Google is the world’s most popular search engine. Thousands of new internet sites and pages are developed every day, and even more are altered, updated and redesigned. So, how does Google monitor all the infinite amount of web pages and websites being updated, changed, moved and removed? The answer is—Google’s spider.
What is a “Spider” or “Crawler?”
Google’s bot is an algorithm designed by Google to crawl the internet and index all the visited websites and web pages for later processing. The function of the spider is to provide faster, more accurate searches with less spam. In addition, Google’s spider is also used for automating maintenance tasks on given web sites, such as checking links, validating HTML code, and aggregating e-mail addresses for spam checks.
More generally, the Google Bot or other search engine web crawlers start with a list of URLs/seeds to visit. As the crawler visits these URLs, it identifies all the hyperlinks in the page and adds them to the list of URLs to visit, in which case they are recursively visited according to a set of policies.
How Does Google’s Spider Work?
Googlebot constantly crawls and re-visits new and existing sites so it can update Google’s memory/index. The spider gauges results based on a metric of importance (or rating) for prioritizing web pages/website’s relevance in the search-engine rankings.
The importance of a page is a function of its intrinsic quality, its popularity in terms of links or visits, its authoritativeness, and its overall quality in terms of content, design, URLs, title tags, Meta descriptions and so on.
When the spider reaches the website, it automatically navigates through the site, searching for keywords, tagging meta tags, and navigating the inbound and outbound links as well as the various components of the site. As Googlebot visits and crawls through the website, the software is essentially forming a snapshot of the website and all its individual web pages at that particular point in time. That snapshot or “memory” of the website and its individual web pages is then cached.
The cached information is then added to Google’s memory banks, also known as the index. The index is Google’s “memory,” and when a visitor types in a search term, Google searches its memory for websites and web pages that fit the bill. At various intervals, Googlebot will revisit the websites in its index. The spider software will “crawl” the various components of the website again, forming a new snapshot. This new snapshot is then added to the index, thereby updating Google’s memory of your site.
How Does Google’s Spider Affect Websites
The best websites on the internet, are dynamic and ever-changing. But there is a delay between the time when the webmaster changes the website and when the new content appears in search results. Simply stated, it takes time for Google to learn about the changes on a web page. When conducting a search on Google, the search results reflect the information that was available only during Googlebot’s last crawl of the site. If recent changes were made to your website before Google had a chance to crawl the site, then the results from the spider will not be effective until the next crawl. Notably, Google visitors have the option to view the cached page when looking at the websites and web pages in the search results.
Another key point to be made about Google’s spider in regards to search engine rankings is that “tricking the bots” or “gaming the system” will not get you anywhere. Google is among the most sophisticated search engines in existence, and can quickly determine if your endeavors are deceptive. A 2006-2007 Forbes article reported on a number of marketers that were caught trying to game the Google bots. Since that time, Google has only become even more savvy at catching and subsequently slapping these types of practices with low quality scores.
Avoiding Spider Bites
If you’re running a website biz that attempts to trick the bots to draw traffic to advertising—then the reality equates to the following adage: “Google giveth, and Google will taketh away.”
The best bet is to learn what the spiders look for and simply give them what they want. If you continue to do this, Google will reward you and your business.
By Jordon frauen