What are spiders and how do they work?
In any discussion about getting your website indexed by search engines, the term spiders (sometimes called crawlers or robots), will eventually come up.
A spider is a software program that follows links throughout the internet, grabbing content from websites and adding it to search engines. The sole purpose of the spider is to visit websites collect information and then bring back that data to the search engine where it came from.
Spiders follow links from one to another which is why backlinks to your website are so critical. The more websites that link to your website, the more chances there are for spiders to find your website and add it to search engines.
All the major search engines use spiders and they all factor in the quality of links to your site when they are giving it its ranking. The first thing that a spider does when it visits your webpage is to look for a file called robots.txt. This file indicates to the spider what to index and what not to index.
Although spiders find web pages by following links, you can also submit your web pages directly to search engines by requesting a visit from their spider program – more emphasis however is put on pages that their spiders find naturally.
A good SEO company can help you to determine whether to submit your site to search engines, and if so which ones to submit to.
Remember however that whether you request that the search engine spiders visit your page or whether you choose to let them find you organically, you will still need to submit your site to any directories that you wish to be found in. This is because directories are run by humans and not spiders.
When a new site is launched, a spider will usually only index the home page and index other pages later, over a longer period of time. Getting your site listed on the major search engines will help to speed up this process.
One of the best ways to keep spiders coming back to your site is to be constantly updating it with fresh content. Try adding new articles, blogs and other interesting information on a regular basis. Instead of doing major updates, do small but regular updates.
Also, make sure that your page has a nice site map and make sure that you have at least one link to the site map on every page. Because a spider may enter your website from any page, it is important that they are able to traverse your entire site from any page as well.
In some circumstances, you may have a page that you do not wish spiders to visit. For example, you may have a page full of email addresses and you do not wish spiders from marketing companies to be able to access them. Another reason may be that you wish to have a “members only” section of your site and restrict certain information only to those members.
While there are several ways to block spiders, the most effective way is to password protect your site.