It is important that your website evolves in a systematic way over time, leading to higher traffic and a better user experience. When building a rapid website, mistakes can be made easily, so we use tools to automate the monitoring and auditing of the website. It is not possible to manually manage large websites once they reach a certain size.
Website tracking and monitoring tools
Five tools help us understand what’s happening on our website every day. Here are some of the ways we monitor our website:
- technical quality
- user experience
- content & keywords
1. Google Search Console
The Google Search Console is the most important tool we use daily to monitor the quality and performance of our websites.
Try using the following Google Search query to find out if Google knows about all the pages on your website: site:[your domain] (example: site:www.liveagent.com). Google’s search results show how many pages are indexed:
Set a path to your sitemap in the Sitemaps section of your website so that Google can see every page of your website:
The Google Search Console accurately detects all significant errors and suggests improvements on your website, including pagination errors, technical errors, and 404 errors:
As part of the daily audit process, you will monitor the performance of your website based on keywords used by your visitors. Understand what visitors search for before they visit your page:
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free website tracking tool and platform that collects data on how users interact with your website. As the data is collected, Google Analytics sorts it into easy-to-read interactive reports, which are what we see on the platform. Analytical reports enable us to understand how our visitors behave and adapt our content strategy accordingly.
Easily scroll through your domain and immediately spot the design errors. You can see the real-time rendering in URLslab:
Changes to each URL are recorded:
We monitor our infrastructure with multiple internal tools, but it is always good to have independent external tool, which notifies you immediately once your page is not accessible. One of the simplest free tools is uptimerobot.com.
Ahrefs.com makes it possible for us to monitor the position of our landing pages in the Google Search results for keywords relevant to our business. With the exception of keyword monitoring, we use the Site Audit tool to identify all HTML/CSS errors generated by our copywriters, translators or developers on a daily basis.
A search engine crawler’s first stop when crawling your website is the file www.example.com/robots.txt. Make sure your robots.txt and sitemap are always accessible with the proper format.
To test our robots.txt file we use robots.txt Tester tool
A proper robots.txt file should contain directive Sitemap pointing to the sitemap of your website. Example:
For validation of sitemap we use Google Search Console Sitemap status:
Use SSL Certificate – Having an SSL certificate is a must. Secure websites (https vs. http) rank higher than websites without SSL. There are numerous authorities that issue SSL certificates, but we rely on Letsencrypt, a free service.
Validate SSL Certificate – Make sure you have a valid and strong SSL certificate on your website. For SSL certificate validation we use tools from SSL Labs
Malware check – You don’t want to host compromised content on your website. Our site audit includes a Google Transparency Report check.
Only unique and valuable content will be considered by Google when ranking your page higher in search results.
Prior to optimizing existing content or creating new content, remove all low quality content from your domain. By removing low quality content, you can improve traffic and save resources needed for maintenance and translations.
Whether your content team has to handle 100 pages of high quality or 20.000 pages of moderate quality makes a huge difference. Low-quality content will consume a lot of resources, such as translating your website into multiple languages and maintaining internal links.
How to identify pages with low quality?
- Look for empty pages (e.g. pages with just few words in the main content or pages just with one image)
- Duplicate/Copied content from other websites
- Auto-generated content with no additional value
- Old content no longer relevant to your topic
- Content lacking expertise, authoritativeness or trustworthiness
- Content not relevant to your main topics
- Harmful pages generated by malware or other type of attack (e.g. included in sitemap.xml, but not accessible from main menu)
To understand how Google rates the quality of the content read general guidelines for search quality rating process.
Google considers your page’s page speed, along with content quality, to be one of its most important ranking signals. Your visitors will not wait for more than 3-5 seconds for the page to load. If it doesn’t deliver on time, they will go to another website to find answers.
How to monitor page speed?
Monitor page speed with Google Analytics Site Speed Report. This tool helps you identify the slowest pages, geographical regions and browsers that deliver your content slowly.
How to improve the page speed?
PageSpeed Insights have the most comprehensive recommendations on how to speed up your page, but here are our top recommendations on how to keep your page fast::
- Review caching headers and use content delivery networks (CDN)
- Optimize images (image dimensions, file formats)
- Keep the amount of sub-requests as low as possible (e.g. external js libraries)
- Make sure rendering is fast also for mobile devices
Mobile compatibility test tools
1. Mobile-friendly test
Google offers multiple tools to check compatibility of your web page design with mobile platforms. One of them is Mobile-Friendly Test. After entering your URL, you get an instant compatibility result.
2. Google Search Console – Mobile usability
Mobile Usability Report in Google Search Console is another tool we use periodically for monitoring mobile usability. The report gives us detailed recommendations on how to improve mobile usability errors detected by Google during crawling.
The most critical parts of our website are tested periodically using BrowserStack to simulate a wide variety of mobile platforms and operating systems. It is an essential tool primarily for development, but we also find it helpful during standard mobile compatibility checks.
As part of our commitment to making our website accessible to individuals with disabilities, we evaluate it in WebAIM, a free tool for evaluating website accessibility standards, on an as-needed basis.