Web crawling is one of the vital processes necessary for the internet’s proper functioning.
It refers to browsing the web in a systematic, automated, and organized manner and aims to collect up-to-date data from every website to store the information for better accessibility and availability.
Web crawlers are software tools programmed to automate and simplify browsing and extracting data from the web. Since there are many different crawling bots, these automated data fetchers make data gathering easy and accessible to individual internet users and businesses.
Web crawlers make it possible for regular internet users to receive the information they want to see quickly.
For businesses, web crawling is necessary to stay up-to-date with the ever-going internet expansion and the ever-increasing amount of data being generated every day. Let’s talk about what web crawlers are and what they can do.
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What is a Web Crawler?
While the concept of web crawling is known to millions of internet users, many of them aren’t exactly sure what a crawling bot is. So, what is a web crawler exactly?
Also called an internet bot, web spider, or crawling bot, a web crawler is an automated software tool or programmed script designed to crawl (browse) the web in a targeted and systematic manner for indexing data (web content).
Crawlers are the very essence of the web, ensuring a seamless data flow. They search for all types of website data, such as HTML code validation, sitemaps, broken links, forgotten web pages, page links, and content in general.
Search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and Google rely on crawling bots to correctly download and index web pages so that internet users can enjoy quick and easy access to the content they want to see.
However, in the world of search engines, crawlers and sitemaps have a far more critical role – they inform search engines about the latest, freshest content. That is how powerful search engines like Google refresh their content.
You can personalize web crawlers to perform specific actions. By placing a robots.txt file at the foundation of your crawling bot, you can define what you want it to do. This file helps you control the traffic and ensures your server copes with the traffic load.
For more information, Oxylabs wrote a blog post that delves deeper into the topic.
Different Examples of Web Crawlers
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best examples of web crawlers to understand these little useful bots better.
Googlebot Web Crawlers
Probably the most popular crawling bot on the web, Googlebot is used by Google’s search engine to index content.
Without this Google’s little helper, website indexing on the most used search engine wouldn’t be possible. Googlebot gives users a high degree of control and an array of tools for making the web crawling process as purposeful as you need it to be.
The best example is the Fetch tool in Google Search Console that tests how the search engine renders or crawls a URL on a target website.
It helps you ascertain whether Googlebot has access to your web pages and if it may not have permission to crawl any page resources, such as scripts or images.
Bingbot Crawler Spider
Deployed by Microsoft in 2010, Bingbot was designed to provide the Bing search engine with the necessary data.
Like Googlebot, Bingbot also has a Fetch tool located in its Bing Webmaster Tools. Bing’s tool allows internet users to view the crawled page from the spider’s perspective, including the page code.
Slurp Bot (Yahoo) Crawler
Yahoo crawling bot, Slurp, is in charge of Yahoo search results. Supported by Bing’s crawler, Slurp has access to Bing and Yahoo, as Bing now powers Yahoo.
Slurp can perform many operations, such as:
- Collecting data from partner websites like Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, and Yahoo News for indexing purposes, and
- Accessing pages from websites across the net to personalize Yahoo’s content for its users and confirm its accuracy and freshness.
Why are Crawlers so Valuable In Seo?
Crawlers are extremely valuable because they are part of technical SEO. When you update your site or launch a brand-new website, you can ask top search engines like Google to crawl and index your site.
That ensures your target audience can easily find your website on the web. You can also use robots.txt to instruct crawling bots on which pages to crawl to provide direct access to the most valuable content.
Additionally, web crawlers ensure that the indexed content appears in the search engine results. They determine the importance of each web page they index and can categorize web pages, review the content, and discover URLs.
Based on a specific page’s category, crawlers determine if it is fresh or might need removal.
Because of that, they can help rank your website higher on Google and other search engines, making them a critical element for increasing brand visibility, presence, and authority.
Web crawlers make the World Wide Web go round, as they’re an irreplaceable part of every marketing and SEO marketing campaign.
Without them, internet users wouldn’t find the content they need quickly. While the science behind them is pretty complex, modern-day web crawlers are so user-friendly that pretty much anyone can use them, regardless of how tech-savvy they are.