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Crawling of web pages and robot.txt files

Crawling of Website: How Search Engines Index Your Pages

By on January 23, 2021 0 52 Views

What is Crawling of Website?

Crawling of website is what happens when search engines bot visit your web pages and try to understand what a page is about and the possible value it provides. It is the process of indexing your web pages. The process involves determining the number and type of pages that exist on your website.

Crawling of website can be controlled by the website admin using robot.txt files to tell search engines pages to exclude or include in crawling. Using internal linking is a good method to allow Google bots follow your internal link to other pages of your website and determine its relevance. It is a good method to increase page authority and relevance.

Web pages with greater and more relevant links are awarded more value and relevance than those with little or no links. They are therefore better crawled than those without internal links on a website. These are very significant aspects of crawling and indexing of website.

Importance of Crawling of Website

Crawling of website helps search engines to understand the importance of your web contents and serve millions of searchers with the right search intents. It is significant for indexing of your website and pages. It helps search engines to understand the relevant contents on your website through internal linking.

An easy way to enhance better crawling is to submit sitemaps generated with SEO tools like Yoast and Rank Math to the search console. This practice increases the speed of indexing of your web pages. It is generally advised to always generate a new sitemap and resubmit to search for every update of a post. This informs the search engine that there is an update and a quick crawling is carried.

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It is important to pay attention to important facts when developing your website, especially responsiveness as this plays a very important role on how Google determines the user experience and value of your website and its pages. Understanding the crawling and indexing of web pages gives a better knowledge of how search engines work.

Crawling of website and robot.txt files

Crawling of website and robot.txt files

Recommendations for better crawling of Website and indexing

Crawling of website is significant for a better ranking and indexing of pages on a website, if a web page cannot be crawled by search engine bots, such web pages cannot be indexed for ranking on search engines, the following are recommendations for better crawling of website.

  • Google pays particular attention to how mobile friendly your web pages are. This is because over 82% of searches online are made through mobile devices. Getting your web pages to be mobile friendly should be your first priority and will make Google search engine love your website.
  • Speed is a very important factor in crawling and indexing your pages. Pages that load faster are given priority over others that take forever to load. Slow pages are a major cause of bad user experience as one will easily exit your website if it takes too long to load. Such pages of the website are rendered as having a bad user experience and are generally ranked low.

This increases better user experience and offers greater opportunities for a better ranking. There are tools that can be used to check and implement certain results. Using tools such as Google mobile friendly test tool is a great way to check your website mobile responsiveness.

Crawling of website and robot.txt files

Crawling of website and robot.txt files

There are many factors that may be responsible for a slow website or pages, some of these factors are excessive use of CSS, JavaScript, hosting, DNS, large image sizes, and more. Using the Google speed test tool to check your website speed is a great way to identify issues that must be resolved to increase speed and usability.

For a WordPress website, there are several plugins that can be easily used to solve speed problems, examples include Hummingbird, Piio, Cloudflare, minify CSS, and JavaScript, WP total cache, etc.

When using tools such as hummingbird to optimize your web pages, it is important to note that certain files when optimized will affect your website appearance and functionality. There is the need to pay particular attention at each stage to avoid destroying a beautifully built website.

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Robot.txt files: How to Optimize Robot.txt files

When searchers search for terms or phrases on search engines information are extracted from relevant sites and displayed as search engine result pages (SERP), this is achieved by indexing of web pages by search engine bots which are possible by allowing search engine bots like Google bots to crawl your website or certain pages on your website. Optimizing your robot.txt file is a very important aspect of crawling.

Choosing to allow certain pages to be crawled and some never to be crawled and indexed can be achieved using the robot.txt file on your website. Using this file, specific instructions can also be given to specific search engine bots that are allowed to crawl a page.

Read also: Content Writing: What is SEO Content Writing?

The file on your server which allows the crawling of certain pages on your website while also identifying those that are not allowed but it to be crawled or requested is referred to as robot.txt file. It is one of the significant aspects of your website files as it helps to prevent bots from overrunning your website.

The robot.txt file is useful for keeping certain pages entirely out of SERP, for such purposes, no index option on your SEO plugin is usually selected when such pages are published.

It is very useful for the management of web traffic such as hiding some web pages from SERP to avoid too many requests which may slow down your website.

The robot.txt file is also useful for preventing certain images or videos from becoming a part of SERP and for blocking scripts or images files that are not important as well as for preventing the indexing of certain pages such as login page, broken links, duplicate contents, XML sitemap and thereby increases your website value by no-indexing irrelevant pages that may reduce your website relevant as may be determined by search engines bot. This also plays a very important part of ranking.

How Robot.txt Files Work

When search engines send out robots to crawl and index some web pages on your website, they receive instructions from your robot.txt file on your server about which pages or certain aspects of the pages to crawl and index and which not to, robot.txt files achieve this by allowing and disallowing certain commands on your robot.txt file. This command is important for crawling of pages.

The disallow command contains information such as pages or parts of a page that should not be crawled n=and indexed. For example, the user-agent* command identifies specific crawlers while Disallow: /images/ instructs the crawlers not to crawl and index the image on the page. Commands such as Allow: gives general access to various search engine bots while others such as Allow:/Bingbot only allow Bing bot to index the web page.

Allow:/Bingbot implies that only Bing bot will be allowed to crawl and index the page, this is usually as bad SEO practice except in situations where leads and traffic generation is not the goal, in most cases, it is important to allow search engines bots access and not only one search engine bot, this can result to a drastic decrease in traffic especially if it’s an important page that has great potential for ranking.

How to Create Robot.txt Files

The Rank Math SEO plugin is one of the many SEO plugins such as Yoast and All-in-one SEO plugin that has made the job of creating robot.txt file very easy and so there is no need to use a developer as this can be easily done or achieved in a few steps by using the plugin.

  • Login to your WordPress dashboard
  • Hover on plugins and click on add new
  • Search for Rank Math
  • Click on install and activate your plugin
  • Set up your plugin on general settings

Crawling of website and robot.txt files

The Rank Math plugin automatically generates a robot.txt file for your website that can be edited for specific instruction, the default file is good and there is no need for editing except when necessary. The robot.txt file looks like the image below;

  • On your Rank Math plugin click on general settings → Edit robot.txt
  • Make edit as may be required. Editing this file is not necessary; precaution should be taken especially if you have no knowledge of programming.
  • Click on save changes.


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