Why & What alerts in SEO are becoming more important

By Martijn Scheijbeler Published May 30, 2018

We have all been there, haven’t we? Quotes like: “SH*T, my sitemaps are broken”, “I have no-indexed half my pages” or: “I have been kicked out of a search engine with way too many pages” sound familiar? Honestly, I can’t blame you. It’s getting harder and harder to keep track of all the changes that are being made regarding SEO on your site and you’re likely the only person involved with SEO for your company while also trying to work on driving traffic through other channels. So let me give you a quick insight in what I am usually tracking within bigger companies and where there is an actual team to react on issues that come up.

Analytics & Reporting

Obviously you need to have the right tools & analytics in place, in the end a monitoring setup can only alert you when they’re configured the right way and set up. The easiest way to do this is obviously through your web analytics setup (in most cases Google Analytics). There you’ll likely also run into the first problem, as most analytics can’t report your error rate in real time you’re dealing with likely a delay of around 24 hours.

Just zoom in on the picture, it’s a random metric that I picked from a Google Analytics property, but you notice the anomaly here right. In the last two weeks it goes down significantly due to unknown reasons.

In this blog post I don’t want to go too much in detail about the Intelligence Alerts features within Google Analytics. Years ago I’ve already blogged about this on the Moz blog, which you can read here.

Technical & Content

The source code of your pages can always change, it can be influenced by developers, plugins and other integrations making changes to your code. That also means that every update you perform on your site can have an influence on your SEO. I’ve had it happen that engineers changed something in the deep dark corners of a framework and instead of serving regular pages to bots (read Google) they started serving XML files just to them. Needless to say that we quickly lost a ton of rankings as Google didn’t have any clue on how to understand the pages.

This just an example but imagine how elements like this affect your SEO without you knowing

  • URL Structure, Pagination, Parameters
  • On Page Elements: H1, META Descriptions, Links, Canonical or HREFLang tags.
  • Schema.org: Is your structured data markup broken or working?
  • On Page Content, what’s working and what’s not?

SEORadar & Little Warden

This isn’t an advertorial for either SEORadar or Little Warden but we were using SEORadar at Postmates and I still see the founder (Mark) on a regular basis at meetups in the Bay Area.

The product that he’s build out will let you monitor dozens and dozens of potential changes regarding SEO. Mostly on the technical site, because how often do you make changes to META details or on page elements and forgot that across the board they can have an impact on SEO? This tool will keep track of it, only of the tools that I know in this area that is really useful. For bigger sites, an investment that is worth it. You making a mistake and making an error is many times more expensive.

Also take a look at Little Warden if you’re looking for something like this, they’re also monitoring tons of metrics and elements that are related to SEO. Both are incredibly important tools if you want to make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening on your site.

Content & Relevance

Are you still aware of the content that you put out that it’s relevant and ranking for the right things? Rankings is sort of an answer to this but not always the best metric to look at in this perspective. I’ve written about rankings extensively before, and will for sure in the future as I’m still working on Keywordz.co.

I haven’t extensively used too many tools in this area, but for some companies it does make sense to track the actual content on this page so you can be tracking

Google Search Console

In terms of content & relevance, there are still some easy to use reports that you should be looking at on a regular basis. How often do you really look at the reports around duplicate content: meta descriptions, titles and the length of both of them?

Authority Building

Errors & notifications on authority building should get it’s own blog post at some point. In the end in this area you want to get as much information as possible on where you’re getting mentioned or where potential opportunities may rise. In the end it could be that every mention of your industry could be a chance for your company/site to be mentioned.

Want to get started the easy way? Set up a Google Alert, search on Mention, etc. so you can stay on top of where you’re being mentioned. Related to links, monitor your data in Google Search Console and Majestic to see what’s new.

So what’s next? Can we really build tools & processes that can estimate what’s breaking and what their impact is? Hopefully over time we can, as it should make the job of most SEOs way easier.