Crawling – The spider on the move on your website

This article gives you an overview of what this “crawling” actually is and what the difference to indexing on Google is. You will also get to know a small selection of web crawlers and get a brief insight into their main areas of focus.

You will also learn the work and control of the Google Crawler in this article, because the crawling can be controlled with a few simple tricks.

The term “crawling” is a fundamental technical term in search engine optimization.

The two terms “crawling” and “indexing” are often confused or mixed up.

Basically, the two terms are so relevant that the entire web world depends on them.

Which crawlers are there?

A web crawler (also known as an ant, bot, web spider or web robot) is an automated program or script that automatically searches web pages for specific information. This process is known as web crawling or spidering.

There are several uses for web crawlers. Essentially, however, web crawlers are used to collect & retrieve data from the internet. Most search engines use it as a means of providing up-to-date data and finding the latest information on the Internet (e.g. indexing on Google on the search results pages).

Analysis companies and market researchers use web crawlers to determine customer and market trends. In the following we introduce you to some well-known web crawlers especially for the SEO area:

  • ahref – ahrefs is a well-known SEO tool and provides very specific data in the area of ​​backlinks and keywords.
  • Semrush – an all-in-one marketing software is intended exclusively for SEO, social media, traffic and content research.
  • Screaming Frog – is an SEO SpiderTool as downloadable software for Mac OS, Windows and Ubuntu. It is available as a free and paid version

Crawling vs. Indexing

Crawling and indexing are two different things, and this is often misunderstood in SEO. Crawling means that the bot (e.g. the Googlebot) looks at and analyzes the entire content (this can be text, images or CSS files) on the page. Indexing means that the page can be displayed in Google search results. One does not work without the other.

Imagine walking down a large hotel hallway with closed doors to your left and right. For example, someone is a travel companion for you, who in this case is the Googlebot.

  • If Google is allowed to search a page (room), it can open the door and actually see what’s inside (crawl).
  • On a door there may be a sign that the Googlebot is allowed to enter the room and show other people (you) the room (indexing possible, the page is displayed in search results)
  • The sign on the door could also mean that he is not allowed to show people the room (“noindex”). The page was crawled because he was able to look inside but not showing up in search results because he is instructed not to show people the room).
  • If a site is blocked from the crawler (for example, a sign on the door that says “Google is not allowed in here”), the crawler will not go in and look around. So he doesn’t risk a look into the room, but he shows the people (you) the room (index) and tells them that they can go in if they want.
  • Even if there is an instruction inside the room asking him not to let people into the room (“noindex” meta tag), he will never see it because he was not allowed into the room.

Blocking a page via the robots.txt means that it is eligible for indexing, regardless of whether you have a meta robots tag “index” or “noindex” in the page itself (since Google won’t see this because it is blocked) so that it is treated as indexable by default.

This of course means that the ranking potential of the page is reduced (since the content of the page cannot really be analyzed. If you have ever seen a search result in which the description is something like “The description of this page is based on robots.txt not available ”, this is the reason.

Google Crawler – it came, it saw, and it indexed

The Googlebot is Google’s search bot that searches the web and creates an index. He is also known as a spider (spider). The bot searches every page it has access to and adds it to the index, where it can be retrieved and returned by users’ searches.

In the SEO area, a distinction is made between classic search engine optimization and Googlebot optimization. The Googlebot spends more time browsing web pages with significant PageRank.

PageRank is an algorithm from Google that basically analyzes and weights the link structure of a domain. The time that the Googlebot makes available to your website is known as the “crawling budget”. The greater the “authority” of a page, the more “crawling budget” the website receives.

In a Googlebot article from Google it says: “In most cases, the Googlebot takes action on average only once every few seconds to your website.

However, due to network delays, the frequency may seem higher over short periods of time. ”In other words, your website will always be crawled, provided your website accepts crawlers.

There is a lot of discussion in the SEO world about “crawl rate” and how to get Google to crawl your website again for optimal ranking. The Googlebot is constantly searching your website.

The more topicality, backlinks, comments, etc., the more likely it is that your website will appear in search results. Note that the Googlebot does not constantly crawl all the pages on your website. In this context we would like to point out the importance of current and good content – fresh,

The Googlebot first accesses the “robots.txt” file of a website in order to query the rules for crawling the website. Pages that are not allowed are usually not crawled or indexed by Google.

The Google crawler uses the sitemap.xml to determine all areas of the website that are to be crawled and rewarded by Google indexing. Because of the different ways that websites are created and organized, the crawler may not automatically crawl every page or section.

Dynamic content, low-ranking pages or extensive content archives with few internal links could benefit from a precisely created sitemap. Sitemaps are also useful for informing Google about the metadata behind videos, images or, for example, PDF files.

Provided that the sitemaps use these partly optional markups. If you want to learn more about building a sitemap, check out the blog article on the topic“The perfect sitemap”. The control of the Google bot to have your website indexed is no secret. With simple means such as a good robtos.txt and an internal link, a lot can be achieved and influence crawling.

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