While certain elements of search engine optimization (SEO) are relatively simple and straightforward, some others are a bit more complex. There are several “under-the-hood” examples in this category, elements that help drive SEO success despite most people knowing very little (or nothing) about them — and one great example here is the use of what’s known as a crawl budget for your site.
At Be Locally, we’re proud to offer a wide range of SEO services, from well-known themes like web design or social media marketing to lesser-known areas like bot crawlers and crawl budgets. What is a crawl budget, how might certain crawl budget issues impact your site, and what can be done about them?
Crawl Budget Basics
In simple terms, crawl budget refers to the amount of time Google or another search engine spends “crawling” a site, or the amount of time it spends downloading and indexing a particular website. Google has finite resources for this process, and they will use a few factors to determine how your site is prioritized.
As a site owner, there are two pieces of this puzzle to pay attention to: Raising your crawl budget where possible, and getting the most out of your existing crawl budget. Because the former is much tougher than the latter, though, and may involve certain extremely technical themes, the rest of this blog will primarily focus on the latter, which involves several relatively simple concepts.
Possible Causes of Crawl Budget Issues
Here are a few of the problems that may arise on your site with regard to crawl budget:
- Facets: This refers to possible issues with URL filtering, where one single category page may generate numerous URLs that need to be crawled.
- Listings pages: If users can upload their own listings or content, this will generate a massive number of URLs over time, and may impact your crawl budget usage.
- Search results: In other cases, search result pages from internal site searches may also generate tons of different URLs. This is especially true if these searchers are paginated.
Dealing with Crawl Budget Issues
You have a few solutions available to you if you’re dealing with any of the above issues, or others related to crawl budget:
- Normal link recycling: A process of linking normally, causing Google to follow links and index pages for a process that will eventually recycle pages and filters.
- Robots.txt: An extreme solution is use of the robots.txt file, which blocks pages so they can’t be crawled.
- Various follow and nofollow options: These involve various crawling solutions that tell Google to crawl pages less often, or not at all in some cases.
- Canonical: This is a tag that causes less crawling and no indexing, but only works well if there are enough page duplicates.
For more on crawl budget and how to work through issues with it, or to learn about any of our technical SEO expertise areas, speak to the staff at Be Locally today.