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Technical SEO Myths Facts And Theories On Crawl Budget And The Importance Of URL Importance Optimization Pubcon Vegas 2016


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There are a lot of myths, facts and theories on crawl budget and the term is bandied around a lot. This deck looks to address some of those myths and also looks at some additional theories around the concepts of 'crawl rank' and 'search engine embarrassment'.

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Technical SEO Myths Facts And Theories On Crawl Budget And The Importance Of URL Importance Optimization Pubcon Vegas 2016

  1. 1. #pubcon Presented by: Dawn Anderson @dawnieando ‘Myths, Facts And Theories On Crawl Budget And The Importance Of ‘URL Importance Optimization’’
  2. 2. #pubcon Dawn Anderson • Move It Marketing • University Lecturer – Digital Marketing • From Manchester, UK (rains a lot) • International SEO Consultant – 10+ yrs in SEO • Pomeranian pooch lover - Bert • Fascinated by crawling (practice & academia) • Doesn’t fare well in YouTube screen grabs ;P • Party trick: Remembering UK postcode areas (US Zip code equivalent) • Search Awards Judge • Twitter chatterer @dawnieando
  3. 3. #pubcon Defining Crawl Budget ‘Host Load’ = What can you handle? + ‘URL Scheduling’ = What is important to crawl & how often?
  4. 4. #pubcon Myths About Crawl Budget
  5. 5. #pubcon Myth – It’s All About Just My Site, Right? • NO – HOST LOAD is apportioned at an IP level and shared amongst the sites there (Host load)
  6. 6. #pubcon Host Load - When Will This Matter? • It’s more about server capacity than SEO TBH • Your site is massive (similar in size e.g. to ’Amazon’) • Your site is massive and you’re on a shared hosting • You’re using a CDN and your site is massive • You have lots of large subdomains sharing space • Crawlable test or staging sites • You have ‘infinite loops’ and ‘spider traps’ • You keep throwing server errors during crawling ‘Average’ sites don’t normally hit the payload (‘host load’)
  7. 7. #pubcon Myth - Google Search Console Crawl Stats Is Where It’s At Right?
  8. 8. #pubcon GSC Crawl Stats Is Not Really Just ‘Web Pages’ • Includes ALL CSS, JS, Zip, XML, PDF, AMP, HTML files crawled • Pages are NOT just single webpages 5253 Not just ‘web pages
  9. 9. #pubcon Visits By ALL The 10 Types Of Googlebots Are Recorded Together In GSC Web Image News Video Feature Phone Smartphone Mobile Adsense Adsense Adsbot App Crawler ALL The Googlebot Family
  10. 10. #pubcon It Also Includes All 200 And 30X Responses • That massive crawl you thought you just got on new pages or existing pages 200 Oks could also be many, many 30X redirections • Especially when using * wildcard redirections on large sites • NO 400, 500, robotted or unreachables are recorded here 5253
  11. 11. #pubcon GSC Doesn’t Even Show You WHAT URLs Have Been Crawled & When It will likely just a few URLs being crawled very often, some very rarely and most others somewhere in between – YOU NEED TO KNOW
  12. 12. #pubcon REALITY – Server Logs & Log Analysis Is Where It’s At AUTOMATE SERVER LOG RETRIEVAL VIA CRON JOB grep Googlebot access_log >googlebot_access.txt
  13. 13. #pubcon Use Tools Or Just Export, Convert Data & Use Mr Mu’s Spreadsheet Spreadsheet -
  14. 14. #pubcon For The Avoidance Of Doubt – I Asked To Be Sure
  15. 15. #pubcon Why Does This Matter? On A Large Site You Need To Be Able To See Through ‘Spider Eyes’ You need to see what Googlebot ‘REALLY’ thinks of your site
  16. 16. #pubcon Myth – It’s The No Of ‘Pages’ Crawled In GSC Crawl Stats Divided By Days For all of the reasons in the previous 7+ slides
  17. 17. #pubcon Myth – Googlebot Crawls Through Your Website From One End To The Other Then Starts Again • This is where it gets complicated • Web crawl efficiency is key • There is an order to things • Minimizing visibility of existing stale content is key too – the rest of the web is changing • Fresh results are vital to searchers
  18. 18. #pubcon “What I Think You Are Talking About Is Scheduling” (Illyes, Google) Remember that time when Mr Mu kicked Andrey under the table? (joking JJ)
  19. 19. #pubcon Why Web Crawling Efficiency? “WE ARE ALL PUBLISHERS” THE NUMBER OF WEBSITES DOUBLED IN SIZE BETWEEN 2011 AND 2012 AND AGAIN BY 1/3 IN 2014 The Content ‘Explosion’
  20. 20. #pubcon “We don't index every one of those trillion pages -- many of them are similar to each other” (J Alpert, Google) “There’s a needle in here somewhere” “It’s an important needle too” If only we could identify it “So how many unique pages does the web really contain? We don't know; we don't have time to look at them all!” (J Alpert, Google)
  21. 21. #pubcon The Duplicate Content ‘Penalty’ Myth • ‘Real’ duplicates (matching content checksum) filtered and not indexed “Each content filter sends the retrieved web pages to Dupserver to determine if they are duplicates of other web pages”
  23. 23. #pubcon NON- PREFERRED VERSION ‘IMPOSTER INDEXATION’ & ‘TOO SIMILAR’ CONTENT The wrong version of your URL is selected and indexed Users may pick the wrong version of the duplicate content and link to that one. Then signals are dissipated
  24. 24. #pubcon De-duping, URL Sorting & Scheduling Original Image - D00004.png Lots and lots of patents on crawling efficiency
  25. 25. #pubcon Important Pages Are Crawled More Frequently These pages are important and need to be up to date. They cannot be returned as stale data
  26. 26. #pubcon Depth Of Crawl Is Greater In Higher Quality Sections Of Sites • Important grandparents and parents begets ’important’ children and grandchild URLs • Higher quality site sections (descendants) get crawled more
  27. 27. #pubcon Low Quality Sites Get Crawled Less Frequently They are low importance
  28. 28. #pubcon Myth – It’s Based Just On PageRank ”There’s a ‘shit-ton’ of other stuff going on which plays an important role” (Illyes, Google)
  30. 30. #pubcon It’s Mostly Driven By ‘Importance’ “SCHEDULING  IS  MOSTLY   DRIVEN  BY IMPORTANCE”  (Illyes,  Google) IMPORTANCE  MAY  INCLUDE   PAGERANK  (Patents)  …  BUT  IT  IS   ONLY  A  PART  OF  IT RANKING  IS  ALSO  DRIVEN  BY   IMPORTANCE  (IN  PART)
  31. 31. #pubcon Page (URL) Importance Is Mahoossively Important (May Include PageRank)
  32. 32. PAGE IMPORTANCE - The importance of a page independent of a query • Location in Site (e.g. home page more important than parameter 3 level output) • PageRank • Page type / file type • Internal PageRank • Internal Backlinks • In-site Anchor Text Consistency • Relevance (content, anchors and elements) to a topic (Similarity Importance) • Directives from in-page robot and robots.txt management • Parent quality brushes off on child page quality • Inclusion in XML sitemaps and the index IMPORTANT PARENTS LIKELY SEEN TO HAVE IMPORTANT CHILD PAGES Several Google Patents
  33. 33. #pubcon But…Importance Signs From Whom? 3 Types Of ‘Importance Signal Sender’? SEARCHERS WEBMASTERS LINKERATILooking for results, creating queries, triggering impressions, demanding freshness Hreflang, Canonicalization, Internal links, Sitemap and index inclusion, Information Architecture,Anchors, Building content at a URL on a topic Passing PageRank AND WHY IS ‘IMPORTANCE’ SO IMPORTANT?
  34. 34. #pubcon Concept Of Search Engine Embarrassment A concept mostly originally attributed to Joel Wolf
  35. 35. #pubcon Search Engine Embarrassment Credit: Joel Wolf Et Al GOODNESS & BADNESS IN SEARCH ENGINE EMBARRASSMENT Concept of using probability estimates to revisit web pages ‘just in time’ and based around limiting ‘likelihood of stale pages being exposed’ to searchers
  36. 36. #pubcon Search Engine Embarrassment Probability(Seen_Stale_Data)=Function (User_View_Rate,Document_Update_R ate,Web_Crawl_Interval).
  37. 37. #pubcon Search Engine Embarrassment User_View_Rate – Likelihood of the document being seen + Document_Update_rate – How often it has material changes + Web_Crawl_Interval – How often is it currently crawled COMBINED TO CALCULATE Probability(Seen_Stale_Data) = Risk of Search Engine Embarrassment? ‘JUST IN TIME SMART CRAWLING’
  38. 38. #pubcon THEORY - Search Engine Embarrassment Joel Wolf’s ‘Optimal Crawl Strategies’ (Search Engine Embarrassment) Paper is Cited in this Google Patent
  40. 40. #pubcon Myth – Don’t We Just Have To Make Random Changes To Get Crawled More? NOT ALL CHANGE IS CREATED EQUAL
  41. 41. #pubcon WHAT Changed? Was it important? frequency-ranking-21153.html HINTS & C = ∑ i = 0 n - 1 weight i * feature CRITICAL MATERIAL CHANGE
  42. 42. #pubcon Randomization & Lying About ‘Change’ To Googlebot Won’t Help • NOT ALL CHANGE IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO BE RECRAWLED • DO NOT TRY TO MANIPULATE ‘CHANGE’ • You can’t get more crawl just by changing your pages alone & you may actually be doing your site harm • WHY – Because… ‘hints’ & ’thresholds’ designed to pick up on this • If every URL changes header response will always be modified since (current date) • Randomization and shuffling could be preventing Googlebot from crawling the important pages • Last-modified is taken into consideration, IF it is correct • Priority == ignored so don’t make it up • Change frequency == ignored so don’t make it up ’IMPORTANCE’ BEATS ‘CHANGE’
  43. 43. #pubcon ‘Crawl Rank’ – Causation or Correlation? • By getting your URL crawled more frequently do they automatically rank higher? • “A lot of people confuse crawling with ranking” (John Mu) • Crawl Rank - It seems this is more correlation than causation • You got your URLs crawled more by making them more important (e.g. via internal linking strategies), canonicalization, hreflang, merging and improving thin content, etc, updating with fresh and rich content to a topic… and subsequently ranked higher “Often times, it is kind of a relationship that, when we think something is important we tend to crawl it more frequently and that might be more visible in search” John Mueller, Google
  44. 44. #pubcon The Four Main Types Of Cannibalisation– Slideshare @jonearnshaw hanearnshaw/seo-46813620 Consistently Avoiding Importance Cannibalisation You must be consistently clear in emphasising the ‘importance’ of the right version of your ‘special ones’ (your key most important URLs).
  45. 45. #pubcon Consistently avoiding ‘Mixed Signals’ & Skewed URL Importance GOOGLE CAN GET CONFUSED AS TO WHICH PAGE IT SHOULD RANK FROM YOUR SITE FOR KEY TERMS – BE CLEAR ON TARGETS
  46. 46. #pubcon Consistency - Avoiding ‘importance dissipation’ from generational cruft Consider keeping the same URL for annual events and optimise the content for current year “Choose a URL structure that can stand the test of time” (John Mu, Google)
  47. 47. #pubcon Cool URIs (And URLs) Don’t Change • The iterative drip, drip, drip of Importance • Nurture & mature (grow) importance • Consistent importance signals ongoing • Think URL as well as URI “…many, many things can change and your URIs can and should stay the same” (Sir Tim Berners- Lee) COOL URIs DON’T CHANGE “allocate URIs which you will be able to stand by in 2 years, in 20 years, in 200 years” (Sir Tim- Berners Lee) IMPORTANCE VIA CONSISTENCY
  48. 48. #pubcon “all over the Web, webmasters are making decisions which will make it really difficult for themselves in the future” (Sir Tim Berners-Lee) Don’t Let That Be You
  49. 49. #pubcon THANK  YOU TWITTER - @dawnieando GOOGLE+ -+DawnAnderson888 LINKEDIN – msdawnanderson
  50. 50. #pubcon Importance Via Internal Links Most Important Page 1 Most  Important  Page  2 Most  Important  Page  3 IS THIS YOUR BLOG?? HOPE NOT 138752?hl=en
  51. 51. #pubcon Descending Importance Clues Via Internal Links (Breadcrumbs) SINGLE TEXT OUTPUT ONLY BREADCRUMB FEWER FEWER MOST Image credit: design-examples-and-best-practices/ Home Category Sub Product
  52. 52. #pubcon YES? … YOU’RE IN NO? … YOU’RE OUT (sitemaps and index) Importance By Inclusion (& Unimportance via Exclusion
  53. 53. #pubcon Importance Via Consistently Indicating ‘Correct Version’ of Duplicates • Canonicalisation • Choose one https / http / nonwww / www version and 301 redirect the others • Eliminate ‘too similar’URLs • Consistency of internal link targets (right site version, right target for keywords / topics / topic intent / user intent) • Right version inclusionin XML sitemaps • Re-optimization/ unpicking of 30X redirect chains internallyand externally • Review of internal links in GSC for ‘skew’ • Review of existingcontent to improve on topic for ‘importance’ • Save / nurture the URL (thinkfor the long term in URL planning) • Breadcrumbs • Minimize boiler plate content • Minimize regurgitatedcontent in various parts of your site
  54. 54. #pubcon SOURCES • Scheduler For Search Engine Crawler - • We Knew The Web Was Big - web-was-big.html • •
  55. 55. #pubcon SOURCES • • • Cool URIs Don’t Change - • lipattsev-transcript/ • • • ‘Optimal Crawling Strategies For Web Search Engines’ -