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Crawlers in SEO: Scary Spiders or Gentle Helpers?
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Are you afraid of spiders? You might become a fan of the crawlers we’re about to introduce. We’re not talking about the eight-legged kind but rather the techy little crawlers that power much of the web we browse daily. These crawlers are automated software programs that “crawl” a website, indexing its pages and content for search engines to digest.
Crawlers in SEO are crucial for ranking content. They’re the little bots, for example, that help rank sites based on more than 200 factors in Google’s algorithm. SEO professionals worldwide have come to rely on these crawlers as essential tools that help their websites perform well in search rankings.
However, there’s so much more to know about SEO spiders than just what they do. This quick guide will explore how they work and why they are important to your website’s search success. We’ll also share tips on optimizing your website for crawlers and ensuring your content is discoverable by search engines.
What Are Crawlers in SEO?
At the core of search engine optimization lies web crawlers, one of the many tools used to help index billions of web pages on the World Wide Web. These crawlers, also known as spiders or bots, automatically comb through websites and follow links, indexing pages along the way. Think of them as little workers tirelessly scanning the internet for information.
Search engines use these crawlers to gather as much information as possible about every webpage online. Once a crawler discovers a webpage, it indexes it and saves that information in the search engine’s index. This index becomes the foundation for search engine results pages.
Crawlers in SEO account for dozens of factors when indexing pages, including header tags, page content, and meta descriptions. Search engines use this information to rank web pages. What is the most important piece of information for you to know? The better optimized a page is, the higher it’ll rank. That’s why optimizing your website consistently is so important.
Types of SEO Crawlers
When it comes to crawlers in SEO, there are two major types to take note of. First, there are those constant-crawling bots that are always on the move, sniffing out new pages and recrawling old ones. Think Googlebot, which is tirelessly scouring the internet to keep its search results current and accurate.
There are also on-demand bots that only crawl a limited number of pages and perform a crawl only when requested. These include tools like the AhrefsSiteAudit bot. While both types of crawlers are important for website optimization, it’s crucial to understand their differences to fully utilize their benefits.
Examples of Web Crawlers
Web crawlers are the backbone of the search engines that we use every day. Google, Bing, and Yahoo! have web crawlers that help them index the internet and make it searchable (although they also rely on human agents).
These crawlers go through websites systematically, taking note of each page’s content, links, and metadata. This information is then used to create an index of the web for each search engine. Let’s look at a few examples of web crawlers in use.
Google uses this crawler to find images on the web. It follows links from one page to another and indexes the images it finds based on the alt text and surrounding content.
This crawler is used to find news articles and other timely content on the web. It follows RSS feeds and other sources to find new content and indexes it quickly so that it can appear in Google News results.
Google uses this crawler to determine which ads to show on websites that use AdWords. It looks at the page’s content and uses a complex algorithm to determine which ads are most relevant to the user.
Other search engines also have their own crawlers, such as Bingbot (Bing) and Slurp Bot (Yahoo!). These crawlers work the same way as Google’s crawlers but have different algorithms and techniques for determining which pages to index and how to rank them.
Tips for Optimizing for Crawlers
Optimizing your website for crawlers can help boost your SEO efforts and ensure your content appears higher in search results. Here are some tips on how to do exactly that.
Keep It Simple
Complex websites with multiple menus, dropdowns, and animations can slow down crawlers and make it harder for them to index your pages. Keep your website design simple and organized with clear navigation and concise content. However, don’t make it so simple that it doesn’t offer value. You always want to ensure you’re offering high-value content to your visitors.
Use Descriptive Titles & Headings
Crawlers rely on page titles and headings to understand the structure and content of your website. Use descriptive titles and headings that use relevant keywords to help crawlers identify the most important sections of your pages.
Optimize Your Images
Crawlers can’t see images, but they can read the alt text that describes them. Include descriptive alt text for all your images, using relevant keywords when appropriate.
Monitor Your Crawl Errors
Crawl errors occur when a search engine crawler cannot access or index certain pages on your website. Monitor your crawl error reports regularly and take steps to address any issues that arise. Where can you find these errors? Connecting your website to Google Search Console is free and provides a comprehensive report of errors.
Build Quality Backlinks
Quality backlinks from reputable websites can help improve your website’s authority and make it more visible to crawlers. Focus on building high-quality backlinks from relevant websites in your industry.
While crawlers in SEO may seem like scary spiders at first, with the right tools and optimization efforts, they can be gentle helpers. And one such tool you may want to consider to maximize your link building efforts is SEOJet.
SEOJet ensures that your site is easily found and ranked by search engines, making your business more visible to potential customers. Plus, with our intuitive interface and easy-to-use features, you don’t have to be a technical wizard to get the most out of link building.
So what are you waiting for? Download SEOJet today and see how it can transform your SEO efforts (or watch a free demo here).