How to Optimize Your Crawl Budget for SEO

What is Crawl Budget?

Think of your website as a big book and ‘Crawl Budget’ as the number of pages Googlebot has time to read each day. Each website is given a certain crawl budget which is basically the number of pages that Google bot can and will crawl on your site within a specific timeframe. If your site’s pages exceed your crawl budget, Googlebot may skimp on the extra bits and move on. So, if you’ve a large ecommerce site with loads of products, understanding and optimizing your crawl budget will ensure none of your precious product pages go unnoticed by Google. Just keep in mind, crawl budgets vary and it’s Google who sets the rules.

Why is Crawl Budget important for SEO?

Crawl budget is an SEO term referring to the number of pages a search engine will crawl and index on your website within a given timeframe. Think of it as the attention span of Google’s search bots. So why is this important?

  • Indexing: If your site’s crawl budget is exceeded by your total pages, some pages won’t get indexed making them invisible to Google.
  • Ranking: Unindexed pages can’t rank in search results. No ranking, no traffic.
  • Resource Management: Google has limits. If it’s too busy on low-value pages, it might not reach your important ones. This is especially critical for larger sites.
  • Optimization: Understanding crawl budget lets you guide Googlebot’s activity, ensuring your key pages aren’t missed.

How to determine your site’s Crawl Budget

Step 1: Identify which pages Google is actually crawling on your site

  • Log into your Google Search Console and navigate to ‘Legacy Tools and Reports > Crawl Stats’.
  • View the Crawl Stats report to understand Googlebot’s activity for the last 90 days.
  • Cross-check these stats with your server log files. You can use tools like SEMrush Log File Analyzer or OnCrawl Log Analyzer for this.
  • Combining these data points, you can determine how many of your site’s pages Google is crawling. Make sure the most important pages are being crawled often.
  • Expert tip: If there’s a significant discrepancy between your total number of pages and those crawled by Google, optimize your pages and prioritize those generating clicks and revenue.

Step 2: Determine how many resources the server hosting the site can allocate

  • Begin by downloading your server log files to explore how Googlebot impacts your current server setup.
  • Leverage tools such as SEMrush Log File Analyzer or OnCrawl Log Analyzer for a detailed assessment.
  • Next, determine your website’s crawl rate limit, which refers to the number of pages crawled by search engine robots within a short timeframe.
  • Take into account factors like crawl health, including server response time, correct response codes, and page loading speed. Higher server errors or often-timed-out requested URLs could limit your crawl budget.
  • Consider the crawl demand, which depends on content update frequency and web traffic flow.
  • Keep an eye on page size and use of JavaScript code, as pages with JS typically consume more indexing budget.
  1. Identify your high-performing pages that receive good traffic but lack enough PageRank.
  2. Strategically include more internal links to these pages, effectively dispersing more PageRank their way.
  3. Experiment by placing these links in your site’s header or footer. Remember, don’t overpopulate your navigation menu.
  4. Next, target pages with an excess of internal links but not enough traffic.
  5. Reroute these links to optimize your website’s PageRank distribution, focusing on pages that generate significant organic traffic.
  6. Continually monitor your site’s keyword rankings to assess your optimization efforts’ success. Adjust strategy according to the various analytic feedback.

Quick tip: When you add new pages, verify if they’re worth using your crawl budget. If not, steer crawlers towards your key performing pages.

Step 4: Hide non-essential pages

  • Begin by identifying non-essential pages that aren’t driving traffic or revenue. These include redirects, pages with errors, non-indexable pages, and pages with low content.
  • Use tools such as ContentKing or Google Analytics and Search Console to see which pages are being indexed, and how much traffic they’re getting.
  • Focus on hiding irrelevant pages from search engines. You can do this by removing these pages from your XML sitemap or using robots.txt and metadata to prevent crawling.
  • Remember to keep key pages accessible and consider creating a separate XML sitemap for them.
  • Finally, enhance the quality of your indexable pages with strategic internal linking and comprehensive content.

Step 5: Minimize crawl errors & non-200 status codes

Minimizing crawl errors is essential for optimizing your site’s SEO, as Google’s crawl budget puts value on sites being error-free. Therefore, reducing non-200 status codes enhances your crawl budget. Follow these pro tips to achieve this:

  • Steer clear from linking redirected or non-canonical URLs in content.
  • Avoid linking to any URLs that return a 404 status code.
  • In your XML sitemap, list only indexable pages and update this regularly, especially after a site migration.
  • Use tools such as Botify to audit the sitemap.
  • Frequently check your server logs to find and fix common errors.
  • Finally, tidy up any broken links and ensure the web crawler receives a 404 Not Found response code.

Remember, minimizing crawl errors will help fetch maximum ROI in your SEO efforts.

Step 6: Increase the popularity of your pages

Increasing your page’s popularity is key to optimizing your website’s crawl budget. Here’s a quick guide to help:

  • Start by regularly refreshing weak content and adding new, unique pages. This boosts crawl demand.
  • Use tools like Surfer SEO and Frase to create and optimize content.
  • Prioritize valuable pages that attract clicks and revenue, ensuring they’re easy for crawlers to access.
  • Build your page’s authority. Google relates better page authority to a higher crawl budget.
  • Boost your budget by augmenting external and internal links.
  • Redirect dead pages to a new, relevant one. This retains most of the page authority.
  • Ensure your pages provide quality content that spiders are attracted to.

Step 7: Resolve duplicate content issues

Optimizing your site’s Crawl Budget for SEO starts with resolving duplicate content issues.

  • Firstly, identify duplicate pages using tools such as the WebSite Auditor that reveals duplicate titles and meta descriptions.
  • Decide which page to keep and mark the other as a duplicate by adding a specific code to its section.
  • Be proactive in preventing duplicate content by setting up redirects for domain variations and making internal search result pages inaccessible to search engines.
  • Tidy up problems with dynamic URLs generated by your CMS and manage them through your Google Search Console.
  • Finally, improve your internal linking, resolve redirect chains, and eliminate pages with weak content to further optimize your crawl budget.

Remember! Every step contributes to your SEO performance.

Step 8: Optimize site structure

Site structure plays a critical role in SEO. It impacts how Google ranks your pages and how users navigate your site.

  • Aim for a fast load time. Googlebot crawls more of your site’s URLs when pages load quickly. For example, instead of overloading a page with high-res images, opt for lighter compressed ones to increase speed.
  • Use internal links to guide Googlebot to your pages. This prioritizes your pages for indexing. Be sure to link related posts or pages to each other.
  • Embrace a flat website architecture. Google equates popularity with link authority, so organize your sites for optimal flow of link authority. Think of a tree diagram, with pages branching out from the root.
  • Ensure no page is an orphan. Every page should have at least one internal or external link pointing to it.
  • Keep duplicate content to a minimum. Duplicate content can consume valuable crawl budget resources. Every page should have unique, quality content to maximize your crawl budget.
  • Remember to curate your XML sitemaps and optimize your robots.txt file to guide bots to areas of your site you consider most important.
  • Finally, remove spam, low-quality, and duplicate content. This not only improves your site’s rank but also enhances user experience.

A great SEO Site structure plays a critical role in SEO. It impacts how Google ranks your pages and how users navigate your site.

  • Aim for a fast load time. Googlebot crawls more of your site’s URLs when pages load quickly. For example, instead of overloading a page with high-res images, opt for lighter compressed ones to increase speed.
  • Use internal links to guide Googlebot to your pages. This prioritizes your pages for indexing. Be sure to link related posts or pages to each other.
  • Adopt a flat website architecture. In Google’s eyes, popularity equals link authority, so organize your site’s pages for optimal flow of link authority.
  • Avoid orphan pages. Every page should have at least one internal or external link pointing to it.
  • Limit duplicate content. This can consume valuable crawl budget resources. Ensure all your site’s pages contain unique, quality content.
  • Be proactive in maintaining your XML sitemaps and optimizing your robots.txt file. These serve as maps for Google’s bots, guiding them to the areas of your site you consider most valuable.
  • Finally, eliminate spam, low-quality, and duplicate content. This improves your site’s rank and user experience.

Good SEO practice goes hand in hand with a well-structured site.

Step 9: Submit a sitemap to Search Console

  1. Log in to Google Search Console.
  2. Click “Crawl” > “Sitemaps”.
  3. Choose “XML sitemap” > click “Resubmit”.

Quick tips:

  • Keep your sitemap updated, including key category and product pages for quicker indexing.
  • Use multiple sitemaps to better control crawling process (products.xml, blog-post.xml, etc.).
  • Notify Google whenever your content gets updated through structured data, XML sitemaps, or eTag.
  • Routinely address website issues like wrong redirections, 404 errors, and redirect chains. Exclude non-valuable URLs from your robots.txt file.
  • Double-check your sitemap to avoid crawl budget wastage due to non-indexable URLs and ensure no pages are incorrectly excluded.

Remember: XML sitemaps help Google spend crawl budget wisely.

Strategies to Optimize Your Crawl Budget for SEO

1. Create a Sitemap

  • Understand the Importance of a Sitemap: It informs Google about all the pages on your website and helps in designing an effective crawling pattern. Note that Google treats a sitemap as a recommendation, not an obligation.
  • Use the Right Tools: If you are using a CMS like Shopify, your sitemap may be automatically generated. However, for custom-built websites or to reduce plugins, consider WebSite Auditor, which generates and manages your sitemap effectively.
  • Employ Multiple Sitemaps: It’s common to use several sitemaps for convenience or because of the 50K page limit. Create multiple sitemaps categorized by URL type or sections (i.e., products.xml, blog-post.xml etc.)
  • Update Google Regularly: Every time your content updates, ensure you notify Google via structured data, XML sitemaps, or even an eTag.
  • Maintain Quality Control: Clean up your website by removing low-quality, duplicate, or spam content. Fix issues like wrong redirections, 404 errors, and redirect chains for better crawling.
  • Optimize Robots.txt File: Exclude non-valuable URLs or files from the crawling process using robots.txt optimization. Be careful not to exclude important sources from Googlebot.

Keep in mind that while sitemaps aren’t an SEO ranking factor, they significantly aid in improving your website’s crawlability. However, don’t add every page to your sitemap as it can negatively impact your crawl budget. Lastly, promptly submit your XML sitemap to Google Webmasters after making content changes for efficient page indexing.

2. Optimize Your Site Structure

Nailing your site structure is key for optimal SEO. It encourages efficient crawling which means more of your site’s content gets indexed. Here’s how:

  • Firstly, speed up your site. Remember, the faster your pages load, the more URLs Googlebot can crawl.
  • Include internal links. These guide Googlebot to all key pages on your site.
  • Embrace flat website architecture, ensuring every page attracts some link authority.
  • Avoid orphan pages. Every page needs at least one internal or external link.
  • Limit duplicate content. Google won’t waste resources on identical pages.

These, when followed, can significantly enhance your crawl budget.

3. Include Lots of Quality Content

In SEO, your ‘crawl budget’ refers to how often and how many pages Google ‘crawls’, or analyzes, on your site. Quality content is crucial for optimizing this because Google prefers in-depth, unique content over shallow, repetitive material.

To effectively incorporate quality content, follow these tips:

  • Avoid Low-Quality Pages: Ensure you have minimal content that lacks depth. Such pages don’t excite search engines.
  • Enhance Weak Content: Strengthen weak pages by regularly updating, adding unique content, and creating new content-rich pages.
  • Leverage SEO Tools: Consider SEO tools such as Surfer SEO and Frase, which can aid in crafting, updating, and optimizing your site’s content.
  • Prioritize High-Value Pages: Focus on pages that provide true value to your audience. Use Google Analytics and Search Console to pinpoint these URLs.
  • Manage Link Issues: Regularly fix link problems like incorrect redirections, 404 errors, and redirect chains.

Remember, Google favors high-quality content and you should too.

  • First, understand that “nofollow” links tell search engines not to follow the links to the other page. These are best used for individual pages that you don’t want Google wasting time on, like a specific product listing.
  • Set up the “nofollow” on the internal links to the page you want Google to skip. This way, it gets crawled only through others’ external links.
  • Remember that this may lead to some loss in PageRank, but it can efficiently utilize your site’s crawl budget.
  • For the pages you wish to be crawled, use “follow” links. These signal search engines to look at the page it points towards, helping maintain your site’s visibility.

Note: A middle-ground solution like a “noindex follow” is generally ineffective, so it’s best to stick with “follow” and “nofollow” clearly.

5. Test Your Crawl Budget

Testing your crawl budget is key to optimal SEO performance. Understanding how search engines crawl your site can help identify inefficiencies that harm your search visibility. Here’s how you can test your crawl budget:

  • Start by identifying the number of pages search engines crawl on your site within a specific timeframe. Use tools like Google’s Search Console or a log file analyzer to get this data.
  • Compare the total number of pages in your site architecture with the number of pages crawled. This could tell you if some pages are missing out on crawls.
  • Regular monitoring facilitates the identification of potential crawl budget issues early. This way, you’ll address the situation before it affects your SEO performance.
  • Crawl errors can reduce your crawl budget. Use SEO tools to detect and fix any existing errors.
  • The faster your site, the more pages search engines can crawl. If your site is slow, consider improving your site speed.

Remember, the goal is to make it as easy as possible for search engines to crawl your website. This way, you will maintain and improve your search visibility. Testing your crawl budget is a pivotal aspect of SEO optimization, providing insight into how effectively search engines are interacting with your site. By understanding crawl budget, you can pinpoint and troubleshoot inefficiencies in website visibility. Here’s your quick guide on how to assess your crawl budget:

  • Use tools such as Google Search Console or a log file analyzer to determine the number of pages on your site crawled by search engines within a specific timeframe.
  • Assess if there are discrepancies between the total number of pages on your site and the number of pages being crawled.
  • Regular and persistent monitoring is key to catching crawl budget issues before they impact your SEO performance negatively.
  • Use SEO tools to uncover any crawl errors that might be dragging down your crawl budget and rectify them promptly.
  • Faster sites invite more frequent crawls. If your site is slow, it might be time to boost that speed for better crawl efficiency.

Always remember, a seamless crawl experience for search engines translates to improved search visibility for your website.

6. Utilize Site Search Features

Leveraging site search functions can drastically optimize your SEO crawl budget. It’s a savvy way to display important information to site crawlers, boosting your SEO performance. To roll this out:

  • Start by identifying your site’s valuable pages using Google Analytics and Search Console data. These are pages that generate clicks and revenue.
  • Sketch out an individual XML sitemap including these key pages to ensure they are easily accessible for crawlers.
  • Be careful with faceted navigation, especially for eCommerce sites. Its dynamic URLs can drain your crawl budget and cause duplicate content issues. When possible, streamline the URLs.
  • Monitor Googlebot visits to your site through Google Search Console (GSC) to see how it’s interacting with your content.
  • Finally, prioritize site speed. Faster crawl times mean better crawl budgets, so minimize server errors and maintain best practices. Remember, an optimized site enhances user experience and conversion rates.

Keep this strategy tight and focused for best results.

7. Make Sure All Pages Are Crawlable

It’s crucial to make all your pages crawlable for optimizing your SEO crawl budget. A “crawl budget” is the number of times a site is crawled by a search engine, and if your pages aren’t crawlable, they won’t be indexed or rank on Google. So here’s how to make all your pages crawlable:

  • Start by rewriting any pages with weak content and regularly update them.
  • Utilize tools like Surfer SEO or Frase for content creation, update, and optimization.
  • Prioritize pages that provide real value to your end users. You can figure these out with data from Google Analytics and Search Console.
  • Make sure your website infrastructure can support additional crawling by analyzing server logs.
  • Optimize your website’s speed, as faster sites attract more Googlebot activity.
  • Leverage internal linking to navigate Googlebot to different pages on your site.
  • Avoid “orphan pages,” those without any internal or external links pointing to them.
  • Limit duplicate content which could waste your crawl budget. Boost your SEO by making sure your all your pages are optimized for crawling.

8. Use Generic Page Titles

Using generic page titles can optimize your crawl budget for SEO because it reduces the likelihood of duplicate content. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Always keep your page titles unique. This avoids the chance of search engines marking them as duplicate content.
  • Utilize the Google Search Console to manage URL parameters, informing Google which pages to prioritize.
  • To address any duplicate content, use canonical tags to identify the original version of the content.
  • Next, consider using tools like Surfer SEO or Frase for content optimization.

Remember, unique and quality content is a key driver for better SEO and efficient use of crawl budget.

9. Avoid Redirects and Cloaking

Hey there, you’ve probably heard this before: dodging redirects and evading cloaking are key to optimizing your crawl budget for SEO! Wondering why? Let’s keep this simple. Too many redirects will slow down crawlers, reducing the number of pages they can access. Cloaking, on the other hand, tricks bots and can cause indexing issues. So, how do you avoid these? Easy!

  • Regularly use tools like Screaming Frog or WebSite Auditor to inspect your website for redirected URLs and broken links.
  • Keep redirects to a minimum and avoid chains. If you see more than two redirects in a row, you need to fix it.
  • Remove orphan pages that aren’t internally linked.
  • Ditch practices like Flash and AJAX that impede navigation.

These small tweaks go a long way in keeping your website bot-friendly!

10. Track Your Crawl Rate with Google Search Console

Tracking your crawl rate with Google Search Console is a savvy move for optimizing your SEO. It lets you monitor how Googlebot interacts with your site, helping maximize your crawl budget. Ready to get started? Here’s a quick guide:

  • Ensure you’ve got Google Search Console installed
  • Navgate to the ‘Legacy Tools and Reports’
  • Access the ‘Crawl Stats’
  • Study the activity over the last 90 days

Remember, a consistent crawl rate signals optimal site health. A tip would be, if the crawling is sporadic, ensure your content is more Google-friendly to increase crawl rate. This could result in a larger crawl budget, especially if you’ve got a smaller website.

Common Crawl Budget Myths and Misunderstandings.

1. There is a set crawl budget for every website

Let’s clear up a pretty common misconception: there’s not one set crawl budget for every website. In fact, your website’s crawl budget is as unique as a fingerprint. It’s the number of pages search engines like Google will crawl on your website within a particular timeframe. This timeframe is determined by factors such as the size of your website, how quickly your server loads, the number of links on your site and the freshness of your content. As an example, a site that frequently updates content and has fast server load times will often have a larger crawl budget compared to a more static, slow-loading site.

  • Crawl budget varies for each website.
  • Factors like the website size, server load times, link structure, and content updates affect it.
  • A website with regular content updates and faster loading times would generally have a more substantial crawl budget.

2. The crawl budget can be adjusted by each search engine

  • It’s a common myth that the crawl budget can be adjusted by each search engine. This is a misunderstanding because the crawl budget is entirely determined by the search engine itself.
  • For example, Google’s Gary Illyes explains that Googlebot’s crawl budget consists of two elements and is allocated to each site differently. Factors like website size, server setup, site performance, internal linking structures, and frequency of content updates all influence a site’s crawl budget.
  • In fact, larger websites or those with regular content updates might get a bigger budget, but it’s not adjustable by the website owner.
  • In essence, the crawl budget is about how much a search engine can handle, not what your site demands.

Many SEO-related activities can affect your website’s crawl budget. Here’s how:

  • Server Issues: Regularly monitor your site’s hosting and server for any downtime, which can interrupt the crawl process.
  • Duplicate Content: Avoid publishing similar content. Google might not value redundancy, impacting your crawl budget.
  • Low-Quality Content: Spammy or low-quality posts may reduce your crawl budget as they lack user value.
  • Slow Rendering: Ensure your site and hosting are quick enough. Extended load times can halt Google’s crawling and indexing of your pages.

Remember to continually optimize these elements for effective crawl budget management. Your goal should be a well-structured, high-quality website that’s easy for Google to crawl.

4. The crawl budget can be affected by the website structure

Although it’s a common myth, the truth is your website structure may not directly affect your crawl budget. This is because:

  • Google’s priority is to deliver valuable content to users, not to inspect every nook and cranny of your website’s architecture.
  • Website structure only influences the effectiveness of search engine crawlers, not the crawl budget.

For example, a streamlined site structure may help crawlers to discover your content faster, but it doesn’t mean more crawler resources will be allocated to your site.

Take these expert tips into account:

  • Focus on improving site speed and eliminating duplicate content.
  • Avoid creation of unnecessary URLs through faceted navigation.
  • Regularly update your content to maintain its relevancy.
  • Understand that a higher number of URLs doesn’t influence a higher crawl budget.

5. Crawl budget can be affected by site speed

The common myth is that your site speed directly influences your crawl budget. In reality, it’s not how fast your pages load for users, but rather how quickly Google can download your site’s resources.

  • Focus on server performance: It’s the server connection and resource download speed that impacts crawl budget, not user perceived site speed.
  • Address server and hosting issues: Your website needs to be stable to get crawled. Any hosting problems can cause constant crawl errors.
  • Eliminate duplicate content: Google doesn’t appreciate duplication, hence avoid publishing duplicated content.
  • Ensure high-quality content: Avoid spam or low-quality content, it could result in a lowered crawl budget.
  • Work on page rendering: If your pages take too long to load, crawlers may stop indexing them.

6. Low crawl budget can lead to content de-indexation

There’s a widely spread myth that a low crawl budget can lead to content de-indexation. This is a misunderstanding. A low crawl budget doesn’t necessarily de-index your content. It’s a misinterpretation of how crawl budget works. Let’s clear this up:

  • Remember, the crawl budget is utilized by search engines like Google to index webpage content; it’s not an aspect of de-indexation.
  • A low crawl budget can indeed impede the speed at which new content is indexed, but it doesn’t remove the old, already indexed content.
  • To illustrate, if your website has large quantities of pages but possesses a low crawl budget, new pages or updated content might take longer to be indexed but established pages will continue to exist on the index.

In essence, lower crawl budget can slow indexing of fresh or altered content, but it doesn’t prompt de-indexation of existing content.

7. Low crawl budget can hurt SEO

It’s a common myth that a low crawl budget can hurt SEO, but that’s not necessarily the case. It’s more about how wisely it’s utilized.

Here’s how you can adeptly optimize your website’s crawl budget:

  • Be a force against duplication: Craft original meta and title tags. Shun content spinning as these are red flags to Google.
  • Quality over quantity: Avoid thin content. Quality content helps in enhancing your website’s reputation.
  • Fasten your website’s speed: Slow loading pages can consume your crawl budget quickly.
  • Keep your website clean: Ensure there are no hacked pages or viruses, these can downgrade your crawl budget.
  • Reduce dead ends: Broken links can make crawling your website more difficult.
  • Simplify navigation: A straightforward path improves crawlability.

Remember, every little optimization counts in SEO. Each added effort helps to maximize your crawl budget.

8. Crawl budget is just another SEO fad

It’s time to clear up a common myth: the notion that “crawl budget” is just an SEO fad. In fact, crawl budget is a crucial aspect of site optimization, particularly for large websites.

  • Myths aside, a crawl budget is not a magic trick. It’s a finite resource that search engines have to navigate the vast and evolving internet.
  • Contrary to some misconceptions, a well-optimized crawl budget ensures your vital pages get crawled and not drowned in low-quality or spam ones.
  • The bottom line? While Google is evolving, the practicality of a crawl budget should not be underestimated – it’s a valuable optimization tool, not a fleeting trend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *