Understanding website crawling and how search engines crawl and index websites can be a confusing topic. Everyone does it a little bit differently, but the overall concepts are the same. Here is a quick breakdown of things you should know about how search engines crawl your website. (I’m not getting into the algorithms, keywords or any of that stuff, simply how search engines crawl sites.)
So what is website crawling?
Website Crawling is the automated fetching of web pages by a software process, the purpose of which is to index the content of websites so they can be searched. The crawler analyzes the content of a page looking for links to the next pages to fetch and index.
What types of crawls are there?
Two of the most common types of crawls that get content from a website are:
- Site crawls are an attempt to crawl an entire site at one time, starting with the home page. It will grab links from that page, to continue crawling the site to other content of the site. This is often called “Spidering”.
- Page crawls, which are the attempt by a crawler to crawl a single page or blog post.
Are there different types of crawlers?
There definitely are different types of crawlers. But one of the most important questions is, “What is a crawler?” A crawler is a software process that goes out to websites and requests the content as a browser would. After that, an indexing process actually picks out the content it wants to save. Typically the content that is indexed is any text visible on the page.
Different search engines and technologies have different methods of getting a website’s content with crawlers:
- Crawls can get a snapshot of a site at a specific point in time, and then periodically recrawl the entire site. This is typically considered a “brute force” approach as the crawler is trying to recrawl the entire site each time. This is very inefficient for obvious reasons. It does, though, allow the search engine to have an up-to-date copy of pages, so if the content of a particular page changes, this will eventually allow those changes to be searchable.
- Single page crawls allow you to only crawl or recrawl new or updated content. There are many ways to find new or updated content. These can include sitemaps, RSS feeds, syndication and ping services, or crawling algorithms that can detect new content without crawling the entire site.
Can crawlers always crawl my site?
That’s what we strive for at OutsourceIT, but isn’t always possible. Typically, any difficulty crawling a website has more to do with the site itself and less with the crawler attempting to crawl it. The following issues could cause a crawler to fail:
- The site owner denies indexing and or crawling using a robots.txt file.
- The page itself may indicate it’s not to be indexed and links not followed (directives embedded in the page code). These directives are “meta” tags that tell the crawler how it is allowed to interact with the site.
- The site owner blocked a specific crawler IP address or “user-agent”.
All of these methods are usually employed to save bandwidth for the owner of the website, or to prevent malicious crawler processes from accessing the content. Some site owners simply don’t want their content to be searchable. One would do this kind of thing, for example, if the site was primarily a personal site, and not really intended for a general audience.
I think it is also important to note here that robots.txt and meta directives are really just a “gentlemen’s agreement”, and there’s nothing to prevent a truly impolite crawler from crawling. Many Crawlers are polite, and will not request pages that have been blocked by robots.txt or meta directives.
How do I optimize my website so it is easy to crawl?
There are steps you can take to build your website in such a way that it is easier for search engines to crawl it and provide better search results. The end result will be more traffic to your site, and enabling your readers to find your content more effectively.
Search Engine Accessibility Tips:
- Having an RSS feed or feeds so that when you create new content the search software can recognize new content and crawl it faster.
- Be selective when blocking crawlers using robots.txt files or meta tag directives in your content. Most blog platforms allow you to customize this feature in some way. A good strategy to employ is to let the search engines in that you trust, and block those you don’t.
- Building a consistent document structure. This means when you construct your HTML page that the content you want crawled is consistently in the same place under the same content section.
- Having content and not just images on a page. Search engines can’t find an image unless you provide text or alt tag descriptions for that image.
- Try (within the limits of your site design) to have links between pages so the crawler can quickly learn that those pages exist. If you’re running a blog, you might, for example, have an archive page with links to every post. Most blogging platforms provide such a page. A sitemap page is another way to let a crawler know about lots of pages at once.
To learn more about configuring robots.txt and how to manage it for your site, visit http://www.robotstxt.org/. We want you to be a successful blogger, and understanding website crawling is one of the most important steps.
Aug 8, 2016 — by Chris Aquino and Todd Gandee
4.1 out of 5 stars 24
Front-end development targets the browser, putting your applications in front of the widest range of users regardless of device or operating system. This guide will give you a solid foundation for creating rich web experiences across platforms.
Each chapter of this book will guide you through essential concepts and APIs as you build a series of applications. You will implement responsive UIs, access remote web services, build applications with Ember.js, and more. You will also debug and test your code with cutting-edge development tools and harness the power of Node.js and the wealth of open-source modules in the npm registry. After working through the step-by-step example projects, you will understand how to build modern websites and web applications.
May 8, 2017 — by Dom Xing
4.3 out of 5 stars 7
So you want to become a web developer but you don’t have a computer science degree. If you’re reading this, then for whatever reason you’ve decided that it’s time to join the exciting world of tech. You’re determined and committed to join the fastest growing industry in the years to come. There’s one problem though. You have no idea where to start. Maybe you’ve done a little coding here and there or maybe you haven’t at all. Either way, it’d be really helpful if someone laid out exactly what you need to do to get that first foot in the door, and to do it fast. This book outlines the exact blueprint I used — from mindset to planning to job applications — to switch careers and land my first full-time gig as a web developer at a fast-growing global tech company. Now I’m getting paid to contribute to large projects with much more experienced developers who help me learn faster! In “No Degree Web Developer”, I cover: • General Attitude and Mindset • Technical Attitude and Mindset • Planning and Execution • Mentors • Getting a Job • Acceleration Hacks If you’re looking to break into the tech industry, or you just want a to-the-point guide on learning to code, check out “No Degree Web Developer” now!
Feb 18, 2017 — by Randy Connolly and Ricardo Hoar
5 out of 5 stars 1
Nov 16, 2015 — by Shelley Benhoff
4.8 out of 5 stars 6
Oct 30, 2015 — by Mithun Satheesh and Bruno Joseph D’mello
4.3 out of 5 stars 6
Node.js and MongoDB are quickly becoming one of the most popular tech stacks for the web. Powered by Google’s V8 engine, Node.js caters to easily building fast, scalable network applications while MongoDB is the perfect fit as a scalable, high-performance, open source NoSQL database solution. Using these two technologies together, web applications can be built quickly and easily and deployed to the cloud with very little difficulty.
The book will begin by introducing you to the groundwork needed to set up the development environment. Here, you will quickly run through the steps necessary to get the main application server up and running. Then you will see how to use Node.js to connect to a MongoDB database and perform data manipulations.
From here on, the book will take you through integration with third-party tools for interaction with web apps. It then moves on to show you how to use controllers and view models to generate reusable code that will reduce development time. Toward the end of the book, we will cover tests to properly execute the code and some popular frameworks for developing web applications.
By the end of the book, you will have a running web application developed with MongoDB and Node.js along with it’s popular frameworks.
Sep 25, 2014 — by Amos Q. Haviv
4.5 out of 5 stars 44
The MEAN stack is a collection of the most popular modern tools for web development; it comprises MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and Node.js.
Starting with MEAN core frameworks, this project-based guide will explain the key concepts of each framework, how to set them up properly, and how to use popular modules to connect it all together. By following the real-world examples shown in this tutorial, you will scaffold your MEAN application architecture, add an authentication layer, and develop an MVC structure to support your project development. Finally, you will walk through the different tools and frameworks that will help expedite your daily development cycles.
Watch how your application development grows by learning from the only guide that is solely orientated towards building a full, end-to-end, real-time application using the MEAN stack!
Sep 29, 2016 — by Mr Christopher R Dodd
4 out of 5 stars 32
This book is the story of Chris’ 11 month journey from studying his first Ruby on Rails course to working remotely in Bali. Part-memoir and part-advice, Chris shares his experience as a junior developer including everything he learned along the way.
The Single Most Important Mindset You Will Need to Be Successful
How He Taught Himself to Code for FREE and How You Can Too
How He Got His First Job as a Paid Developer Within 3 Months & His Top Tips For Getting Hired
His ‘Secret Sauce’ When It Comes to Finding Freelance Clients, and
How He Was Able to Work Remotely From Bali
This book is essential reading for anyone considering a career in the fast-growing computer programming industry.
Jun 20, 2016 — by Jonathan LeBlanc and Tim Messerschmidt
5 out of 5 stars 2
Developers, designers, engineers, and creators can no longer afford to pass responsibility for identity and data security onto others. Web developers who don’t understand how to obscure data in transmission, for instance, can open security flaws on a site without realizing it. With this practical guide, you’ll learn how and why everyone working on a system needs to ensure that users and data are protected.
Authors Jonathan LeBlanc and Tim Messerschmidt provide a deep dive into the concepts, technology, and programming methodologies necessary to build a secure interface for data and identity — without compromising usability. You’ll learn how to plug holes in existing systems, protect against viable attack vectors, and work in environments that sometimes are naturally insecure.
- Understand the state of web and application security today
- Design security password encryption, and combat password attack vectors
- Create digital fingerprints to identify users through browser, device, and paired device detection
- Build secure data transmission systems through OAuth and OpenID Connect
- Use alternate methods of identification for a second factor of authentication
- Harden your web applications against attack
- Create a secure data transmission system using SSL/TLS, and synchronous and asynchronous cryptography
Aug 14, 2012 — by David Karlins and Doug Sahlin
4.1 out of 5 stars 42
This hefty, 800+ page book is your start-to-finish roadmap for building a web site for personal or professional use. Even if you’re completely new to the process, this book is packed with everything you need to know to build an attractive, usable, and working site. In addition to being a thorough reference on the basics, this updated new edition also covers the very latest trends and tools, such as HTML5, mobile site planning for smartphones and tablets, connecting with social media, and more.
- Packs ten minibooks into one hefty reference: Preparation, Site Design, Site Construction, Web Graphics, Multimedia, Interactive Elements, Form Management, Social Media Integration, Site Management, and Case Studies
- Covers the newest trends and tools, including HTML5, the new Adobe Create Suite, and connecting with social media
- Offers in-depth reviews and case studies of existing sites created for a variety of purposes and audiences, such as blog sites and non-profit sites
Plan, build, and maintain a site that does exactly what you need, with Building Web Sites All-In-One For Dummies, 3rd Edition.
Mar 2, 2016 — by Dino Esposito
4.1 out of 5 stars 6
Master powerful new approaches to web architecture, design, and user experience
This book presents a pragmatic, problem-driven, user-focused approach to planning, designing, and building dynamic web solutions. You’ll learn how to gain maximum value from Domain-Driven Design (DDD), define optimal supporting architecture, and succeed with modern UX-first design approaches. The author guides you through choosing and implementing specific technologies and addresses key user-experience topics, including mobile-friendly and responsive design. You’ll learn how to gain more value from existing Microsoft technologies such as ASP.NET MVC and SignalR by using them alongside other technologies such as Bootstrap, AJAX, JSON, and JQuery. By using these techniques and understanding the new ASP.NET Core 1.0, you can quickly build advanced web solutions that solve today’s problems and deliver an outstanding user experience.
Microsoft MVP Dino Esposito shows you how to:
- Plan websites and web apps to mirror real-world social and business processes
- Use DDD to dissect and master the complexity of business domains
- Use UX-Driven Design to reduce costs and give customers what they want
- Realistically compare server-side and client-side web paradigms
- Get started with the new ASP.NET Core 1.0
- Simplify modern visual webpage construction with Bootstrap
- Master practical, efficient techniques for running ASP.NET MVC projects
- Consider new options for implementing persistence and working with data models
- Understand Responsive Web Design’s pros, cons, and tradeoffs
- Build truly mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized websites
About This Book
- For experienced developers and solution architects who want to plan and develop web solutions more effectively
- Assumes basic familiarity with the Microsoft web development stack