What Even Is an SEO Crawl Budget?


Have you ever wondered how Google and other search engines work? How do you get instant answers to your questions using Google? The answer lies in the search engine’s ability to “crawl” through websites and web pages.

Google uses crawlers called bots or spiders to go through websites and web pages. Yet, because of the size and complexity of the web, it may take time for bots to crawl through every site and page. Google may also choose to prioritize crawling of specific websites over others, allotting varying “crawl budgets” for each site. 

Let’s look more closely at SEO, and how crawl budget is assigned to different websites to support this function.

Deep Dive Into SEO Crawl Budget

SEO or search engine optimization is a collection of strategies that help websites rank higher in search engine results. SEO helps sites get more attention and more traffic. Thus, an optimized website can help Google bots crawl and index web pages faster.

Pranjal Bora with Digital Authority Partners shares that the crawl budget pertains to the number of pages a search engine can move through and index on any given website. The faster a search engine can crawl several websites at a time, the faster it can provide relevant answers to searchers.

Crawl budget is affected by two factors: the demand and capacity limits. These factors determine how search engines assign crawl budgets to specific websites.

The limit (or the “host load”) pertains to the level of crawling that a website can handle. It can vary depending on the site owner or marketer’s preferences. The demand (or “crawl scheduling”) depends on the popularity of the site and how updated a given URL is. A regularly updated website is more worth crawling compared to those that are rarely updated.

Crawl budget is not just for web pages. It can refer to any document or piece of content, including mobile page variants, PDF files, CSS files, and JavaScript files, to name a few.

Crawl Limit

Search engine bots constantly move through web pages. These bots are programmed to keep web servers from becoming overloaded with user requests. Search engines have set up crawl limits for every website to prevent overloading.

If a website is in poor shape, with consistent URL timeouts and errors, it will become challenging for search engine bots to crawl through. It is also possible to have a lower crawl limit if you share a hosting platform with other websites. Many site owners prefer a dedicated webserver to host their websites.

It will also help if you have, both, your desktop and mobile versions of your site on one host. You’ll have separate crawl limits for each of these sites as well.

Crawl Demand

Another name for crawl demand is crawl scheduling. This is about considering if a website is worth re-crawling, and just like crawl limits, this is affected by several factors.

A website with a high popularity rating will have a high crawl demand. The popularity of a website depends on the number of inbound internal and external links and the number of search requests it gets. A website updated regularly with fresh content may also have a higher demand.

The type of page also affects crawl demand. Pages like product category pages, home pages, and service pages are more popular and are updated more often. This means they enjoy higher demand. Pages like Terms and Conditions, About Us, and FAQs are less popular and are rarely updated. These pages have a lower crawl demand.

Crawl Capacity

Search engines have higher crawl capacities, but eventually, these will become limited as more websites and webpages are added to the web. If data centers go offline, it’s possible for crawl capacities and crawls budgets to decrease.

Why Do Marketers Have to Think About Crawl Budget

Now that you know how Google and other search engines find answers to questions, you might be wondering, “Why do I need to care about crawl budget?”

If you belong to a competitive market or industry, you want your website to stand out. You want potential customers to come to your website. Learning about your website’s crawl budget will help you discover how to update your site and keep content fresh and valuable so that more visitors show up.

Bots will find it easier to crawl through and index your pages with a well-designed, updated, and efficiently-hosted website. On the other hand, if you are dissipating your crawl budget, search engine bots will have difficulty crawling through your site.

It’s entirely possible for bots to overlook crucial parts of your website altogether, including sections like your about pages, product description pages, and other powerful sales drivers. When this happens, it makes it much harder to reach people through SEO, as half of your website may not even show up for relevant search queries! 

How to Find the Crawl Budget for Your Website

Google allows marketers and business owners to keep close watch over their crawl budgets through the Google Search Console. With this tool, you can measure search traffic, and website/web page performance and deal with issues swiftly. Once your website is verified, you can use the Search Console to monitor your crawl budget.

Another way to find your crawl budget is to check server logs. Here you’ll see how frequently Google bots visit your website and web pages. You can compare server logs from your crawl budget results on Google Search Console before making any critical site changes.

Avoiding Wasted Crawl Budget

You need to make sure that your allotted crawl budget is well spent. To do this, you’ll want to strive to fix all the issues that affect your crawl budget. 

Here are several of the most common problems that lead to a wasted crawl budget:

  • Presence of URLs with parameters
  • Having duplicate page content
  • Poor quality webpage content
  • Broken links or links that redirect
  • Poor page loading times
  • Page timeouts
  • Incorrect URLs in XML pages and non-pages
  • A large number of pages that can’t be indexed
  • Poor internal link structures

Final Words

Your website crawl budget says a lot about your site health and the ease with which search engines can index the key pages of your website. Take time to learn about your crawl budget and be sure to remedy issues that may be negatively impacting it. 

This could be one of the most powerful tools in your SEO arsenal, allowing you to rank even higher in search engine results pages.