There are over 200 different ranking factors Google uses to rank a website on the search engine result pages (SERPs). Most people think a good backlink profile and relevant content is the most important ranking signal. Yes, those are important factors to rank your website on top. But what other things should you know about how your website is ranked?
The answer is website crawlability and indexability. Crawling and indexing are the first steps to help any website rank on SERP. If your website is not known to Google, how will Google rank your website?
This article delves into how website crawlability and indexability are important and what factors affect them.
What is Website Crawlability?
In layman’s terms, website crawlability is where Google bots crawl through your website content, following the links on that site.
Web crawlers are also known as search engine bots or spiders. The bots/spiders are made to understand everything relevant to search on web pages and to retrieve that data from the web for indexing, thus putting your website in a relevant space rather than being relegated to being ignored.
Different search engines operate web crawlers, and the data is collected from different websites by applying various search algorithms.
Crawling helps to give users relevant data when searching against any specific keywords. When you’re searching for something on the web, the search engine creates a list of relevant links from the data provided by the web crawler and gives you the primary list of web pages to search.
The first step to ranking any website is enabling bots to crawl your website. Bots will start with a seed or a list of known URLs. Then those bots go through link to link (following internal links), scanning and analyzing data, and bringing it back to the Google server.
The easier your website is to crawl, the faster website indexing will happen.
It is also important to note that web crawlers are always visiting different pages, so they will know if any updates or changes are being done on any given website. Once a web crawler is re-visiting an updates page, they will update the same in the index list, which will help users get to the updated content.
Accordingly, factors like broken links and redirects can restrict crawlers’ visits to your website.
We’ll learn more about the different factors later in the blog.
What is Website Indexability?
Crawlability and indexability depend on each other and are an important part of technical SEO. Indexability is the ability of any web page to be indexed by Google or other search engines. All the pages you see on the web are indexed pages.
For any page to be indexed, it is also important to have relevant content on your web pages.
Bots do not understand the normal language of any content written. They only understand every page’s HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) code.
For good SEO, it is important to have proper HTML tags and keywords in the content for bots to understand and categorize them accordingly.
The process of web indexing goes something like this:
- Bots or crawlers visit your page URL
- They crawl your web pages and download the content
- Afterward, they will process and analyze that content and extract the important information to index and categorize them properly.
There are a few steps that you can do to help your web pages index fast:
How to Index Pages Faster?
The very first step to web page indexing is website crawlability, followed by indexability. But here are some other steps you can do to help Google index your web pages fast:
- Submit sitemap to Google: A sitemap is a list of pages you want to index on your website. Sitemaps are normally submitted in XML (extensible markup language) format. You can submit sitemaps using Google Search Console (GSC) tool. It is a free tool by Google. A sitemap is basically a menu.
- Submit individual page: If you want to submit or request indexing of individual pages, you can do that using GSC’s URL Inspection Tool. It is a diagnostic tool of GSC that offers to test your submitted URL and also shows if a web page can be indexed or not. This tool can also ask for “requesting indexing” for web pages. If one page isn’t in the crawl queue, it will add it to the list.
- Build more internal links: Another important factor to facilitate faster web page crawling is building more internal links. Bots follow your web pages through internal links.
You should always check these links by performing a site audit to determine if there are any orphaned pages (pages with no internal links) on your website. Optimize the page by building internal links if there are any orphaned pages.
Another thing to remember is to check for “no-follow” tags. Since bots follow HTML codes, if any link has a “no-follow” tag, crawlers won’t visit the page further, pushing down your chances of page ranking. So, it is important to check for “do-follow” and “no-follow” tags in the HTML code.
Now, we know what steps you can perform to help Google index your page faster. But what are the different factors that affect the crawlability and indexability of any web page? Let us jump to that.
Factors Affecting Website Crawlability And Indexability
There are several factors that can lead to crawlability and indexability issues. Here are the few factors you should always take into account.
Proper Site Structure
A good site structure is an important aspect of SEO strategy. The site structure is a list of links that shows which pages are the most important of any website. It helps Google understand how structured and well-organized your website is.
The different tools to structure your website are breadcrumbs, categories, page tags, and internal links. Constructing a good site structure can help you rank the important pages higher. Poor site structure can lead to crawlability issues for your website.
Internal link structure
Internal link structure (a link on a page of your site to another page on your site) is important to help crawlers visit different web pages.
Pages with no internal linking are orphaned pages – these cause crawlability and indexability issues.
Broken links are a negative sign for Google crawlers. Broken links lead to pages that users or crawlers cannot access, resulting in a “404 error code”.
If a bot finds a broken link, it will stop scanning the page for any next link and will stop creating an indexing list of the website content.
Google avoids ranking similar content on the SERP. They have confirmed that on-site duplicate content will affect your crawl budget negatively. If you have duplicate content on your website, you can fix that by using 301 redirect and canonical links.
Sometimes crawlers face different issues which can affect the indexability and crawlability of a website. You can check the crawlability and indexability issues in your GSC. The different types of crawl and index issues are:
- Error (links that end with 404 error codes)
- Valid with a warning (websites blocked by robots.txt)
- Valid (pages not included in sitemap)
- Excluded (pages without canonical tags).
Apart from these, several other factors like page load time, redirect loop and redirect chains can affect website crawling and indexing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The best way to help Google’s crawlers to know your website and web pages is by optimizing the website with on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. By optimizing more than one element, your page will come to the top of the SERP ranking.
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