Site Auditor Classic creates an actionable list of issues and opportunities for improving the quality of a website, but that list can look daunting at first glance. How do you prioritize the issues described in your report? This guide will help you answer that question.
Although Site Auditor Classic describes everything it discovers about your website as "issues," not everything in your Site Auditor Classic report can be accurately described as a problem that needs solving.
Sometimes, Site Auditor will pick up on things that you've done on purpose, like setting up redirects or excluding pages in your robots.txt file, which do not necessarily need to be fixed. Keep that in mind as you read your report, you can exclude errors where necessary.
Site Auditor Classic Best Practices
To help prioritize your efforts, Site Auditor Classic's sections are listed in order of significance. They appear as tabs on the report page.
Below is the order of sections listed in Site Auditor Classic:
- Desktop / Mobile Page Speed*
The wildcard in there is Page Speed, which provides information on how quickly Google can download and display your website. A slow website isn't going to attract many visitors and can negatively affect your SEO.
Start your analysis in the Visibility section
The issues listed in this section indicate abnormalities in the way that our robot (and, by extension, search engine crawlers) was able to access your website. Broken links, missing pages, and accidentally blocked pages should be fixed first.
Proceed to the Meta section
Focus particularly on pages that are missing titles or descriptions. These are important for how search engines display your website in their results. In addition to these errors, you'll find information on length standards for titles/descriptions and missing Google Analytics tracking code.
Note: Google Tag Manager and Shopify tracking codes aren't supported by Site Auditor Classic at this time. You may want to remove the Missing GA Tracking error from your report if you are using these Google Analytics tracking alternatives.
Check for broken links in the Links section
If a crawler isn't able to spider its way through your website, then that's going to cause problems for you in the long run.
Check for broken images in the Images section
ALT text and title text are nice to have (and are appreciated by visitors who have special accessibility needs), but don't let yourself get bogged down in fixing those if there are other more important issues.
Read the recommendations for improving speed
These are more complicated fixes that involve the overall architecture of your website, so they may take longer to resolve than fixing the above quick wins.
Go back over Content, Links, Images, and Semantics. This is where you can expand upon pages with low content, add image text, adjust semantic data for headings, and more. This is low-impact but useful for tuning up your website.
Where to Find Link and Image Issues
Links and images can appear on multiple pages, so you'll need to know where to look when they come back in Site Auditor Classic with errors. Click the Pages link next to any entry in either of these sections to see a list of pages where that link or image appears.