Crawl Budget: How Does it Impact SEO in 2020?

Crawl Budget (Blog Cover)

Google is always looking for ways to improve its service. One way they have done this is by introducing the concept and practice of the Googlebot. The Googlebot essentially looks at millions of websites when someone enters a search query. This is how Google is able to turn up relevant results for the searches we perform every day. But Googlebot is not omnipresent. Believe it or not, Google has limited resources. 

And that is why crawl budgets exist. So what is a crawl budget anyway? A crawl budget refers to the number of pages or documents on your website that the Googlebot will crawl and potentially index on SERPs. If your site is given a high crawl budget, the Googlebot will spend more time and resources looking for relevant content on your website. If your site has a low crawl budget, the Googlebot won’t allot as many resources towards indexing your pages.

How Does Google Determine your Crawl Budget?

The concept of crawl budget first came around in 2017 when Google laid out the Googlebot protocol. When they did this, they also explained how they determine the crawl budget of any given website. There are basically 2 factors that will determine your crawl budget. 

1 – How much traffic your website can handle. If Google determines that your server will be hampered by frequent crawling by the Googlebot, it will assign your site a lower crawl budget. This is referred to as the Crawl Rate Limit.

2 – How popular your website is. The number of external links pointing to your website, how often the content is updated and how much it is frequented by web surfers all play a part of how popular your website is. This is referred to as Crawl Demand

Google takes Crawl Rate limit and Crawl Demand into account when determining your site’s crawl budget. Again, it is important to keep in mind that the motivation behind crawl budget and many of the other components of the Google search engine is to improve the user experience. And in most cases, improving the user experience means pulling up the most relevant and helpful web pages possible. 

They want to be able to pull up search results from the sites likely to have the most reliable (or popular) websites. So they allot more of a crawl budget to authoritative websites. They also don’t want to waste any resources on websites that can’t connect or handle the traffic. These are the basic principles of Crawl Rate Limit and Crawl Demand.

When Should you Worry About Crawl Budget

So obviously, you want as high a crawl budget as possible. The higher your crawl budget, the more pages on your website that Google can scan and potentially pull up on search queries. But at what point do you need to be concerned with what your crawl budget actually is? Luckily, most small websites don’t ever have to even worry about crawl budget. 

Google does a great job of scanning and indexing sites very quickly – so long as they are under around 10,000 pages. If your website has a pretty basic homepage, about page, contact page, service page, blog section structure (let’s say around 20-50 pages) the Googlebot can quickly index any of your pages.

When you need to start thinking about your crawl budget is when you have around 10,000 unique pages on your site. These are usually sites that have lots of different product pages, user-generated content pages, and location-specific pages.

So for those of you do have large websites like the ones we just mentioned and are feeling a bit hot under the collar right now, don’t panic. We are going to explain how your crawl budget affects SEO.

Crawl Budget and SEO

As you may be able to imagine by now, your crawl budget can affect your site’s SEO in a number of ways. To understand the effect that crawl budget can have on your search engine optimization, take a look at some of the most important links between these two concepts:

  • Load SpeedLoad speed will have a significant impact on your SEO. If the Googlebot can’t scan your pages quickly because your website’s load speeds are slow, simply put; it will not index your pages. At least, it is less likely that it will index your pages. Things like first contentful paint and first meaningful paint are also aspects that can affect your crawl budget. Your site’s load speeds therefore become integral to SEO.
  • Fresh Content – You may already understand the value of updating your website’s content and posting new content. But having fresh content also affects your site’s crawl budget. If Google detects that your site hasn’t been touched (part of the Crawl Demand criteria that focuses on popularity) for a long time, it will not waste crawls on it. Posting new content and updating old content also becomes very important to SEO in this regard.
  • Linking – Getting back links for as many of your website’s pages as possible is always a good thing – but especially for raising your crawl budget. External links are signals to Google that your website has something to offer. Likewise, making sure that you don’t have any orphan pages (pages that don’t have any internal links leading to them) is another good way to make the most of your crawl budget because it is harder for the Googlebot to find orphan pages.

Improving in the above-mentioned areas of website design are the most effective ways to increase your crawl budget. And if you would like to know your current crawl budget, Google makes this information readily available for any webmaster. 

Increase Crawl Budget and Improve SEO

It can be difficult to increase your crawl budget on your own. But here at Nolen Walker, we offer a thoughtful and comprehensive list of services aimed at all-around website performance. We can help increase your crawl budget for the benefit of SEO so contact us today.