They sound like cool words and they're important to understand to ensure your website performs.
What Is Crawlability?
The crawlability of a webpage refers to how easily search engines (like Google) can discover the page.
Google discovers webpages through a process called crawling. It uses computer programs called web crawlers (also called bots or spiders). These programs follow links between pages to discover new or updated pages.
Indexing usually follows crawling.
What Is Indexability?
The indexability of a webpage means search engines (like Google) are able to add the page to their index.
The process of adding a webpage to an index is called indexing. It means Google analyzes the page and its content and adds it to a database of billions of pages (called the Google index).
How Do Crawlability and Indexability Affect SEO?
Both crawlability and indexability are crucial for SEO.
Here's a simple illustration showing how Google works:
First, Google crawls the page. Then it indexes it. Only then can it rank the page for relevant search queries.
In other words: Without first being crawled and indexed, the page will not be ranked by Google. No rankings = no search traffic.
Matt Cutts, Google’s former head of web spam, explains the process in this video:
It's no surprise that an important part of SEO is making sure your website's pages are crawlable and indexable.
But how do you do that?
What Affects Crawlability and Indexability?
Internal links have a direct impact on the crawlability and indexability of your website.
Remember—search engines use bots to crawl and discover webpages. Internal links act as a roadmap, guiding the bots from one page to another within your website.
Well-placed internal links make it easier for search engine bots to find all of your website's pages.
So, ensure every page on your site is linked from somewhere else within your website.
Start by including a navigation menu, footer links, and contextual links within your content.
If you’re in the early stages of website development, creating a logical site structure can also help you set up a strong internal linking foundation.
A logical site structure organizes your website into categories. Then those categories link out to individual pages on your site.
The homepage connects to pages for each category. Then, pages for each category connect to specific subpages on the site.
By adapting this structure, you'll build a solid foundation for search engines to easily navigate and index your content.
Robots.txt is like a bouncer at the entrance of a party.
It's a file on your website that tells search engine bots which pages they can access.
Here’s a sample robots.txt file:
Let’s understand each component of this file.
User-agent: *: This line specifies that the rules apply to all search engine bots.
Allow: /blog/: This directive allows search engine bots to crawl pages within the "/blog/" directory. In other words, all the blog posts are allowed to be crawled.
Disallow: /blog/admin/: This directive tells search engine bots not to crawl the administrative area of the blog.
When search engines send their bots to explore your website, they first check the robots.txt file to check for restrictions.
Be careful not to accidentally block important pages you want search engines to find. Such as your blog posts and regular website pages.
Also, although robots.txt controls crawl accessibility, it doesn't directly impact the indexability of your website.
Search engines can still discover and index pages that are linked from other websites, even if those pages are blocked in the robots.txt file.
To ensure certain pages, such as pay-per-click (PPC) landing pages and “thank you” pages, are not indexed, implement a "noindex" tag.
Read our guide to meta robots tag to learn about this tag and how to implement it.
Your XML sitemap plays a crucial role in improving the crawlability and indexability of your website.
It shows search engine bots all the important pages on your website that you want crawled and indexed.
It's like giving them a treasure map to discover your content more easily.
So, include all your essential pages in your sitemap. Including ones that might be hard to find through regular navigation.
This ensures search engine bots can crawl and index your site efficiently.
Content quality impacts how search engines crawl and index your website.
Search engine bots love high-quality content. When your content is well-written, informative, and relevant to users, it can attract more attention from search engines.
Search engines want to deliver the best results to their users. So they prioritize crawling and indexing pages with top-notch content.
Focus on creating original, valuable, and well-written content.
Use proper formatting, clear headings, and organized structure to make it easy for search engine bots to crawl and understand your content.
Technical issues can prevent search engine bots from effectively crawling and indexing your website.
If your website has slow page load times, broken links, or redirect loops, it can hinder bots' ability to navigate your website.
Technical issues can also prevent search engines from properly indexing your webpages.
For instance, if your website has duplicate content issues or is using canonical tags improperly, search engines may struggle to understand which version of a page to index and rank.
Issues like these are detrimental to your website’s search engine visibility. Identify and fix these issues as soon as possible.
Want to ensure your online presence is crawlable and indexable and attracting the eyeballs it deserves? Contact us to schedule a discussion.