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Unlocking the Secrets of Crawl Budget: Crawl Smarter, Not Harder

Google doesn’t always crawl every page on a website immediately; it can sometimes take weeks, which may hinder SEO efforts. This delay could mean that newly optimized landing pages might not get indexed promptly. When faced with this situation, it’s essential to optimize your crawl budget. In this blog, we’ll explore the concept of ‘crawl budget’ and strategies to enhance it.

How does a crawler work? 


A web crawler, also known as a bot or spider, is an automated program used by search engines to find and index web pages across the internet. Here’s how a typical web crawler works:

  1. Crawling: The crawler starts with a list of seed URLs, which are typically popular websites or URLs submitted by users for crawling. The crawler sends HTTP requests to these seed URLs to retrieve the HTML content of web pages. Once the HTML content is retrieved, the crawler parses the page to extract links to other pages within the website. The crawler follows these links and repeats the process of requesting and parsing HTML content for each linked page. This process continues recursively, allowing the crawler to explore and discover new pages across the web.
  2. Indexing: As the crawler visits pages, it extracts relevant information such as text content, metadata, and links. This information is then stored in the index of search engine for later retrieval when users perform searches.
  3. Rendering: In recent years, Google has evolved its crawling capabilities to include rendering JavaScript and CSS elements on web pages. This ensures that the bot can accurately interpret and index dynamic content generated by modern web technologies.
  4. Frequency: The bot revisits web pages periodically to check for updates and changes. The frequency of crawling depends on various factors, such as the website’s authority, content freshness, and crawl budget allocated by Google.

Overall, web crawlers play a crucial role in the search engine ecosystem by continuously discovering, indexing, and updating information about web pages, ultimately enabling users to find relevant content through search engine queries.

What is the Crawl Budget?

Search engines allocate a certain crawl budget to each website. A crawl budget can be described as the number of pages search engines like Google crawl and index on a website during a particular period. It’s essentially the allocation of resources search engines dedicate to crawling a website. This allocation is based on various factors, including the website’s quality, relevance, and overall performance.

Optimizing the crawl budget involves a set of actions aimed at increasing the frequency of visits by search engine bots to your pages. The more frequently they visit, the faster your updated pages get indexed. As a result, your optimization endeavors will yield quicker results, influencing your rankings in less time. Here’s a real-life example that explains the importance of a crawl budget: 

crawl budget

                                                             Source: Prerender

Why Does the Crawl Budget Matter?

Optimizing the crawl budget is essential for several reasons:

  1. Improved Indexing: By maximizing the crawl budget, more of your website’s pages can be crawled and indexed by search engines, increasing their likelihood of appearing in search results.
  2. Faster Updates: Websites with a healthy crawl budget are crawled more frequently, allowing search engines to discover and index new content or changes faster.
  3. Better Rankings: When search engines can crawl and index your website efficiently, it can positively impact your rankings, leading to increased organic traffic.

Tips to Optimize Crawl Budget

Now that we understand the importance of crawl budget let’s explore some strategies to optimize it:

1. Improve Site Speed 

A fast-loading website not only elevates user experience but also simplifies the task for search engine crawlers to navigate and index your pages. Here’s how you can improve the site speed: 

  • Optimize images by compressing them and using the correct file formats.
  • Minimize HTTP requests by combining CSS and JavaScript files.
  • Enable browser caching to lessen server load and improve page load times.
  • Utilize Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for faster content delivery.
  • Optimize code by cleaning up unnecessary elements and reducing server response time.
  • Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for faster loading on mobile devices.
  • Utilize server-side caching mechanisms like Varnish or Redis.

2. Fix Crawl Errors 

404 error

Crawl errors occur when search engine bots encounter difficulties accessing and indexing web pages. Common crawl errors include 404 (page not found) errors, 500 (server) errors, and 302 (temporary redirect) errors. These errors can negatively impact a website’s search engine rankings and overall user experience.

To fix crawl errors, website owners should regularly monitor their website’s performance using tools like Google Search Console. Identify any crawl errors reported by search engines and take prompt corrective action to resolve them. This may involve fixing broken links, resolving server issues, or updating redirect configurations.

3. Create an XML Sitemap 

An XML sitemap can be defined as a file that catalogs all the URLs of a website along with metadata like the last modified date and priority level. By offering search engines with a roadmap of the website’s structure and content, XML sitemaps guarantee that all website pages are discovered and indexed efficiently.

XML sitemaps are particularly beneficial for large websites, websites with complex structures, or websites with dynamically generated content. They support search engines to crawl and index pages that might otherwise be overlooked or difficult to find through traditional navigation methods.

4. Optimize Internal Linking 

Optimizing internal linking involves strategically linking pages within your website to improve navigation, distribute link equity, and enhance crawlability for search engines. By using descriptive anchor text and ensuring a logical linking structure, you can guide both users and search engine crawlers to important pages, ultimately improving overall website visibility and ranking potential. 

5. Prioritize Important Pages

Important pages are those that contribute significantly to the website’s goals, such as landing pages, product pages, cornerstone content, or high-converting pages. By directing crawl budgets toward these pages, website owners can boost their visibility in search results and drive organic traffic more effectively.

To prioritize important pages, website owners should ensure that they are easily accessible and well-linked from other parts of the website. Implementing a logical internal linking structure, relevant keywords, and high-quality content can guide search engine crawlers to discover and crawl these pages more efficiently. Mentioned below is the priority given to each page of an e-commerce website. 

landing page

6. Manage URL Parameters 

URL parameters are often used for tracking purposes, session IDs, or sorting options on websites. However, if not managed properly, they can generate numerous variations of the same content, leading to duplicate content issues and inefficient crawling.

To manage URL parameters effectively, website owners should use tools like Google Search Console to specify which parameters should be ignored by search engines. By configuring URL parameter settings, webmasters can instruct search engine crawlers to either crawl all variations of a URL, crawl only specific parameters, or ignore certain parameters altogether.

7. Monitor Crawl Stats 

By regularly analyzing crawl statistics, website owners and SEO professionals gain valuable insights into how search engine crawlers interact with their sites. This includes information on crawl frequency, crawl errors, and overall crawl activity. By identifying any anomalies or issues in crawl stats, such as sudden drops in crawl rate or increased crawl errors, website owners can take timely corrective actions to ensure smooth crawling and indexing of their web pages.

By tracking changes in crawl behavior before and after implementing optimization strategies, they can evaluate the impact of their actions on crawl budget allocation, indexing speed, and overall search engine visibility. This is how a typical crawl stats report looks like in Google Search Console:

crawl stats

8. Beware of Redirect Chains

This is a straightforward strategy for maintaining website health. Ideally, you’d want to eliminate any redirect chains across your entire domain.

Realistically, for a large website, completely avoiding 301 and 302 redirects is challenging.

However, multiple chained redirects can significantly impact your crawl limit, potentially causing search engine crawlers to halt their process before reaching the intended indexed page.

While a couple of redirects may not pose a significant issue, it’s crucial for everyone to address this concern diligently.

9. Prevent HTTP Errors from Depleting Your Crawl Budget

Both 404 and 410 error pages can consume your crawl budget. To compound the issue, they also negatively impact user experience!

That’s precisely why resolving all 4xx and 5xx status codes is a win-win scenario. Once again, employing a website audit tool is highly recommended to resolve such issues. 

SE Ranking and Screaming Frog are among the excellent tools utilized by SEO professionals for website audits.

SE Ranking

10. Implement Hreflang Tags 

Crawlers rely on hreflang tags to analyze your localized pages. It’s crucial to inform Google about the localized versions of your pages as explicitly as possible.

Start by incorporating the <link rel= “alternate” hreflang= “lang_code” href= “url_of_page”/> tag in your page’s header. Replace “lang_code” with the code for the supported language.

Additionally, utilize the <loc> element for each URL. This allows you to reference the localized versions of a page effectively.


Crawl budget optimization is a fundamental aspect of SEO that can considerably impact your website’s visibility and performance in search results. By understanding what a crawl budget is and implementing the tips mentioned above, you can feel assured that search engine crawlers efficiently discover, crawl, and index your website’s content, ultimately driving organic traffic and improving your online presence. Stay proactive, monitor your website’s performance, and continually optimize for better crawl budget allocation.


How long does it take to see the effects of crawl budget optimization?

The timeline for seeing the effects of crawl budget optimization can vary depending on factors such as the frequency of search engine crawls and the extent of optimization efforts implemented. In some cases, website owners may notice improvements in crawl frequency and indexing speed shortly after implementing optimization strategies, while it may take longer for others to see significant changes.

Does crawl budget optimization only benefit large websites?

While crawl budget optimization is crucial for large websites with extensive content, it also benefits smaller websites by ensuring that search engines prioritize crawling and indexing important pages efficiently. Regardless of size, optimizing the crawl budget can improve search engine visibility and rankings for any website.

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