Crawling and indexing a website is one of the most critical steps in SEO, and can seem daunting for beginners to SEO.
But what does it mean?
Crawling refers to how search engines find and read your content, while indexing means that the crawler has recorded which pages are on your site so users can see them through search results.
It’s an often overlooked step when building or redesigning a website.
Still, there are many ways to make crawling and indexing easier for Google (and other search engines), including using robots.txt files, meta tags, XML sitemaps, and more!
In this article, we’ll explore some essential tips you should know about both crawling and indexing a website.
How do bots crawl a website?
Bots crawl a website by following links coded into the site’s HTML.
The crawler will follow every link it can find and index any pages or content found along its path to help users search for information on your page more easily in Google Search results!
How does crawling work?
Crawling is how bots read through web pages (or other types of files), so they know what’s there when someone searches online with keywords related to those documents.
This process helps determine which websites should show up higher than others based on their relevance, intent, and content quality.
What happens if a bot can’t crawl my website?
If your website isn’t indexed, it will not show up in search results and receive organic traffic.
Crawlers also look for new content changes in existing content on websites, which is why pruning old content can help boost your organic traffic.
How will I know if Google has indexed my website?
You can check to see if Google has indexed your website in Google Search Console.
Another way to see if your website is indexed is to search for your website on Google and see if it shows up in the search results using the ‘site:’ operator.
What is a robots.txt, and why is it used?
A robots.txt is a file that tells search engine crawlers which parts of your site they can and cannot access.
If you have sensitive information on your website, it’s best to block these bots from accessing them, so you don’t expose any private data.
A robots.txt file will also help index your website since Googlebot won’t use those pages in its ranking algorithm.
What is a sitemap, and why do I need one?
A sitemap is a document that lists the pages on your website and provides information about each page.
Crawlers can use it to find all of the pages of your website more efficiently.
Why do I need one?
A site map will help you organise content on your website and provide an overview of what’s available to visitors.
What will happen if I put noindex in the head section of my website?
If you put noindex in your website’s head section, it will tell search engines not to index that page.
Noindex is helpful if a webpage contains content that should only be visible for logged-in users or people who have paid access, and you do not want those pages indexed by Google.
Why is it essential to add keywords to my content?
Keywords help search engines understand your content.
An excellent example of using keywords would be adding keywords to each page, which will help Google know that this particular webpage contains information related to the search term.
What tools can I use to help see crawling and indexing issues?
You can use several tools to see if your website is indexed, and crawlers can crawl it.
The most popular ones include Google Search Console and Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool.
Google Search Console is free, and Screaming Frog offers a free version, which allows for limited usage. (up to 500 URLs)
They also provide an excellent way of seeing how well the site is structured.
Where can I learn more about crawling and indexing a website?
There are several resources available to learn more about crawling and indexing websites.
One is the Google Search Console documentation, which offers an excellent overview of how it all works, what you need for your site’s content to be crawled by search engines, and some tips to help crawlers.
Will the Google Search console show me if my website has crawl and index issues?
Google Search Console will show you if your website has crawl and index issues.
It also provides several other helpful features, such as checking on crawl errors and how well your website performs in search results.
You can have the best content in the world, but if search engines can’t see it, you may as well not have it on your website.