Updated: June 9, 2023.
Learn about how often Google crawls website.
Have you ever wondered how often Google visits your website, indexing your pages and making them visible in search results?
It’s a common question in the SEO community, and understanding the frequency of Google crawling is crucial if you want to be a good SEO.
In this article, I’ll explore the factors that influence how often Google crawls a site, delve into the crawling process, and provide practical tips to encourage more frequent crawls.
Let’s uncover the secrets of Google’s crawling habits together!
How often does Google crawl a site? TL;DR
Google’s frequency of crawling a site varies widely, ranging from a couple of days to a few weeks.
- Larger, more popular sites with regular updates are crawled more frequently, while smaller or newer sites may experience longer gaps between crawls.
- Factors like site popularity, crawlability, and site structure influence the frequency of Googlebot’s visits.
- It’s important to focus on maintaining a well-structured site, regularly updating content, and using tools like Google Search Console to troubleshoot crawl issues and optimize your site for better crawl rates.
What Googlebot is and how it works
Googlebot is an essential component of crawling, so let’s talk about it for a moment first.
Googlebot is the web crawling bot used by Google to discover, analyze, and index web pages. It is essentially a software program that continuously browses the internet, following links from one webpage to another, and collecting information about the content and structure of those pages.
Googlebot plays a crucial role in building and updating the Google search index, which enables Google to deliver relevant search results to users when they conduct a search query.
Googlebot discovers new pages mainly in the two following ways:
- Following Links: Googlebot uses the existing links on web pages to find new content. When it visits a page, it checks for any links on that page and then follows those links to discover new pages.
- XML Sitemaps: As a website owner, you can help Googlebot discover your pages by creating an XML sitemap and submitting it to Google via the Google Search Console. A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them.
What crawling is and how it works
Crawling is the process by which search engines, like Google, navigate the web and discover web pages.
It involves the above-mentioned software program called Googlebot, which acts as the virtual explorer.
Googlebot’s role is to visit websites, follow links, and analyze the content and structure of each page it encounters
Here’s a simplified version of how the crawling process works:
- Googlebot starts with a list of URLs from previous crawls and sitemaps provided by site owners. It visits each of these URLs, scanning the page for information and additional links to follow.
- It then follows these links to discover new pages. Like an explorer charting an uncharted territory, Googlebot uses these links to find new pages and add them to its list.
- Googlebot also keeps an eye out for changes to existing pages. If a webpage has been updated since Googlebot’s last visit, it takes note of these changes and updates Google’s index accordingly.
How often does Google Crawl a Website?
Let’s get to the meat of the matter…
Exactly how often does Google crawl a website?
Average frequency of Google crawling
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here.
The frequency of Google crawling depends on many factors and varies widely, from a couple of days to a few weeks.
Here are some possibilities:
- Well-established, highly-trafficked websites: Sites like The New York Times or BBC, which consistently produce fresh and newsworthy content, often experience rapid crawling by Google. Their pages can be crawled within minutes due to the high value and relevance of their content.
- Smaller or newer websites: On the other hand, smaller or newer websites may have to wait longer for Googlebot to visit. These sites may not have the same level of visibility or regular content updates, resulting in less frequent crawls. It’s not uncommon for these websites to wait weeks or even months before being crawled by Google.
- Site-specific factors: Other factors that influence crawl frequency include the site’s popularity, crawlability, and overall structure. Well-optimized sites with easy navigation and proper indexing tend to be crawled more frequently by Google.
Factors influencing the frequency of crawling
Google doesn’t randomly decide when to crawl your site. Several factors can influence the frequency of crawling by Google.
Let’s explore some of the key factors that play a role in determining how often Googlebot visits a website:
- Site Popularity: Popular websites with high traffic and engagement tend to be crawled more frequently. Google recognizes the significance of these sites and aims to keep their content up-to-date in search results.
- Crawlability: The ease with which Googlebot can crawl a website affects its crawling frequency. Well-structured websites with clean code, proper internal linking, and XML sitemaps make it easier for Googlebot to discover and navigate pages, resulting in more frequent crawls.
- Site Updates: Websites that consistently publish fresh and relevant content are more likely to be crawled more frequently. Googlebot recognizes the value of regularly updated sites and wants to ensure that users have access to the latest information.
- Inbound Links: The presence of quality inbound links from other reputable websites can signal to Google that a site is important and worthy of more frequent crawling. These links act as a vote of confidence and can influence crawling frequency.
- Server Performance: The performance and reliability of a website’s server play a role in crawling frequency. If a website frequently experiences server errors or downtime, it may impact Googlebot’s ability to access and crawl the site.
- XML Sitemap: Having an XML sitemap helps Googlebot understand the structure of a website and discover new or updated pages more efficiently. Including a sitemap can positively impact crawling frequency.
Remember, these factors interact and influence each other, and there is no exact formula for determining crawling frequency.
Check similar guides:
How to check when Google last crawled your site
Let’s dive into the process of checking when Google last crawled your site. This information can provide valuable insights into how Google interacts with your website.
Use the URL Inspection tool
The URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console lets you check when a specific URL was last crawled.
- All you need to do is inspect the URL and then click on “Page Indexing”.
- Under “Crawl”, you will see “Last crawl” that contains the date of the last crawl of the page.
Use Google Search Console Crawl Stats report
To get more insight into overall Google crawling activity on your site, use Crawl Stats report which contains a lot of useful data and info about Google crawling.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
- Log into your Google Search Console account.
- Select the property (website) you’re interested in.
- In the left-hand menu, click on “Settings.”
- In the “Property Settings” page, click on “Crawl Stats.”
Voila! You’re now looking at your website’s crawl stats. This report shows you how Google has been crawling your website for the last 90 days.
How to interpret the Google Search Console Crawl stats report
Understanding the data you see in the crawl stats is important.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Total crawl requests: Total number of crawl requests to your site, in the time span shown. Duplicate requests to the same URL are counted.
- Total download size: Total size of all files and resources downloaded during crawling, during the period shown. If a resource is already cached from a previous crawl it is not counted. Bytes include file HTML, associated image bytes, script files, and CSS file. This can give you an idea of how ‘heavy’ your site is, and how this might affect crawling.
- Average Response Time: Average page response time for a crawl request to retrieve the page content. Does not include retrieving page resources (scripts, images, and other linked or embedded content) or page rendering time. This shows how quickly your server responds to Googlebot’s request to access a page. The faster, the better.
TIP: Keep in mind that the Crawl Stats report contains a sample of data. To get full data on crawling, you need to do a log file analysis (see below).
Check other similar guides:
- “Indexed, Not Submitted In Sitemap” is now “Indexed” in “Unsubmitted Pages Only”
- Google Search Console For Keyword Research
- Crawl Budget Optimization Guide
Do a log file analysis
For the more technically inclined, log file analysis can provide even deeper insights. Your website’s log files record every request to access your site, including those from Googlebot. By analyzing these files, you can see exactly when and how Googlebot interacted with your site.
How to get Google to crawl a site
Now, let’s dive into the exciting part: how to encourage Google to crawl your website more frequently.
Here’s how you can use it to encourage Google to crawl your site:
- Request indexation in Inspect URL: In the Google Search Console dashboard, you’ll find a feature called “URL Inspection”. Simply plug in the URL you want Google to crawl, and then hit the “Request Indexing” button. This gives Google a nudge to crawl your URL, but remember, it’s just a request. Google decides when and how to crawl your page based on its algorithms.
- Use Google Search Console Indexing API: Now, this is a bit more technical, but Google does provide an Indexing API that can be used to inform Google of new or updated URLs. However, this feature is primarily intended for job posting and live streaming websites.
But that’s not all. There are other measures you can take to increase the crawl rate of your site:
- Fixing Errors: Keep a close eye on your Google Search Console reports for any crawl errors. If Google encounters issues while trying to crawl your site, it may decide to visit less frequently. So, iron out those bugs!
- Regular Content Updates: Google loves fresh content. Regularly updating your site with new, quality content can entice Googlebot to visit more often.
- Earning Backlinks: High-quality backlinks from reputable sites can significantly improve your site’s authority in the eyes of Google, making it more likely to be crawled frequently.
- Technical SEO: Ensuring your site is technically sound is crucial. This includes aspects like a clean site architecture, optimized page load speeds, properly implemented meta tags, and a well-structured XML sitemap.
Remember, you want to make Google’s job as easy as possible. A well-structured, error-free, frequently updated website with plenty of backlinks is like a welcome mat for Googlebot.
Roll it out and let Google do its thing!
How often does google crawl a site? FAQs
And here are the most often asked questions about Google’s crawling frequency.