Search Bots & Technical SEO in 2018
Certain aspects of optimizing a website don’t have anything to do with impressing people. To truly be successful, you need to appeal to both site crawlers and humans.
You can’t replace one set of tactics with the other. You also shouldn’t prioritize technical SEO and then neglect your other efforts. This competitive landscape calls for a no holds barred approach to optimization across all fronts.
Search Bots: Defined
These bots aren’t always as smart as you would think. Their job entails following instructions, and their analysis capabilities are limited to these directions.
Contrary to popular belief, these bots do not have minds of their own, and they can’t gauge the quality of a piece of content without explicit instructions on how to do so. They can only follow links and deliver content and code to other algorithms for indexing purposes.
Technical SEO: An Overview
Making sure your website is always easy to scan and up-to-date according to search engine crawlers’ standards requires a methodical approach and frequent review. This is why an increasing number of companies default to paying to use tools that help them with this analysis in a systemized way.
One popular company is Screaming Frog, which has an SEO Spider (website crawling tool) that allows users to crawl a website’s URL and analyze key onsite elements to determine the status if its onsite SEO.
When you use tools like these, you’re essentially outsourcing your technical performance analysis to a bot. It’s a great time saver because of the sheer amount of technical analysis and insights you can gain so quickly. However, when humans rely too much on these tools, they might miss some valuable optimization opportunities.
When you interact with and look at a website’s desktop and mobile version on their own, they will surely discover issues that the bots missed. Even the most foolproof tools and technology have their flaws and limitations. What you need to realize is that what a bot finds won’t always be the same issues your consumers find. This is why working with bots is better than leaning on them too much.
In order to accurately evaluate the content in a database, algorithms need to decide where a URL (universal resource locator) should be ranked for any given search term. This is where the analysis of all the familiar SEO factors you’re thinking of come into play: relevant/related keywords, quantity/quality of backlinks, and the value and quality of content.
So even though bots clearly don’t have opinions or subjective reasoning skills for deciding where your website appears in search results, they are still super important because they are responsible for gathering the info you need to appear in search results.
If bots can’t collect the right information, you won’t be able to rank where you deserve to rank. It’s best to give the bots exactly what they’re searching for (and the only way to do that is to know exactly what they’re looking for).
1) Crawl Budget- SEO experts came up with this term to express the resources Google’s Googlebot uses to crawl any particular website. The more clout your website has, the more resources Google will use to crawl it (therefore the higher your crawl budget). At this time, there isn’t a clear formula or way to figure out your (or your main competitor’s) crawl budget.
2) Crawl Rate Limit- The speed and frequency that Google’s bot can crawl your site without overwhelming your servers and hurting your users’ experience.
3) Crawl Demand- The urgency Google’s bot has to crawl your site. The more popular your URL is and the higher the demand, the more often Google decides that it’s a priority to crawl it. If your website is also constantly being updated, this is an added layer of urgency to make sure Googlebot is reevaluating and crawling on a regular basis.
Based on these factors, you can probably already gather that considerations such as a website’s traffic volume, web page loading speed, and how often you’re updating your website influence crawl budget.
It would be difficult to know exactly which factors are influencing your crawl budget (and measuring these factors would prove to be difficult as well because crawl budgets do not necessarily have a quantifiable value.)
Thankfully, Google Search Console enables you to get a general sense of bot activity on your website when you look at the Crawl Stats section. However, you definitely cannot rely solely on this for analysis.
4 Key Considerations for
Technical SEO Health
We started to touch upon all of this earlier, but now let’s delve into 4 considerations that are of special priority:
1) Frequency of Website Updates
You need to provide a reason for Google’s bot to crawl your site. So, if you have a high authority URL, you are an industry leader, and you add and improve content daily, you’ll be crawled many times a day.
Googlebot thrives on content, so if you provide that content regularly, there’s no reason for it to ignore you (even if you’re a relatively smaller or younger business than your competitors).
2) Hosting Load
Extremely frequent site crawls place a lot of pressure on servers, which in turn affects a user’s browsing experience. In fact, it would completely disrupt your users’ experience because it would slow down your site considerably.
Therefore, Google is cognizant of your website’s hosting load/capacity when it comes to how often they crawl your site. For example, if your website utilizes shared hosting (which the majority of websites do, because it’s the more affordable option) then chances are that your website will be crawled less often.
3) Page Speed
Site load time is relative. Even if you think your website is loading at an acceptable rate, it’s in your best interest to look into your speed compared to your competitors and other sites of your size.
If you have a slow-loading website, search bots like the Googlebot can easily reach their crawl rate limit move on without spending adequate time crawling your site.
4) Crawl Errors
For example, server availability issues and server timeouts can slow bots down. Eradicating these issues is one of the keys to encouraging the Googlebot to spend time crawling your site thoroughly and often. You can identify and end these errors by using Google Search Console in conjunction with some of the paid tool like Screaming Frog (which we mentioned earlier.)
Most experts would affirm that it’s always best to cross-reference your analysis as to not overlook key pieces of information.
To Wrap It Up…
These bots exist to improve searchers’ experience and make everyone’s lives easier. However, following the ever-changing formula to getting on search engine bots’ good side is exhausting for digital marketers.
Chainlink Can Help
Using our proprietary platform, the Chainlink Marketing Platform to ensure success based on data tracking and reporting, we can manage your overall marketing efforts and ensure they produce measurable results.
As technical SEO pros, our team can help you make sure you’re implementing strategies that deliver measurable results and produce the highest possible marketing ROI for your business.
Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help your business grow online. We’d love to give you a free consultation.
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