How to Help Google Crawl Your Site
Crawling a website is one of the first actions Google takes to analyze pages and present results. Crawling occurs when the Google bot scans a website, visiting each individual page and following each link. The results from a crawl are indexed and later used to determine search engine rankings. Since the crawl is critical to SERP performance, webmasters can increase their rankings by taking steps to help the Google bot crawl their site efficiently.
Where Crawling Goes Wrong
Crawl errors commonly occur when there is an issue with a specific page’s URL, such as a 404 not found error. 404s may occur when a page was moved to a new URL or is no longer available on the site at all. Fortunately, individuals can identify 404 errors and fix them by replacing missing content or redirecting bad URLs. Other common problems may be specific to mobile devices or malware related issues.
The Google bot may also encounter crawling errors when attempting to access a website. This is a more serious problem, as a website cannot be crawled and indexed if the bot cannot access it. This frequently occurs to websites that have a no index or no follow tag on the site. These tags essentially tell the bot not to crawl a website. Server issues may also result in a 500 or 503 error and stop the bot from being able to access your site.
Why Isn’t My Site Being Crawled Quickly?
Broken internal links may slow the speed at which Google is crawling your site. Whenever a link is broken, the Google bot still unsuccessfully attempts to check it. As a result, an attempt to check a functioning page is wasted. Additionally, having duplicate content may also be slowing down the bot as it is essentially checking the same content twice. Fixing URL errors, updating links, and deleting duplicate content may help maximize link equity.
Ways to Increase Crawl Efficiency
There are many ways webmasters can help improve their site for the Google bot. Each of these actions may help maximize the efficiency at which the bot can crawl a site. Some suggestions include:
- Audit and clean your site of 404 errors
- Optimize your site structure to prioritize important pages
- Improve the accuracy and readability of your site’s URLs
- Establish an internal linking structure for your site
Submitting your sitemap through Google Search Console may also help crawl efficiency by prompting the bot to crawl the URLs within it. However, it is important to make sure that a sitemap is free of 404 errors before submitting it to Google. Doing so will make sure that the bot is able to access all of the pages a webmaster is asking it to crawl.
Helping Google efficiently crawl your site can improve your overall search engine ranking and increase the number of leads your site generates. As a result, optimizing your site for the crawl and reducing errors can have an overall positive impact on your business, law firm, or organization.