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Crawl budget – don’t let it make your skin crawl!
If you want your site to index quickly, you should understand the concept of a crawl budget. It has to do with both large and small pages. However, in most cases, the owners of more complex websites, where there may be more technical errors, should pay attention to this term.
But let’s start with the basics:
What is crawling in SEO?
Google sends its bots, also known as Google bots or Google Spiders, to crawl your pages and index the content. Once these steps are complete, your site’s content is included in the Google index. Therefore, it’s crucial that Google can easily find all your pages. For this purpose, sitemaps are created so that Google bots can easily find URLs.
The crawling process will be relatively quick if your website has several hundred URLs. What if a website consists of thousands of subpages, and more are added daily? That’s when figuring out what to crawl and when to crawl becomes very important.
Crawl budget – definition
This concept is derived from two essential factors – Crawl Rate and Crawl Demand. Let’s explain them more thoroughly.
- Crawl Rate Limit
This limit was introduced to prevent Google from crawling too many pages in too short a time. It prevents possible overloads of the website server. The crawl rate limit prevents Google from sending too many search queries that could slow down your website speed.
The crawl rate itself may also depend on the page speed. The process slows down if your site is too slow or the server response time is too long. As a result, Google analyzes only a few of your pages. On the other hand, if the site responds quickly, the crawl rate also increases.
Crawl rate limit can be changed in Google Search Console. However, setting the limit to a high level does not immediately guarantee a better crawl rate.
- Crawl Demand
If the crawling urgency of your site is low, then Googlebot will avoid crawling it. Google itself points out that popular and up-to-date content has a higher value of this score. Crawl demand also depends on the general popularity of your pages and the topicality and originality of the content.
Given these two concepts, crawl budget can be defined as:
The number of pages or URLs from your site that Googlebot can or wants to crawl after taking into account the Crawl Rate Limit and Crawl Demand.
Why should I be interested in crawl budget?
You want Google to find and analyze as many of your pages as possible. When you add new subpages or update existing ones, you want the search engine to include them as soon as possible. You also certainly don’t want to lose potential traffic from pages that have not yet been crawled.
If you miss-adjust your crawl budget, Google won’t be able to index your site effectively. Google bots will spend too much time on subpages that don’t matter much. As a result, your site’s most essential content elements will not be found, and you will not get visitors from them.
On the other hand, there is also no point in forcing crawlers to return to your site if there is nothing new and exciting to find there. Google’s algorithms are clever and can determine whether the frequency of changes made to specific pages translates into their more significant value.
Therefore, it is best to focus on improving the quality of the selected pages, i.e., adding helpful information. As a result, they will naturally generate a greater number of visits, which will lead to more regular indexation.
Crawl budget – frequently asked questions
- How do I check the crawl budget of my website?
Log in to your Google Search Console and select the target website. Then enter indexing, then indexing statistics.
Here you will find such data as:
The number of pages indexed per day – A sudden drop in indexed pages may signal that a page is having some problems.
The number of kilobytes of data downloaded daily – If this number is high but does not degrade the time it takes to download a page, everything is fine.
Time spent downloading the page – the lower the value, the better.
- Does page speed affect the crawl budget?
Taking care of the website speed improves the user experience and increases the crawling process’s speed. For Google bots, a fast page is a sign that your site is doing well. Thanks to this, spiders can analyze its content faster. On the other hand, many dropped connections are a negative sign that Googlebot is slowing down its indexing. Therefore, it is a good idea to monitor the crawl errors section.
- Is crawling an SEO factor?
A higher indexation rate is essential, but it will not, by itself, result in higher rankings in search results. To that end, Google uses many other ranking signals – crawling itself is not one of them.
- Do alternate URLs affect the crawl budget?
In general, every URL that Googlebot analyzes counts towards the indexation budget. Alternative URLs, embedded content, and CSS files can be indexed. In this way, they will occupy part of the crawl budget. In the same way, long redirect chains can also hurt crawling.
- Does the nofollow directive affect the crawl budget?
It depends on the circumstances. Each URL that is crawled affects your budget. Even if the link is marked with nofollow, Google can still analyze it. This will happen when another subpage on your site contains this link but does not mark it with nofollow.
Thanks to this article, you will know more about the crawl budget and how it affects positioning. Remember that it is most important for large websites. It is possible that adjusting it properly will fix performance problems on your website.