Using Moz Site Crawl to Improve SEO
There are so many facets to improving a website for better SEO, and one of our favourite tools to assist in determining where to focus our attention month on month is Moz Pro. Moz Pro assists in reporting on a number of different SEO elements from rankings to traffic, links, social and more. Often with SEO, the biggest question is “where do I start?” and it’s a good question. There is literally so much involved in SEO that having a tool like Moz Pro can really help determine the best places to start and put some type of plan of attack in place for the months ahead.
Today I’m getting into the Site Crawl area within Moz Pro – a look at what this area does and how it outlines the areas to fix in priority order.
Site Crawl in Moz Pro
Site Crawl is one of my favourite tools in Moz Pro for a few reasons:
- It prioritizes things that need fixing into high priority, medium priority and low priority
- Not everything listed needs a developer to assist – meaning that content editors (like me!) can do most of the fixes without having to outsource to a developer
- It’s really easy to see exactly where the issue is
I’ve just plugged in one of my blog sites to Site Crawl so you can see what the page tells you:
From the top of the screen, the summary gives you a quick overview of all the issues (54), high priority issues (0), medium priority issues (54) and low priority issues (0). Scrolling down the page is where it gets interesting. This is where it tells you exactly what the issues are so you can begin fixing up your site.
Just to reiterate, there are quite a few errors that a content editor can easily fix without the assistance of a developer. Things like title tags and Meta issues are usually easier enough to fix depending on which CMS you are using. Other more technical aspects you may need to send on to your developer – but it’s a good idea to review the issues first anyway so you know what you’re asking them to fix.
Common Issues in Moz Page Crawl and How to Fix Them
Crawl Attempt Error:
This basically means that something is blocking the Moz crawler (rogerbot – yeah, he has a name!) from crawling the site. This isn’t an SEO issue (it won’t affect your search results), but it does mean that Moz can’t crawl your site to identify SEO issues. The most common cause for Crawl Attempt Errors is that the crawler is blocked by Robots.txt. This can be fixed by allowing rogerbot to access your site in the robots.txt file. A list of the other common crawl errors can be found here.
Duplicate Page Content:
Search engines hate duplicate content because where two or more URLs on the site have the same content, search engines have no way to determine which page/content is the most relevant so have difficulties serving the correct information in search results. Depending on what the duplicate content is, you may need some assistance from a developer to help fix. 301 redirects are a common way to assist in removing duplicate content. There are a few others ways which you can also look at depending on the nature of the duplicate content. Moz has a really nice list of these with explanations available here.
Title Missing or Empty:
This is simply your <title></title> tag. Most CMS’s will allow you to modify the title tag for all your pages really easily. A general recommendation is to keep the title tag to under 55 characters in order for it to display correctly (with under 55 characters, you’re title tag should display correctly 95% of the time).
For example, in WordPress > Pages, there is a column for “SEO Title” in the summary table. You can see from this which title tags are a good representation of the content on the page, and if any are missing. You can then change the title tags within each of the pages by adjusting the title.
5XX Server Error:
This is any error starting with a 5 (eg 500, 503 etc). These are server errors which mean the server can’t complete the request. Examples of these are:
- 500 – Internal Server Error
- 501 – Not Implemented
- 502 – Bad Gateway
- 503 – Service Unavailable
- 504 – Gateway Timeout
- 505 – HTTP Version Not Supported
Server error issues are best forwarded on to your developer for assistance.
4XX Client Error:
This is any error starting with a 4 (eg 400, 404 etc) and identify a situation in which the resource contains a bad syntax or cannot be filled for some other reason (usually by the fault of the client sending the request). The most common error here is a 404 – File Not Found. A list of all 4XX errors can also be found here.
Missing Meta Description Tag:
As you can see from the Moz report on this sample website, the key problem with this one is missing meta description tags. The good news is that these are really easy to fix (even for a content editor!). You’ll notice that the “Missing Meta Description Tag” is clickable, and on clicking shows me the pages that are an issue:
I can choose to launch the pages if I wish to see them, and can them jump into the CMS (this site is in WordPress) and update the Meta Description (I’m using Yoast Plugin on this site to assist with SEO):
It’ll probably take me about an hour to fix up these 51 pages with proper Meta Descriptions – which will greatly assist in improving the SEO on this site.
Title Element Tag is Too Long:
Search engines like Google generally only display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. As mentioned previously, you should aim for title tags to be under 55 characters to suit 95% of displayed results. Anything over the 60 character limit will be flagged in the Moz report here, which means you’ll need to jump in and reduce the title tag on that page. Once again, you can just click on the highlighted “Title Element is Too Long” to find out which pages need attention – another easy SEO bit to fix for content editors.
Title Element is Too Short:
This one is not as bad as tags being too long, but generally speaking you should try to have a minimum title tag of 25 characters. The title tag should aim to tell the robots what the page is about – something that might be difficult to do in under 25 characters anyway.
Other than utilizing Moz, I also like to check what’s going on in Google’s Webmaster Crawl (but will get onto this tool a little later).