Semalt: What is Googlebot?
- What is Googlebot?
- Why should one be concerned with Googlebot?
- Why Googlebot does not crawl all pages on some sites?
- How to optimize your site to maximize Googlebot's budget
Do you know how Google finds resources for your search? As widely believed, Google isn't a know-it-all spirit that knows what every content online is all about. It isn't some sort of psychic who knows where the exact answer to your question is.
Like every other search engine, it has software that crawls through billions of pages (and sites) every second to gather information; extract the value of the content and its subject topic. So that when a search is conducted, the answer is drawn from those pages - kind of like a library.
It sounds a lot like SEO, and that's because it has a lot to with it. When a site is optimized effectively, Google sees the site quickly, reads through its pages, and pops it up when related searches are conducted on the search engine.
But this does not occur for all pages in a site, making some pages invisible to the world. Why does this happen? And what can be done against it (especially for very important pages)? Here is a guide detailing all about Google's website crawler (Googlebot), why it doesn't crawl enough pages, and how a website owner can use website optimization and SEO to maximize Googlebot's crawling budget.
What is Googlebot?
Spider! Crawler! These are popular names given to the Googlebot. This is because it kind of works that way. The software is created to crawl and look through billions of websites' pages that have been published to the public.
That's right - if a website remains private, there is simply no way Googlebot can scan through its pages, recall that the spider isn't psychic. It simply follows page links (from one page to another), then continues with data processing. After this is completed, the information is then compiled into an index (easy to remember as a Goggle library or store).
Due to the presence of this software, Google can compile and accumulate information amounting to over a million gigabytes (GB) in less than a second (okay - now that's magic). Then from this regularly updated index, Google pulls out resources for every online search both on a desktop and a mobile device.
Why should one be сoncerned with Googlebot?
Googlebot crawling has a ton to do with a website's SEO (search engine optimization). The whole essence of the spider is to gather information from the pages of a site so that when searches are conducted on related topics, it can display the page as one of the online search results. Therefore, when Googlebot constantly crawls most of a site's pages, there will be increased visibility which leads to more site traffic on such page (which is one of the goals right?).
Use this illustration:
X has a website with a page on the topic: professional SEO for websites. And Y searches for website SEO. If Googlebot has crawled through X's page on SEO and has indexed it, it would be one of the results that pop up in Google's search results. And the same would occur for other related searches conducted even if this happens a hundred times in a day all over the world.
Note that there are other underlining factors to this such as good website structure, relatable, quick site load times. But only an SEO expert can help ensure that these are done properly and that a site's page shows up on the first page of Google's search results.
Why Googlebot does not Crawl all Pages on some Sites?
During one of Google's SEO office -hours hangouts, a question was asked as to why Googlebot wasn't crawling enough pages on some sites. There are over hundreds of billion pages published publicly to the webserver. People publish a new page to the server every day, which means more pages for Googlebot to index. However, sometimes, the bot doesn't work up to expectation; that is; accumulate over a million GB of information in less than a second. There are several reasons why this could happen.
First, it might be that there are too many contents, pages, and websites online to index. And some are of low quality, others have slow site loading speed, and the rest might have irrelevant content with a complicated site structure (or anything else that works against a good user experience). This is why Google created a strategy to index only high-quality web pages and exclude lower-quality pages. This way, the pages can be filtered and reduced (instead of indexing all pages online - both valuable pages and non-valuable ones).
But the above doesn't fully answer the question: Why doesn't Googlebot crawl all sites? Rather the question of interest is why Googlebot does not crawl all the pages (or enough pages) on a site. And there are two answers to this. The long answer and the short answer:
The Short Answer
Google attaches a certain amount of resources and time to the crawling of every site per day. This is called a site's crawl budget. Therefore, the bot does its work of crawling and indexing within this budget. And so, for a website with over ten thousand pages, not all the pages would be indexed.
However, there is more to this, which brings us to the long answer:
The Long Answer
The crawl budget is what determines the number of pages that the Googlebot can crawl and index per site each day. But as mentioned earlier, there is a lot more to this. Some factors determine the pace of the spider while crawling through each site within the crawl budget. Make sense? It means that though the budget has created a limit, some factors can either speed up or slow down the pace of the bot. They include:
- Slow Server: If the response time for a server is significantly slow, it can alter the rate at which the bot crawls through each page within the crawl budget. Website owners can check these in their crawl stats report. It is advised that anything above 300 milliseconds isn't a good response time.
- Website Server Host: If a website is hosted on a shared server, this can slow down the rate at which each page is served out to Google during crawling. This is because other sites on the same server might be slowing it down by using large resources. It is even worse when the same server is hosting many sites.
- Rouge Bots: These are other bots that can stand in the way, block, or slow down Googlebot's actions. They can come in different forms and sometimes, a website needs professional help to manage and control the actions of these bots.
- Website's Crawlability: This is the amount of access a crawler has to all the pages of a website. When the software has easy access to a site's contents, many pages would be crawled and indexed within the crawl budget.
How To Optimize Your Site To Maximize Googlebot's Budget
In the previous section, we discussed the factors that determine how fast (or how slow) Googlebot crawls a page. But there is more than a person can do to maximize how many pages the bot crawls within the budget. Briefly, here are a few things a website owner can do to maximize how many pages Googlebot crawls and indexes within the crawl budget per day.
- Develop a site map: This is one of the things that can be done to assist Googlebot in crawling through a site faster. A site map can be installed, generated from a sitemap generator, or created from scratch.
- Invest in site organization: This has to do with how a website is structured and the categorization of pages within a site. When a site is structured so that visitors can easily comprehend and navigate their way through, there is a high probability that Googlebot will find it easy to crawl through.
- Website optimization: This sums up all the points mentioned above. When a website is optimized constantly (the right way), the website's interface will be structured correctly, and a sitemap will be created. Other things include control over factors that block crawling (such as robots.txt), title optimization, content readability, the value of contents, and many more. Optimizing a website properly will help Googlebot scan through the pages of such a site faster.
Googlebot can be seen as a little internet robot working for Google. It goes around receiving pages from the web server through links to websites. Then it looks through each page and adds it to the collection of indexed information. However, due to several factors and variables, the bot cannot crawl through all the pages of every site (in fact, sometimes, it's not enough). And of all the mentioned factors and solutions, the easiest solution is to hire a professional company like Semalt that can do all that is required the right way and at the right time to ensure that important pages in your website are crawled and indexed - if not all the pages.