With Amazon same-day delivery, Uber Eats, and the instant access the internet provides us to almost all information known to man, we’ve all gotten so accustomed to right now results that we sometimes forget that not everyone that happens online is instant and that some things take time.
Believe it or not, site crawlability is one of those things, which is part of the reason it may take time to see changes you’ve made on your site reflecting in new rankings or to have new site pages showing up well in the SERPs. It gets more complicated and takes longer the bigger your site is and the more often you’re adding massive amounts of content.
This is where crawl budget strategy comes in. In this post, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about crawl budgets, including how to optimize yours in 2019 to maximize its impact and help your site.
What Is a Crawl Budget?
A crawl budget, simply put, is the number of pages on your site that Google can crawl and index within a set period of time. Though it can be hard to believe, there are so many sites online and so much information to look at that Google just can’t crawl every site constantly to see what’s there, so sometimes things get missed or overlooked.
This is important, because if Google can’t crawl your pages, they can’t index them, and that means that they’re not getting the search visibility and rankings that they should be.
Google has stated that crawling is a key priority second only to delivering customers a great experience. They thus have a “crawl rate limit,” which puts restrictions on the maximum fetching rate for any site. There is a set period of time between crawls.
This time period will depend on two different things.
The first is crawl health; if your site responds quickly, your limit goes up and allows for more connections to be crawled. The reverse is also true, making poor site loading speeds bad news for you all around.
The second is the limit that you set in the search console, opting for higher limits. Note that even if you choose higher limits that it won’t mean you’re guaranteed to get them, but that it can give you a boost.
Who Should Worry About Crawl Budgets
Small websites that only add updates every so often don’t really need to worry about crawl budgets because their site isn’t big enough that Google would have a hard time crawling it.
Sites that have a large number of pages, a bunch of brand new content, or plenty of redirects online need to pay attention to crawl budget. Each of these factors will increase crawl time, and if you run out, you’ll be left with unindexed pages.
Note that you don’t really get to choose which pages on your site that Google crawls, so the best thing you can do to make the most of the crawl budget that you’re given is to optimize for it. This will help your site be crawled faster, which will not only get more of your site indexed, but it will make Google want to crawl your site more often, too.
4 Tips to Optimize Your Site and Get the Most Out of Your Crawl Budget
Ready to optimize your site for Google’s bots so that you can get your site up to speed as soon as changes are made and new pages are added? These four tips are the most effective and fastest ways to do this.
Improve Site Loading Speed
Site loading speed is a big deal. Not only will it negatively impact your ranking in SEO and users’ experience to the point where they leave fast if the site loading speed is slow, but it will also impact crawlability. Remember that Google needs a page that responds fast to be able to crawl more of your site and to keep them coming back. If not, they’ll only be able to crawl a few pages before they move on.
To check your site loading speeds, head to Google’s PageSpeed Insights. It’s free, and it’ll tell you your current site loading speeds and offer suggestions for how to improve it.
Redirects slow down your site and they slow down Google. Try to keep redirects to a minimum, using them only when absolutely needed. If you need to use redirects, try to opt for server-side redirects (301 and 302) instead of client-side redirects. The former is cacheable and therefore fast; the latter just slows everyone down.
Get Rid of Duplicate Content
Duplicate content on your site isn’t doing anyone any favors. The last thing you want to do is have Google crawling the same content when it could be coming across new pages to index; it wastes your time and it hurts your site in the long run.
Stick to original. Instead of having duplicate content on multiple pages, merge them into one new super page, whether that’s a blog post or a services page. This is a good practice anyway, and it will help your site structure stay a lot cleaner and a lot more crawlable.
Watch for Crawlability Issues
Sometimes there are certain technical issues that keep Google from being able to successful crawl your site. I recommend using a tool like SEMrush or Moz to crawl your site and flag any of these issues for you. Many of them are relatively easy to address, but to fix them you need to know what you’re looking for.
We put so much time and resources into creating high-quality, high-performing sites that look great and appeal to our target audience that we sometimes forget about the more technical side of things. Optimizing your site for crawlability isn’t something most brands make a priority, but that should change; if Google can’t crawl your site, your audience won’t be able to find it.
Take the steps today to optimize your site for crawlability. You’ll likely see improved site rankings and faster adjustments on changes you’ve made hitting the SERPs.
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What do you think? How do you optimize your site for crawlability? What strategies and tactics do you use to maximize your crawl budget? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!