Are Crawl Errors a Ranking Factor?We used Google's documents to fact-check and find out.
Popularity Quiz: If you publish a web page, will search engines rank it?
For a search engine to rank your page, it must first crawl it.
This is where the crawl budget comes into play.
Search engines use their crawl budget to crawl your site.
If there are crawl errors on the web page (i.e. 404, 403, 503, etc.), search engines will not crawl the page with the error.
To clear things up once and for all, we leverage Google's documentation to validate this common SEO myth.
Drums, please: Find the truth about some of your crawl mistakes and crawl budget beliefs ahead of time.
Claim: Crawl Error and Crawl Budget as Ranking Factors
Before exploring the evidence, here's some refresher on crawl errors and crawl budgets.
What are crawl errors?
Crawl Errors are problems that search engines find when trying to access a web page.These errors prevent search engines from reading and indexing your content.
If search engines can't read or index your content, those pages have little chance of ranking.
What is a crawl budget?
Craw Budgets refers to the number of pages a search engine can crawl.Google divides its crawl budget into two factors:
- Crawl rate limits, page speed, crawl errors, and crawl limits set in Google Search Console.
- Crawl demand, i.e. the popularity of your pages is related to freshness.
Can you understand?Now, let's look at the impact of crawl errors and crawl budget on rankings.
Crawl Errors and Crawl Budget as Ranking Factors: Evidence
Are Crawl Errors a Ranking Factor?
Let's get this out of the way: no, crawl errors are not a ranking factor.
In fact, Google's John Mueller says it's normal if 30-40% of URLs in Google Search Console return a 404 error.
Is crawl budget a ranking factor?
Back in 2009, Google confirmed that it could only detect a certain percentage of content on the internet.
"The Internet is a big place;New content is being created all the time.Google has a finite number of resources, so when faced with an almost infinite amount of online content, Googlebot can only find and crawl a certain percentage of it.
Then, of the content we crawl, we can only index a portion of it.
In 2017, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary IIlyes published "What Crawl Budgets Mean for Googlebot" explaining how Google calculates crawl budgets.
At the beginning of this article, Google states:
"First of all, we want to emphasize that, as discussed below, crawl budget is not something that most publishers have to worry about.If new pages tend to be crawled on the day they're published, webmasters don't need to be concerned about crawl budgets.
Likewise, if a site has fewer than a few thousand URLs, it will be effectively crawled most of the time.
And, at the bottom, Google answers whether crawling is a ranking factor:
"Increased crawl rates don't necessarily lead to better rankings in search results.Google uses hundreds of signals to rank results, and while crawling is necessary for results, it is not a ranking signal.
Google says:Crawl budget is not a ranking factor.
Now, if you're interested in learning how to optimize your crawl budget, Search Engine Magazine contributor Nicolas Vargas shares everything you need to know here.
Crawl Error and Crawl Budget as Ranking Signals: Our Verdict
In case you got to the end of this chapter without reading anything else, let's say it again: neither crawl errors nor crawl budget are Google ranking factors.
That is, if a page cannot be indexed or rendered, it will not rank (or pass any link equity).Crawl errors can indicate if this is happening on your site, so it's an important SEO check.
While there is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to dealing with your crawl errors and SEO strategy, understanding the high number of crawl errors in Google Search Console will not directly affect your rankings.