of attention, making it crawl more often.
This is further proof that regularity in action and quality content is helpful in the process of indexing and positioning a site in search results.
What to do to make good use of crawl budget?
If your site consists of a small number of subpages probably crawl budget is sufficient to scan and index most of them. The problem arises for more extensive sites or online stores with a large number of categories and products.
What steps do you need to take to make good use of the available crawl budget?
Robots.txt file and Sitemap
Pay attention to robots.txt file your site. Make sure its content is relevant and up-to-date. Remember that the directives placed in the robots.txt file are only a suggestion to search engine robots. So check which addresses are still indexed despite the suggested blocking.
The robots.txt file should also include the site map address in XML format.
It is worth verifying that the URLs included in the sitemap are up-to-date, correct and divided into appropriate categories and subpage types. This facilitates indexing and control of the file.
Analyze your site for errors and redirects. You can get information about this in Google Search Console and the ‘Index’ tab. Monitoring the errors that appear there is fundamental to your site’s SEO, so if you’re not up to date on indexing messages, it’s worth your while.
If there are 404-type errors, server errors or redirect chains within the site, you should implement appropriate solutions and eliminate them from the site.
Well-structured data allows both users and search engine robots to navigate the site easily and quickly. When planning the information architecture, it’s worth considering data about our business objective, the pages that are important to us, and what we want to highlight on the home page of our site. Proper categorization, intuitive menus and navigation, and the ‘three-click’ rule will not only benefit you in terms of UX but also allow you to make better use of your crawl budget.
The topic of optimizing metrics Core Web Vitals runs through almost every SEO topic. And for good reason.
Getting them to the desired value affects many aspects. Among them crawl budget. Faster page loading and performance allow you to scan more subpages, which from a crawl budget is extremely important.
Duplication and cannibalization
Duplicate content and content that cannibalizes are problems to be solved immediately. If we don’t have control over what URL will show up for a given keyword phrase, we also have no control over the crawl budget that may be wasted on irrelevant pages.
Unique and regularly published content positively affects the perception of the site, but don’t forget to recycle it as well. Google generally does not want to waste time scanning and indexing duplicate content or content that is outdated and of low quality. So it’s worth investing your time to develop content within your site.
Internal and external linking
Gaining valuable links to your site will always be an action that will pay off in the SEO process.
Backlinks from quality domains leading to your site will have a positive impact on your link profile, authority, and site rating by tools like Majestic SEO or Ahrefs. A well-planned link building strategy is the foundation of efforts towards high search engine positions.
Equally important for crawl budget is internal linking within the site. It provides a sort of path for robots to navigate between pages. This is especially useful for sites with a large number of subpages. By placing links in the form of additional modules, through the use of breadcrumbs or directly in the text, we show robots which pages are worth looking at and facilitate scanning and indexing. We also minimize the risk of so-called orphan pages, i.e. pages that do not have internal links through which robots do not have access to them.
Why is it worth optimizing crawl budget?
Optimizing a crawl budget should be a fundamental part of working on positioning a site in a search engine Without good indexation of the site, we have no chance of appearing in search results and attracting new audiences. Regular monitoring of the aspects discussed above is essential to make the most of the indexing budget.
Many of these factors are strictly technical issues. If you need support in optimizing them, certainly working with an SEO agency is a good step towards achieving the best possible results.