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What You Need to Know About SEO Monitoring

What You Need to Know About SEO Monitoring

In the world of SEO, data reigns supreme. With websites comprising thousands of subpages, keywords, internal links, and external links from countless domains, the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming. As the industry evolves and the amount of data grows, traditional methods of conducting full-site audits are becoming increasingly inefficient and time-consuming.

To stay ahead in today's competitive landscape, SEOs must embrace a more streamlined and automated approach to managing their website's health and performance. This is where monitoring comes into play. By shifting from periodic audits to continuous monitoring, SEOs can proactively identify issues, and track key metrics, making data-driven decisions to optimize their websites for search engines and users alike.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the importance of monitoring in SEO, delve into the key areas that require attention, and discuss the tools and techniques that can help you easily navigate the vast sea of SEO data.

The Evolution of SEO: From Audits to Monitoring

Traditionally, SEO professionals relied heavily on conducting full site audits to assess the health and performance of their websites. These audits involved manually sifting through large amounts of data to identify areas of improvement, such as technical errors, content gaps, and link-building opportunities. While audits still have their place in the SEO toolkit, they are becoming less frequent due to the time and resources they consume.

Enter monitoring: a more efficient and automated approach to managing SEO data. By leveraging specialized tools and setting up alerts, SEOs can now receive real-time insights into their website's performance, allowing them to identify and address any issues that arise quickly. This approach saves time and ensures that SEOs can stay on top of the ever-changing search landscape and adapt their strategies accordingly.

The Power of Reports and Alerts

Monitoring involves two key components: reports and alerts. Both play crucial roles in keeping SEOs informed and empowered to make data-driven decisions.

Reports: Analyzing Trends and Demonstrating Value

Reports allow SEOs to analyze the variability of individual metrics over time and demonstrate the impact of their optimization efforts. While creating reports is essential, it should not be the primary focus of an SEO's time and energy. Instead, SEOs should prioritize developing and implementing strategies based on the insights gleaned from these reports.

Tools like Oncrawl offer customizable reporting features that help SEOs track various aspects of their website's health, such as backlink growth, organic traffic, status codes, and duplicate content. These reports can be tailored to specific business objectives and provide a clear overview of how the website performs over time.

Some examples of valuable reports include:

  • Trends for specific metrics or KPIs
  • Comparisons between two points in time (e.g., before and after a site migration)
  • Average InRank and depth comparisons
  • Aggregate reports combining data from multiple sources

Alerts: Staying Informed and Taking Action

While reports provide a high-level view of a website's performance, alerts are the first defense against potential issues. Configuring alerts in your monitoring tools ensures you never miss an important change or problem on your website.

Alerts should be customized based on your unique business needs as well as the specific metrics you want to track. For example, you might set up an alert to notify you if your website's loading speed drops below a certain threshold or if a critical page returns a 404 error.

When setting up alerts, consider the following factors:

  • Alerting thresholds: Adjust the sensitivity of your alerts based on the importance of the metric and the tolerance for variation.
  • Alert recipients: Ensure that the right people, including key stakeholders and developers, receive the alerts to facilitate quick action.
  • Alert channels: Utilize communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to streamline alert delivery and keep everyone informed.
  • Alert frequency: Determine the appropriate frequency for each alert based on the metric's nature and your team's capacity to respond.

Key Areas to Monitor in SEO

Now that we understand why monitoring is so important, as well as the role of reports and alerts, let's explore the specific areas that SEOs should focus on when setting up their monitoring systems.

Website Infrastructure

Even if you can access your website's CMS and configurations, it's easy to overlook critical issues that can impact more than just SEO. Monitoring your website's infrastructure should include the following:

  • Availability (uptime): Ensure your website is consistently accessible to users and search engines.
  • Correct functioning: Identify and fix any glitches or errors hindering user experience or conversion rates.
  • SSL certificate and domain expiration: Stay on top of renewal deadlines to avoid unexpected downtime or security warnings.
  • Presence on blacklists: Regularly check if your website has been flagged for malware or other security threats.
  • Robot blockers: Verify that your robots.txt file and X-Robots-Tag in the HTTP header are not inadvertently blocking search engine crawlers.

On-Site Technical SEO

Technical SEO is a collaborative effort that involves identifying and addressing issues that may arise as other teams work on your website. Key areas to monitor include:

  • Pages returning 404 status codes: Identify and fix broken links that can negatively impact user experience and search engine crawlability.
  • 5xx errors: Quickly resolve server errors that can lower a page's ranking or cause it to be dropped from the index.
  • Noindex tags on critical pages: Ensure that important pages, such as the homepage, are not accidentally excluded from search engine indexing.
  • Loading speed: Continuously monitor page load times to maintain a positive user experience and avoid ranking penalties.
  • Organic traffic: Track bounce rates, conversion rates, and other key performance indicators to gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
  • Orphan pages: Identify and integrate pages not properly linked within your website's structure to improve their visibility and ranking potential.

Off-Site SEO

Monitoring your website's off-site SEO factors is as important as tracking on-site elements. Key metrics to watch include:

  • SERP positions: Track your website's rankings for target keywords and monitor any fluctuations or trends.
  • Google Search Console data: Analyze click-through rates (CTR), impressions, crawling speed, and errors reported by Google.
  • Backlink profile: Monitor the quantity and quality of inbound links and any changes or deletions that may impact your website's authority.
  • Trust Flow and Citation Flow: Track these Majestic metrics to assess the value of your website and potential link-building opportunities.

Essential Tools for SEO Monitoring

To effectively monitor your website's SEO performance, you'll need a combination of powerful tools that provide the data and insights you need. Some essential tools include:

  • Google Search Console: While it doesn't offer configurable alerts, GSC provides valuable data on your website's performance in Google search results.
  • Google Analytics: Set up custom alerts to notify you of significant traffic or user behavior changes.
  • Majestic: Access detailed data on your website's backlink profile and compare it to competitors.

Monitor SEO

In the fast-paced world of SEO, monitoring has become an essential practice for staying ahead of the competition and ensuring your website's long-term health and success. By leveraging the power of reports, alerts, and specialized tools, SEOs can efficiently navigate the vast amounts of data at their disposal and make informed decisions to optimize their websites for both search engines and users.

By focusing on key areas such as website infrastructure, on-site technical SEO, and off-site factors, and by utilizing the right combination of tools, SEOs can establish a robust monitoring system that provides real-time insights and enables proactive problem-solving.

As the SEO landscape continues to evolve, embracing monitoring as an integral part of your strategy will save you time and resources and position your website for sustained growth and success in the ever-competitive digital marketplace.

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