What Is Crawl Hygiene And Why Is It Important For Website Search Engine Optimisation?
The term ‘crawl hygiene’ in terms of website search engine optimisation simply means making sure your site is in the best possible state for Google’s bots to access. The bots’ purpose is to analyse the structure and content of your website in preparation for indexing, which in turn determines how high up the search engine’s rankings you appear.
Of course, any business owner wants their site to be as highly rated as possible, as this maximises the chances of potential customers coming across it and ultimately converting those site visitors to purchasers. So, having spent money on website optimisation in terms of quality content and images, how can you as the site owner or your SEO agency make sure your URLs are in a fit state for Google to access and index? Here are a few helpful areas to concentrate on. First of all, make sure you have an up to date XML sitemap. That’s not the same as a page for your human site visitors, where every page is listed and linked to, like a table of contents in a book would be. Instead, it’s a file automatically created by a program or script that’s specially formatted in a way that makes it easy for web crawling bots to access. If you don’t have the knowledge to do this yourself, ask your search engine optimisation consultant to make sure one is in place. Another factor to check is duplication. Duplicated content may or may not be penalised by Google, but it certainly slows down the crawlers, which search all duplicate pages to determine which of them are the priority ones for ranking.
Depending on your crawl budget, that might cause you problems – you or your SEO optimization expert want to ensure that Google’s looking at all relevant pages, indexing and ranking them. So it pays to take a look at how many pages you want indexed compared to how many are actually being found and indexed by the bots in your crawl stats report in the Google Search Console. Then look at the reasons: is it because you have disallowed them from being discovered, or are they not indexable, for instance? Your in-house SEO experts or a hired website search engine optimisation agency can tidy these up. For instance, they can ensure that priority is given to high value pages and low value pages, like ones that should stay behind the scenes or are only available to your web admin team, are discounted entirely. When you’ve taken steps like the ones listed above, and rectified what needs to be fixed, you can even monitor your site’s crawl rate – in other words, the frequency with which Google sends its bots to crawl your site. Google does set a recommended rate for doing this, but it can be increased – or decreased - if you think it’s advantageous. You can also instruct Google, through its Search Console, to re-index a particular page – you’ll find this within the Fetch as Google screen within the Crawl menu.
If all this is becoming too technical and you need a helping hand, why not ask an expert or agency that’s skilled in website search engine optimisation to navigate through crawl hygiene for your site? While it’s not the be-all and end-all in terms of upping your ranking, it can certainly contribute to a difference overall.