Are you working with client websites? Maybe as a designer, a developer, an SEO or perhaps you just manage their hosting. If you answered yes, chances are you’re not the only person who has access to vital parts of the site, “parts” which must be treated with care. And, ff you’re the person who is responsible for the website’s SEO performance, you should be doing website health checks on a regular base too. To this end, here’s an list of tools you can use to make sure that you’re aware of the site’s health at all times
Google Analytics Custom Alerts
Every website that needs improvement should have some form of additional analytics installed. Builtwith.com currently reports over 17M websites running Google Analytics. W3Techs estimates a 82.1% market share for GA across the web, so it’s safe to assume that most of you are using GA on your websites. The question is; “Have you enabled Custom Alerts?” Give yourself a pat on the back if you said yes. Otherwise, have a look at the video and see for yourself what possibilities you’re leaving on the table. If you’re wondering what sort of alerts you can create, here’s 55 different custom alerts by Lunametrics to get you started.
Google Advanced Operators
Besides GA, Google Search is another one of your best friends. Simply use the site: operator to get an indication of how many pages Google has indexed. Does this, give or take, correspond with the amount of pages you were expecting? A significant difference might indicate an indexing problem. It can be quite easy to accidentally introduce problems with duplicate content or canonicalization. Also, the robots.txt file and the robots meta tags often cause problems, especially when someone else has been working on the site. (I’ve seen this happen to SEO agency and web development company sites!)
Google Webmaster Tools
Again, Google provides us with one of the most essential tools to check a websites performance. GWT provides you with data which practically comes straight from the horse’s mouth. Once you’ve discovered problems, with the help of the GA custom alerts or through manual checkups, it’s time to identify the issues and figure out a way to fix them. Assuming you know how to add your site to GWT, make sure that in the preferences section you use an email address that you actually check every day. If there’s any type of issue that Google picks up, you want them to let you know about it ASAP.
All the Google stuff I touched on should have you covered, but in case you want to take your monitoring one step further, here’s a few tools you can use:
- Pingdom - not the only one, by one of the best known website uptime monitor services.
- URIvalet – Server headers are very important when you’re working on a site’s SEO. I’ve seen weird instances where I could see a page as a user, but the webserver was returning faulty headers to Googlebot which ended up with pages not getting indexed.
- Screaming Frog – crazy name, awesome tool. This lets you crawl your website as if you were Googlebot and it will help you to get a closer look at the site’s technical details.
Is there anything I left out? Are there tools out there which you think webmasters should know about? Leave a comment!