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What Is Googlebot and How Does It Work?

NIDMM ~ Modified: May 29th, 2023 ~ Tools ~ 5 Minutes Reading

What Is Googlebot and How Does It Work?


Do you know what is Googlebot and how does it work?

In the world of search engines, Google is undoubtedly the undisputed leader.

With its vast index of web pages and sophisticated algorithms, it provides users with accurate and relevant search results.

But have you ever wondered how Google discovers and indexes web pages? This is where Googlebot comes into play.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of Googlebot and explore how it works.

Understanding Googlebot

Googlebot is the web crawling bot used by Google to discover, crawl, and index web pages. It is also known as a web spider or web crawler.

The primary function of Googlebot is to browse the internet, follow links, and collect information from websites to build and update Google’s index.

The index is essentially a vast database of web pages that Google uses to provide search results to its users.

How Does Googlebot Work?

Googlebot operates through a systematic process of crawling and indexing web pages. Let’s break down the steps involved:

1. Discovering Web Pages

Googlebot starts its journey by finding web pages to crawl. It begins with a list of URLs from its previous crawl and sitemap files provided by webmasters.

Google also constantly receives new URLs from various sources, such as links on existing web pages, submissions through Google Search Console, and suggestions from users.

2. Crawling Web Pages

Once Googlebot has a list of URLs, it starts visiting those web pages. It sends out requests to web servers, mimicking the behaviour of a regular web browser.

The web server then responds to the request, providing the content of the web page. Googlebot follows the links within the page and adds them to its list of URLs to crawl later.

3. Rendering and Processing

Googlebot retrieves the HTML content of a web page and analyzes its structure and elements.

It reads the text, parses the HTML, and extracts important information like headings, titles, meta tags, and links. It also looks for any embedded resources, such as images, videos, and scripts.

4. Indexing Web Pages

After processing a web page, Googlebot adds the information it gathered to Google’s index.

The index is like a vast library catalogue that enables Google’s search algorithm to retrieve relevant pages for search queries. The index stores information about the content, structure, and other relevant data of web pages.

5. Following Links

Googlebot continuously follows links from one web page to another, creating a vast interconnected network of web pages.

It ensures that new and updated pages are discovered and added to the index. However, Googlebot has certain limitations and guidelines, such as respecting robots.txt files, to avoid crawling restricted content.

Factors Affecting Googlebot’s Crawling

Several factors influence how Googlebot crawls and indexes web pages. Here are some essential considerations:

1. Website Structure and Navigation: Well-organized websites with clear navigation make it easier for Googlebot to discover and crawl pages efficiently.

2. Robots.txt File: The robots.txt file is used to instruct Googlebot and other search engine crawlers about which pages or sections of a website should not be crawled.

3. Page Speed and Accessibility: Googlebot prefers websites that load quickly and are accessible to both users and crawlers. Slow-loading pages or pages with accessibility issues may not be crawled effectively.

4. XML Sitemaps: Submitting an XML sitemap to Google Search Console helps Googlebot understand the structure of your website and discover new or updated pages more efficiently.

How to control Googlebot?

Google provides a few options for controlling what is crawled and indexed.

Ways to control crawling

Robots.txt: The Robots.txt file on your website grants you the ability to manage the crawling process by specifying which pages or directories should be crawled and indexed by search engines.

Nofollow: Nofollow is a link attribute or meta robot tag that advises search engines not to follow a particular link. It is a suggestion rather than a command, which means search engines may choose to disregard it.

Adjust crawl rate: This feature in Google Search Console empowers you to modify the speed at which Google’s crawling activity occurs on your website. You can slow down the frequency of Googlebot’s visits to your site using this tool.

Ways to control indexing

Remove/Delete content: By removing a page from your website, there will be nothing left for search engines to index. However, keep in mind that this also means the page becomes inaccessible to others.

Restrict access to content: Implementing password protection or authentication mechanisms prevents search engines like Google from accessing and indexing the content. This ensures that only authorized users can view the restricted content.

Use the “Noindex” directive: Including the “no index” attribute in the meta robots tag informs search engines not to index a specific page. This approach allows you to selectively exclude certain pages from search engine results.

URL removal tool: Although the name may be misleading, this tool provided by Google allows you to temporarily hide specific content. While Google will still crawl and process the content, the pages will not be displayed in search results during the specified period.

Robots.txt (Images only): By blocking Googlebot Image from crawling your website’s images using the robots.txt file, you can prevent those images from being indexed by search engines. This approach specifically targets image indexing while allowing other content to be indexed as usual.


Googlebot plays a crucial role in the functioning of Google’s search engine.

By crawling and indexing web pages, Googlebot enables Google to provide users with relevant and up-to-date search results.

Understanding how Googlebot works and the factors that influence its crawling behaviour can help website owners optimize their sites for better visibility in search results.