Clean Up SEO Crawl Budget with Good Site Structure
In the competitive digital landscape, efficient crawl budget utilization is essential for ensuring that search engines like Google can discover and index your content effectively.
Whether you’re a seasoned webmaster or a newcomer to the world of SEO, our 5 actionable insights will enhance your site’s architecture, reduce unnecessary crawling, and ultimately improve your website’s search engine visibility.
Ensure Google and search engines are spending their limited time and resources crawling the important pages of your site. Also make sure that the important pages of your site are clearly more important to search engines.
Following these steps you will:
Who is the course for?
Any skill level individual who wants more free traffic to their site!
In the realm of SEO and website optimization, the importance of a well-structured site cannot be overstated. A clear, logical hierarchy not only enhances the user experience but also plays a pivotal role in improving your website’s crawl efficiency and search engine ranking. Step one of our guide focuses on creating site categories that serve as the foundation for this organized structure.
At its core, a site category is a thematic grouping that organizes your website’s content into logical sections or silos. These categories act as the primary navigational pathways for both users and search engine crawlers. By ensuring that all content lives under the appropriate thematic category, you create a structure that makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for and for search engines to understand your content’s context.
One crucial aspect of effective site categories is the principle of keeping content within close reach of the homepage. We recommend adhering to the “4 to 5 links away at most” guideline. This means that any piece of content on your website should be reachable from the homepage through a maximum of four to five clicks. This approach ensures that your content remains highly accessible, both to users and search engines.
By organizing your website into clear, thematic categories, you’re setting the stage for a more efficient crawl budget allocation. Search engine spiders can navigate your site more easily, index your content more comprehensively, and assign appropriate relevance signals to each page. This, in turn, enhances your chances of ranking higher in search results for relevant queries.
Estimated 30 minutes to complete. Free.
Breadcrumbs are not just a handy navigation aid for users; they also play a vital role in reinforcing your site’s structure and boosting internal page rank.
At its core, breadcrumbs are a navigational element that displays the path users have taken to arrive at the current page. For example, on an e-commerce site, breadcrumbs might appear as “Home > Category > Subcategory > Product.” These navigational links are not only user-friendly but also have significant SEO benefits.
One of the key advantages of breadcrumbs is their ability to create a network of interlinked pages that lead back to parent pages. This network enhances the internal linking structure of your website, effectively distributing link equity (often referred to as “link juice”) throughout your site. When users or search engine crawlers encounter breadcrumbs, they’re presented with a roadmap that guides them not only to the current page but also back to higher-level category or parent pages.
This increased internal linking helps to boost the internal page rank of parent pages. In essence, it tells search engines that these parent pages are important and relevant hubs within your website’s architecture. As a result, search engines are more likely to assign higher authority to these pages, potentially improving their ranking in search engine results.
Moreover, breadcrumbs offer a user-friendly way to explore your website, which can lead to higher engagement, longer visit durations, and reduced bounce rates – all factors that can indirectly contribute to improved SEO performance.
Estimated 10 minutes to complete. Free.
Leveraging the robots.txt file to eliminate unnecessary or “garbage” URLs from being crawled by search engines. This step ensures that search engine spiders prioritize crawling and indexing the most valuable content on your site.
The robots.txt file, often referred to as the “robots exclusion protocol,” is a text file located at the root of your website’s domain. It provides instructions to search engine bots on which parts of your site should or should not be crawled and indexed. By carefully configuring your robots.txt file, you gain control over what search engines can access, helping you allocate your crawl budget wisely.
Eliminating garbage URLs is a crucial aspect of this process. Garbage URLs may include duplicate content, low-value pages, or pages that serve no SEO purpose. When these URLs are crawled excessively, they can consume a significant portion of your crawl budget, leaving less room for the important pages you want to prioritize.
Work on identifying and disallowing these unwanted URLs in your robots.txt file. This process involves a careful review of your website’s structure and content to pinpoint the URLs that don’t contribute to your SEO goals. Once identified, you can instruct search engines not to crawl these pages, freeing up valuable crawl budget for more essential content.
By optimizing your robots.txt file to eliminate garbage URLs, you’re taking a proactive step toward better crawl efficiency and improved SEO performance. It ensures that search engines focus their efforts on crawling and indexing the pages that matter most, ultimately increasing your website’s visibility in search results and driving more organic traffic to your valuable content.
Estimated 60 minutes to complete. Free.
A well-structured menu not only improves the user experience but also ensures that both users and search engine bots can seamlessly explore and access every indexable URL on your site, including critical parent pillar pages.
Your site’s menu serves as a roadmap, guiding visitors to various sections of your website. It’s not just a convenience for users; it’s a critical component of SEO-friendly site architecture. A key principle of this step is to include links to all parent pillar pages within your menu. These pillar pages represent the foundational topics or categories on your website and are typically linked to a cluster of related content.
By incorporating links to all parent pillar pages, you create a navigational structure that allows users and search engine bots to delve deep into your website’s content hierarchy. This approach ensures that important thematic sections of your site are readily accessible and that every indexable URL is within a few clicks’ reach from the homepage.
For users, this means a more efficient and user-friendly browsing experience, as they can easily explore the breadth and depth of your content. For search engine bots, it signals a well-organized site structure with clear content relationships, making it easier to crawl and index your pages comprehensively.
Estimated 20 minutes to complete. Free.
Segmenting sitemaps by pagetype and consolidating them into a sitemap index hosted at your domain’s root, typically at domain.com/sitemap.xml. This approach not only streamlines the crawling process but also offers a clear organizational structure for search engines to understand your website’s content.
A sitemap is essentially a roadmap for search engine crawlers, providing a list of all the pages on your website that you want to be indexed. Segmenting sitemaps by pagetype involves creating distinct sitemaps for different types of pages, such as articles, products, categories, and more. This segmentation allows you to provide search engines with granular information about your content, making it easier for them to understand the hierarchy and relationships among various page types.
Once you’ve created these segmented sitemaps, the next step is to consolidate them into a sitemap index. A sitemap index is like a table of contents for your sitemaps, providing an organized structure that points search engine crawlers to the specific sitemaps they need to crawl. Hosting this sitemap index at your domain’s root (e.g., domain.com/sitemap.xml) ensures that it’s easily discoverable and accessible by search engines.
Segmenting sitemaps and using a sitemap index offers several advantages for SEO. It allows you to prioritize the indexing of your most critical page types, such as product pages or blog articles, by providing separate sitemaps for them. It also ensures that your sitemaps remain organized and manageable, particularly for larger websites with a vast amount of content.
From a search engine’s perspective, this structured approach to sitemaps signals a well-organized website with clear content categorization. It aids in efficient crawling, indexing, and understanding of your website’s structure, ultimately leading to improved search engine rankings and visibility.
Estimated 20 minutes to complete. Free.
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Crawl Budget & Site Structure FAQs
Segmenting sitemaps by page type helps organize your website’s content for search engines. It offers granular information about different types of pages, such as articles, products, or categories, making it easier for search engines to understand your content’s structure. This segmentation can benefit SEO by allowing you to prioritize the indexing of essential page types, resulting in improved search engine rankings and visibility.
Yes, sitemap segmentation is a versatile practice that can be beneficial for websites of all sizes and content types. It is particularly useful for larger websites with diverse content, but even smaller sites can benefit from the clarity and organization it provides to search engines.
Creating a sitemap index involves the following key steps:
- Segment your sitemaps by page type.
- Create individual sitemaps for each page type.
- Consolidate these sitemaps into a sitemap index file.
- Host the sitemap index at your domain’s root, typically at domain.com/sitemap.xml. Detailed instructions may vary depending on your content management system (CMS) or website platform.
While sitemap segmentation and a sitemap index are valuable for SEO, it’s important to understand that SEO is a long-term strategy. These practices contribute to better organization and crawling efficiency, which can eventually lead to improved rankings and visibility. Results may vary depending on various factors, including the quality of your content and competition in your industry. Patience and consistent SEO efforts are essential for long-term success.