Google Lessons: Indexing vs Crawling
Crawling and indexing are two crucial components of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how Google runs its search engine. Both are used by all search engines to discover and understand the content on a website, but they serve different purposes. In this article, we'll explore the differences between indexing and crawling, how they work together, and how to optimize them for better SEO results.
Crawling is the process of searching for new or updated web pages on the internet. Search engines use crawlers, also known as spiders, to find and scan new and updated pages on a website. This is the first step in the indexing process, and it's essential for search engines to have the most current information about a website's content.
Crawlers follow links to discover new pages on a website. This is why one of the pieces of a SEO strategy is to have internal linking and backlinking. Internal linking has a way of interlinking the pages to show it's relevance in comparison to the rest of the pages on this website. Backlinks on the other hand, show the relevance of this page in the grand scheme of the brand and it's industry.
Crawlers also evaluate the content of each page to determine whether it should be indexed. Factors that influence this decision include the relevance of the content to the search query, the quality of the content, and the overall authority of the website. There are a ton more variables that influence this decision but those three are major players when it comes to trying to place the website in search query rankings.
Crawling frequency varies based on the search engine and the site. Some sites are crawled more frequently than others, while some sites may not be crawled at all. This is determined by the search engine's algorithms, which take into account factors such as the authority of the website, the relevance of the content, and the overall size of the website.
When a search engine crawls a website, it evaluates the content of each page and decides whether it should be indexed. Indexing is the process of adding a webpage to a search engine's database. So when you search something on Google like "digital marketing agency", you'll see a list of links, businesses, featured content, ads, and more. These are pages that have been indexed and are being served to and included in relevant search results. The goal of indexing is to make sure that a search engine has the most up-to-date and complete information about a website's content.
Search engines use algorithms to determine the relevance of a webpage to a particular query. These algorithms take many factors into account, such as the content of the webpage, the relevance of the web page's backlinks, and the overall authority of the website.
Optimizing Crawling and Indexing
Optimizing crawling and indexing is essential for ensuring that your website's pages are included in search results for relevant queries. Here are a few ways to optimize crawling and indexing:
- Create a sitemap: A sitemap is an XML file that lists all of the pages on your website. It helps search engines discover new pages on your website and understand the structure of your site.
- Use structured data: Structured data is a format for marking up content on your website. It helps search engines understand the content of your pages and how it relates to other pages on your site.
- Use robots.txt: The robots.txt file is used to tell search engines which pages on your website should not be crawled. This is useful if you have pages on your website that are not relevant to search queries or if you have pages that are under construction.
- Optimize your website's load time: Search engines consider website load time as a ranking factor. Optimize your website's load time by compressing images, minifying code and using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Improve the overall quality of your website: Make sure that your website has high-quality content that is relevant to the search queries of your target audience. Also, your website should be easy to navigate and should have a user-friendly design.