Understanding How Google's Organic Search Bot Works

Denis F.
Denis F.
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Search engines are fascinating. We type in a few words, click search, and poof – relevant web pages magically appear. But it's not all magic. Behind the scenes, search engine bots are hard at work, indexing the web and contributing to delivering the best possible search results.

In this post, we'll uncover the most mysterious bot of all, Google’s organic search bot. Consider this your beginner's guide to understanding how the bot crawls the web and helps rank web pages. We'll also explore related optimization tips to boost your SEO and rankings.

What Is Google’s Organic Search Bot?

Google’s organic search bot, or Googlebot is a web crawler that Google uses to collect information about websites to build its index. It’s like a virtual assistant surfing the web on Google's behalf that simulates a user to help Google provide the most relevant search results to user queries.

Googlebot crawls the web kind of like a human would by hopping from page to page, collecting data about those pages to rank them properly. As it crawls, it gathers pages and adds them to Google's search index. The ranking algorithm then analyzes the data to determine which web pages offer the most value for searchers.

How Search Engines Work

If your content ticks all the right boxes according to Google's formulas, your website will earn higher organic search rankings on relevant queries. This means more site traffic and conversions over the long run.

Why Optimizing for Googlebot Is Crucial for SEO

Optimizing your website for Google's organic search bot is important for SEO because Google can only index and rank your website if Googlebot can crawl your pages and extract all the information it needs.

By adhering to Google's guidelines, you ensure that all content is optimally recognized and correctly indexed. This ensures that an efficient data exchange can take place and all pages are ranked accordingly and displayed in the search results.

How to Optimize Your Website for Googlebot

Optimizing your website for Googlebot primarily focuses on technical aspects of your website to ensure it can properly crawl or scan your pages. By refining these technical elements, you're taking steps for SEO which also helps to better position your content and stand out in organic search results. Don't leave the website crawling up to chance, but guide Googlebot by instilling the following technical best practices.

Clean up Your Code & Page Structure

Google's organic search bot should be able to read your website without any problems. To guarantee optimal crawling and processing:

  • Make sure that your robots.txt file only excludes pages from indexing that you don’t want people to find via Google search
  • Compress your website code and delete any unnecessary elements
  • Break up your content with subheadings (H1-H6) and only use one H1 heading per page
  • Use bold text to highlight terms and list elements for any bullet points
  • Use alt text for images to describe what they are about

Following these basic points will make it easier for Googlebot to crawl and index your content.

Enhance Mobile-Friendliness

Nearly 60% of searches originate on mobile devices. If your website infrastructure isn't optimized for seamless mobile use, it severely hinders organic potential. Google uses two different bots, one for desktop and one for mobile devices.

To be in a good position for both bots, your website must be responsive and use large enough fonts (at least 16 pixels for body text) with equally fast loading times on desktop and mobile devices.


Google indexes mobile-first, which means that it primarily uses the mobile version of your website and thus the smartphone bot to index and rank your website.

Maintain an XML Sitemap

Don't rely solely on Googlebot for finding and crawling all your pages. Instead, directly communicate any new pages added to your website through a comprehensive and automated XML sitemap that is submitted to the Google Search Console. Doing so gives Google an outline of all pages on your domain, making it easier to discover new pages and index them correctly.

Use Schema Markups

Marking up content with Schema for structured data provides additional clarity and context to Google’s organic search bot. It includes marking dates, product info, ratings, addresses, and more so Google understands the data better and can even display it within search results for more context.

Markup Search Result Stars

Build a Clean Internal Linking Structure

Your website’s internal linking structure needs to be clear and simple. It helps Googlebot and users to understand and navigate your website intuitively.

The most significant part of building a clean internal linking structure is to develop a hierarchy for structural links. Divide your website into categories and subcategories so that most pages can be reached from your homepage within 1-3 clicks. For example, if you sell clothing, the path of your website could be structured like this:

  • Homepage: example.com
  • Men's Fashion: example.com/mens
  • T-Shirts: example.com/mens/shirts

In addition to structural links, also use contextual links. For example, if you talk about shirts in a blog article, you can hyperlink the word “shirts” in your text with a link to your shirt collection page. It’s a contextual link because this part of your text relates to the linked page.

To illustrate the whole concept of creating a clean internal linking structure, take a look at this visual overview.

Internal Linking Structure SEO Illustration

Both, structural links and contextual links are extremely important for Googlebot and the ranking algorithm to better understand your website and evaluate the authority of individual pages on your website.

Choose Descriptive URLs

Speaking of links, the rules for URLs are simple. Keep them clean, concise, and keyword-rich to accurately showcase the content living on that page. Avoid over-optimization with excessive targets.

Titles and URLs should align closely for optimal crawlability and click-through rates.

E.g. example.com/mens/shirts should be used over example.com/mens/category-a

How to Leverage the Google Search Console

The Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool from Google that you can use to check the performance of your website in organic search and to find technical problems along with recommendations on how to fix them.

For Googlebot, there are four important tabs you can check inside the GSC:

  • Pages: The pages section of GSC allows you to monitor which pages on your site have been indexed by Google and which haven’t. If you notice pages that should be indexed but aren't, GSC provides information on why they've been excluded.

  • Sitemaps: The Sitemaps section lets you submit your sitemap directly to Google, ensuring that Googlebot is aware of all the pages you consider important. It also allows you to check for any errors in your sitemap.

  • Page Experience: Focuses on how the experience of interacting with your website is perceived beyond its informational value. This includes metrics related to page loading speed, mobile usability, safe browsing, and HTTPS. Check this tab to get a quick picture of whether everything is in order.

  • Enhancements (Structured Data): This section displays any errors with your structured data and warnings on your site. If you’re planning to add many different markups to your website, use these tools instead. Google's Rich Result Test and Schema Markup Validator will give you much more detailed information, as GSC doesn't cover all of them.

By regularly monitoring and optimizing these key areas in the Google Search Console, you can ensure your website is fully accessible to Googlebot, providing the best possible chance to rank well in organic search results.

Final Words

You can now consider yourself an expert for Google's organic search bot. Understanding how it works, paired with the technical optimization best practices is sure to boost your indexing and search rankings.

If you want to dive into more details and find all possible optimization opportunities for Googlebot and SEO in general, check out our top picks for best SEO software. Here we list the best all-in-one SEO software providers on the market. Find out who offers the best tools to improve your SEO performance most effectively.

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Digital marketer with the conviction that properly deployed organic marketing delivers the best ROI in the long run. I'm deep into SEO but also enjoy sports, traveling, and absolutely love food.