Today’s online marketers have plenty of different things to focus their attention on – so man that it’s often easy to overlook certain aspects of their budget and their efforts. A perfect example of this is your crawl budget. It’s easy to overlook, but it’s something that should always be optimized in order to maximize your overall ROI.
What Is Crawl Budget?
First, it’s worth taking a minute to recap just what crawl budget actually is. The term refers to the frequency at which a search engine crawler will go over the pages on your website. Sounds simple, right?
But that frequency can be difficult to balance – Googlebots can’t overcrowd your server, but Google does want to crawl your domain regularly to make sure it’s presenting its own users with the most accurate search engine results possible.
So, to optimize your page’s crawl budget, you’ll need to take a few steps that increase the rate at which the search engine bots visit your pages. Doing so means that your page is being looked at more, which in turn means that it gets into the index the pages are updating faster. This in turn means that your SEO improves faster and you start showing up higher in rankings faster.
The bottom line is that optimizing your crawl budget matters in a big way.
Why Is It Neglected, Then?
If it’s that important, just why is crawl budget something that is commonly overlooked or neglected by users? The main answer is simple – Google has said several times that crawling on its own isn’t a ranking factor. Marketers see that it’s not a ranking factor and assume that means that it’s not worth worrying about.
While it’s not a huge game changer on its own, the fact remains that optimizing crawl budget does help with conversions and overall website traffic health. As such, it’s important to spend some time on optimization.
Luckily, there are a few key elements that you can look at which will help increase your results. Here are some of the main ways to optimize your crawl budget.
One – Use HTML Whenever You Can
Because of this, it’s best to build your site using HTML code whenever possible. This ensures that your page has the best odds of showing up in the search results at the highest possible level it can be – and HTML is still simple and easy to use for any website builder.
Two – Avoid HTTP Errors
404 and 410 error pages can quickly eat into the crawl budget. Even a single one can make it harder to keep your crawl budget optimized, and when you end up with multiple errors it can drag down your success in a significant way. Add to this the fact that they also create a negative impression in the minds of your users, and it’s clear that you need to fix all 4xx and 5xx status codes as soon as you can.
Check your page regularly for these errors and consider using tools like Screaming Frog or SE Ranking to do a website audit. This can help you identify the areas that need some extra attention from you.
Three – Avoid Redirect Chains
While it should be obvious, it’s still worth mentioning that even a single redirect chain can drag down your crawler budget. On larger sites, 301 and 302 redirects are practically unavoidable. Smaller pages don’t have as much of a problem here. But either way, it’s important to note that multiple chains can hurt your crawl limit in a big way – especially when they’re chained together.
In a worst-case scenario, redirects may be so bad that the search engine crawler actually stops crawling without even reaching the page you really need indexed. When you’re regularly updating your site and need to optimize each page, that can be a killer.
It’s true enough that one or two redirects may not have a huge impact, but it is still vital for good website health as well as for crawler budget optimization that you take the time to avoid redirect chains whenever you can.
Four – Allow Important Page Crawling In Robots.txt
For most sites, this should be one of the first steps that is taken. You’ll need to manage robots.txt by hand or with a website auditor tool. Good tools are more effective and much more convenient in most cases, and as such are the preferred option.
Whatever method you use, deal with this step early on. With a tool you can add your robots.txt to the tool in a few seconds to allow or block crawling on any page on your domain. Then, upload the edited document and you’re done. You can manage it by hand but the tools make it faster and get you better results.
Five – Update Your Sitemap
Your XML sitemap will make it much easier for bots to understand where internal links go and will increase their effectiveness accordingly. Make certain that you’re using only URLs that are canonical for your sitemap and that you update regularly. Additionally, make sure you correspond your sitemap to the newest version of robots.txt that you’ve uploaded. This way you get the best results every time.
The Bottom Line
Simply put, making sure that you are getting the right crawler budget is important. It’s also far simpler than you might realize. The steps above can take a small amount of time but can have a profound impact on how your pages get indexed and as a result, on you where your page shows up in searches.
You’ll want to focus on more impactful factors as well, of course, but there’s no denying that looking into your crawl budget is something that every business or online marketer will want to do from time to time to make sure you’re getting the best possible results from your online presence. The tips above will help.