website crawler

Website Crawler: How to Crawl a Site (with Semrush)

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Simply as CEOs have their assistants and Santa has his elves, Google (together with different search engines like google) has its web site crawlers.

Website crawlers (or net crawlers) may sound form of creepy. What are these mysterious issues crawling round on the world extensive net and what precisely are they doing? 

On this information, we’ll take a look at what net crawlers are, how search engines like google use them, and the way they are often helpful to web site house owners. 

We’ll additionally allow you to in on how you should utilize our free web site crawler, the Site Audit software, to uncover what net crawlers may discover in your web site and how one can enhance your on-line efficiency as a end result. 

What Is a Net Crawler and What Does It Do?

An internet crawler is an web bot, also referred to as a net spider, computerized indexer, or net robotic, which works to systematically crawl the net. These bots are virtually just like the archivists and librarians of the web. 

They pull collectively and obtain info and content material, which is then listed and cataloged within the SERPs in order that it could possibly seem to customers by order of relevance. 

That is how a search engine similar to Google is in a position to shortly reply to customers’ search queries with precisely what we’re searching for: by making use of its search algorithm to the net crawler knowledge. 

Therefore, crawlability is a key efficiency attribute of your web site.

How Do Net Crawlers Work?

To search out probably the most dependable and related info, a bot will begin with a sure number of net pages. It’ll search (or crawl) these for knowledge, then comply with the hyperlinks talked about in them (or spider) to different pages, the place it would do the identical factor once more.

Ultimately, crawlers produce lots of of hundreds of pages, whose info has the potential to reply your search question. 

The following step for search engines like google like Google is to rank all of the pages in accordance to particular elements to current the customers with solely the very best, most dependable, most correct, and most attention-grabbing content material. 

The elements influencing Google’s algorithm and rating course of are quite a few and ever-changing. Some are extra generally recognized (key phrases, the location of key phrases, the inner linking construction and the exterior hyperlinks, and so on.). Others are extra complicated to pinpoint as, for instance, the general high quality of the web site. 

Principally, after we discuss how crawlable your web site is, we’re really assessing how straightforward it’s for net bots to crawl your web site for info and content material. The clearer your web site construction and navigation are to crawl, the extra doubtless you’ll rank greater on the SERPs.

Net crawlers and crawlability come full circle to web optimization.

How Semrush Makes use of Net Crawlers

Website crawlers aren’t simply a secret software of search engines like google. At Semrush, we additionally use net crawlers. We do that for 2 key causes:

  1. To construct and keep our backlinks database
  2. That will help you analyze the well being of your web site 

Our backlinks database is a big a part of what we use to make our instruments stronger. Our crawlers recurrently search the net for brand new backlinks to enable us to replace our interfaces. 

Thanks to this, you’ll be able to examine your web site’s backlinks by way of the Backlinks Audit software and take a look at your rivals’ backlink profiles by way of our Backlink Analytics software. 

Principally, you’ll be able to regulate the hyperlinks that your rivals are making and breaking whereas guaranteeing that your backlinks are wholesome. 

The second cause we use net crawlers is for our Site Audit software. The Site Audit software is a high-powered web site crawler that may comb and categorize your web site content material to allow you to analyze its well being. 

Whenever you do a web site audit by way of Semrush, the software crawls the net for you to spotlight any bottlenecks or errors, making it simpler for you to change gears and optimize your web site on the spot. It’s a super-easy method to crawl a web site.

Why it’s best to use the Semrush Site Audit software to crawl your web site

By utilizing the Site Audit software, you ask our crawlers to entry a web site. The crawlers will then return a listing of points that present precisely the place a given web site wants to enhance to increase its web optimization. 

There are over 120 points that you could verify in on, together with: 

  • duplicate content material
  • damaged hyperlinks
  • HTTPS implementation
  • crawlability (sure, we will let you know how straightforward it’s for crawlers to entry your web site!)
  • indexability. 

And that is all completed in minutes, with an easy-to-follow person interface, so there’s no want to fear about losing hours solely to be left with a big doc of unreadable knowledge.

website crawler

What are the advantages of web site crawling for you?

However why is it so necessary to verify these things out? Let’s break down the advantages of a few of those checks.


It ought to come as no shock that the crawlability verify is definitely probably the most related. Our net crawlers can let you know precisely how straightforward it’s for Google bots to navigate your web site and entry your info. 

You’ll find out how to clear up your web site construction and set up your content material, focussing in your sitemap, robots.txt, inner hyperlinks and URL construction.

Generally some pages in your web site can’t be crawled in any respect. There are various explanation why this might be taking place. One could be a sluggish response from the server (longer than 5 seconds) or a flat-out entry refusal from the server. The primary factor is that when you understand you will have a drawback, you will get began fixing it.

HTTPS implementation

That is a actually necessary a part of the audit if you’d like to transfer your web site from HTTP to HTTPS. We’ll enable you to keep away from a number of the most typical errors that web site house owners make on this space by crawling for correct certificates, redirects, canonicals, encryption, and extra. Our net crawlers will make this as clear as potential. 

Damaged hyperlinks are a traditional reason behind person discontent. Too many damaged hyperlinks may even drop your placement within the SERPs as a result of they will lead crawlers to consider that your web site is poorly maintained or coded. 

Our crawlers will discover these damaged hyperlinks and repair them earlier than it’s too late. The fixes themselves are easy: take away the hyperlink, exchange it, or contact the proprietor of the web site you’re linking to and report the difficulty. 

Duplicate content material

Duplicate content material may cause your web optimization some huge issues. In the very best case, it would trigger search engines like google to select one in all your duplicated pages to rank, pushing out the opposite one. Within the worst case, search engines like google could assume that you just’re making an attempt to manipulate the SERPs and downgrade or ban your web site altogether. 

A web site audit can assist you nip that within the bud. Our net crawlers will discover the duplicate content material in your web site, and orderly listing it. 

You may then use your most popular methodology to repair the difficulty – whether or not that be informing search engines like google by including a rel=”canonical” hyperlink to the right web page, utilizing a 301 redirect, or hands-on enhancing the content material on the implicated pages.

You’ll find out extra about these points in our earlier information on how to repair crawlability points.

How to Set Up a Website Crawler Utilizing Semrush Site Audit

Organising a web site crawler by way of Semrush’s Site Audit is very easy that it solely takes six steps. 

Earlier than we get began, be sure to’ve arrange your undertaking. You are able to do that simply out of your dashboard. Alternatively, decide up a undertaking you’ve already began however haven’t but finished a web site audit for. 

website crawler

Step 1: Fundamental Settings

As soon as your undertaking is established, it’s time for the 1st step: configuring your fundamental settings.

Firstly, set your crawl scope. Regardless of the particular area, subdomain, or subfolder that you really want to crawl, you’ll be able to enter it right here within the ‘crawl scope’ part. As proven under, for those who enter a area, you may also select whether or not you need to crawl the entire subdomains with it. 

website crawler

Then regulate the utmost variety of pages you need to verify per audit.The extra pages you crawl, the extra correct your audit shall be, however it’s additionally necessary to listen to your personal dedication and talent degree. What’s the extent of your subscription? How typically are you going to come again and audit once more? 

For Execs, we’d suggest crawling up to 20,000 pages per audit. For Gurus, we’d suggest the identical, 20,000 pages per audit, and for Enterprise customers we’d suggest 100,000 pages per audit. Discover what works for you.

website crawler

Select your crawl supply. That is what decides how our bot crawls your web site and finds the pages to audit.

website crawler

As proven, there are 4 choices.

  1. Website: with this feature, we’ll crawl the location just like the GoogleBot (by way of a breadth-first search algorithm), navigating by way of your hyperlinks (beginning at your house web page). That is a good selection for those who’re solely concerned with crawling probably the most accessible pages a web site has to supply from its homepage. 
  2. Sitemaps on web site: for those who select this feature, we’ll solely crawl the URLs discovered within the sitemap from the robots.txt file. 
  3. Enter sitemap URL: that is related to sitemaps on web site, however on this case you’ll be able to enter your personal sitemap URL, making your audit a tiny bit extra particular. 
  4. URLs from file: right here is the place you will get actually particular and knuckle down into precisely which pages you’d like to audit. You simply want to have them saved as .csv or .txt recordsdata in your pc and prepared to add instantly to Semrush.
    This selection is nice for once you don’t want a common overview. For instance, once you’ve made particular adjustments to particular pages and simply need to see how they’re performing. This could pare you some crawl finances and get you the knowledge you really need to see.

Step 2: Crawler Settings 

Subsequent, you will have to resolve upon the form of bot you need crawling your web site. There are 4 potential combos, relying on whether or not you select the cell or desktop model of the SemrushBot or GoogleBot.

website crawler

Then select your Crawl-Delay settings. Resolve between Minimal delay between pages, Respect robots.txt, or 1 URL per 2 seconds. 

  1. Select ‘minimum delay’ for the bot to crawl at its typical velocity. For the SemrushBot, which means it would go away about one second earlier than beginning to crawl the subsequent web page.
  2. ‘Respect robots.txt’ is right for when you will have a robots.txt file in your web site and want a particular crawl delay as a end result. 
  3. In the event you’re involved that your web site could be slowed down by our crawler, otherwise you don’t have a crawl directive already, then you definitely’ll most likely need to select ‘1 URL per 2 seconds’. This could imply that the audit will take longer, however it received’t worsen the person expertise in the course of the audit. 

Step 3: Permit/disallow URLs

Right here is the place you’ll be able to actually get into the customization of your audit by deciding which subfolders you positively need us to crawl and which you positively don’t need us to crawl. 

To do that correctly, you want to embody every thing within the URL after the TLD. The subfolders you positively need us to crawl go into the field on the left:

website crawler

And those you positively don’t need to be crawled go into the field on the correct:

website crawler

Step 4: Take away URL Parameters 

This step is about serving to us make it possible for your crawl finances isn’t wasted on crawling the identical web page twice. Simply specify the URL parameters that you just use in your web site to take away them earlier than crawling. 

website crawler

Step 5: Bypass web site restrictions

This excellent once you want a little workaround. Say, for instance, that your web site remains to be in pre-production, or it’s hidden by fundamental entry authentication. In the event you suppose this implies we will’t run an audit for you, you’d be incorrect.

You might have two decisions for getting round this and ensuring your audit is up and working.

website crawler

  1. Choice 1 is to bypass disallow in robots.txt and by robots meta tag which entails importing the .txt file, that we’ll offer you, onto the principle folder of your web site. 
  2. Choice 2 is to crawl along with your credentials. To try this, all you will have to do is enter the username and password you’d use to entry the hidden a part of your web site. The SemrushBot will use this data to run the audit. 

Step 6: Schedule

The ultimate step is to inform us how typically you’d like your web site to be audited. This might be each week, daily, or simply as soon as. No matter you resolve, auditing recurrently is certainly advisable to sustain along with your web site well being.

website crawler

And that’s it! You’ve discovered how to crawl a web site with the Site Audit software.

Taking a look at Your Net Crawler Information with Semrush

All the info about your net pages collected in the course of the crawls is recorded and saved into the Site Audit part of your undertaking. 

website crawler

Right here, you could find your Site Well being rating:

website crawler

Examine additionally the full variety of crawled pages cut up into ‘Healthy’ ‘Broken’ or ‘Have Issues’ pages. This view virtually halves the time it takes you to determine issues and remedy them. 

website crawler

Lastly, you’ll discover right here additionally our appraisal of how straightforward it’s to crawl your pages:

website crawler

By going into the crawlability part, you’ll get a fair nearer take a look at your crawl finances, crawl depth, sitemap vs. crawled pages, indexability, and extra.

website crawler

And now you understand how to arrange your net crawler web site audit and the place to discover the info that we will pull collectively only for you.

Bear in mind: once you enhance your crawlability, you make it possible for search engines like google perceive your web site and its content material. Serving to search engines like google crawl your web site extra simply will enable you to rank greater and slowly climb your method up the SERPs. 


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