Semalt Expert Explains What Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget Are 

We've gone on a mission of finding out the answer to this question. With careful study of Google's document, we are able to fact-check and find out the answer to the question we've all been asking. 

For those who don't yet know, Google or search engines, in general, do not always rank every page. This is more likely to happen for new and freshly optimized pages, which can be very detrimental to our success as SEO professionals. 

Getting search engines to crawl and index on their own isn't as effective as needed, so we have to find ways to quicken this process. At this point, we will consider how the crawl budget can be saved, which means even more indexes for your site. 

Things like 404, 403, 503, and other crawl errors waste your crawl budget. Search engines will exhaust your crawl budget on un-indexable pages and never get to the good stuff in time. As a result, your ranking stays the same. 

It is important to know if crawl errors and crawl budget affect how high we rank. Is it a secrete ranking factor or a myth? After careful research through Google's documents, there is an answer. 

No! but like with almost everything SEO, it plays a role, and it's relevant. When possible, you should make sure you don't use up too much too soon. Improving how many pages it can cover; leads to an increase in the number of pages Google sees and indexes on your site. 

Let's back up a bit and understand this concept. 

What is a Crawl Budget?

Crawl budget is the number of pages search engines are willing to crawl on any website within a certain time frame. Because search engines use up resources in their search for new content, pages, and websites, they have to work with a budget. 

The crawl budget of every website is determined by two key factors: 
  • The crawl limit / host load: this refers to how much load a website can handle. It also considers the owner's preference. 
  • Crawl demand / crawl schedule: here, Google determines crawl budget by evaluating which URLs are the most popular and how often are their pages updated?
Another name for crawl budget is Crawl Space or Crawl time, so don't get confused if you come across any of these terms while studying SEO. 

What Are Crawl Errors?

Crawl Errors occur when search engines try but fail to reach or read a website on your page. These crawl errors can stop search engines bots from crawling and indexing the content on pages.

If search engine bots are unable to read your pages, they will not be able to index your content which slims down your chances of ranking high. 

Types of Crawl Errors

Google divides crawl errors into two groups, namely:
  • Site errors: these are errors that make Google bot unable to crawl your entire site.
  • URL errors: these are errors that stop Google Bots from crawling a URL. Since they are more specific errors, they are generally easier to fix. 

Site Errors

Site errors are crawling errors that stop search engine bots from accessing a website. Here are the most common causes of these errors:

DNS Error:

This means the search engine is unable to communicate with the server. In this case, your server might be down, which means your website cannot be visited at that moment. Most times, this is a temporary issue, and the Google bot will revisit your site when it's back up if this error should appear in your Google Search Console; it's telling you that Google has repeatedly tried to crawl your site but was unable to. 

Server Errors:

If you discover a server error, it means that search engine bots are unable to access your website. It is possible that the request timed out. This means that the search engine tried to visit your site, but it took too long to load, and the server returned an error message. 

It is also possible for server errors to occur when there are mistakes in your code that prevent the website from loading. In some cases, server errors occur because there are too many visitors on your page, and your server is unable to answer all the requests. 

Robot Failure:

Before crawling a page, Googlebot tries to crawl the Robots.txt file. It does this to see if there are areas on your website you do not want to get indexed. If bots can't find the Robots.txt file, they postpone their crawl until it is available. 

URL Errors

URL errors refer to crawler errors that occur when search engine bots try to crawl a specific URL on your site. An example is the common 404 Not Found Errors. You should constantly review your site for these errors and fix them when found. 

A lot of these errors are caused by internal links, so you should watch out for those. The good news is that when these errors are a result of poor line structure, we can easily find and fix them. 

When a page is adjusted or removed from the site, that URL becomes invalid. It is possible that you have a link to that URL on other pages or websites, so if the link gets clicked, there is nothing to display. This is why you need to maintain your site regularly. If these links are left, they will only carry visitors to a dead-end which can harm your user experience. 

Another common URL error is the one where you see 'submitted URL' in its title. These are errors that appear when google detects inconsistencies on your website. An example will be situations where you submit a URL to be indexed, but there is something on the URL that tells Google not to index the page. The robot.txt file can cause this block. It could also mean that your page has a 'no index' mark by a meta tag or HTTP header. If you do not fix the inconsistency, Google will be unable to index your site. 

Other Types of URL Errors

There are some URL errors that are more specific in nature. These errors affect only specific sites. 
  • Mobile Specific URL Errors: these are page-specific crawl errors that occur on modern smartphones. With a responsive website, the chances of encountering these are very slim, and you can do without worrying about them. 
  • Malware Errors: if you see this error message, it means that the search engine has found malicious software on the URL. This means that the software on the URL may be gathering guarded information or disturbing the operation of their crawlers. To stop this, you must audit the page and remove anything suspicious. 
  • Google News Errors: these are basic errors you can have for a number of reasons. It could be an indicator that tells you your page doesn't contain a new article. Or it could mean a number of things. You can find out what your error means by reading Google's documentation. 

Are crawl errors a ranking factor?

In one of our previous posts, we discussed how to crawl budget is not a ranking factor. That logic also applies to crawl errors. It is safe to say that with sufficient crawl errors, your website will naturally fall to the bottom, so there is no need to factor in them. 

In our previous post, we gave a detailed explanation of how to crawl budget, and to crawl itself can be costly and impossible for search engines, including Google. 


At this point, we believe you have an answer to your question and should have learned more about crawling and crawl errors. If you encounter crawl errors, fix them. It should be a vital part of your site's maintenance schedule. 

If you need to learn more about the subject of SEO and website promotion, we invite you to visit our Semalt blog.

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