In the technology industry, specifically search engine optimization, the words “crawling” and “indexing” are as common as hardhats on a construction site. It’s frequent to hear questions asked about what this process actually is and what the difference between the two are. Although crawling and indexing are two different things, they both play a very important role within search engines and what sites are shown when a search query is submitted.
CRAWLING: Crawling is the process of a search engine going through and looking at all of the content on your website. These crawlers are known as “spiders” or “bots” and they navigate through your website and allow search engines to know what content to show after a search query is made.
INDEXING: Once the bots are finished crawling through and inspecting the content of your website, the bots will put the information into the search engine’s index. This means that the search engine’s have discovered you and depending on the keywords submitted by someone making a search, the content on your website could be shown as a result on a search engine result page.
In order to get your site crawled and indexed, you’re going to want to create an XML sitemap and submit it to both Google Webmaster Tools as well as Bing Webmaster Tools to let search engines know that your website exists and that it needs to be crawled! It can take some time for your website to get crawled and indexed, but once it’s completed, your organic ranking factor will increase as these steps are ranking factors.