Search Labs: Leading the Revolution in Search Technology

October 29, 2022

What is a SEO Spider

A spider is an automated program used by search engines to index websites for use

A search bot is a program that scours the internet for keywords related to your business and then displays them on your website. These robots can be found on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex. They crawl through your website and find out what kind of content you have and what people are searching for. Then, they display these keywords on your website so that users can easily see them. Robots may also check whether certain keywords are being misspelled or not.

A spider crawls through websites looking for links to other pages, which it then indexes

Web spiders (aka search engine bots) use their knowledge of how websites are built and organized to help them decide which webpages deserve to appear at the top of a list of links when someone searches for something online.

Schemas are codes that help describe a webpage's structure. They're similar to HTML headings, except they apply to the entire document instead of just one section. They're also known as microdata because they were designed to make data easier to scrape from pages. Here's an overview of how schemas work.

A bot will crawl your website and if it finds any of these things, it will update its index so it can continue crawling. Some engines are partial to restricting access when websites present  issues like duplicate content or server errors (Bing). Others are impartial to site issues.

Most SEO or Search Engine Optimization strategies are aimed at Google, and Googlebot as Google owns most of the search market.  

What are the different types of web spiders?

There are several types of search engine spider which you need to be aware of.

These spiders will usually start crawling from your home page and follow any internal link after which the landing page will be added to its index, if an internal link is also a dead link then the search engine crawler will list that as a 404 (missing) or broken (5xx) page. Below are the search engine spiders users to assist search engines in providing valid organic search results.  

Major Search engine Spiders

  • GoogleBot - Google
  • Bingbot -Bing
  • Slurp bot – Yahoo
  • DuckDuckBot – DuckDuckGo
  • Sogou Spider - For the Chinese search engine Sogou
  • Exabot - Exalead
  • Yandex Bot – for the Russian search engine Yandex
  • BaiduSpider - for the Chinese search engine Baidu

What Can Search Engine Spiders See?

Web spiders can read everything on your website, including any code you write, any blog posts you publish, any news items you post, any images you upload, anything else you put online, and so on. However there are directives that you can put in place to restrict access. The success of these directives however depends on how they are implemented. Some 'Bots' will respect your instructions, others will not.

What is Crawl Budget?

The crawl frequency of your website (with a crawler tool) depends on how frequently and how quickly Google's crawler can access your pages without causing harm to your web server and the popularity of the sites you're crawling. It also takes into account the fleshliness and relevance of your content.

Gary Illyes from google has stated that crawling budgets shouldn't be a primary concern for the majority of websites. However websites with a large number of pages should consider using them as a factor and should review crawl server log files in order to determine the order that pages we being viewed by search engine bots.

What Could Prevent Spiders from Seeing all of Your Site?

Common Mistake #1: Developers often forget to add alt tags for images.

Common Mistake #2: Developers often forget to use H1 and H2 tags.

Common Mistake #3: Web designers often style text by using H tags.

  • If you don't want robots to index your content, then you need to tell them not to by adding a instruction on the webpage (a noindex tag) to that page so that the crawler understands that you wish to exclude this content from their engine.
  • Place navigation elements in both your JavaScript and HTML so that they're accessible by search engines.
  • If you don't want your site to be indexed by Google, then you might consider having some "orphaned" pages. However, if you're worried about not having enough links pointing back to your homepage, then you might consider linking important pages together so that they form a single path for crawlers. If you perform a Technical SEO audit your crawler should highlight these issues.

What tools can be used to audit my site as a web spider?

There are many tools on the market, most SEO keyword monitoring tools like AHREFS or Screaming Frog will provide a 'crawler' function. These platforms will usually respect any rules presented by your site such as 'Robots.txt' directives, 'nofollow' links or 'noindex' tags on your individual resources.

A very popular dedicated crawler is 'Screaming Frog' (Screaming Frog SEO Spider) - this is a local installation, and crawls from your local computer. It will also crawl your site based on a few different metrics that you provide. Screaming Frog, SEO Powersuite, Deepcrawl, all of these crawlers can crawl as a search engine spider and help you find issues present on your site - things like broken links.

What is Googlebot and why should I let it crawl my site?

Googlebot only serves Google - other engines my use the data gathered by Googlebot, 

Google crawls (reads all of the source code on your website) in waves, one of their main crawlers is called Googlebot. Googlebot reviews the content on your page and then (we assume) categorizes that content. It is important to give Googlebot access to all of the content that you hope to see in their index. Googlebot should not be confused with Google Analytics or Google Search Console - as Googlebot does not provide information back to the web, it is used only by Google to better understand the web and how it hangs together.

Things that Googlebot does seem to care about (and more so on larger sites) is your crawl budget - it seems that Google allocates a given amount of time to crawl a site. 

Crawl rate limits - why are they even used.

Remember the internet is an ever growing thing, and for Google to effectively crawl and then index new content, it may need to apply some restrictions to the way in which it approaches the web.

The goal of Googlebot is to be a responsible user of the internet. Googlebot prioritizes crawling while preserving the quality of user experience.

Simply put, this reflects the number of concurrent parallel connections Googlebot may employ, as well as the amount of time it takes between fetches, to crawl the website. Several variables can cause the crawl rate to fluctuate:

When a site appears to be healthy, it gets more time to respond, which in turn allows for Googlebot to make more crawls. If a site loads slowly or doesn't react properly, the limit decreases and Googlebot crawls are reduced so as to not negatively affect other users of the site.

Setting limits on Googlebot's visits has benefits and drawbacks. In general, settings higher restrictions will not necessarily lead to Googlebot visiting more pages.

How does a search query result in a listing in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page)?

The answer to this question is the magic spice that each search engine brings to the game. 

When you perform an SEO Audit with or without SEO tools, it is important to review the current market landscape, Google for instance will show you what it expects to see in response to a listing. Google makes use of expensive AI (Artificial Intelligence) to ensure that it correctly understands the query and the page that it provides as a response.  The quickest way to the top of the organic listings is still to create quality content and relevant internal linking. 

If you want to learn more about how SearchLabs does Enterprise SEO feel free to reach out.

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