Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short, is an acronym that's getting thrown around a lot in the internet these days, as it should. Because it is an important part of the web.
Whether you're using the internet to expand your business, to showcase your abilities as an aspiring artist, or to simply create content, get out there and show your work, you're going to need an audience, a group of people that are going to consume the content you're creating.
So, how do you get to present yourself to a larger audience through the internet? By appearing on the first page or as close as possible to the first page of search results that are related to your content. The next question becomes, how do you do that when there are hundreds, or thousands or even millions of other content creators like you?
That is where SEO comes in. It's an umbrella term used to refer to the process of bringing your content as close to the first page as possible. But to get a deeper understanding of SEO and how it works, you need to understand and differentiate the terms crawling and indexing. And that's exactly what we're going to do in this article.
You'll be forgiven for not having a clue what crawling means. It's a technical word, a jargon that the less tech-savvy of us have no chance of knowing its definition, unless we've delved into the world of digital marketing.
But, as you are a content creator or a business person who has recently shifted to the online space, you want to get your website ranking better and bringing in more traffic, hence why we're talking about crawling.
Basically, it's what Google or other search engines like Bing do to know more about your website. These search engines have bots, programs that are conveniently named crawlers. These crawlers head over to your website and gather data to check whether or not you're publishing useful, relevant content.
But that's not all. They'll also check for other links in your website's page that has just been crawled and crawl those the sites those links lead to. The same goes if your website has been linked in another website, it will be crawled.
Unless your website is linked in another one, you're going to have to upload an XML sitemap to Google Search Console.
Indexing sounds like a more befitting term in SEO than crawling but it's only equally important. If your website has fulfilled the requirements we talked about to get crawled, it will.....well, get crawled by the algorithmic program of Google or some other search engine.
But the process of getting your webpage on Google, ranking wherever, isn't over. After crawling is done, your preferred search engine will bring the link to your website to its search result, and the process through which it carries this out is called indexing.
The crawled website is extracted and examined, the search engine works its magic and then your website is added into the search engine. All that's left now is for you to work on the ranking because you're already in the results. Your website is indexed.
The terms crawling and indexing are put together almost all the time by SEO agencies, digital marketers, and others who're in the know when it comes to SEO.
Because they happen to be two sides of the same coin and one comes immediately after the other is done with, it's easy to have the two mixed up. You've already come this far in the article, so we're pretty sure that you know their basic differences, but there are some variations between them that are not so obvious.
For example, having your website crawled does not guarantee that it'll get indexed, as we've told you, crawling is the vetting part while indexing is the part where your website is chosen and posted, of course, in simpler terms. However, if your website is indexed, if when you search for it, you can see it, no matter where it's located, it means that it has been crawled.
If you have a running website, you'll want to have it linked by another site or within another one of your sites. If you can't get it linked, you'll have to upload an XML sitemap to Google Search Console or your preferred search engine's equivalent SEO tool.
As we've discussed, getting crawled is only getting half way there and counts for nothing if the website does not get indexed. Here are some tips that come in handy if you're trying to get your website indexed: get more backlinks, create SEO friendly URLs, and work on your content.
At the end of the day, the search engines, including Google, will want what's best for users, meaning that you'll have to work on original, helpful and relevant content. This will not only help your site get indexed, it'll also get your site ranking higher which is the hard game you'll want to win, if you want your website to thrive. You can check out this article to know how to rank higher in search results.