As I’m sure you’re already aware, there is no shortage of online services that help you keep track of your site’s metrics. Many people rely on things like Analytics, Sitemeter, Technorati, Alexa and so forth to see how their blogs and sites are doing. Most of these services are designed to track the number of visitors, traffic sources, and things like that.
Some guy named Peter (he never gave a last name) put in this review request for SEOmeter, a new metrics tool that doesn’t track visitors or page views. Instead, SEOmeter.com keeps an eye on Google’s crawl cycle. Why should you care? Read on and find out.
What is Crawl Rate and Crawl Cycle?
Like I said, there are many numbers for webmasters to track when they want to see if their sites are on the rise or about to enter the deadpool. If you see that your blog is attracting more visitors, that’s a good thing. If you see that page views are up, that’s a good thing. Those are obvious enough, but keeping track of how often Google crawls your site could also prove to be very important too.
In SEOmeter’s own words:
How often search engine visits and crawls website content is an often neglected, but important metric for search engine optimization. Search engine’s crawing rate can be quantified by crawl cycle (CC), which is the time between two consecutive crawls by search engine robots. A short CC usually means that the website is “trusted” by search engines, and this trust, in turn, is reflected on the website’s search engine ranking.
For many blogs, search engines serve as a monstrous source of traffic, especially if you don’t have a strong readership like John Chow dot Com. As a result, getting ranked for certain keywords or keyword phrases can have a monumental effect on the level of traffic that your blog or site receives. For this reason, many of us strive to get on Google’s good side, partaking in all sorts of SEO strategies. By tracking their crawl cycle, you can better understand whether you’re in Google’s good graces or on their “let’s ban this guy” list.
Am I The Only One Who Sees Alexa?
The graph provided by the SEOmeter SEO tool looks an awful lot like the graphs that you see on Alexa. Let’s put the value of Alexa rankings aside for just a moment and look at the aesthetics. The SEOmeter graph spans three months at default (they’ll probably add more options later on), puts the name of the site in the upper-left corner, has a similar grid pattern, and boasts a watermarked image behind the graph itself.
Also like Alexa, the information shown is based on a three-month running average. The crawl cycle (CC) is defined as “the time between two consecutive crawls (i.e., cache updates) done by search engine robots).” For John Chow dot Com, you can see that Google’s crawl cycle here is a little more than 0.5. More specifically, the detailed information displayed beneath the graph reveals a 3-month crawl cycle of 0.57. This means that Google sends its robot every 0.57 days (almost twice a day). The lower this number, the better, because it means that your newest content shows up in search engine results sooner and Google “trusts” you more.
From the site-specific page, you also find out when was the most recent crawl and at what time of day do most crawls occur. For John Chow dot Com, you can see that 14% of crawling occurred between 1800 and 1859 GMT.
But It Ain’t Free
It’s up to you to decide whether Google’s crawl cycle on your site (or blog) is something worth tracking. If you do choose to monitor this metric, it’s going to cost you. Unlike so many free services out there — like the one’s mentioned in the opening paragraph — SEOmeter.com is not free and that’s why so many sites are not listed in its directory. (You can find more information in the FAQ and blog.)
It costs $20 to submit your site to SEOmeter and this buys you one year of site-monitoring. Every year after that costs you an additional $20. It’s a fairly minor investment, to be sure, but it makes for a significantly higher barrier to entry. SEOmeter might be better off taking the advertising route (they already have a series of 125×125 buttons in the sidebar) rather than charging people for their services. After all, the resulting data is totally public anyways.