When it comes to SEO, crawlability is one topic that doesn’t see much airtime. It’s a shame, too, because it’s an integral part of SEO. By improving your website's crawlability, you ensure that Google understands what your website is about. And when Google understands what your site is about, it will properly index you and make you searchable.
Want to know more about the secret to ranking on Google? Read on!
What Are Crawlers?
In order to browse, index, and rank the hundreds of millions of webpages on the Internet, search engines use specialized bots called crawlers, also known as spiders, or spiderbots (since they “crawl” like a spider). We consider those terms a bit unfair, though: they’re more like the worker bees of the Internet.
These crawlers scour the Internet, searching for new webpages to evaluate and index. They go from link to link, URL to URL, bringing the data back to the search engine’s central servers so that it can be integrated into Google’s database. Essentially, they’re the frontlines of the Internet, broadening its reach by identifying new data and categorizing it accordingly.
What Is Crawlability?
Crawlability refers to how easy it is for a search engine to process (“crawl”) the information on a website.
A crawlable website has:
- • A clear layout
- • A straightforward sitemap
- • Easy-to-access internal links to each page of content
Search engines like these features because they make the site navigable. Consequently, the search engine has an easier time indexing the website.
On the flip side, a not-so-crawlable website might have:
- • an incoherent sitemap
- • Broken links
- • 404 errors
- • Dead-end webpages
These are not good features. They make it more complicated for search engines to navigate the site and determine its ranking.
Pretty simple so far? Good. Let’s go into a bit more detail, starting with crawlers.
Why Is Crawlability Important for SEO?
Generally, when we’re talking about SEO, we’re talking about improving the user experience. We’re looking for ways to optimize your website so that it’s easier for humans to read, navigate, and understand.
Crawlability, however, is a form of technical SEO. We’re not looking to improve the user’s experience. We’re looking to improve the crawler’s experience. We want to make it easier for a bot to access and navigate the information stored on your site.
Why does it matter?
Bad crawlability will hurt your search engine rankings. Google doesn’t want to bend over backward to index your website. They want your site data to be clear, readable, and accessible for readers and their robots. If Google has a hard time processing your website, you will be penalized.
Crawler bots have what’s called a “crawler budget”: an upper limit to how much time and resources that they can spend on each website. If the crawler is devoting all its time to navigating your site instead of actually crawling the content, it’s going to affect your online ranking. Worst-case scenario, it may even prevent your site from getting indexed, stopping you from showing up in Google’s search results altogether.
Even minor issues, such as dead links and 404 errors, can limit your crawler budget and impact your ranking results. Ultimately, it’s important to make sure your website is as robo-friendly as possible. Higher crawlability, higher visibility.
What Can Affect My Website’s Crawlability?
Your website’s crawlability depends on several factors, namely:
- Site Map—Your site’s structure is an essential element in determining crawlability. With a well-organized XML and HTML site map, the crawler will be able to navigate your website and find the information it needs to index you. On the other hand, a poor site map will make it harder for the crawler to do its job.
- Page Loading Speed—Just like humans, crawlers do not want to wait an eternity for a webpage to load. They only have a limited amount of “crawl time” that they can spend on a page before they must move onto the next. With slower load speeds, your website has a smaller crawl budget to work with.
- Internal Links—An internal link is a hyperlink between two pages of content on your site.
(For an example, here’s an internal link to our home page.)
Crawlers like internal links for two reason. First, they help the crawler find more pages on your site, giving your “crawler budget” a bit of a boost. Second, if your link includes a keyword, that keyword will help tell the crawler what the next page will be about, making it all the easier for it to crawl more of your content.
What Do We at LinkNow Media Do to Make Our Sites Crawler-Friendly—and What Can You Learn from It?
All our websites come optimized for web crawlers. To ensure maximum crawlability, we use a four-prong approach:
1. We Develop a Consistent Site Architecture
Our sites utilize a consistent, organized layout. By implementing XML and HTML site maps, we make our websites easy for web crawlers to navigate.
2. We Harness the Power of Internal Links
We use a thorough hyperlinking strategy to maximize the value of internal links. What’s more, because of the smart layout of our websites, we reduce the chances of 404 errors wreaking havoc on your site’s crawlability.
3. We Keep Our Sites Lean and Lite
We stick to mobile-friend web themes that feature optimized load times. By doing so, we make our websites lean and lightning-fast, allowing crawlers to scan them in a minimal amount of time.
4. We Upload New Content Regularly
Crawlers like to see new, fresh content on a website. By giving them something new, we keep the crawlers coming back to our websites. And in the process, we see our search engine rankings constantly refresh—and improve.
Need to Give Your Site a Boost?
With over 10,000 clients, LinkNow Media is one of North America’s top online marketing companies. We build content-driven websites that are optimized for search engines, helping small business owners build a strong presence on the net.
If you need to boost your business’ online footprint, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone a 1-888-667-7186. And if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below! We’ll be happy to respond.