What are web crawlers and how do they work in 2022?

What are Web Crawlers and how do they crawl and rank your website?

what are web crawlers

Ever wondered how your content gets discovered by search engines?

Do you want to know more about crawling and how they work on your website?

Whenever you post something on your blog or website it has to be shown to the respective audience. Before that search engines should realise that your content is present on the internet and crawling is the method that helps search engines crawl through your pages, discover new content, index them and show it to the ultimate user. 

Sounds interesting? Well, from this article you will be able to understand what crawlers are and how they work. 

Web Crawlers are basically computer programs that are also called “bots”, “spiders” and “spider bots” that discover new content and also crawl old content from billions of web pages present on the internet.

Crawling is the first step in Search Engine Optimization. Hence if you find your website is not ranking as per the expectation or the ranks are dropping significantly, crawling should be the first priority to look into. Because no matter how good your content is, if it’s not crawlable your website or page will never rank. There are many reasons why the crawler may not crawl a web page such as noindex, robot.txt and many more.

Why are crawlers important and what are their roles?

Crawlers are important because they help search engines to find new information, gather information and store them in a particular order in their database. Currently there are billions of websites on the internet and crawlers come into picture to discover and analyse these pages and provide the best possible information to its users. 

how do web crawler work

Some findings say that only 40-70% of the webpages or urls are indexed for search on google. Google Crawlers also crawl through existing content or web pages that had crawled previously, because there might be some updated content or links or broken links. You might have seen that the results for the same keyword on the first page of google are not the same every time. 

If your rank on top 1 of google search results it doesn’t mean you are done with SEO. Yes, you need to update your content on a required basis and fix errors if any. If you don’t, well I’m sure you won’t rank longer 🙂

Hence crawlers play an important role in discovering, indexing and ranking.

How do web crawlers work?

Crawlers have a specific crawl frequency which means often crawlers crawl a page and the crawl time can be anywhere between 3 days to 4 weeks. Crawlers navigate through every possible page they could find on the internet.

Web Crawlers work in two different ways:

1. Navigating from Known pages to unknown pages.

Web crawlers navigate from known pages or urls (also called as seeds) to new pages or urls through hyperlinks or anchor texts and this process goes on.

That’s why internal linking of your webpages is important and this will help crawlers to discover new pages and analyse them.

2. Through submitting a sitemap of your website.

Sitemap is a file where you will provide information about how your website is structured. It contains information such as Home Page, About us, Products, services, blog and many more in a format called as XML

Google provides a tool called Google Search Console which gives insights on how your website is performing on the internet. Google Search Console gives an option called submitting site map and after the submission the google will crawl the website. It is also important to have a good website structure that makes crawlers crawl your web pages effective

3. Through backlinks

Bots use do-follow backlinks to discover new urls. Hence backlinks not only increase your domain authority but also help in improving the crawl frequency of a website. When a crawler finds do-follow links in a website pointing to other website, it will crawl through that link and index it in its database

Types of web crawlers in SEO.

There are many types of web crawlers and it depends on the necessity of an organisation. Here i would like to talk about two basic type of web crawlers 

Search Engine Crawlers:

These crawlers are used by search engines such as google, bing, yandex, amazon etc. These crawlers navigate through different web pages present in their database and provide the best result to the user.

Site Audit Crawlers:

If you are into SEO I’m sure you might have heard of site audit tools such as ahrefs, screaming frog, UBERSUGGEST. These crawlers basically serve to identify the errors in the website and give reports of the same. Whenever you submit your website link to these tools, its crawlers crawl through almost all possible web pages and content and give insights on the same

Can you stop a crawler from crawling your page?

Yes, You can stop a crawler from crawling your page. There are some pages which have no use of getting crawled such as wp/admin, media files in your website, welcome page, confirmation page etc. By blocking these pages you can save the crawl energy and crawlers will use that energy to crawl some useful pages. 

You add tags such as noindex, robots.txt, disallow or canonical; these tags can be added manually with the use of a developer or plugins.

What is Indexing and ranking in Crawling?

After reading till here, I hope you have got an idea of how web crawlers work. Through crawling, bots will discover new information or pages and that information has to be stored in the right and systematic manner.

site audit crawler

Indexing is the process of systematic storage of collected crawled data in the respective database for easy retrieval when needed. 

Ranking is the process where search engines will assign the ranking for the information or pages that were previously crawled by web crawlers. Different search engines have their own way of indexing pages and google has over 200 ranking signals and on the basis of these factors google will index a particular information or page. 

Google does not reveal these factors and they are kept confidential because google wants us to focus on solving the user problems in the best way possible and by doing so your website might get better ranks.

Thank  you so much for making it till the end. Hope you got a better idea of what web crawlers are and how they work. 

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