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15 Crawlability Problems on Your Website & How to Fix Them

15 Crawlability Problems on Your Website & How to Fix Them

Search engine optimization (SEO) is like language. It's a living, breathing organism that continues to evolve, adapt, and grow. It's a well-established fact that web crawlers—also known as spiders or robots—are the underpinning of search engines when it comes to navigating the web.

Their purpose is simple and yet complex: to collect information from trillions of interconnected documents. But what happens when these crawlers can't gain full access to or understand your website?

Crawlability issues are often silent killers for your website's SEO. They can significantly hamper your site's visibility and negatively affect your search engine rankings.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll uncover 15 of the most common crawlability problems your website could be facing and provide practical solutions to address these issues head-on.

By the end, you'll have a crawlability troubleshooting toolkit ready to elevate your website's discoverability in the online world.

What Are Crawlability Problems and How Do They Affect Your SEO?

Crawlability issues occur when search engine bots, which are responsible for indexing the content across the internet, encounter obstacles that prevent them from accessing and understanding your website's content.

These issues can range from technical glitches, such as broken links and server errors, to design aspects like poor site structure or the incorrect use of robotic directives that inadvertently block crawlers.

The impact of crawlability problems on your SEO efforts cannot be overstated. If search engines cannot crawl your site efficiently, your content won't be indexed, which means it won't appear in search results.

This severely limits your site’s visibility to potential visitors, directly affecting your traffic volume, lead generation capabilities, and ultimately, your website’s success in achieving its goals.

Common Crawlability Issues and Fixes

Now that we've established the significant impact of crawlability issues on SEO, it's time to arm yourself with knowledge and solutions. In the upcoming sections, we'll explore 15 crucial fixes to enhance your website's crawlability.

These solutions range from simple adjustments to more technical overhauls, each designed to ensure that search engine bots can access, understand, and index your content effectively. By addressing these common pitfalls, you'll not only improve your website's search engine visibility but also lay a stronger foundation for your overall online presence.

Prepare to dive deep into actionable strategies that can transform your website's relationship with search engines, paving the way for improved rankings and increased traffic.

1. Untangle the Web – Aim for URL Consistency

The web is a labyrinth, and it's easy to lose a crawler in its sprawling corners. URL consistency is vital—avoid chaotic structures that are too deep, too long, or simply illogical. Each URL must be unique, descriptive, and follow a logical structure for both users and search engines. Incorporate keywords wisely without overdoing it, and utilize hyphens as word separators for improved readability. Remember, your URLs' clarity and simplicity not only provide a better user experience but also prevent confusion for web crawlers.

Best Practices for URL Structure:

  • Keep it simple and unique.
  • Use hyphens to separate words.
  • Include your target keywords when relevant.

Image Source: HubSpot

2. HTML Under Construction – Don't Disallow All Robots

It's not uncommon for a new site to have a robots.txt file that disallows all robots as a default. However, it's crucial to review and ensure that this common setup is modified once your site is ready for search indexing. That's when you need to grant access to reputable search engine bots to start the indexing process. Failure to do so would mean that your site misses out on valuable indexing and ranking opportunities simply because the robots are not allowed to 'see' it.

How to Allow Access:

  • Double-check your robots.txt file and ensure it's not blocking search engines.
  • Use Google's Robots Testing Tool to confirm proper access.

3. Not a Fan The Game of Thrones – Fix Broken Links & Redirect Chains

404 errors may as well be the White Walkers of your website. They signal a frustrating dead-end for both users and crawlers. A strong internal linking structure across your website is the proverbial Wall, blocking the crawlability fall beyond the 404s. Meanwhile, be wary of redirect chains, where one redirected URL links to another redirected URL, creating an extended path before reaching the final destination. This dilutes the 'link juice' and slows down the crawling activity, which can negatively affect SEO.

Combating Redirect Chains:

  • Check for site-wide integrity using tools like Screaming Frog.
  • Keep it simple by minimizing the number of hops in your redirects.

Further Reading: How to Find and Fix Indexing Issues in Google Search Console

4. Sitemaps or No Sitemaps – Ensure It's There and Updated

A sitemap acts as a map to guide web crawlers to all the important pages on your site. This helps in two ways: both at the initial indexing phase and whenever changes or new content are added. Your sitemap should be up-to-date, which means that it should be re-submitted to search engines whenever you make significant changes to your website structure.

Steps to Maintain Sitemap Health:

  • Regularly update the sitemap with new URLs.
  • Include no-index pages and canonical URLs to maintain clarity for search engines.

5. Spelling & Grammatical Errors – They're Not Just For Writers

A site ridden with spelling and grammatical errors can confuse crawlers and lower the perceived quality of the website. Consistent and thorough proofreading, much like lens polishing for your content, helps ensure that your website exudes professionalism to both human and robotic visitors.

How to Proofread Your Site:

  • Use tools like Grammarly for error checking.
  • Regularly audit your content for textual integrity.

6. Lexical Labyrinth – Excessive URL Parameters

Canonicalization is the process of choosing the best URL when there are several choices, and it usually involves choosing between www and non-www versions, HTTP and HTTPS variations, and links with excessive URL parameters. When you have multiple URLs pointing to the same content, link equity is diluted. This can be resolved through proper canonicalization.

Taming Excessive URL Parameters:

  • Set a preferred domain in your Google Search Console.
  • Choose the right URL versions and use proper canonical tags.

Image Source: Semrush

7. The Silent Treatment – No Index, No Follow

Oftentimes, webmasters use meta robots tags with no-index, no-follow instructions to manage page visibility from search engines. While this can be a useful tool, it's essential to ensure it's used sparingly and intentionally. Misusing it could inadvertently block content you want to appear in search results, and in turn, impact your site's visibility and indexing.

Strategies for Meta Robot Tags:

  • Audit the use of no-index, no-follow tags regularly.
  • Use header checkers to see what instructions each page is providing to bots.

8. Sheltered Content – Secure Content Behind Forms or Logins

Websites that require a login or form submissions before access can provide a great user experience in certain circumstances. However, this can also mean that your content isn't accessible to crawlers, therefore making it unindexable. If the content is crucial for your SEO strategy, it's worth rethinking how accessible you want it to be for your audience and the search engines.

Balancing Act for Secure Content:

  • Consider whether gated content is necessary for your strategy.
  • Create a pre-login or form submission teaser page for crawlability.

9. Speed Bumps – Handle Server & Crawl Rate Limitations

Apart from external factors like internet speed and user device, your site's server speed and crawl rates can affect the time it takes for a search engine to fully explore your website. Slow server responses can stall the process while setting crawl rate limits too low can mean crawlers won't find new pages quickly enough. It's imperative to ensure your site is responsive and you're not inadvertently signaling to crawlers that you can't handle their speed.

Boosting Server & Crawl Rate Performance:

  • Invest in a reliable web server with sufficient bandwidth.
  • Adjust the crawl rate in Google Search Console based on your server capabilities.

10. Content over Cannibalization – Thrust of Competing Pages

Sometimes, multiple pages on your site target the same keyword or provide the same content at different URLs, confusing both users and crawlers. This signals a lack of content direction and can hurt your site's SEO. Implement a site-wide content audit and utilize canonical tags where appropriate to signal the preferred page for indexing.

Clearing the SEO Cannibalization Confusion:

  • Conduct a keyword mapping exercise across your site to prevent keyword cannibalization.
  • Prioritize content authority and signals to highlight the chosen page.

Image Source: Ahrefs

11. Mobile Mismatch – Failing to Serve Mobile-Friendly Pages

With a mobile-first approach now being indispensable for a successful SEO strategy, failing to serve mobile-friendly pages can be disastrous to your crawlability and, by extension, your ranking. Ensure that your site's mobile version is as structured and as accessible as your desktop site.

Verifying Mobile-Friendly Structures:

  • Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to confirm compliance.
  • Implement responsive design practices for a seamless transition between devices.

12. Metadata Malaise – Neglecting Meta Titles and Descriptions

Meta titles and meta descriptions are often the first things a crawler reads on a webpage. When these are missing, duplicated, or poorly optimized, it leaves crawlers and users alike without an immediate understanding of the page's content, missing the opportunity for a well-structured search listing and click-through.

Maximizing Metadata Potential:

  • Make it a routine to check and update meta titles and descriptions.
  • Utilize keyword research to optimize these snippets for search queries.

13. Image Illiteracy – Images Without Alt Text or Descriptions

Images can make your content engaging, but without proper alt text and file names, spiders won't be able to 'see' them. Alt text helps describe images and their context, aiding in search indexation and accessibility for visually impaired users.

Image Source: Ahrefs

Bridging the Image-Text Gap:

  • Every image should have descriptive alt text that includes relevant keywords.
  • Ensure that file names also provide context to the image's content.

Further Reading: Optimizing Your Images for Better Search Results

14. Black Hat Tactics – Watch for Keyword Stuffing and Cloaking

Unsavory SEO tactics like keyword stuffing and cloaking might help temporarily, but these always end up harming your crawlability and, ultimately, your rankings. Keyword stuffing can ruin the user experience while cloaking, which serves different content to users than to search engines, can lead to severe penalties.

Avoiding Black Hat Practices:

  • Use keyword variations and include them naturally within the content.
  • Remember that transparency is key - your site content should be the same for both users and search engines.

15. Content Catacombs – Deep Pages With Thin Content

Deeply nested pages with limited content often lack crawlability due to poor internal linking and search engine directions. These 'content catacombs' should be strategically addressed by either redirecting them to more relevant content or by enriching them with substantial content that serves a purpose.

Reviving Content in the Catacombs:

  • Regularly audit the depth and content quality of your site pages.
  • Use internal linking to guide crawlers to pages they may have missed.

In the quest for maximal crawlability and sterling SEO, the website builder software by DashClicks semerges as a game-changer. This intuitive platform simplifies the creation and management of SEO-optimized websites, integrating seamlessly with the strategies we've outlined.

With the software, webmasters can effortlessly implement structured URLs, manage metadata with precision, and ensure mobile responsiveness, all while maintaining a visually appealing design.

The white label website builder software also offers tools to easily update sitemaps, check for broken links, and avoid content duplication—essential tasks for keeping your website in the good graces of search engines.

Leveraging the software could be the key to unlocking the full potential of your online presence, driving up your website's discoverability, and ensuring that your content reaches its intended audience efficiently.


Crawlability issues can be complex and multifaceted, involving technical, content-related, and UX aspects. It's vital to approach each issue with meticulousness and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Remember that your website should be as readable and accessible to search engine crawlers as it is to human visitors.

By taking the time to troubleshoot and fix these crawlability issues, you're not just maintaining your site—you're continuously growing and nurturing it. Your SEO efforts will be greatly rewarded with increased traffic and improved search rankings.

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Active Community

Mobile App

Live Support

100+ Tutorials

Unlimited Sub-Accounts

Unlimited Users

All Apps

All Features


Active Community

Mobile App

Live Support

100+ Tutorials