Crawl budget is essential if you have a website. If you’re new to SEO or have never heard of crawl budget before, don’t worry.
In this blog post, we’ll answer the question, “What is crawl budget?” explain why it’s important, and show you how to optimize it for better results.
- Crawl budget is the number of pages a search engine can analyze and index in a certain time frame.
- Crawling is the process through which bots search the internet for new information and index it for future retrieval through search queries.
- Crawl budget affects website visibility and how quickly your site gets crawled, which can impact SEO performance.
- A low crawl budget may limit website visibility on SERPs, and slow-loading pages can negatively affect user experience.
- To optimize crawl budget, improve site structure, enhance speed and performance, fix errors and broken links by looking at Google Search Console reports, manage URL parameters, and control priority with Robots.txt.
Crawl Budget Definition
Crawl budget is the number of pages a search engine can “crawl” or go through on your website during a certain time frame (usually per day). In other words, it’s the amount of time and resources the engine is willing to spend crawling your website.
For example, let’s say Google crawls 20 of your web pages per day. That would be your crawl budget. People usually refer to Google’s crawler as “GoogleBot” when talking about crawl budget.
What Is Crawling?
Crawling is the process through which bots search the internet for new information and index it for future retrieval through search queries. When you search for something on Google, it uses software known as a bot to find and catalog information on the internet.
The crawler (bot) begins by visiting web pages that have already been indexed and follows any available links to new pages. It then repeats the process on the new pages, and this continues in a loop.
Search Engine Crawlers
Search engine crawlers, also called spiders or bots, are automated software programs that go through your web pages and gather information.
They’re responsible for analyzing your website and indexing pages so they can be ranked on SERPs. Search engines crawl countless websites daily to give you relevant information and display important pages using crawlers.
Each engine has its own crawler. Some of the most popular crawlers include GoogleBot, BingBot, Slurp Bot, Yandex Bot, and DuckDuckBot.
The Crawling Process
The crawling process is systematic and continuous. Each website has a certain crawl budget and gets assigned a crawler accordingly. So each crawler, let’s take GoogleBot for example, starts with a list of URLs (websites) to visit and analyze.
As the GoogleBot gathers data from your website, it finds internal links pointing to other web pages, which in turn have more links, and so on. It decides which internal links on the list to crawl first based on several factors like page relevance, authority, XML sitemap updates, and ranking.
Google crawls through all of your internal links as long as your website’s crawl budget allows it. Every once in a while, the bot will check your robots.txt file to make sure it’s still allowed to crawl your pages.
Once a crawl stats report is compiled, Google analyzes the relevance and quality of your content. Based on that and other crawl stats, it determines your ranking in search results.
Components of Crawl Budget
Crawl budget is a critical factor that can impact your website’s SEO performance, and it’s essential to understand how it works and how to optimize it. Here’s a look at the components of crawl budget.
An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website, making it easier for search engines to discover and crawl your pages. By ensuring your sitemap is up to date, you can increase your crawl budget, as search engines are more likely to find and index your pages. XML sitemaps can be generated automatically using various plugins or manually by your developer, providing different options based on your preferences.
Site speed is one of the most crucial factors contributing to your website’s crawl budget. Slow-loading pages can result in search engines aborting the crawl before indexing all of your pages, leading to a lower crawl rate. Therefore, it’s essential your website loads quickly, ensuring your web pages appear in the search results. You can achieve this by optimizing images and videos, using a reliable hosting service and a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and minimizing the use of plugins and scripts.
Crawl Rate Limit
Search engines need to work within their crawl budget while not overloading your servers. Each crawler has a crawl rate limit to get their job done without affecting your visitors’ experience.
A crawl rate limit is the maximum number of requests a crawler can make to your website during a time frame (usually per second). There are several factors affecting the crawl rate limit, including:
- Server Capacity: Websites with high server capacity and optimized server settings can handle more requests and have a higher crawl rate limit and crawl budget.
- Site’s Traffic and Popularity: Websites with heavy traffic are considered important pages and are assigned a higher crawl limit and budget to make sure the latest content is indexed.
- Technical Errors and Crawl Errors: Errors like broken links and server errors affect the number of pages Google can crawl, so they’re given a smaller crawl limit and budget.
Crawl demand is how desirable your pages are to crawlers or how much Google wants to crawl them. High-value pages and websites that are popular have a higher crawl demand. That’s because Google wants to ensure its results are relevant and up-to-date. The greater the crawl demand of your pages, the greater the crawl budget, and the more frequently Googlebot crawls your pages.
Pages with a higher demand and crawl health are generally considered more authoritative and trustworthy because they’re under constant scrutiny by crawlers.
Several factors can affect your crawl demand, including:
- Page Freshness: Google prioritizes fresher pages with more up-to-date content relevant to readers. These pages have a greater allotted crawl budget and demand.
- Quality and Relevance of Content: Factors like keyword usage, readability, and engagement metrics like time on a website and bounce rate help determine the quality of your page and its crawl demand.
- Site Authority and Backlinks: The more backlinks you have with other websites or authoritative sources, the higher your site authority and trustworthiness. This results in greater crawl demand.
Why Crawl Budget Matters
Is crawl budget really all that important? Here’s a look at why it matters.
Affects Website Visibility
When a bot crawls your website, they index the pages and determine how relevant your content is to search queries. However, if your crawl budget is too low, search engines may be unable to crawl all of your pages, which means that some of your content may not be indexed. This can severely limit your website’s visibility on SERPs, which can be detrimental to your online presence.
Affects How Quickly Your Site Is Crawled
How many pages does your site have? If you have a large website with many pages, search engines may be unable to crawl all of your content in one go. This means some pages may take longer to be crawled and indexed than others. This can impact your SEO efforts because search engines consider website speed when ranking websites. Slow-loading pages can negatively affect user experience, leading to a decrease in traffic and rankings.
Helps E-Commerce Websites
E-commerce websites often have a large number of pages due to their product catalogs, which means that managing crawl budget is even more important. By optimizing your crawl budget, you can ensure your product pages are being crawled and indexed by search engines, which can help increase your sales and revenue.
How to Optimize Your Crawl Budget
Are you tired of having your website crawl budget wasted on irrelevant content? Do you wonder if search engines are spending time on the right pages of your site? It’s important to make sure your website gets the maximum visibility possible.
One way to achieve this is to optimize your crawl budget. Here’s how.
Improve Site Structure
A logical site hierarchy is crucial for optimizing your crawl budget. Ensure your top-level pages are the most relevant and fresh, and that subpages are logically placed beneath them. Update your XML sitemap to help crawlers prioritize and index important pages and use relevant and descriptive anchor texts for links.
Enhance Site Speed and Performance
Faster load times lead to improved site speed and better crawl budget optimization. Use fast-loading pages, properly formatted and optimized media files, and leverage browser caching and server-side caching to enhance your website’s speed and performance.
Fix Crawl Errors and Broken Links
Fixing crawl errors and broken links that result in non-indexable pages is essential for optimizing your crawl budget. Use Google Search Console, server logs, and Google Analytics to identify and fix the problem.
Manage URL Parameters
Duplicate content can affect crawlers’ efficiency and lower your rankings. Use canonical tags or URL parameter handling in Google Search Console to address duplicate content issues. Configure URL parameters to tell crawlers which parameters should be ignored or crawled.
Control Crawl Priority With Robots.txt
Use the Robots.txt file to control the crawl activity on your website. Direct crawlers to high-quality pages like blogs, homepages, and product pages, and block access to duplicate or insignificant pages. Ensure proper syntax and clear directives. The Robots.txt file can be the ultimate tool for crawl budget optimization.
Get Rid of Duplicate Content
If you don’t want to waste your crawl budget, ensure your site does not have duplicate content. This could include tag pages, internal search result pages, and copied pages.
By using your crawl budget efficiently, you can ensure Google acknowledges and ranks the most important pages of your website. Now that we’ve answered the question “What is crawl budget,” you can better understand how to use it to your advantage.
Crawl budget optimization can take your SEO results and rankings to a new level. Try these optimization strategies and watch how they improve your website traffic.
Raymond Li is known for his deep understanding of SEO and ability to develop successful client campaigns. His technical expertise and creativity have helped businesses of all sizes to improve their organic search presence. Ray enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and exploring the local cuisine when not dominating the SERPs for a wide array of juicy keywords.