Technical SEO


Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Apr 6, 2023


What is Crawlability?

Crawlability means how well search engine bots or crawlers can discover, access and index a website or web page. Bots check if the content is useful to search users when crawling.

Good crawlability is key for search engine optimization. When bots can easily reach your important pages, those pages have a better chance of ranking well in search results.

What’s the difference between crawlability and indexability?

Crawlability and indexability are both important concepts in SEO, but they refer to different aspects of a website's relationship with search engines.

If search bots can easily crawl a website, its pages are more likely to get indexed. Good indexation leads to better search rankings and increased visitor traffic.

Indexability, on the other hand, means the search engine stores those pages in its index.

The engine decides if crawled pages have valuable, relevant content for searchers. Useful pages get indexed, but poor content does not.

Why is crawlability important?

Crawlability matters because it impacts search engine visibility and traffic.

When bots crawl a site, they evaluate its content and structure to decide what to index. Pages that bots can't reach may not get indexed.

Poor crawlability means lower search rankings and visibility. And that means fewer visitors finding the site from search.

Good crawlability brings more indexing and better rankings. That leads to increased search traffic over time.

What affects a website’s crawlability?

Many factors can affect a website's crawlability, some of which include:

Site architecture

A website's structure affects how well search bots can crawl it. Sites with good organization and clear hierarchies help bots navigate.

All pages should connect internally with working links. This type of clean architecture improves crawlability.

Page discoverability

Search bots use links to explore sites and find pages. Pages without good connections from internal links or backlinks risk being undiscoverable.

Undiscoverable pages may get missed by crawlers, hurting crawlability.

Nofollow links

Nofollow links contain the rel="nofollow" attribute. When a crawler encounters a nofollow link, it will not follow the link while crawling the page.

This can impact a website's crawlability. If some important pages are only accessible through nofollow links, they may not be indexed by search engines.

Robots.txt file

The robots.txt file is a text file that is placed in the root directory of a website and contains instructions for search engine crawlers.

If a website owner has restricted certain pages or directories using the robots.txt file, it can impact crawlability.

Access Restrictions

Access restrictions such as login requirements, CAPTCHAs, or IP blocking can prevent crawling.

It's important to ensure that search engine crawlers can access all of a website's pages to properly crawl and index the site.

How to find crawlability issues on your website?

Website owners have various options to spot problems that make it hard for search engines to crawl their sites, such as:

Google Search Console

It is a free tool that allows website owners to monitor and analyze their website's performance in search results.

Within the Search Console, the "Coverage" report provides detailed information about crawling and indexing issues that may be affecting a website's performance.

Crawling tools

There are many crawling tools available that can scan a website to identify technical issues that may be impacting its crawlability.

Some popular crawling tools include Screaming Frog, Netpeak Spider, Ahrefs Site Audit, and SEMrush Site Audit.

Site architecture analysis

Analyzing a website's architecture and internal linking structure can help identify crawlability issues such as orphaned pages, broken links, and other technical issues.

Mapping tools such as Slickplan or can help visualize the structure of a website and identify any issues.

Content analysis

Analyzing a website's content can help identify issues such as duplicate content, thin content, and keyword stuffing, which can negatively impact crawlability. Tools like Copyscape and Siteliner can help identify duplicate content issues.

How to make a website easier to crawl?

Making a website easy to crawl and index is an important aspect of SEO. Here are some steps to improve the website's crawlability and indexability:

  1. Create a sitemap: Submitting a sitemap to Google and other search engines can help ensure that all pages are crawlable and indexable.

  2. Optimize site architecture: A well-designed site architecture with clear navigation and a logical hierarchy can make it easier for crawlers to find and index all of a website's pages.

  3. Use internal linking: Internal links can help crawlers navigate a website and find all of its pages. Including relevant internal links on each page can improve crawlability.

  4. Monitor crawl errors: Regularly monitoring crawl errors can help identify and address issues that may be impacting crawlability.

Can a webpage be indexed in Google without crawling?

No, a webpage cannot be indexed in Google without being crawled first. For a webpage to appear in Google's search results, Google's web crawler must first discover it.

However, in rare situations, Google can include a web page's URL in its search results without actually crawling the page, although this doesn't happen often.

In such cases, Google uses the text of the URL and any anchor text to understand what the page is about. However, the page's description won't be shown in the search results.

While Google won't crawl or index the content blocked by a robots.txt file, we might still find and index a disallowed URL if it is linked from other places on the web. As a result, the URL address and, potentially, other publicly available information such as anchor text in links to the page can still appear in Google search results.


The bottom line

Googlebot evaluates crawled pages to index the most useful ones. Website owners need to ensure that bots can crawl those valuable pages through good crawl optimization.

That way, your best content gets indexed and surfaces in search.

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