Basic Principles of Website Indexing and Crawling in Search Engine

Website Indexing and Crawling

Have you ever wondered how websites are indexed in search engines? And how do search engines manage to provide us with tons of information in a few seconds?

The secret of this amazing performance lies in the search index. It can be compared to a huge, perfectly organized catalog-archive of all websites.

Being included in the index means that the search engine has seen, appreciated, and remembered your page. It means that it can display it in the search results.

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I suggest you understand the indexing process from the beginning to know how websites end up in Yandex and Google search results, whether this process can be controlled and what you need to know about indexing resources using different technologies.

What is Crawling and Indexing?

Web page crawling is a process in which a search engine sends its special programs (we know them as search robots, crawlers, spiders) to collect data from new and modified web pages.

Indexing of web pages consists of crawling, reading data, and adding this data to the index (catalog) by search robots. The search engine uses the information it receives to discover the content of your site and its pages.

It can then identify the keywords on each page it crawls and stores copies of them in the search index. For each page, it stores the URL and content information.

When a user enters a search query on the Internet, the search engine quickly looks at the list of crawled pages and displays only relevant pages in the SERP. Like a librarian searching the catalog for the books he or she wants – alphabetically, by subject, and by exact title.

Some of the top search engine optimization agency use their bloggers and back linking strategy to index their pages before their competitors.

The indexing of websites in different search engines differs by some important nuances. Let’s see what the difference is.

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What is the Difference Between Indexing in Google and Yandex?

Indexing the Website in Google

When we search for something on Google, the data is not searched on the websites in real-time, but in the Google index, where hundreds of billions of pages are stored. Several factors are taken into account when searching: your location, language, device type, etc.

In 2019, Google changed its logic for indexing websites – you’ve probably heard about the introduction of mobile-first. The main difference in the new method is that the search engine now stores the mobile version of pages in the index.

Previously, the desktop version was considered first, but now it’s the Google bot for smartphones that comes to your website first, especially if it’s new. All other websites will gradually switch to a new indexing mode, as owners learn in Google Search Console.

Some Other Key Differences Between Google Indexing

  • The index is constantly updated
  • It takes a few minutes to a week to index a website
  • Low-quality pages are usually demoted but not removed from the index

All crawled pages are included in the index, but only the highest quality pages are included in the search results. Before the search engine displays a web page to the user, it checks its relevance using more than 200 criteria (ranking factors) and selects the most appropriate pages.

Page Indexing in Yandex

In Yandex, the indexing process is generally the same. Search bots enter the site, download the data, process it, and then add it to the index for use in search results. 

What Else Should You Know About Indexing in Yandex

  • The Yandex index is updated when the search base is updated (approximately every three days)
  • The process of indexing a website takes between a week and a month
  • Yandex works slower than Google, but at the same time, it eliminates poor-quality pages from the index and selects only useful material

Yandex search results contain the pages that best answer a search query, contain clear and useful information, and are easy to use.

We understand what the search bots are doing on your website, but how do they get there? There are several ways to do this.

How to Search Robots Get to Know Your Website

If it is a new resource that has not yet been indexed, you need to “submit” it to the search engines. After receiving an invitation from your resource, search engines will send their crawlers to the website to collect data.

You can invite search engines to visit your website by publishing a link to it on a third-party internet resource. But remember: for search engines to find your site, they must crawl the page containing the link. This method works for both search engines.

You can also use one of the following options separately for each search engine

For Yandex

  • Create a sitemap and link to it in the robots.txt file or in the “Yandex Webmaster Sitemaps” section.
  • Add your website to Yandex Webmaster.
  • Install the Yandex Metrica counter on your website.

For Google

  • Create a sitemap, create a link in the robots.txt file and submit the sitemap to Google.
  • Request the indexing of the modified page in Search Console.
  • Every Top SEO Agency wants his website to be indexed faster and to include as many pages as possible. But nobody can influence it, not even the best friend who works at Google.

The speed of crawling and indexing depends on many factors, including the number of pages on the site, the speed of the site itself, the webmaster’s settings, and the crawling budget. In short, the crawl budget is the number of URLs on your website that the crawler is willing and able to crawl.

What else can we influence in the indexing process? On a plan for the exploration of our website by the search robots.

How to Handle a Search Robot

The search engine downloads the information from the website, taking into account the robots.txt file and the sitemap. And there you can recommend to the search engine what to download or not to download on your website, and how.

Robots.txt File

This is a simple text file that contains basic information – for example, which search bots we use (user-agent) and which we don’t allow (disallow).

The rules in Robots.txt help search bots navigate and prevent them from wasting resources by crawling unimportant pages (e.g., system files, authorization pages, shopping cart contents, etc.). For example, the Disallow: / admin line prevents bots from crawling pages whose URLs begin with the word admin, and Disallow: / *. Pdf $ prevents them from accessing PDF files on the website.

Also, be sure to include the sitemap address in the robots.txt file to tell search bots where it is located.

To check the accuracy of the robots.txt file, upload it to a special form on the Yandex. Webmaster page or use a separate tool in Google Search Console.

Sitemap File

Another file that will help you optimize your website by scanning the search engine spiders – this sitemap. It shows how the content of the website is organized, which pages are subject to indexing and how often the information they contain is updated.

If your website consists of several pages, the search engine will most likely find them itself. However, if a Web site has millions of pages, the search engine must decide which pages to crawl and how often. Then, the site map, among other factors, helps prioritize those pages.

In addition, websites, where multimedia or news content is very important, can improve the indexing process by creating separate sitemaps for each type of content. Individual video maps can also inform search engines about the length of the material, the file type, and the licensing terms. Maps for images – what is displayed, what file type, etc? For news – the publication date, article title, and number.

To ensure that no important page on your website escapes the attention of a search engine robot, menu navigation, breadcrumbs, and internal links come into play. But if you have a page to which no external or internal links lead, the sitemap will help you find it.

And in the sitemap, you can specify

  • how often a particular page is updated – with the <changefreq> tag
  • the canonical version of the page – with the rel = canonical attribute
  • Versions of pages in other languages with the href lang attribute.

A sitemap is also a good help to find out why your website is difficult to index. For example, if the website is very large, it will have many sitemaps, organized by category or by page type. In the console, it is then easier to understand which pages are not being indexed and modify them further.

You can check the accuracy of the sitemap file on the Yandex. Webmaster page as well as in the Google Search Console for your website in the “Sitemap Files” section.

Your website has been sent for indexing, the robots.txt file and the sitemap have been checked. It’s time to find out how the website was indexed and what the search engine found about the resource.

How to Check the Indexing of a Website?

Checking the indexing of a website can be done in several ways:

  • By the website operator: at Google and Yandex. This statement does not provide an exhaustive list of pages, but it gives a general idea of the pages that are in the index. Provides the results for the main domain and subdomains.
  • via Google Search Console and Yandex Webmaster. Your website’s console contains detailed information about all pages – those that are indexed, those that are not, and why. Yandex in the webmaster also has information about which pages are included and excluded in the index, and for what reasons – in the section “Indexing ⇒ pages in the search”.
  • use browser plugins such as RDS Bar or special tools to check the indexing. For example, you can find out which pages of your website have been included in the search engine index by using the “Indexing Checker” of the SE Ranking Tool. To do this, simply enter the desired search engine (Google, Yandex, Yahoo, Bing), add a list of website URLs, and start the check. To test the “Indexing Checker” tool, register on the SE Ranking Platform and open the tool in the “Tools” section.  

What is the Final Result?

Search engines are willing to index as many pages of your website as they need. Imagine that Google’s index is well over 100 million gigabytes – that’s hundreds of billions of indexed pages, and that number is growing every day.

But often, the success of this event depends on you. If you understand the principles of search engine indexing, you won’t harm your website with incorrect settings.

If you have specified everything correctly in the robots.txt file and sitemap, if you have taken into account the technical requirements of search engines and if you have ensured the availability of useful and quality content, search engines will not leave your website unattended.

Remember that indexing is not about whether or not your website appears in the SERPs. What is much more important is the number and nature of pages that will be included in the index, the content that will be crawled, and their ranking in the search results. And there, the ball is in your court!


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