Talk of search engines is common in the digital marketing space, as well they should be. Search engines are like modern-day encyclopedias. Consider yourself fortunate if you can’t recall days of reading through encyclopedias, or if Dewey Decimal System sounds like the name of a fresh new indie band.
Search engines are in existence to make sense of the internet’s content, and to offer up the most relevant answers to the questions that users are asking. For a search engine to show your content, your content needs to be visible to that search engine. If your site can’t be located, you are officially OOL (out of luck) in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
One of the main functions of search engines is to comb through internet content, reviewing the code for each URL they discover. This is where the term “search engine crawling” comes in. A crew of robots does the “crawling.” (Fondly referred to as spiders or crawlers.) These bots are continuously on the lookout for new and updated content. Content can be in the form of an image, video, or website. When crawlers find unique content, they add it to an index, called Caffeine. Caffeine is a giant database of URLs. They can be accessed when searchers are looking for information that a particular URL is a match for. (Just one more reason to appreciate Caffeine.)
When users search, search engines scan their index for relevant information, and then order it, in hopes of answering the searcher’s question. The ordering of the data is also called ranking. The websites that the search engine believes to be most relevant to the query are ranked the highest.
You can block crawlers from parts or all of your websites. You can also directly search engines way from particular individual pages in their indexes. There are certain situations in which directing away might make sense, but in general, you want to make sure your content is indexable, which means it is visible.
It’s a good idea to see just how many of your pages are indexed. This will offer you some great insight into whether Google is crawling and seeing the pages you want it to view, and none of the pages you don’t want to be seen. You can do this by typing “site:yourdomain.com” into the Google search bar. This will give you a pretty good idea of which of your pages are indexed, and how they show up in search results.
If you don’t find you’re showing up in results, there are a few reasons for that. Your site may be so new that it hasn’t been crawled just yet. Another reason might be that external sites aren’t linked to your site. Your site may also be too difficult for robots to crawl it effectively. Your website may contain some code that blocks search engines, or it could be penalizing Google for the use of spammy tactics.
Of course, you want to make sure that Google sees the essential pages, but you should also consider that there are pages you probably don’t want to find. This could be things like old URLS that offer slight content, pages with special promotion codes, test pages, etc. Use robots.txt to direct Google away from such pages. Robot.txt files are found in the root directory of websites and can determine which parts of your site crawl, and which sections shouldn’t crawl. It might make sense to create a crawl budget to ensure Googlebot doesn’t waste time crawling through the pages you don’t feel are important.
But how do you optimize your essential pages? Often, search engines can find parts of your website by crawling. Other times, sections, or pages may be blocked for a variety of reasons. You want to be sure that search engines can find the content you want to be indexed, not merely your homepage. Be sure that your site offers precise navigation and URL folder structures that are helpful.
Consider information architecture. This is the practice of labeling and organizing content on your site to improve its findability. The information should be accessible for your users to comb through to find the information they are looking for.
Maybe you’re already doing everything you can to get the most out of your digital presence. (Nice job!) Should that not be the case, and instead, you find yourself a bit overwhelmed, or just plain confused, by all things digital, give us a call. We can make sure your website is doing everything possible to be merely crawling with interested customers.
YuzzBuzz is a Digital Marketing Agency that specializes in SEO and is very proud of the work we accomplish. We provide a very professional skillset that can help your business flourish and achieve a higher ranking in google search. For more information, visit us on our website!