A search engine crawler, also known as a “bot” or “spider,” is a program that visits websites to read pages and other information with the aim of indexing them for a search engine’s database. Major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! use these crawlers to gather web data.

For improved search rankings, it’s essential to control these crawlers’ access to your site. Below are common challenges and solutions to enhance crawler access:

Common Search Engine Crawling Challenges

Control Search Engine Crawlers

JavaScript or Ajax Navigation Links: Historically, crawlers have struggled with links embedded in JavaScript or Ajax, particularly navigation elements. While improvements have been made, especially by Google, challenges remain.

Flash Navigation Links: Most search engine crawlers cannot process links embedded in Flash files, despite advancements in some search engines like Google. Luckily, this is less common on websites nowadays.

Links Embedded in Forms: Search engine bots typically cannot interact with form elements. If content accessibility requires form interaction, it likely won’t be indexed

Insufficient Quality Inbound Links: Crawlers discover new sites and content through links. A lack of quality inbound links can severely limit a site’s discoverability and impact its ranking

Solutions to Enhance Crawler Access

Alternative Navigation: Implement accessible site navigation that duplicates JavaScript or Flash functionality using CSS, ensuring it’s crawl-friendly.

HTML Sitemap: Develop a simple HTML sitemap with links to crucial pages, limited to 100 links per sitemap. For larger sites, multiple sitemap pages may be necessary.

XML Sitemap: Provide search engines with an XML sitemap (like this: https://www.815seo.com/sitemap_index.xml). This sitemap lists all vital URLs you wish to be crawled and can help improve indexing, complemented by valuable reports from search engines.

Enhanced Link Tags: Use descriptive, keyword-rich anchor text for inbound links rather than generic phrases like “click here.” This improves both the relevance and the visibility of your links to crawlers.

Tips to Optimize for Search Engine Crawlers

Simulate a Crawler View: Before redesigning your site, analyze how a crawler perceives your site. Pay attention to page load speed and how elements like Flash or extensive JavaScript might obstruct visibility.

Monitor Sitemap Updates: Monitor sitemaps regularly in major search engines like Google and Bing. This ensures they have the latest information and can frequently index new and updated content. This doesn’t really mean manually re-submitting a sitemap. But make sure Google and Bing are revisiting your sitemap if you are posting new pages and content. Check the “Last read” date in Google Search Console, for example:

google search console sitemap last read

Strategic SEO Planning: Engage with SEO specialists early in the website development process to integrate best practices and optimize your site’s structure and content for search engine visibility.

Conclusion About Controlling Search Engine Crawlers

Effectively managing how search engine crawlers interact with your site can significantly improve your search rankings. Early and ongoing optimization, based on understanding crawler behaviors and challenges, is key to a successful SEO strategy.

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1 thought on “How to Control Search Engine Crawlers for Better Ranking

  1. I never knew you could control search engine like that. Good job for posting this helpful info for inexperienced people like me.

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