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What is crawling

What is crawling?

Crawling (or spidering) is when Google or another Search Engine sends a bot to a web page or web post and "reads" the page. Do not let this be confused with indexing that page. Crawling is the first part where a Search Engine recognizes your page and displays it in the search results. However, having your page crawled does not necessarily mean that your page has been indexed and will be found.

Pages are crawled for a variety of reasons, including:

  • An XMLSitemap with the concerned URL, which was transmitted to Google.
  • Internal links pointing to the page.
  • Have external links pointing to the page.
  • Bring an increase in traffic to the site

To ensure that your page is crawled, you should create an XMLSitemap into the Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) upload to give Google the roadmap for all your new content.

In Google Search Console you can see what has been submitted and what is indexed was.

What crawling means is that Google looks at the page. Depending on whether Google thinks that the content is "new" or otherwise has something to "give to the Internet", it may schedule an indexing, which means that it has the opportunity to create a Ranking to perform.

Also, when Google crawls a page, it looks at the links on that page and schedules the Google Bot to check out those pages as well.  The exception is when a nofollow tag is added to the link.

How can I improve the crawlability of my website?

Think of Google's crawlers as little spider robots that "crawl" into your website and look around. The easier you make it for these little guys, the better for you. Here are a few tips to make your website as inviting as possible for the Google spiders.

1. xml sitemap

First, you need a good map of your home, that is, your website. An XMLSitemap Google shows exactly which pages you have and how they are connected. It's like giving your visitor a map of your giant maze so they don't get lost.

2. flat hierarchy

Try to keep the structure of your website as simple as possible. No deeply nested pages that take seven clicks to reach. That would be like sending someone through seven different doors just to find the bathroom.

3. fast loading times

Nobody likes to wait. Not even Google. Optimized images, minimized CSS and JavaScript can speed up the loading times of your website. It's like a good restaurant where the service is super snappy. You don't want guests to leave because the coffee takes too long.

4. responsive design

Your site should look good on all devices and be easy to use. The Google spiders also check how mobile-friendly your site is. Imagine your home also has a miniature version for little guests. They should feel just as comfortable as the "full-size" visitors.

5. internal linking

Make sure you have smart internal links that guide crawlers through your site. But beware of endless loops or "Broken Links". That would be like a door in your house going nowhere or going in a circle.

6. robots.txt

With a Robots.txt file, you can tell the crawlers which areas to avoid. It's like a "do not disturb" sign on the door of your private room.

7. avoid error pages

404 error pages are like dead ends for crawlers. So try to minimize these errors or replace them with 301-replacing detours. It's like setting up a detour when the main road is closed.

Typical mistakes you should avoid:

Before you roll out the red carpet for Google crawlers, let's talk briefly about the stumbling blocks you're better off avoiding.

1. clogged Robots.txt

Your Robots.txt is like the bouncer of your club. If it's too strict, no one will get in. So, check your Robots.txt and make sure you're not accidentally blocking important areas of your site.

2. too many 404 errors

Imagine inviting guests to your home and half the doors are locked or lead to nowhere. Not cool, right? Too many 404 errors can irritate crawlers and waste your crawl budget.

3. poor internal linking

It's like you're stuck in a maze with no signposts. The crawlers need a clear structure to find their way around. So link relevant pages to each other, but don't overdo it.

4. slow loading times

Slow websites are like restaurants where the food takes forever. Eventually, you lose patience. Google does, too. So, optimize loading times wherever you can.

5. endless URLs and parameters

Imagine a URL like a street address. If the address is forever long and full of weird characters, it will be hard to find. Keep the URLs clean and simple.

6. cloaking

Cloaking is like a trap - you show one content to crawlers and another to users. Google hates that and you could be penalized for it. So, just don't do it.

7. duplicate content

That's like hanging the same painting in every room of your house. Google then doesn't know which is the "original" and might devalue all versions.

8. poor mobile optimization

If your site looks bad or loads slowly on mobile, it's like a restaurant that doesn't have room for strollers. Google wants the best experience for all users, so optimize for mobile.


Crawlability is like hospitality in a hotel. You want your guests (and Google crawlers) to feel comfortable, find their way around, and be happy to come back. Make it easy for them, and you'll be rewarded in search results.

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What is SEO crawling? arrow icon in accordion
SEO crawling is the process of crawling and capturing websites with the help of search engine crawlers. The crawler reads the content of a website and analyzes it to help search engines understand it better. SEO crawling is an essential part of search engine optimization, as it allows search engines to identify and index the relevant content on a website.
Why should you do SEO crawling? arrow icon in accordion
SEO crawling is an essential part of search engine optimization. Search engine crawlers help index websites and identify their relevant content. This enables websites to achieve better search engine rankings, generate more visibility and traffic, and generate more sales. In addition, SEO crawling can also help identify potentially problematic elements on a website, such as duplicate content or technical issues.
What are the different types of crawlers? arrow icon in accordion
There are basically two types of crawlers: search engine crawlers and user crawlers. Search engine crawlers are specifically designed to crawl websites and identify relevant content. User crawlers are often used to collect data for web analytics and reporting.
How does SEO crawling work? arrow icon in accordion
SEO crawling starts with retrieving a URL from a website, which is then analyzed. The crawler follows links on the page and makes further requests for each URL it finds. The crawler then saves the content it captures and sends it to the search engine to be indexed.
How long does it take for a crawler to crawl a website? arrow icon in accordion
The duration of the crawl process depends on the size of the website and the number of links the crawler needs to retrieve. A small website with few links can be crawled within a few minutes, while a larger website with many links can take several hours.
How to create your own crawler? arrow icon in accordion
There are several ways to create your own crawler. Some websites offer crawler tools that allow users to easily create their own crawlers. There are also many open source tools that allow you to create a crawler on your own. However, it is advisable to hire an expert to create a professional crawler, as proper programming of a crawler requires specialized knowledge.
What are their advantages of SEO crawling? arrow icon in accordion
SEO crawling is an essential component of search engine optimization. It enables search engines to identify and index the relevant content of a website. It helps websites achieve better search engine rankings, generate more visibility and traffic, and generate more sales. In addition, crawling can also reveal potentially problematic elements on a website, such as duplicate content or technical issues.
Are there any disadvantages of SEO crawling? arrow icon in accordion
Some disadvantages of SEO crawling are that it is a slow process that takes a lot of time. In addition, the cost of creating and developing a professional crawler is often high. SEO crawling can also lead to higher server load, as the crawler may send many requests to the server.
Can SEO crawlers damage websites? arrow icon in accordion
No, SEO crawlers do not damage websites. SEO crawlers are specifically designed to crawl websites and capture relevant content. Since they do not make any changes to the website, they do not damage the website.
What tools can be used to perform SEO crawling? arrow icon in accordion
There are many different tools that can be used to perform SEO crawling. Some of the most popular tools are Google Search Console, Screaming Frog SEO Spider, DeepCrawl, Serpstat and Majestic SEO. These tools provide users with various features that can make the SEO crawling process easier.

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