How-To: Increasing Crawl Visits and Site Indexability

Fact: Google’s search engine spiders visit some sites more often than others. Oft-indexed sites are thought to be more appealing to Google — and on searches, they’re likely to appear higher for relevant keywords.

Here are a handful of tips that may encourage search spiders to visit your site more often. Most are old SEO standbys:

1. Make sure you’ve got a sitemap, which enables spiders to locate new pages more quickly. (Once spiders are on your site, they have a limited time to crawl content before moving on. Guiding them through your site can help them dig deeper.)

2. Keep your link and semantic structure simple. Duplicate content should also be kept at a minimum; sifting through it wastes precious time that could be spent indexing unique material.

3. Update content daily. And if not daily, then consistently — a few times a week would be good. Relevant sites keep their material up-to-date, and oft-updated sites — such as news sites — are sometimes crawled several times per day.

4. Try to win link love from other highly-relevant, generously-updated sites in your field. Think of quality links as votes for your site’s importance. (Avoid link farms, though; Google cracks down on fishy-looking linkback practices.)

5. Minimize page load time. Remember a spider’s time on your site is limited; don’t force it to crawl through the hinterlands of gigantic images and heavy PDFs.

6. Is your content hidden behind a form? Here’s news: spiders can’t see past them. Tactical SEO consultant Bruce Clay recommends cloaking forms for spiders. (This is considered by some experts to be a black-hat tactic, potentially punishable by Google, so tread lightly. Clay says major liquor brands, which are obligated to ask at outset whether a site visitor is over the legal drinking age, cloak forms for spiders as a matter of course.)

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