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Crawl budget: what it is and how it influences SEO

Crawl Budget | 

Google spends a certain time crawling each website, this is known as crawl budget. A website must be optimized to take advantage of the time that crawlers spend visiting their URLs, to get the content that is really interesting to be positioned, ignoring all that worthless and irrelevant content.

Table of content

What is the Crawl Budget?

The crawl budget is the time that Google crawlers or another search engine spend crawling the pages of a website. Time has a direct impact on the positioning and indexing of a website, so it is important to optimize the site to make it easier for Google to correctly track all its content in the time it dedicates to it.

The optimal crawling time of a website can be improved by taking into account four factors, the accessibility of the site, its loading speed, the quality of its content, and the authority or prestige of the website.

Google crawlers are bots that are responsible for crawling the URLs of a website in an automated way and then analyze that information and classify them in their ranking so that users can access them on the pages of results.

How to know what is the crawl budget of a website?

Google Search Console is the ideal tool to know a website’s crawl budget. It has a report called Crawl Stars in the side menu from which you can access a report with different statistical information from the web.

The parameter that must be analyzed to know the crawl budget is the pages crawled per day. Comparing this data with the number of pages on the site, it will be possible to have information on the tracking time and check if it is enough to track all the important content of the web.

Why is it important for SEO?

The tracking time or budget is an essential element for SEO because, having an optimized crawl budget, will boost the positioning of a web page, blog, or online store. It is a factor that should never be lacking in a good web positioning strategy.

It is important to bear in mind that, although Google is a true Internet giant, it does not have unlimited resources, and there are millions of websites that it must crawl with thousands of URLs each. For this reason, Google optimizes the time spent on each site to crawl it.

For small pages that have less than 100 URLs, optimizing the crawl budget should not be a priority since Google will be able to crawl them without problems. For websites with many URLs, especially those with more than 5,000, it is very important to optimize the crawl budget and the website, to get the crawlers to examine all the content they want the position.

Steps to optimize the crawl budget of a website

Optimizing the crawl budget should be a priority task for web developers and SEO experts. Getting crawlers to visit all the pages that they want to position is key to avoid unpositioned content.

Some measures that can be taken to optimize the crawl budget of a website are:

1. Remove duplicate pages

The duplicate pages that a website can contain waste time on the crawl budget that could be used to crawl a different URL. Eliminating duplicate pages is a measure that must be taken to avoid wasting the crawl budget, although it is also necessary to do so so that Google does not penalize the positioning of the site for duplication of content.

2. Fix 404 errors in your links

404 errors or broken links consume a lot of crawling time without having positive consequences on web positioning. Crawlers will waste time visiting pages that have errors and that are not useful for the web or for users.

Fixing 404 link errors optimizes the crawl budget, allowing crawlers to access the correct links to analyze and rank.

To fix 404 errors, you must verify that the URL of the link in the HTML of the page is correct, or remove the link if it points to a page that does not exist.

3. Fix 500 errors of your links

The HTTP error 500 links of the links on a website occur when there are not adequate permissions to access the files, showing an error message instead of the content of the said file.

To avoid wasting tracking time in these types of errors, it is necessary to apply the appropriate measures to solve them, such as accessing the folders and files through FTP or through the hosting administration panel and assigning the permissions correct access to both.

4. Remove internal redirects by entering the correct URL

Internal redirects are used to avoid error messages by redirecting to other URLs on the site. However, this method wastes precious time for crawlers, who visit the web with the redirect first and then go to the one they actually link to.

Eliminating these internal redirects and adding content to those URLs is the best way to optimize the crawl budget and prevent Googlebot from wasting time visiting URLs that do not have valuable content, but a mere redirection to another page.

5. Don't use pages with thin content

Thin content or pages with low content quality take up crawl time and do not provide benefits in web positioning. To optimize the crawl budget in relation to thin content, actions such as:

  • Eliminate pages with low-quality content.
  • Block crawlers from accessing thin content pages from robots.txt file.
  • Update low-quality content, to expand and improve it, making it useful for positioning.

6. Improve loading speed

If the web speed is fast, it will take less time for crawlers to crawl the pages of a site. Optimizing a web page to load in less time will allow Googlebot to scan more URLs within their crawling budget.

Many on-page SEO techniques can be applied to speed up the loading of a website and facilitate crawler tracking, such as optimizing images, selecting a hosting with fast service, optimizing HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript code using the cache, among other measures.

7. Optimize the robots.txt file

The robots.txt file is a great tool to optimize crawling time, as it allows you to block URLs so that crawlers do not access them. By planning correctly, which pages want to be indexed and which ones do not, it will be possible to create a custom robots.txt file so that the bots only visit the most interesting URLs to optimize.

8. Use the nofollow attribute

The HTML links on the web, including the Nofollow attribute (rel = “nofollow”) for those pages that do not want to be indexed, will make Google bots ignore them and dedicate that time to other more important URLs.

Tools to detect errors in the crawl budget

With SEO tools it is easier to detect those errors in the crawl budget of a website and apply the necessary measures to solve them.

Let’s look at some very useful tools to optimize your tracking budget.

Google Search Console

From Search Console you can detect the pages that are presenting 404 and 500 errors. In this way, you can go to each of these URLs to apply the necessary measures to solve the error.

Once the error is corrected, you can mark that Search Console has already been solved.

Platforms to measure web speed

On the web, there are many online portals from which it is possible to measure the loading time of a website, such as GTmetrix or Google’s Page Speed Insight. These pages, in addition to measuring web speed, also provide a lot of information about the different aspects that are slowing down the web, which allows taking the necessary measures to accelerate the loading speed.

The crawl budget is very important for web positioning. SEO should focus on optimizing it to get Google bots to access all the URLs with important content that you want to position in that time.