Let me summarize all the basics that you want to know about the crawl budget ahead of talking in-depth about how to optimize it. This is to ensure that you get the point behind the importance of optimizing the crawl budget of your website.
Another reason for summarizing the important aspects of the crawl budget is because the crawl budget is associated with technical SEO, and many SEOs skip this due to the cumbersome process of understanding it.
What is Crawl Budget?
Crawl Budget is the number of pages Googlebot crawls and indexes each time it visits a website. Crawl budget of a website can be influenced by two significant factors, the popularity of the site and the freshness of the content.
Is Crawl Budget an Important for SEO Factor?
The answer is an emphatic YES! If your website has to feature in Google search, it has to be first crawled and later indexed. If Googlebot finds thousands of new pages on your site on a single, it may skip some of the pages as the number exceeds the crawl.
These pages will remain as not indexed until the Googlebot crawls the website again. There is a high chance that bulk URLs (thousands to millions) added to a new website may take months to get indexed due to the low Crawl Budget allocated by Google.
Do large websites have to worry about the crawl budget?
This depends on how popular the website is. If Googlebot finds high Crawl demand for the pages on a large website, it may allocate more crawl budget. However, bigger websites need to give Googlebot enough information about which pages to crawl, what all resources must be crawled, and when to crawl.
Do small websites have to worry about the crawl budget?
Generally, smaller websites need not worry too much about the crawl budget as Google has enough crawl budget to index all the pages of a smaller website. However, smaller websites have to ensure they have good internal linking structure, hierarchy, speed, and unique pages without duplication to ensure the crawl budget doesn’t get affected. Ensuring the presence of a site map will make crawling even easier for Googlebot.
Does Site Speed Affect Crawl Budget?
Crawl budget is greatly influenced by the speed of the website. Googlebot uses the Chrome browser to crawl and index webpages. If it finds a website slow, it can crawl only fewer number of pages. Adding to this, a website will be a lot of 404 errors, and server errors may deter Googlebot from further crawling the site. That’s why it’s important to fix all the errors notified in Google Search Console.
Having a speedy website along with a server that has significantly less response time means faster crawling, indexing and better crawl budget.
Importance of Internal Linking Structure for Crawl Budget?
Google has been quite vocal about the importance of internal linking structure and the hierarchy of the pages. A well-organized website means a better crawl budget. It’s important for websites large or small to follow a pyramidical internal linking structure. This will ensure that important pages that are buried inside the website get crawled as they are linked from more important pages. An ideal internal linking structure of a website may look like:
Can orphan pages reduce the Crawl budget?
Orphan pages make it hard for Googlebot to crawl and it can lead to the low crawl budget as the crawler hit a roadblock.
Can Duplicate Content lead to a smaller crawl budget?
The crawl budget of your website will be affected by duplicate content as Google doesn’t want the same content on multiple pages to get indexed. Google has categorically stated that it doesn’t want to waste resources crawling copied pages, internal search result pages, and tag pages.
How to Optimize the Crawl Budget of a Website?
Google’s Algorithm is smart enough to crawl almost all pages of a small website; either in one go or within a few days time. However, things may not be as easy for websites that have thousands to millions of pages.
If you are running a website with a large database of pages, it becomes imperative to optimize the crawl budget to ensure that the important pages are not skipped by Google while it crawls the site.
- Enabling Crawling of Important Pages
You may think this is a prerequisite for any site and how come this has become so important in deciding the crawl budget. In the analysis done over the last few years, I have come to an understanding that not all websites have the same crawl requirements. For a few websites, the tag pages may not serve much of a purpose but for a few, the tag pages may be important. There have been instances wherein the client has approached me with a page that has been completely made no-index.
This is where managing the robot.txt file comes to the picture. It’s easy for smaller websites to manage the robots file manually. However, when it comes to a website with thousands of pages you may require the help of third-party tools to understand whether the important pages are crawled. Some of the most popular tools include DeepCrawl and ScreamingFrog. For large websites, it’s highly recommended to do a thorough crawl check to keep crawling related issues at bay.
Google is patient enough to wait for page content despite a few 301 or 302 and this doesn’t affect the crawl rate of websites with very few pages. The search engine giant has confirmed that having too many redirects makes its crawler spent more resources on a single page and this is not something that goes well with Google’s crawler.
The crawler may skip the site from the crawl or end up indexing fewer pages if it finds a large number of redirect chains. Even though it is practically impossible for larger websites to live without redirects, Google suggests limiting it.
- Promote HTML Above any Other Format
- Fewer 5xx Errors Means Better Crawl Budget
One of the biggest technical glitches that affect the crawl rate of websites in 404, 410, 500 errors. If the Google crawler encounters 5xx status codes while crawling a website, it’s highly unlikely to skip and there is a chance that the crawl budget for the site is reduced considerably. By ensuring that pages are not turning error status, webmasters have to use tools such as Screaming Frog for doing a periodic website audit.