When you hear “SEO,” what comes to mind? Keyword optimization, traffic, bounce rate, or perhaps backlinking? Or, if you’re trying to improve your site’s performance, maybe “review page design” is at the top of your to-do list?
These concepts are all essential to your SEO strategy, but to maximize your site’s performance, you also need to educate yourself about SEO topics that often get overlooked. In this article, we’re going to look at a practice that doesn’t receive much attention but can still make a difference to your site’s performance: crawl budgets.
What is a “crawl budget”?
To improve your SERP results and overall SEO, you need to make it easy for search engines to interact with your website. The more efficiently a search engine’s bots can crawl your site and extract information about its content and structure, the better.
Google defines crawl budget as “the number of URLs Googlebot can and wants to crawl.”
A site’s crawl budget is determined by two factors
1.Crawl rate limit. This refers to the number of simultaneous, parallel connections a bot uses when it crawls a website. This figure also takes into account the time a bot has to wait before it can make a new attempt to fetch information. If a site loads quickly, the crawl rate goes up because a bot can use a greater number of connections in any given amount of time. But if a website is hosted on a slow server, Googlebot won’t be able to crawl it so efficiently, meaning it will retrieve fewer data.
Google strives, in their own words, to be a “good citizen of the web.” Google needs to crawl your website but not at the expense of your users’ experience. Googlebot is designed so that it doesn’t overload your server with requests for information.
2.Crawl demand. If a bot reaches the crawl rate limit, it will stop. However, Googlebot’s activity is also determined by URL popularity. The more traffic a URL receives, the higher the crawl demand. Staleness is also a factor. Recently-published and updated content receives more attention from Googlebot.
Why do you need to optimize your crawl budget?
By optimizing your crawl budget, you will encourage Googlebot to crawl your site regularly and index as many URLs as possible. This is particularly important if you run a large website with thousands of pages.
Here’s how to do it:
1.Check your Crawl Errors report in the Search Console
If Googlebot encounters a server error, it won’t be able to access a page’s URL or crawl its contents. Use the Google Search Console to identify any issues. The “Fetch as Google” tool runs a simulation that shows exactly if and how Googlebot is crawling your site. You’ll find any server errors that require fixing.
2.Improve the speed of your site
The faster the speed of your site, the more Googlebot requests it will be able to handle in any given amount of time. Ideally, your pages should load in under 2 seconds. If you aren’t sure how to improve your site’s speed, start by re-evaluating your design. You need to balance aesthetics and performance. Following good web design practices, such as enabling compression and keeping your code as clean as possible, will help cut down page loading time.
3.Remove low-quality or unnecessary URLs
Eliminate or minimize redirects, soft error pages, infinite spaces, session identifiers, and proxies. They are a waste of your crawl budget and make it harder for a bot to identify and index valuable and relevant content on your site. Eliminate orphan pages; each URL should be part of a coherent site structure that provides an easy to navigate site for both bots and human users.
4.Publish fresh content regularly
Google wants to deliver a great experience to web users. This means that sites with high-quality content will receive more attention in search engine results. When you add more pages and content to your website, this signals to Google that your site is growing, thereby gaining popularity.
The good news is that you don’t have to create brand new content all the time. Refreshing your existing pages with a few new paragraphs, links, and images will encourage Google to crawl them. Do not publish duplicate content.
5.Revaluate your traffic generation strategy
Remember, popular sites are crawled more frequently. If you haven’t got a traffic generation strategy in place, it’s time to create one. Backlinks, social media marketing, guest blogging, and paid advertising may all be suitable options, depending on your niche, budget, and professional connections.
Try to get backlinks from popular sites that are frequently updated with fresh content. When these sites link to your content, Google will interpret those links as a stamp of approval – a positive signal that suggests your website also has something that is of value to web users.
Crawl budgets are often left out of SEO discussions, but anyone who wants to grow and maintain a large, popular site needs to understand how they work. Fortunately, maximizing your crawl budget doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge. If you follow common sense SEO rules and best practices, you’ll help Googlebot crawl your site quickly and efficiently. As long as you prioritize user experience and commit to providing the best possible content, your website will climb up the SERP rankings.