Understanding the Difference Between Crawling and Indexing

0 comments, 27/10/2020, by , in General

Crawling and Indexing are part of the SEO process that must be understood fully to effectively and efficiently carry out the SEO exercise. These are fundamental to the way netizens use the net. People with limited knowledge of SEO use the terms synonymously. But that is not entirely accurate. This article will help you know more about the terms and understand the critical differences between them.

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What is Crawling?

When we use the word crawling, we are talking about following a path. As the experts at SEO Crawler inform us, in SEO terminology, search engine spiders crawl the website. Spiders refer to software used by search engines that tr the internet by visiting one hyperlink to others while collecting all relevant information. This act of following links in web pages is what crawling refers to. One primary reason behind the creation of sitemaps is to assist in such crawling. As these sitemaps contain links to all of the website pages, it helps spiders crawl your website. Now, sometimes you may not want to prevent certain parts of the site from being crawled. Preventing the crawling of particular pages can be achieved by using the Robots.txt file.

What is Indexing?

In its simplest explanation, the term indexing refers to when web pages are added to search engines’ search results. The index meta tag determines this Indexing. A meta tag is a website structure component. The index or NO-index meta tag instructs search engines to index or not index a particular web page. Usually, when you are using a CMS or Content Management System like WordPress, all posts and pages are indexed by default. Some SEO experts opine that you should index only the crucial parts of your website as a strategy to rank higher. They say that there is no reason to index unnecessary website archives like categories, tags, and other pages of little use.

Factors That Affect Crawling and Indexing

There are perhaps billions of websites. It takes a lot of computing effort to ensure that all of them are crawled and indexed quickly and effectively. The tremendous pace of expansion of web data is one reason why many people are unsatisfied with the crawling and Indexing of their site and articles. Some of the critical factors that go a long way in the backend website crawling and Indexing are as follows:


Backlinks send a signal to search engines that you and your content is trustworthy and reliable, that it is relevant and useful. Sites that enjoy high ranks that aren’t able to generate backlinks are quickly pulled down in the rankings as search engines consider it a sign of low-quality content.

Internal Linking

Internal linking, or deep linking as it is sometimes referred to, is a topic that invites varied responses from different SEO experts. Some experts feel that using linked anchor texts that match the page keyword or title helps in deep crawling. Internal linking is a standard best practice in the SEO world, which also helps your site users.

XML Sitemaps

With regards to SEO best practices, it is helpful to use auto-generated XML Sitemaps. XML sitemaps will inform search engines about changes to content immediately after creating it.

Duplicate Content

Search engines often ban websites that use duplicate content, and as such, it is a terrible practice. Also, remember to remedy all 301 and 404 redirects. These steps will help in both better SEO as well as crawling.

Canonical URLs

Canonical URLs have a huge SEO benefit. To reap its rewards, you need to create SEO friendly URLs for each page of your website that you want web spiders to crawl and index.

Meta Tags

It is an SEO best practice to use unique and useful meta tags for your webpages for the best possible rankings in search engines. Steer clear from keyword cannibalization, which is a clear red-flag and has negative SEO results.


WordPress CMS users can choose to auto ping all major site engines about site content updates and additions.


Paying adequate attention to these factors and ensuring that they are done correctly will help spiders crawl better and index your website. Crawling and Indexing goes hand in hand to help search engines provide more relevant and useful results.

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To sum things up, Indexing is what you get after a spider crawl. Both activities are deeply interconnected, and one affects the other. It’s all about your website visibility in search engines. If you follow the factors we mention in this post, search engines will be encouraged to crawl and index your site and give you higher rankings.

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