Google Crawling and Indexing: Understanding Two Essential SEO Terms

Basic understanding of Crawling and Indexing is a crying need for every Blogger, Web Developer and website owner who cannot but care for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Two terms- Crawling and Indexing are closely related with each other. First comes Crawling and then Indexing.

There are numerous Search Engines (SE) in the world of Internet. Some of them are global (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com etc.) and some are local such as Baidu (China), Yandex (Russia), Exalead (France) etc. Each of these Search Engines has its own ROBOT (actually a software) to Crawl and Index webpages that are submitted to it (SE). This Robots are known as Web crawlers, web spiders, Search Engine bots or internet bots.

You built an website or Blog site. See details of what is website here. If you expect visitors enter your site through Search Engine or your Site shows in SERP (Search Engine Result Page), you must submit it to the major Search Engines (Google and others). Again if you don’t need search engine traffic, you might not care for Search Engine submission.

Google Crawling and Indexing focus

Suppose you submitted your site to the world’s authority Search Engine Google. After submission completes, Google starts to show your pages in SERP- not that. Google will Crawl and Index and thus give your pages a position among thousands of other sites and pages of same category. Google performs this gigantic task, i.e. crawls millions of pages everyday automatically with a Robot or Application called Googlebot. Similarly Bing Crawler is called Bingbot, Yahoo’s is Slurp and so on. In this tutorial we’ll refer to only Googlebot as web crawler all-through our presentation as processes of all the Crawlers are almost the same.

However, in the next steps, we’re going to focus on every details of what is Crawling and Indexing.

What is Crawling

QUESTION: What is this Crawling actually? What does Googlebot do to crawl a site?

ANSWER: Google generates search results from web pages by following three basic steps—

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Serving

Dictionary meaning of Crawling is ‘moving on hands and knee with difficulty’. In our context, Google Crawling means haunting a new webpage all around by Googlebot by following paths (links). Google has no Central Registry for all the web pages. So Google continues SEARCH for new web pages and adds them to its list of known pages aiming to serve as search result as per its complex Algorithm. This process of discovery is named CRAWLING.

QUESTION: What is this PATH you mentioned above?

ANSWER: This path is links and URL. When you submit a site to Google, you also submit a sitemap where all your site’s URL’s is compiled and updated regularly. Google can start Crawling by following your sitemap. Alternatively Googlebot finds your site if it is linked in any of the known pages Google already indexed. By following that link or path, it can get ot your site and continue Crawling expedition. Your frequent Internal linking between and among posts can help Googlebot easily navigate your site and crawl fast.

QUESTION: Can you tell me some factors that will improve my site Crawling?

ANSWER: Probable factors are as follows—

  • Submit sitemap in Webmaster tool. In case of Google, submitting in Google Search Console.
  • Submit individual URL if necessary
  • Reasonable Internal linking as many as possible
  • Create Backlinks to your site on the influential sites Google already knows

However, beyond these, you can control as well as increase Crawling rate of your site by using Robots.txt and other methods. For a glaring understanding of Robots.txt, follow the links below-

What is Indexing

As Googlebot discovers a page by Crawling, Google then analyzes the content, catalogs images and video files embedded on that page and ultimately determines what the page is about. Next Google stores the information in a gigantic database called Google Index. This overall process is called Indexing.
QUESTION: How can I improve my page Indexing?
ANSWER: Following actions (among others) may improve your page Indexing—

  • Ensure that Googlebot can crawl your site.
  • Submit sitemap.
  • Your page title should be unique, short and meaningful.
  • Your page headings should convey the subject of the page
  • Use text rather than image to focus your content
  • Use content related keyword in Alt text of your images and videos
  • Create as many backlinks as possible.
  • Create and update content regualrly
  • Using site pinning method

However, you can control web crawler giving or not giving permission to index some of your pages by adding and editing robots.txt file.

What is Serving

QUESTION: Now how does Google serve result from Index? What does Googlebot do to crawl a site?

ANSWER: When a user launches a query by inputting a keyword or keyphrase in search box, Google tries to find the most contextual answer (actually site and page URL) from the Index as per its Algorithm which is a complex set of logical and mathematical set of rules to solve problems step by step. This is Serving.

Google serves the query result in SERP [Search Engine Result Page] by considering many factors including users’ location, language, device type, site’s or page’s loading time, mobile friendliness, Domain Age, Domain URL and Authority, technical SEO, links, Social signals and so on.

Hope you’re already enriched with most important knowledge of Google Crawling and Indexing and are quite confident to implement in real blogging field as well as to make others understand the facts lucidly.

If so let me know by comment.

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