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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The right way to Use Internet Crawlers for search engine optimisation


An online crawler software emulates search engine bots. Internet crawlers are indispensable for SEO. However main crawlers are so complete that their findings — lists of URLs and the assorted statuses and metrics of every — may be overwhelming.

For instance, a crawler can present (for every web page):

  • Variety of inside hyperlinks,
  • Variety of outbound hyperlinks,
  • HTTP standing code,
  • A noindex meta tag or robots.txt directive,
  • Quantity of non-linked textual content,
  • Variety of natural search clicks the web page generated (if the crawler is linked to Search Console or Google Analytics),
  • Obtain velocity.

Crawlers may also group and section pages based mostly on any variety of filters, similar to a sure phrase in a URL or title tag.

There are a lot of high quality search engine optimisation crawlers, every with a singular focus. My favorites are Screaming Frog and JetOctopus.

Screaming Frog is a desktop app. It presents a restricted free model for websites with 500 or fewer pages. In any other case, the associated fee is roughly $200 per 12 months. JetOctopus is browser-based. It presents a free trial and prices $160 per thirty days. I exploit JetOctopus for bigger refined websites and Screaming Frog’s free model for smaller websites.

Regardless, listed below are the highest six search engine optimisation points I search for when crawling a web site.

Utilizing Internet Crawlers for search engine optimisation

Error pages and redirects. The primary and principal purpose for crawling a web site is to repair all errors (damaged hyperlinks, lacking components) and redirects. Any crawler will provide you with fast entry to these errors and redirects, permitting you to repair every of them.

Most individuals concentrate on fixing damaged hyperlinks and neglect redirects, however I like to recommend fixing each. Inside redirects decelerate the servers and leak hyperlink fairness.

Screenshot of Screaming Frog report of 301 redirects.

Screaming Frog offers an inventory of all URLs returning a 301(redirect) standing code — moved completely. Click on picture to enlarge.

Pages that can not be listed or crawled. The following step is to test for unintended blocking of search crawlers. Screaming Frog has a single filter for that — pages that can not be listed for numerous causes, together with redirected URLs and pages blocked by the noindex meta tag. JetOctopus has a extra in-depth breakdown.

Screenshot of JetOctopus" page of "indexation problems list"

JetOctopus offers a breakdown of pages that can not be listed or crawled. Click on picture to enlarge.

Orphan and near-orphan pages. Orphan and poorly interlinked pages aren’t an search engine optimisation downside until they need to rank. After which, to extend the probabilities of excessive rankings, guarantee these pages have many inside hyperlinks. An online crawler can present orphan and near-orphan pages. Simply kind the checklist of URLs by the variety of inside backlinks (“Inlinks”).

Screenshot of Screaming Frog report of "inlinks" sorted by number of inbound links

The report by Screaming Frog is URLs sorted by the fewest inbound hyperlinks. Click on picture to enlarge.

Duplicate content material. Eliminating duplicate content material prevents splitting hyperlink fairness. Crawlers can determine pages with the identical content material in addition to equivalent titles, meta descriptions, and H1 tags.

Screenshot of JetOctopus page

JetOctopus identifies pages with duplicate titles, meta descriptions, and H1 tags. Click on picture to enlarge.

Skinny content material. Pages with little content material aren’t hurting your rankings until they’re pervasive. Add significant textual content to skinny pages you wish to rank or, in any other case, noindex them.

Screenshot of Screaming Frog report, sorting URLs by the number of words

Screaming Frog lists the variety of phrases on every web page, indicating potential skinny content material. Click on picture to enlarge.

Sluggish pages. JetOctopus has a pre-built filter to kind (and export) sluggish pages. Screaming Frog and most different crawlers have related capabilities.

Screenshot of JetOctopus report on page load speed

JetOctopus’s filter types URLs by load time. Click on picture to enlarge.

Superior Findings

After addressing the six points above, concentrate on:

  • Pictures lacking alt texts,
  • Damaged exterior hyperlinks,
  • Pages with too quick title tags (longer tags proved extra rating alternatives),
  • Pages with too few outbound inside hyperlinks (to enhance guests’ shopping journeys and reduce bounces),
  • Pages with lacking H1 and H2 HTML headings,
  • URLs included in sitemaps however not in inside navigation.

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