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How Google Crawls and Indexes Web Pages

Let’s dive into how Google checks out and sorts your website and all its pages and posts. It’s super important to nail this so you can smooth out any bumps that might mess with Google’s browsing around your site.

Many site owners are pretty good with the usual SEO tricks, both on their site and beyond. But not many give enough love to the technical side of SEO, which is just as crucial for your site’s SEO health.

So, in this easy-to-follow guide, I will show you how Google explores and files away web pages. Plus, I’ve got some neat tactics to help boost your site’s technical SEO and get you climbing up those search results. Let’s get started!

What is search engine crawling

Search engine crawling is a fundamental process where search engine bots, often known as crawlers or spiders, systematically browse the web to discover and scan websites and their content. This activity is essential for digital marketing and SEO strategies, as it allows search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to gather and index web pages, updating their vast databases for efficient information retrieval.

During the crawling process, these automated bots meticulously examine website elements, including text content, images, video, and HTML code, to understand the site’s structure, content relevance, and quality. This examination is crucial for effective search engine optimization (SEO), as it influences how websites rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Crawling is the first step in the search engine indexing process, where web pages are added to a search engine’s index. Efficient crawling and indexing are pivotal for improving website visibility, driving organic traffic, and enhancing user experience. As part of an SEO strategy, ensuring that your website is crawler-friendly through proper site architecture, quality content, and optimized metadata is vital for higher search rankings and online presence.

Five reasons why Google isn’t crawling your website

When Googlebot isn’t crawling a website, it can be due to several key reasons, each impacting a website’s visibility and ranking on Google. Here are five main reasons why this might happen:

  1. Robots.txt File Restrictions: One of the primary reasons Googlebot may not crawl a website is due to directives in the robots.txt file. This file, located in the root directory of a website, tells crawlers which parts of the site should or should not be crawled. If the robots.txt file is incorrectly configured, it can inadvertently block Googlebot from accessing essential parts of your site. More details here Robots.txt File in the Indexing Process: An Essential Guide for Webmasters.
  2. Noindex Tags: Using noindex tags in a website’s HTML code can prevent Googlebot from indexing specific pages. These tags are an explicit instruction to search engines to exclude the page from their index. If applied broadly or unintentionally, noindex tags can significantly reduce a site’s visibility in search engine results.
  3. Website Downtime or Server Issues: If a website is frequently down or experiencing server issues when Googlebot attempts to crawl, it may not be indexed. Search engines require consistent access to web pages to crawl and index them effectively. Persistent downtime can lead to decreased crawl frequency or complete omission from the index.
  4. Poor Site Structure and Navigation: A website with a complex or poor structure can impede Googlebot’s ability to navigate and crawl the site effectively. This includes issues like deep nesting of pages, broken links, or a lack of internal linking. A clear, logical site architecture is crucial for efficient crawling and indexing.
  5. 404 Links: Dead links are widespread and send very bad signals to Google. You need to monitor for dead or misconfigured links constantly. Google Search Console has tracking for these kinds of errors. Another standard tool is free Site Audit from Ahrefs. It’ll send you a daily or weekly digest of all discovered issues with your site.

Addressing these issues is essential for ensuring that Googlebot can successfully crawl and index a website, which is a fundamental step in achieving good search engine visibility and rankings.

If you don’t make these 5 errors, you’ll already be on the path to great success with getting your website indexed.

Quick improvements to get indexed by Google

The main thing is to have a great sitemap. In this sitemap, you must insert only content pages and skip any category, tag, or author archive pages. This way, you won’t pollute Google Search with low-quality or duplicated content.

Prepare your site for technical SEO, meaning your pages must have meta tags, breadcrumbs, and valid follow or no follow links.

Open a Google Search Console account, add your properties as a Domain property, and submit every sitemap. In this tutorial Search Console setup you’ll learn the quickest way to setup everything.

You must manually submit all the content pages for URL Inspection inside Google Search Console and request their indexing. If this process is too time-consuming, you can use a dedicated Google Indexing Application like Jetindexer.

Continually monitor your site health and Search Console

Getting indexed is not a one-time job. You need to watch every critical aspect of your site constantly.

It needs to be accessible and always online to be crawled.

Look for sudden spikes in traffic and clicks, and try to remember what you changed or published.

You can always connect Search Console with Google Analytics and watch combine data. Remember that most users are using ad-blockers, so their visits won’t be counted inside Analytics. To get a full picture, connecting server-side analytics or use 3rd party like Cloudflare is always good.

You can read our Search Console Guide here.

If you prefer video over text check out our Search Console Setup video: