While SEO is a long-term strategy, there are some easy SEO hacks that can help you improve your performance. OnCrawl SEO crawler and log analyzer can really ease your SEO journey by giving you actionable insights you can take action on. Following our article about SEO trends, we have listed 10 hacks that focus on SEO metrics you should pay attention to in 2017.

1# Detect near duplicates

Duplicate content is a problem taken very seriously by Google. In fact, the search engine faces issues to deliver the right version of a content to users for a given query. Google is also able to recognize near duplicate content – based on the Simhash method – on websites and penalize your rankings.
Near duplicates are often generated by thin content. In fact, the less content you have, the more likely you are to have very similar content on a same page.
Using OnCrawl, you can identify duplicate and near duplicate content. The following request helps you identify near duplicate and get an exhaustive picture of the problem:

how to detect near duplicate with oncrawlOr you can access them directly with that graph from the “Duplicate Content” tab:

near duplicate ratio with oncrawlOr this one:

cluster of duplicated content

Here you can play with the number of clusters of duplicate pages and the near duplicate ratio.
If you encounter pages with thin content and near duplicates, it is easy to fix them using canonicals or no-index. The no-index remains the best solution for e-commerce websites that deal with descriptions brought by manufacturers.
This feature helps you strengthen your pages so your site drives visitors to the right information, giving your domain a better chance at conversion and reduces pages competing for the same search result rankings.

2# Crawl your website like Googlebot

To receive a clear overview of your website’s performance, you need to crawl your website like Google does. You need a comprehensive and exhaustive view of every URL of your website. OnCrawl can crawl your website just as Google – no matter how large the site – without slowing down its performance. OnCrawl is a cloud-based tool so the impact is minimal while the crawl is processing. You can choose to speed up our crawl by verifying your account with Google Analytics (be sure that your website can handle fast crawling).

verify Google Analytics account with oncrawl

You can also decide to crawl your website with all subdomains and filter parameters you want to keep or exclude.

crawl subdomains and parameters with oncrawl

3# Identify non-indexable pages

Identifying non-indexable pages can help you save crawl budget or point out pages that have been wrongly canonicalized and that are potentially missing opportunities. With OnCrawl, you can easily know how many no-index pages you have from the Summary view of your crawl report:

non indexable page detected with oncrawl4# Get comprehensive comparisons between crawls

How to be sure that your SEO optimizations are behaving as expected? By comparing two consecutive crawls and highlighting the negative or positive evolutions. That way, you can compare different metrics like http status, no-index changes or html quality from a crawl to another to prove the ROI value of your efforts. Plus, you can take action more easily on what needs to be fixed in priority like server response errors or broken links.

indexability comparison oncrawl

evolutions of indexability between two crawls

5 # Avoid Panda penalty by tracking thin content

Google Panda algorithm focuses on content quality and penalizes, among other, thin content. That’s why it is important to avoid self-generated content or to publish too short one. Google fosters unique and interesting content that engage users and offer the best user experience possible. To measure user experience, the search engine gives importance to usage metrics like time spent on site and bounce rate. In that logic, Google evaluates websites regarding their amount of content needed to get indexed and ranked.
The following graph is the results of a combined analysis between logs and crawl data and focuses on crawl ratio by content length:

thin content vs crawl ratio oncrawl

In that example, the less content you have, the less Google is likely to crawl your website – meaning you have lesser chances to get indexed and ranked.
Using OnCrawl, you can tackle that issue by detecting content with less than 300 words. Identify those pages to prevent them from being indexed or enrich their content. It will improve the website from both a user experience and a search engine point of view.

6#Detect 404 errors

404 errors have several negative effects on your website:

  • They lower your user experience because searchers land on pages without receiving the result expected
  • It sends a negative signal to search engines that will degrade your rankings and lower the crawl budget spent on your website.

OnCrawl gives you a clear and immediate view of the URLs affected by 4xx errors:

4xx errors evolution

Or directly URLs in 404:

404 errors detected easy hack

You just need to click on the graph to access the URL details.

7# Improve social tags

Social tags improve your social share rates on social media, expend your content outreach and increase user engagement. Social tags refers to OpenGraph and Twitter Cards and can be optimized using OnCrawl. You can check if your Twitter Cards and Open Graph mandatory metadata are correctly filled.

mandatory open graph properties

twitter cards social tags

8# Crawl staging versions

You can uncover many potential SEO problems with a thorough crawl of the staging environment. If you are currently operating a website migration, you need to be sure that all your optimizations have been correctly implemented before to launch the live version. To do so, the best solution is to run a crawl of your new site in a test environment.
But the main problem is that the staging server is often protected and keeps you from freely crawling it. OnCrawl lets you crawl test websites and staging environment with basic htaccess authentications.

http authentication SEO hacks

9# Identify active pages

It can be hard to identify priority SEO tasks. That’s why it is interesting to start with groups of active and inactive pages with OnCrawl. Active pages are pages that drive traffic from organic results.

identify active inactive pages - SEO hacks

In fact, your brand pages, products, editorial pages don’t have the same business goals either the same value. Some have conversions goals, other nurturing ones while some have average baskets higher than others, etc. Knowing your business goals and looking at your active and inactive pages, start focusing on inactive groups of pages potentially generating value. Thus, you will be able to identify the priority segment to improve.

10# Spot active orphan pages

Orphan pages are pages that can’t be find in the internal linking structure but that Google knows. To uncover that information, you need to combine your crawl and logs data. OnCrawl can help you doing that with Combined Analysis.
If Google knows these pages, he keeps visiting them and potentially wastes his crawl budget on pages that are not primary. In fact, those orphan pages don’t generate that much traffic and no links are pointing back to them. In the example below, the website is wrongly indexed and can’t rank on expected requests. In fact, only 42% of the pages belonging to the structure are crawled while more than 82k pages are regarded as orphans and are crawled by Google.

detect orphan pages with oncrawl
Identify if those orphan pages are driving traffic. If yes, it could be smart to redirect them and delete the no-index.

In clear, these 10 SEO hacks are actionable optimizations that can improve your global rankings. If you need more details about this, feel free to drop a line @oncrawl_cs.

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