Ever wondered how some sites show up in the top results on Google search engine while other sites end up on the last pages? Googlebot may be responsible for that.
What is Googlebot?
All information found in every webpage in every site in the world wide web is scanned and indexed by an automated script or program. All of these information will be stored and updated into the Search Engine Index, which will then be used to supply the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). The said automated script is called a web crawler or a web spider. Googlebot is a web crawler and its job is exactly to ‘crawl’ all over the world wide web via series of links to constantly collect information. Googlebot then feeds this information to the SERP, which is what you can view whenever you search or google a keyword.
Googlebot’s algorithm determines how it will browse the websites and the kind of information to collect from each webpage. Using sitemaps, Googlebot also notes all changes or updates in the existing webpage, looks for new websites or pages, and updates dead links. Webmasters, or the people who maintain and oversee a particular site, may set limitations on the information that Googlebot can index. The purpose of which is to keep some information hidden from the Google search engine.
Tips on utilizing Googlebot for SEO
If information can be restricted from being indexed, other information can also be optimized. Here are some basic tips on how to improve your site’s search engine ranking using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with the help of Googlebot:
- Check your site’s crawlability
Googlebot crawls the world wide web via series of links. If there are many technical barriers or crawl errors to your site (such as ‘nofollow’ links or broken links), Googlebot will not be able to access and index any information from your site, missing your chance to appear and get ranked in the SERP. You have to make sure that there are minimum technical barriers or that crawl errors are fixed so that Googlebot can access your site properly. Familiarize yourself with Google Search Console, one of the tools where you can monitor your site’s crawl activity. You can also verify if Googlebot sees and visits your site and you can check for any crawl errors to fix.
- Create a Robots.txt file
Basically, the purpose of the Robots.txt file is to instruct web crawlers such as Googlebot how to crawl in your site. It also regulates the crawl activity by allowing or disallowing Googlebot to explore certain URLs and by delaying Googlebot’s crawl time. Make sure you do not disallow the robots.txt in your site because by doing so, Googlebot and other web crawlers may not visit your site at all.
- Create a sitemap
It is also beneficial to create a sitemap for your website. A sitemap is the list of all pages with URLs and other key information found in your site. This will make Googlebot’s job of understanding and indexing your site much easier.
- Check your site speed
Google may rank your site lower if its load speed is slow. Site speed is usually slowed down by uncompressed files and images, poor server performance due to high amount of traffic, URL redirects especially when loading the mobile version of your site, and more. Using a lot of free tools available, test your site speed and find out the factors that can possibly slow it down.
- Optimize the images in your site
To optimize the images in your site, contextualize how they are related to your content by putting important keywords in the image file name. You can also create a separate sitemap for your images so that Googlebot can crawl them.
- Mind your titles and meta descriptions
Googlebot does read your titles and meta descriptions and optimizing these can help you rank better in the SERP. It is important that titles and meta descriptions are not too long but at the same time, describe your page and the body content. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book but it remains to be effective.