In this online world every website, big or small, wants to rank in the top of search engines results pages. To rank a website’s pages within search engines includes 2 basic steps – website crawling and indexing. So first let’s know the meaning of both these terms.
What is Website Crawling and Indexing?
When a web or search engine crawler, also known as search spider or search bot, automatically crawls all the content and links available in a website’s accessible pages on internet that is called website crawling.
After crawling when search engines crawlers try to understand the context of content available on crawled webpages and add these pages in their index that is called indexing.
Tips to improve Website Crawlability
So now let’s look into 10 actionable tips to improve your website crawlability by web crawlers.
1. Make Responsive Website
Responsive web design, serves all devices with same code which adjusts as per screen sizes, should be considered for websites as this way crawlers like Googlebot crawl webpages only once which improves website crawling efficiency.
2. Submit XML Sitemap
XML sitemap is a file with direct links to all the active webpages, which needs to be crawled and indexed, in a website. This XML sitemap file resides in the root folder of the domain with name /sitemap.xml or /sitemap-index.xml. This sitemap file should be submitted to the search engines using the Google Console and Bing Webmaster for easy crawling.
3. Good Website Navigation
Making a website’s navigation structure clear from Home page to the most internal pages can be helpful for both crawlers while crawling website and users while they navigate within website. So maintain a good site navigation, on all website pages including Home page, that links to all the important sections and pages on a website for better crawling.
4. Leverage Internal Linking
Adding relevant internal links within website body content to various internal pages becomes helpful for both search engine crawlers and users. As crawlers follow these links while crawling website pages so it can go to internal pages of the website easily.
5. Link Orphaned Pages
If a website has some pages which are not linked from anywhere on the website, then those orphaned pages should be added within sitemap file for better crawling by crawlers.
6. Use Proper HTML ‘a’ href Tag
Google recommends using href attribute and add resolvable URLs within HTML ‘a’ href tag to add an anchor text within a webpage. This way crawlers can crawl and follow the hyperlinks on anchor texts easily.
7. Monitor Crawl Errors
Regularly monitor crawl errors at the site level in Index Coverage report under new Google Search console as it helps to resolve issues in crawling and indexing both.
8. Limit Redirect Chains
Its pretty common when your webpages need redirects due to product name changes or replacement of old content in your website. But adding too many redirects in website can impact crawling of your website.
So the redirect chains should be avoided for example page ‘A’ can be redirected to page ‘B’ directly if needed. But a redirect chain like page ‘A’ redirecting to page ‘X’ and then its further redirecting to page ‘B’ (‘A’ > ‘X’ > ‘B’) should be avoided for fast crawling and better user experience.
9. Leverage Lazy Loading
Using lazy loading for images and videos in your webpages can help crawlers to crawl your lazy-loaded content. This also helps to provide better user experience.
10. Mobile Friendly Test
Keep testing your website pages with mobile friendly test to confirm about Googlebot crawls your webpages successfully or if there is any improvement area to improve crawling of your website pages.
Answers to Few Website Crawling FAQ
Web Crawler is an automated script, also called as web spider, which can browse any accessible webpage in World Wide Web by scanning the source code to read it’s content including links.
Search engine crawlers are automated search bots or spiders which regularly crawl all the accessible webpages for further indexing in search engine results. Googlebot and Bingbot are good examples of search engine crawlers.
There are plenty of Web crawler tools available which help in easily crawling a website URLs. These tools help in doing website audit to identify any broken links, redirects and other SEO parameters for improving a website.
Screaming Frog is one of the best web crawler tool which can crawl 500 URLs in free version with plenty of crawled information. Visual SEO Studio and 80legs are also crawling tools with both free and paid options.
So as a conclusion here if you want your website pages to be crawled and indexed successfully by search engine crawlers then you should regularly do all the above highlighted actions from submitting and updating XML sitemap with all active webpages to mobile friendly testing of your website.
Do you also apply any other ways to improve your website crawling? Please share in comments as it can be helpful for others too.