What is Web Crawling And Web Indexing?

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We frequently get questions, such as, “what is web crawling?” and “what is web indexing?”

If you’ve been learning SEO for a while, you may have heard the terms crawling and indexing. They come up a lot whenever experts speak about SEO, which only proves their importance.

You’ve perhaps procrastinated looking up the two terms before. And that only made them more complicated for you to understand.

But don’t worry!

In this guide, we’re going to simplify these terms and help you learn everything you need to know about them.

Let’s get started.

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What is Web Crawling in SEO?

A web crawler is a robot, also called a spider, that visits your website looking for updates and new information.?

Crawling starts with the bot coming across your link on the web. Once it finds your web page, it will send updates about new content and link changes to Google index.

Now:

Whenever new pages are discovered, they’ll be added to Google’s database. Those pages will later be displayed in the SERPs for users to see them when looking for answers.

What is Indexing in Google?

If your site is well-optimized for SEO, it will be discovered and indexed a lot faster by crawling spiders. 

That’s how organic visitors find your content.

For example:

If you publish an article about “What are the basics of personal finance,” robots will pick it up once they crawl your website. And then it’s indexed by Google.

When a user types keywords related to your subject, they’ll get your result and visit your website. 

what is indexing in Google

It’s important to keep in mind that indexing isn’t the same as ranking high in Google. Instead, it’s more about having your pages discovered and displayed in the SERPs.

Now that we’ve the basics of what is web crawling and what is web indexing, let’s talk about how it works and how to do it.

How Can You Tell if Google is Crawling Your site?

None of your SEO efforts matter if your site isn’t being indexed. It’s the first thing you should pay attention to after a few months of your new website launch.

There are various ways you can check if Google is crawling your site. 

We’ll share with you the easiest two:

Site Results in Google Search

This method works without the need to connect any tools to your website.

All you have to do is go to Google, and enter this search parameter: 

Site:yourwebsite.com

At the top of the SERPs, you can see the total number of search results for your site.

is your site indexed?


In our example, we have 213 pages from our website indexed on Google. This high number means that crawling spiders are continually scanning our site for new content to index.

Now:

If you want to check if a specific page of your website is indexed, you can do that by entering the entire link for the page.

For example:

Site:yourwebsite.com/your-published-web-page

web crawling

This should only give you one result, which means that Google has indexed the page.

However…

Although this is a simple method, it’s often impractical and not well suited for larger websites. 

For instance, you can’t know which of your web pages aren’t indexed, or what issues do you need to fix.

Index Coverage Reports

This technique works great with any size website and can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.

Before you can do this, you must have Google Search Console connected to your website.

From the left sidebar, click on Index > Coverage.

coverage report

You can see how many of your pages are indexed (valid) as well as how many warning and error pages you have.

web indexing


This helps you ensure that your hard work is being rewarded. And you’ll also be able to address any indexing errors you have with your pages.

What Factors Determine Indexation Speed?

Let’s be honest here:

Publishing lots of new content and updating your old pages is your main priority as a webmaster.

But, there are other factors in play to consider here.

Here’s the deal:

Google wants to test everything before ranking sites and giving them huge traffic. So, it’s reasonable for them to trust well-established websites more. That’s why new sites often have to wait for months before seeing any traffic due to their low authority.

That brings us to the next important point:

Domain authority (DA).

The more authority your domain has, the faster you can get your new pages indexed and ranked high on Google. In fact, high authority sites can get a new page ranked in the first pages in less than a week.

However:

Domain Authority (DA) isn’t an official measure from Google. It’s believed to be a combination of domain age and domain strength (according to the number of backlinks it has).

Website optimization is another crucial thing to pay attention to. And that includes internal linking and submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console. 

Such simple steps make crawling spiders more likely to discover new pages faster when visiting your website.

How to Get Google to Index Your Site Faster

Now that you understand indexation speed factors, you can easily reverse-engineer the process.

Here’s how you can do it:

1- Publish New Content Regularly

You should publish lots of new content on your site to get Google’s attention. This is even more crucial during the first months of your site launch, where you’re unlikely to see any traffic.

More content means more pages. And more pages will keep spiders crawling your site regularly.

2- Submit a Sitemap to Google Search Console

A sitemap will help Google find your newer content a lot faster and easier. This way, you’ll ensure none of your pages are left out just because robots couldn’t discover them.

3- Build New Backlinks

New backlinks will increase the number of crawling spiders coming to your site. And on top of that, they’ll improve your site authority and domain strength.

4- Create a Smart Internal Linking Strategy

Many site owners neglect internal linking because they believe it’s hard. They complicate it so much to the point where they end up not doing it. 

But internal linking is simple.

Be sure all your pages are interlinked together so that when a crawling spider comes to your website, it visits every page it can find. 

Read our complete guide to learn more about internal linking for SEO.

Bottom Line:

Now you understand what is web crawling and web indexing and know that the two essential terms often misunderstood in the SEO industry. And knowing the difference between them helps you set the right goals and expectations for your growth.

Follow the tips in this guide to get your pages indexed much faster. That will be your first step into claiming higher rankings.

Want to take your business to the next level with SEO? We’ve got you covered! Check out our SEO services and get your free SEO scoreboard in minutes.

Jeramy Gordon is the founder and Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company. He has been creating successful content strategies for almost two decades and believes in the power of high-quality content. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.

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