Optimize your site’s Indexing and Crawling on Google in a few simple steps
The two most fundamental tasks of the Google bot are indexing and crawling – the process by which new and updated pages are added to the Google index. This will therefore mean that the pages with higher indexing will have better rankings and consequently, can be easily ‘fetched’ and found. Webmasters are focused on facilitating the indexing of websites to enable the bot to rank the websites better.
This article will provide you with the basics to help you promote the crawling and indexing of your website. The steps below will ensure that your website is easily found on the web.
- Understand how it works
To wrap your mind around it, you will have to understand the basics of how the whole thing works. First is the robots.txt. This is a simple text file that is responsible for instructing the Google bot of what to specifically use to crawl the website. It could instruct the bot to exclude the data sensitive areas that should not be indexed such as login and customer accounts. A good robots.txt file should grant the bot total access to all the resources needed to correctly display your website.
Another file that plays an important role in the indexing of websites is the machine-readable file called the XML sitemap. This file lists all the URLs on your website and provides additional information like the last update date of the various URLs. Once you have created the XML file by saving the structured data in the XML format, add it to the Google Search Console. Unlike the robots.txt file, the XML file is only concerned with informing Google of the existing URLs rather than giving instructions to the bot.
Ensure that you put more effort in handling the creation of the XML file because it becomes very handy in the indexing of websites especially when a new content is posted. This is true because the XML file will inform Google about the existing sub-pages interlinking it with the other webpages for improved crawling. After creating the robots.txt and the XML file, save them in the rot directory of your website.
- Maximize on the Crawl Budget
The path followed by the Google bot involves following links, crawling URLs, then interpreting, classifying and indexing the content. Its effectiveness depends on the website’s page rank and the ease of following the links on the respective websites. This will determine the number of pages that are crawled and indexed because the bot has a small budget for crawling.
Therefore, the website with the best structured architecture will ensure that the bot has access to all the relevant and resourceful webpages to optimize its performance. However, a more complex structure that has got important webpages stuck deep in large directories will hinder their access and the bot will resolve to use the less important webpages to crawl and index the website. Experts recommend flat hierarchies to grant the bot access to all available webpages.
To maximize the speed at which the Google bot crawls your content, logically define your headings using the h-tags. The h-tags you use should be arranged chronologically, that is, h1 for the main heading and the consecutive h-tags for the subheadings. Avoid using the h-tag to format the size of your page headings since this will adversely confuse the bot during crawling.
- Have Original Content
Uniqueness in the content you post on your website will give you an upper hand when it comes to search engine optimization. While Google does not consider it an offense to have duplicate content on your website, you should not take it as an excuse but rather aim at having original and unique content. In times of these complicities, the search engine will decide on the content to index and the URLs it will not use based on the similarity.
To monitor and have control on how Google will handle this type of content, you could use different measures. One of such measures is the 301 redirect where the duplicate content occurs when the indexed versions are those with www. and those without. To avoid this, use this measure to point to the preferred version by either modifying your .htaccess file or adding the version of your preference in the Google Search Console.
Another measure is using a canonical tag to solve the problem of duplication. This comes in handy when one item is available on many URLs. The tag will give Google bot the exact version of the URL to be indexed. The rel=alternate tag is the last measure that is applicable mostly when the website is available in different languages or has the mobile and desktop version. The bot will be given the information about an alternative URL for indexing with the same content.
- Constant Monitoring
It is important to keep a tab on the data in the Google Search Console. This way, you will be able to understand how the Google bot executes the crawling and indexing of your website. Furthermore, the tips provided by the Search Console will enable you to identify errors and optimize how your website is crawled. Some of the ‘crawl errors’ listed are the 404 errors and the soft 404 errors.
In the crawl statistics under the Search Console, you will get information about how often the Google bot has visited the website, plus the amount of data that was downloaded during the whole process. This information is presented in a graph and the occurrence of a random drop in the plot could indicate existence of errors on your website. The feature – URL parameters – enables SEO and webmasters to give the Google bot specifics on how to handle certain URL parameters.
In conclusion, the steps explained will enable you to understand what it takes to have the best of Google bot’s crawling and indexing of your website. Consequently, this will make your website to be easily found on Google and have improved rankings.
This guest post was written by Selina Jenkins is an IT expert with a lot of experience in Search Engine Optimization having worked for Chicago SEO Company. Her interest in how crawling and indexing works in Google is better placed to give you advice on how to improve your website’s presence. For more visit the website.