A Beginner’s Guide on Crawling and Indexing

9 Min Read. |

As Digital Marketers, we have invested more of our time in SERP Ranking. Even my preferred blogs have been on Search Engine Optimization. Here, we’ll take a slight shift from SEO to learn the basics of Search Engine – what is Crawling and Indexing

Nevertheless, again SEO-engaging topic.

Let’s start with the search engine story.

Search Engine Activity

We enter the search query and get the result of the ordered organic listing. In this article, we will learn how does the search engine operates to accomplish this listing. There are 4 ways through which the webpages touch the top organic SERP.

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Working of Search Engines

You put your queries on Google and it highlights results within seconds, right?

But, have you ever imagined, what are the activities involved in this no-time process? 

Let’s learn about what is Crawling & indexing

Search engines work with 3 basic operations:

Crawl: Crawl is an initial and crucial Google activity that involves spreading and searching the Internet for content. In this process, each URL is investigated that comes along with the particular website.

Crawl

Crawl

Index: It is the next step where all the content collected through crawling is stored and organized in the database. Once the page is indexed, it becomes the part of search engine results.

Rank: Finally, only the page whose keywords are compatible with the searcher’s query are ranked in the SERP and thereafter ordered in a similar manner.

Crawling & Indexing

Crawling & Indexing

Do you know that the web crawlers raise the SERP? Let’s learn how.

When you post a query on the search bar, the web crawlers are likely to collect information from a huge number of site pages and hence sort it out in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Glue to the article to learn about crawling and indexing in SEO in detail.

Crawling

Activities incorporated in crawling:

(i) Scans and analyzes all the latest launched websites

(ii) Analyze the newest changes in the existing websites

(iii) Scans the websites for dead connections.

(iv) Scans all the pages of the website linked through URL

(v) Crawls the pages according to the website owner’s choice

Although crawling is a Google activity, even the site owners can customize their crawling sequence on their website. Search Console gives a choice to the website owners to decide the sequence in which he favors the scan. Using Search Console, the owner can instruct the process of crawling, can even request a recrawl and even he can command the crawler to quit its activity.

How does Google Derive Information by Crawling?

Google is like a huge and ever-growing library, but how is all the information collected? Web crawlers are the software that identifies all the publicly present web pages and crawls & stores the information. While visiting a site, the crawler also follows the content through all its linked pages. Each and every link is followed to bring out the complete information that the website provides. 

Factors that Affect Crawling

Crawling and indexing in SEO are highly linked with each other. But, both have certain deciding factors that measure their compatibility with the SERP. These factors are a must to keep in mind to solve the issue of ‘why my page is not getting indexed’. The following are the backend factors that are actually responsible for the crawling and indexing of your page.

Keyword Embedded Domain Name is a Must

Embedding a keyword in the domain name makes it easier for a user to identify the website niche. This gives the possibility that more users can find a way to your page and increase the traffic. Such websites gain higher crawling rates

This factor has gained importance after the Google Panda Algorithm update through which the high-quality websites are rewarded and the low-quality pages are diminished in the organic SERP.  

Backlinking

Backlinks help you to gain authority and trust. The search engines find such websites more reputable and hence give the page an opportunity to crawl them at higher rates. Backlinking is also the backbone of high-quality content. There are chances that even if your website ranks good on SERP, it gets specified as low-quality content by Google crawlers if it lacks backlinks.

Backlinking

Backlinking

Internal linking

Internal linking adds up to deep crawling, you know how? When you add a good number of internal links to a page, Google crawler reads each link and URL and hence crawls all the linked pages, further crawling more pages in a similar manner. This lets the user to spend more time on your website by crawling deeply into all the liked URL pages. Using the same anchor text within the same article also aids in deep crawling. Internal linking is not just a good SEO practice but also helps in retaining users.

XML Site

XML Sitemap is the first tool you use after setting up a website on WordPress. This is done to generate a sitemap so that Google can be informed that your site has been updated and will get ready to crawl it.

XML Site

XML Site

Duplicate Content

Keeping duplicate content on your website can lead Google to ban your website. Duplicate content may include using the same paragraphs repeatedly. If your website has 301 and 404 re-directs to make Google crawling more smooth.

URL Standardization

It is very important to create an SEO friendly URL for your website. 

Pinging

Pinging WordPress informs the search engines about the latest website updates. Therefore, it becomes a must task to add ping sites to WordPress. 

All the above 7 factors are determining to make your site to be crawlable at faster rates and up to more accuracy. 

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Indexing

Indexing is an activity through which the website content is added to Google and hence gains visibility on SERP. How is a new page indexed?

There are a number of ways through which a site can be indexed. Let’s learn the most favored ones:

(i) The very easy method is to do nothing but wait as the page gets indexed by itself after being crawled. Google eventually discovers the new content and hence indexes it. 

(ii) The second way is opting for Googlebot to index the page faster. Mostly Google Bots are used when you have made a new change and want Google to know and highlight it through SERP.

Using the second method is most preferred when you have to make critically important amendments and introductions visible. The situations may include:

(i) When a critical page is optimized 

(ii) The title and descriptions have been revamped for increasing the click-throughs

(iii) To learn the specific timing when the page was displayed on SERP to measure the improvement statistics.

How is Indexing Performed?

Above we read the crawling activity, where all the information is recognized and derived from the webpage, whether it is the latest update, keyword or fresh content. 

The very next activity that Google performs is indexing, where it stores hundreds of billions of webpages in its 1,00,000k gigabytes of size. Google Indexing is completely similar to book indexing, we identify the topic name and find all valuable information about it within. Similarly, Google Index segregates information word-wise to easily highlight it during any entry of search query.

Why fast Indexing is a good idea?

In this blog, you have been repeatedly reading ‘fast crawling, fast indexing’, fair enough! But what’s the importance? Afterall, anyways your page is going to be indexed if it’s crawled.

To clear this confusion, below, I have discussed why fast crawling and indexing in SEO are a must.

(i) To keep your content safe and highlight it on SERP before any random webmaster can steal your content and index it quicker than yours.

(ii) You get recognized sooner. About 63k searches take place on Google every second. Missing a single day even after getting your website ready, can make you lose many opportunities. Fast Indexing acknowledges your website and makes it visible for traffic from the very initial hour (if your website is optimized properly).

(iii) If you have fresh content, you gain better chances to get your website ranked higher on SERP. 

(iv) You get your SEO fast, hence faster marketing. 

Crawl Budget

Crawl budget is the number of resources that have been used Google to crawl and index the website. It is an important discussion term while we talk about indexing. The crawl budget is dependent on two main factors:

(i) The quality of your server – how fast does your server respond to crawl without affecting the UX of your site. 

(ii) How fast you want your content to be indexed and crawled. A news update website needs to be crawled and indexed in priority as compared to a regional website running on small and constant business. The prior needs more budget than later.

What is the difference between Crawling and Indexing in SEO?

Clear about Crawling and Indexing in SEO? Indexing is followed by crawling, right? But do you know the page can be indexed without being crawled? Let’s get better insights into What is the difference between crawling and indexing in SEO.

The two initial activities of Search Engines – Crawling and Indexing are poles apart concepts, mostly misunderstood as two or the same activity. 

By crawling, Googlebot identifies the complete content of the webpage and analyzes it and indexing makes the same page eligible to show up in SERP. 

I would like to discuss this concept through Mark Brown’s example, according to which if we suppose Googlebot to be a tour guide who is trying all its way out to enter a hallway but many of the connecting doors (web pages) are shut for him to access. But, if he is permitted to open the doors, he would all the way open each door and have a look into each room (crawling)

Crawling done right!

Next, he may or may not be permitted to show the same to the visitors (If permitted, the page can appear on SERP and vise-Versa). This means that even after the page is crawled if the website owner does not permit, the page won’t appear on SERP.

Similarly, if the page permits the Googlebot index but not crawl, it would come across the page and leave without crawling. In this case, the instructions are unknown to Google whether the content must be hidden or permitted for SERP ( the instructions are inside the webpage where Googlebot is not permitted to enter and read.  

Therefore, even after Google is unknown to the content and instructions, the page would be indexed on SERP. 

Technically, ‘robots.txt’ is a tag to block the page (from crawling), nevertheless, it would be indexed regardless of the index or non-index tag for the SERP. This issue can lessen your ranking on the Search Engine Result page, thus terming it as a low-quality page. 

You can identify this issue as in this case, the search result description says“This page’s description is not available because of robots.txt”.

Conclusion 

I hope that this article has cleared the concepts of what is crawling and indexing and when & how these two become independent of each other & what is the difference between crawling and indexing in SEO.

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Date: Online   05th Aug (Wed)
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Crawling and Indexing is an important chapter of the SEO industry. These are the two very initial activities that must be clear to the minds of Digital Marketers. I have tried to cover the full and important concepts of both topics.

If you wish to start a career in search engine optimization, go through the above sections and understand the basics of SEO. Then, do a Search Engine Optimization course to gain expertise in the domain.

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