Commonly referred to as a ‘robot’ or ‘spider,’ a web crawler is a software or program used by search engines to index web pages. The primary objective of crawling is to efficiently identify as many useful web pages as possible. Search engines are the host to a corpus of web pages, and upon a search request, the search engine indexes all its pages to return the most relevant results. A web crawler ultimately makes it possible for search engines to handle this – and for many SEO specialists like SEO Melbourne, ensuring that the anatomy of your site is appropriate for crawling is key to a facilitated indexation process, fast-tracking your content for discoverability.
As the number 1 ranked white-hat search engine optimisation company in Melbourne, we specialise in enhancing sites for Google’s crawl. Join us as we take a deep dive into the fundamentals of web crawling, and how you can optimise your site for it.
What is Search Indexing?
Not dissimilar to a catalogue detailing information about specific products, search indexing serves the same purpose, allowing for a search engine to store given data within a dedicated server allowing for the recall of information at the request of a user search. Indexing primarily revolves around the written content on a page, and the metadata that goes along with it. Upon a user’s search, a search engine goes through the index of pages where the specific word appears and chooses to display the most relevant ones.
How Does Web Crawling Work?
Whilst each search engine may utilise their own spider crawling software, the method of operation follows the same procedure for all.
The internet is dynamic, in the sense that it is always changing, updating and expanding. Because of this, it is almost impossible to estimate how many websites exist at a given point in time. To make the crawling process efficient and as accurate as possible, the web crawler begins with a list of known URLs. These are often popular and well-known sites.
As search engines crawl these high traffic sites, the crawler begins to find hyperlinks to external URLs, and adds these to the list of pages to crawl. The process is fairly methodical, with the crawler following certain directions that inform the order, frequency and pages to crawl. This ensures the crawling process does not take too long.
At the conclusion of the crawling process, the robot assigns a search index to the recorded information, which is stored on the search engine server.
Web crawlers can become selective on which pages to crawl based on a site’s ‘robots.txt.’ This file contains crawling instructions detailing access to pages, and the approval or denial of crawler entry into certain links.
How to Optimise Your Site for Web Crawling with SEO Melbourne
The premise behind search engine optimisation (SEO) is that content, whether it be written or metadata, be prepared in a way that search indexing can occur efficiently. The end goal is to ensure a website ranks higher in the search engine results page (SERP).
If a spider or robot is having difficulty crawling a page, the page will most likely not be indexed and as a consequence, won’t show up on the SERP.
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Whether it’s SEO web design, copywriting, campaign or PPC you’re after, our team of result-based SEO consultants deliver for you using industry leading practices.
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