A successful SEO strategy improves organic traffic to generate more sales. When creating websites, marketers often focus on increasing backlinks instead of analyzing technical areas of the site, including its crawlability. Website crawlability increases inbound traffic, making it an essential component of your website’s structure. Here’s how you can check crawlability and make sure your website is optimized for success.
1. Understand the Google Crawl Budget
Just like a regular human searcher would, Googlebots regularly crawl the new and existing pages on your website. Sometimes called a website spider, a crawl bot helps Google understand your website’s performance, assessing factors that impact user experience. The number of pages Google visits during one connection is called the crawl budget.
The crawl budget varies from site to site; larger crawl budgets mean that Google is interested in learning more about your site. This can improve your search ranking position, which leads to more organic traffic. However, it’s important to note that an increased crawl rate doesn’t always mean more traffic. More than 200 factors are considered when determining search engine rankings.
Use the Google Webmasters search console to check crawlability. When you click on crawl stats, you’ll get a clear picture of the number of pages Google crawls each day. If optimizing the Google crawl budget is your goal, here are some areas to consider:
- Website speed: Faster websites are more user-friendly, and efficient crawling creates better indexing and higher rankings.
- Server errors: Monitor the crawl error report and keep the number of server errors as low as possible.
- Dynamic pages: Reduce the page load time for dynamic pages, which tend to time out while loading.
- Mobile crawlability: Fix any design issues that are slowing down the mobile experience.
2. Utilize HTML Tables for Direct Answer Queries
When it comes to searches, Google favors providing direct answers to users’ questions. Offering direct answers to questions gives you the opportunity to divert lots of traffic from Google’s direct answer box results. Remember, free-form content might be easy for humans to understand, but computers respond better to structured data.
Before adding structured data to your site, you should first identify what questions users ask most often. Then, add an HTML table that provides clear answers to these commonly-asked questions. This allows Google to clearly understand what your site is about, increasing the odds of a higher search ranking.
3. Harness the Power of Internal Links
Internal linking is one of the most powerful SEO strategies. These links connect one page of a site to another page of a website. Here are a few ways you can use internal links to your advantage:
- Create plenty of authoritative, high-quality content. When your site offers lots of content, it’s easy to add several internal links.
- Don’t always link to the homepage; instead, link to deeper pages within the site.
- Look to Wikipedia for inspiration if you’re having trouble finding internal links. Linking within an article is more effective than linking at the bottom of the content.
- Use diverse anchor text when linking internally, which helps you avoid penalties through Penguin.
4. Write Longer Blog Posts
Longer content tends to rank higher – in fact, informative pieces should contain at least 2,500 words. These posts receive the maximum social shares. To create long-form content, research all the informative search queries that help customers reach the end of the sales funnel. Then, post content with interactive text that provides the answers to these questions or problems.
5. Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
Optimizing your site for mobile web crawling is essential when it comes to increasing inbound traffic. Google has moved its focus to mobile, using Google Smartphone crawler to assess website content. The Mobile Friendly Test and Mobile Usability Report in Webmaster Tools are useful in assessing your site’s mobile experience. After running these tests, perform a log analysis and block spam bots, clearing the way for Google’s website spider.
6. Update Your Sitemap Regularly
A sitemap lists the web pages of your site, telling Google and other search engines about your website’s content. The sitemap also provides valuable metadata, including the last page update. Here are a few ways to ensure your sitemaps are organized and crawlable:
- Keep your XML sitemap updated
- Eliminate all duplicate pages, improperly redirected pages, and non-canonicalized pages
- Use consistent, qualified URLs
- Make sure your sitemap file is UTF-8 encoded
- Check for sitemap errors regularly using the Search Console
Remember, both on- and off-page elements matter when it comes to your SEO strategy. When you follow these technical SEO tips, you’ll notice a difference in website crawlability almost instantly.
Eric Steiner graduated with an MFA in professional and creative writing from Western Connecticut State University in 2014. He’s worked on a number of professional writing projects with clients such as Pearson Education, WatchMojo.com, and Michael Mailer Films. Giving brands a voice is his passion.