How to Handle Robots – Everything You Should Know About Crawlers

Firstly, if you are unfamiliar with robots and crawlers and feel a bit lost when it comes to more technical things, take a deep breath. Count to three. We’ve got your back. Even though it might seem a bit overwhelming at first, we’ll get you clued up on all the basics and need-to-know details on everything related to crawlers. What we’ve found is that using an analogy to explain the inner workings of it, it usually helps to understand basic concepts. Luckily for you, the analogy is already there!

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So, before we jump in and discuss the ins and outs of web crawlers, let’s first take a look at a very basic definition:

A web crawler is a robot that scans the internet and websites for indexing purposes. In other words, these ‘spiders’, as they are also called, browse urls to find keywords, metadata and links to add to search engines. Some crawlers are also utilised for data mining.

Data mining is the process of getting important predictive information usually utilised by large corporations for analysis purposes. This process assists with harvesting important information such as user behaviour, and allows companies to use this information to make informed decisions about future digital endeavours.

Did you know that web crawlers have different names? They are also referred to as scutters, bots, and automatic indexers.

What does this mean to me?

As a web user, you would probably open your browser, navigate to your favourite search engine for instance Google, and type in a search query in the search bar. Here is where crawlers come into play. Once you start typing a search query, multiple crawlers are scouring the World Wide Web to find pages, articles, and websites that is relevant to your search query.

As a publisher, this may affect you in a more significant way. These crawlers are only able to gather the information of pages and websites that has been indexed and submitted to search engines. If data is not ‘listed’ with a search engine, these crawlers will not be able to find your website and feature it in search result pages.


Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of web crawlers.

Search engines such as Google is continuously improving their crawling programs to provide better results when users search for information on the web. Crawlers have to browse an immense amount of pages and code to deliver the best and most relevant results. If you have your own website, you still have the choice of which pages you want crawlers to pick up, and which ones you’d rather not have featured or found. Only pages that are indexed by you can be crawled, as mentioned earlier.

Google’s algorithm has become so sophisticated over the past few years, crawlers are coded in such a way that there are variables they even pick up such as spelling errors, synonyms and the like. Have you ever typed in something in Google and noticed the automated text that drops down as you type? Other things spiders look for when crawling sites is the quality and the quantity of content.


Key takeaways

If you have a website and you want to increase your visibility on the web, you need to be sure you understand the basics of crawling. You’ll have to also keep your site updated with fresh and high-quality content. But most importantly, you need to submit your site to search engines so that the pages you wish to be indexed and crawled can be found by crawlers. We would also advise to keep your knowledge updated as algorithms and programs change rapidly, this is afterall the tech age.

We hope you have found the article insightful and that you know a bit more about spiders, crawlers, bots, or scutters. In the meantime, be sure to go to our blog for more information on all your SEO-related questions.