I think it is quite an important topic yet quite misunderstood. Most people think of Google Indexing and crawling as the same thing. Apparently, they are not. In this post, I am going to explain the difference between Google indexing and Google crawling and why should you even care.
What is Google Crawling?
In simple terms, it is a process used by Google Search to find new webpages from the Worldwide web to store them on its servers. It is a computer program run 24/7 on very powerful hardware.
This program finds new pages through 2 different methods.
- When webmasters upload a sitemap.xml file through Google Search Console, google crawl all those pages.
- When Google crawler finds new internal links on any webpage, it visits them and sends them to Google’s servers.
What is Google Indexing?
When Google crawler finds new webpages through the process of crawling, it sends them back to Google’s servers. Google specific servers then store those new webpages. The process of saving those pages is known as Google’s Index.
If that sounds too confusing then think of Google index as storage where Google save web pages. Those web pages then displayed in the search results on specific queries.
What is a Googlebot?
It is a common name for Google’s crawlers which visits webpages, find new links and store them to its index. There are 2 different types of Googlebot:
-Googlebot Mobile – This Googlebot crawls pages in mobile-format.
-Googlebot Desktop – Crawling desktop version of a web page.
Recent Mobile first-indexing has changed this process a little bit. Before Google introduced mobile first-indexing Googlebot first crawls the desktop version of the website and then index pages and rank them in its index. Now, it works a little differently. It first crawls the mobile version of a website then store it in its index.
What is a Google Data Center and Where is it Located?
These are specific data storage centers which store data for Google’s many platforms and services. These servers specifically designed to save data on hundreds of hard drives and solid state drives without having a data loss.
It is where Google index all the webpages data. There are no official numbers on how many such data centers are in existence but according to Gartner 2016 report, there are around 2.5 million such data centers exist worldwide in various countries.
What’s the difference between Google Indexing and Google Crawling?
The difference is quite huge. Google crawler is a program which visits thousands of web pages each day or maybe more. On the other hand, the index is where it stores those web pages so then it can be displayed in the search results.
Google named it’s crawler ‘Googlebot’. The purpose of this crawler is to visit new pages, find links on those pages, and visit them. If it finds new pages then it sends them to its server which is known by the name “Google Index”. This process is fully automated. However, you can improve your chances of indexing all the web pages on your website.
How as a Webmaster Can you help Google Crawl and Index Your Pages Faster?
These are the few tips to make sure that your webpages get regularly crawled and indexed by Googlebot:
- Verify your website property on Google Search Console and submit a sitemap.
- Specify your XML sitemap URL in the robots.txt file.
- Through Google Search Console URL inspection tool, you can submit new individual pages to the Google index.
- Send a Ping request to Googlebot through your browser by typing a command like this:
I hope you find this post useful. If you need help with fixing indexing and crawling issues on your website then check out my on-page SEO services.