Crawl Budget: SEO Basics & How to Optimize Your Budget

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Updated 2/3/2024

Unlock the potential of your website’s SEO with our guide on crawl budget. Understand what it is, why it matters for your site’s visibility.

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Crawl budgets are important for Technical SEO, especially larger sites with thousands of pages. Improving your site’s navigation, links, and sitemap should help with how search engine bots crawl your site and communicate updates.

What is a Crawl Budget?

Crawl budget is a term used to describe the number of pages a search engine’s crawler, such as Googlebot, will crawl and index on your site within a certain timeframe.

Crawling is the process through which search engine bots visit and read through your website’s pages to understand what they’re about, so they can be indexed and appear in search engine results.

It’s important to note that every website doesn’t get the same amount of crawl budget. Several factors, like the size of your website, the number of internal and external links, and the server’s speed, can influence your site’s crawl budget.

Why Crawl Budget Matters

If you’re running a small website with a few hundred pages, you usually don’t need to worry about crawl budget as search engines can easily crawl and index all the pages on your site.

However, managing your crawl budget effectively becomes critical if your website has thousands of pages or is frequently updated with new content.

Search engines don’t have unlimited resources and must be selective about how and where they allocate their crawling resources. If your budget is misused on irrelevant, duplicate, or low-quality pages, your new or updated high-quality content might go unnoticed by search engines, impacting your site’s visibility in search results.

How to Optimize Your Crawl Budget

The goal is to enable search engine crawlers to access your most important content efficiently. Here’s how you can optimize yours:

1. Improve Site Speed

Search engine bots have a limited time to spend on each site, and if your site loads slowly, they’ll cover fewer pages within this timeframe. By improving your site’s loading speed, you ensure that bots can crawl more pages faster, improving the chances of your most important content being indexed.

2. Optimize Site Structure

Bots navigate your site by following links, both internal and external. Having a clear, logical site architecture with a clean URL structure makes it easier for bots to crawl your site, ensuring your most important pages are indexed.

3. Eliminate Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can be a drain on your crawl budget. If your site has multiple pages with identical content, search engines will need to crawl and process the same information multiple times. This issue can be resolved by using canonical tags, which signal to search engines which version of the page should be considered the original one and indexed.

4. Leverage the Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file is a set of instructions for search engine bots, telling them which pages or sections of your site should or shouldn’t crawl. By disallowing unimportant pages (like most tag pages in WordPress), you can direct bots to spend more of your crawl budget on the pages that truly matter.

5. Monitor and Fix Crawl Errors

Crawl errors occur when a bot tries to reach a specific page or site but fails. These errors can eat into your crawl budget, preventing bots from accessing your pages. Use tools like Google Search Console to regularly monitor your site for crawl errors and fix them promptly.

6. Prune Low-Quality Pages

If your site has many low-quality, outdated, or irrelevant pages, they can consume a significant portion of your crawl budget. Regularly audit your site content and prune such pages by either deleting, noindexing, or improving them.

Bottom Line

Understanding and optimizing your crawl budget can lead to improved SEO performance. Ensuring search engine bots efficiently crawl and index your important content enhances your website’s visibility in search results. Regular monitoring and adjustments are key to maintaining an optimized crawl budget as your website evolves. ?

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