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"What Are Search Engine Web Crawlers, Or Spiders"


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Web crawlers refer to a software program which 'crawls' or pulls out websites with relevant data from the Internet or the web. Since this program searches through the web to pull out specific websites, it is also known as a spider. This spider, while traveling to different websites read their content before listing them in the search engine index. Spiders or Crawlers are used by all major search engines to update and present their index. Besides crawlers, the web spider is also known by the names of web robot, a ‘bot' or software agent.

The web crawlers use a very methodical approach to complete the indexing procedure. They prepare a list of websites to visit, according to a set algorithm and list these websites in the search engine index.

Search engine crawlers are often believed to be used for facilitating website ranking. However, although it might be partially true, it is not always that the web spiders help in getting your website in the top rank. In order to get a good ranking for your website, you need to constantly update your website with fresh and relevant content. The ranking depends on the keyword rich content and the crawlers will help pulling your website and listing them. They work more as a filtering tool to pick up the best websites and listing them rather than facilitating ranking themselves.

Web crawlers are pre-designed program and they will visit the website as per set conditions and thus, the content which is there in your website should match the conditions specified in the program. Web robots are also updated occasionally with new features which might help them identify the relevant websites better. Web spiders or crawlers can also be used validating HTML codes, or/and links, collecting specific data from websites, and even downloading website contents.

The use of robots.txt in your website can help you hide parts of your website from being accessed by some web crawlers. For that you need to keep the part you want to hide in a file named robots.txt. However, many times it has been experienced that the robots.txt does not work with many web crawlers and thus, cannot guarantee the privacy you are looking for.

While looking into the websites the search engine crawlers check for keywords. It is due to this reason that the role of appropriate keywords is considered to be so important when it comes to search engine optimization. In order to get noticed by the web robots, it is important that you use your keywords wisely. It is not always necessary that if you flood your website with keywords you will get higher ranking. On the contrary, excessive keywords can be treated as spam. Therefore, it would be wise to include the keywords into the content in such a manner that they look like an integral part of the content and get noticed by the web spiders. Also, ensure to keep your page headings bold and prominent so that the crawlers are able to differentiate between the two.

Provided By: Ray Plumlee
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What Are Search Engine Web Crawlers, Or Spiders
 
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