Across the web, we can find many explanations, blogs, and forums explaining crawl management. However, 95% of it is so poorly explained that a massively important part of SEO isn’t happening as effectively as it should be and that the theory behind it is clouded by the misguided knowledge distributed by SEOs.
There is essentially no such thing as a crawl budget, but you do get a crawl limit, which is something different. This is basically to help Google crawl the site, but not too quickly or so often that it will hurt your server.
You can throw different factors such as crawl limit and crawl demand in and call it a ‘crawl budget’, but all of these aspects actually remain separate. It is one of SEO bloggers’ favourite terms to use, but when they use the term ‘crawl budget’, they actually have no idea what they are talking about.
What you can do as an SEO or a website operator is manage crawl. Your website crawl and a search engine crawl are two very different things, and while you can’t force search engines to crawl a certain page (URL), you can tell the search engine what not to crawl. Even though the Google bots sometimes ignore the robots.txt file (which is the file on most sites where you can stop Google crawling certain URLs), but you can stop them crawling your site or specific URLs. This is crawl management.
Even though you can crawl manage, you can’t set the rate limit for sites. Crawl rate limit is the maximum fetching rate for any given site, meaning that there is a cap on the number of URLs that Googlebot can decide to crawl. Google is clever, so if, while crawling the site, the bots calculate that the site is a negative experience for a user, the site may not be crawled fully negatively impacting rankings.
What To Look For In A Crawl
Some of the aspects that ‘Googlers’ (Which are people who have worked in this field at Google) have said are taken into account during search engine crawls:
- Content duplication.
- 4xx Status Codes.
- Spam content.
- Faceted navigation.
Most SEOs will look for issues like this and will fix them anyway as part of audits/checks. Although you can fix these issues and more, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will affect the crawl relationship between search engines and your site in a positive way, however ignoring these signs and signals can get you penalised which can result in a drop in rankings or getting penalised.