Logfile analysis is fast becoming the new standard in solving technical SEO challenges. While this is not new, developers and marketers have been diving into server network device and system logs to see how search engines like Google are crawling their websites. However, most people without a development background find log analysis for technical SEO complicated.
If your on-page and technical SEO is poor, options to improve your SEO efforts are pretty limited. Technical SEO is crucial in helping you crawl, index and parse websites, thus ranking them appropriately even before any SEO marketing efforts come into play. Your log files hold the data that is 100% accurate in understanding how search engines are crawling your website.
Here’s what you should know about log analysis as a facet of technical SEO:
What are Log Files?
Network devices, computer servers, computer applications and operating systems automatically generate a log entry each time they perform any action. In an SEO concept, such actions could include whenever a page is visited by a human or bot. Log entries are programmed to be output, recorded and stored by the device, server, application or system in use.
Server logs are particularly important when it comes to technical SEO. An administrator can check server log files and identify the number of visitors, the number of requests on each page and usage patterns. Log files are usually generated automatically and can range from several to thousands of entries.
How to Access Your Log Files
Different types of servers, systems, and applications store and manage their logs differently. To find, access and manage log entries or files, you have to follow the provided general guidelines for the specific type of device, application, system or server. Log data often provides detailed documentation of any activities that have taken place on a system at any given time.
What is Log Analysis?
Log analysis is simply the process of checking through your log files to understand something about the data. There are different reasons why you may want to do a log analysis. These include:
- Network troubleshooting
- Investigating server or system security issues
- Gathering information for compliance matters
- Checking for problematic bugs for development and quality assurance
- Technical SEO - This is our main focus
It’s important to understand that log analysis is not performed regularly. It’s mainly done in response to something like a bug, an error, a malfunction or a hack that affects the normal functionality of a system, server or application.
How a Log Analysis is Done
According to a Syslog Tutorial by Stackify, log analysis is a critical part of monitoring network devices, servers, applications and computer systems. There are several ways that developers and marketers can conduct log analysis much easier when dealing with technical SEO or other context. The most common include using excel or proprietary tools such as application management tools, log management tools, message logging tools and application metrics.
Technical SEO Insights in Your Log Data
Whichever way you decide to use to understand your log data, there are various technical SEO issues that need to be addressed. For instance, a close look at your website’s log data will give you clear information about important technical SEO aspects like:
- Bot crawl volume over a given period
- Response code errors in your system
- Temporary redirects
- Crawl budget wastes on advertising landing pages
- Duplicate URL crawling
- Last crawl date for monitoring purposes
- Real-time crawl budget monitoring
As you can see, log analysis is critically important in solving technical SEO issues. Log file analysis is the most powerful tool in your SEO toolkit. While you can achieve effective technical SEO without logs, with some sites, it’s necessary to look at log data to find a way around issues.