What is Crawl Budget and How Do You Optimize It?

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Crawl budget is the total number of web pages a search engine will crawl per day on any given website. Mismanaging a website’s crawl budget can prevent some pages from being indexed, which isn’t good. This is because each of your web pages represents several traffic opportunities.

However, not all websites have to worry about the crawl budget. You have to run a website that publishes massive amounts of content daily or has more than 100,000+ pages to concern yourself.

Generally, huge websites like that update their content and produce new ones daily. Hence, optimizing the site’s crawl budget will be important. That being noted, anyone interested in learning more about SEO or offering services in this area should comprehend the crawl budget.

How to Find Your Website’s Crawl Budget

Here’s how to access crawl data on GSC (Google Search Console).

  1. Login to GSC.
  2. Select the domain you want to work on from the left navigation.
  3. Then scroll down to find “Legacy tools and reports” from the left navigation.
  4. Click on “Crawl stats”.

How to Calculate Your Website’s Monthly Crawl Budget

Not all search engines share crawl budget information but Google is very transparent about it. So let’s take a look at a quick example from GSC.

crawl budget example

The above screenshot shows Googlebot activity for the last 90 days. The average pages crawled per day is 430, the highest ever crawled was 1,441, and the lowest is 56.

I can only speculate that crawl budget rolls over when it isn’t used since there’s no official confirmation from search engines.

Use the daily average to calculate your monthly crawl budget. In this case, it’ll be 430 times 30 days. So the monthly crawl budget is around 12,900 web pages per month.

This isn’t an exact number but it’ll be the best guess as to what to expect each month.

How to Optimize Your Crawl Budget

Optimizing your crawl budget can improve crawl rate and overall coverage, which helps in getting all your web pages indexed. There are a few things you can do to optimize your crawl budget.

1. Improve Page Speed

The time it takes to load your web pages can impact crawl rate and user experience. Consumers dislike waiting too long for things to load. So keep your website light-weight, optimize images, enable caching, and compression. WordPress users can use a good site speed plugin like Autoptimize.

2. Improve Interlinking

Internal links are links that point to other pages on your site. They help search engines find your web pages fast. Making sure all your pages are interlinked is a good way to improve crawl rate and coverage.

3. Eliminate or Handle Duplicate Content

When search engines consistently crawl web pages that contain the same copy, you’re not efficiently using your crawl budget. So use 301 redirects and canonical tags accordingly to handle duplicate content.

4. Every Page Gets A Link

A web page without a link (external or internal) is hard for search engines to find. These web pages are called Orphan Pages. Avoid them by making sure all pages get a link.

5. Avoid Redirect Chains

This is when a page is redirected to another page that is redirecting to another, that redirects to another, and so on in a loop. This behavior creates problems for search engine bots because it’s difficult to move on. In other words, the bot may become stuck in a cycle that eventually depletes your crawl budget for the day.

6. Improve Website Architecture

The best website structure is a simple one. Every page or section that’s important should be accessible from your homepage. This way, search engines can easily find pages. Forbes does this really well.

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Website architecture example

As you can see from the screenshot above, users and search engine bots can easily access every category and subcategory from the main navigation.

Again, most websites won’t have to worry about crawl budget but it’s something to keep in mind once you reach 100k pages or more.

Last Updated on February 6, 2020