Introducing more advanced SEO techniques to your site can be a fantastic way to improve the overall performance of your website. Once you have basic optimisation in place, keyword research and the like, then it is important to actively search for new ways to improve your ways of getting found in search.
So, with that in mind, here are some of the key ways that you can use log files to better improve your websites SEO.
What are Log Files?
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For this reason, you can actually analyse how and when search engines interact with your site. In terms of SEO, this can be extremely valuable, as it helps you to understand and manage the crawl budget on your site and its value from page to page.
Where to Access Log Files?
For proper SEO analysis, you will need the raw access logs for your SEO analysis. In an ideal world, you would have a larger source of data in order to make this fully worthwhile. Depending on the size of your site, it is important to understand the length of time you might need to sample. For larger sites, it may be a week, but other smaller sites you may have to wait a month or more to have the right amount of data.
These files should be fully accessible via your domain server. If you’re not sure how to do this, then you should be able to ask your web developer for access to these if in doubt.
Log Files for SEO
In SEO, the only way to know how a search engine has accessed your site is via log files, the best way to gather these log files is by using a log aggregation tool. As with other tools, such as Search Console, you will not be able to find an accurate report for your site, as the data provided is not always fully accurate.
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Accessing and analysing your server log files can, therefore, help you to analyse your site in several different ways. This includes:
- Understand what is and isn’t crawled on your site.
- View response codes.
- Identify issues in your site crawling, which may have been impacted by your hierarchy or links structure.
- Identify crawl budgets and how they can be optimised.
With this information, it is possible to understand more technical aspects of your site that you can improve upon for better search engine crawling.
Free Tools to Use
There are many different ways that you can actively analyse your log files. But, there are a number of free tools that you can use to do this successfully. For example, you can use Screaming Frog and SEMrush as free tools that process the files for you and help you to analyse the data.
It is possible to also create an excel sheet which actively sorts the data for you. But, this is much more complicated and so should only be explored at a more advanced stage.
How to Use the Data?
So, what do you do once you have your log file data? In many cases, there may not be anything that you need to do. However, it may reveal issues such as 404s, redirects that need to be made permanent (302s), as well as pages which may be crawled more often than necessary (unimportant pages rather than service pages, for example).
If such issues are found, then you will be able to fix these and it could potentially improve your performance in search engines as a result.
Overall, improving your SEO performance from a technical perspective is not always an easy process. But it can be improved over time if you analyse and understand your technical data. So learn how to do so now and you may help to advance your SEO offerings for the future.