Why Server Log Analysis Helps SEO – #SEOForLunch Issue #8

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Issue # 8
October 25th, 2016

Hey lunch buddies.  Last week went by insanely fast on my end. My little guy turned 5 years old on Tuesday – he requested pancakes for his birthday dinner so we took the family out to IHOP.   We followed that up by taking a dozen kids to an indoor playground this past Saturday.  Fun times at the LeRoy household.

On the business front, still wrapping up that new blog post I’ve mentioned in past newsletters.  I’m less concerned these days with getting new content out regularly but making sure it’s something extremely valuable for you guys.  So hold tight, I’m hoping to give everyone access to it by next week’s newsletter.

What You Must Know

Article: The complete guide to server log analysis.
What’s important?
Does your company / agency have a process for regularly pulling and dissecting your sites server logs? If no, this article will walk you through the process and is very much worth the time to read.  The best part about this article/process is that you don’t need to be exceptionally technical to execute a log analysis.
Nick’s take:
The data you receive from pulling logs from your server is about as close to the ‘truth’ as one can get these days.  Server logs are important for many reasons but it’s especially valuable if you find your site is having performance issues.  You can dissect these files and understand exactly what is causing issues for the search engines.

PRO TIP: A tool that makes breaking down and digesting server logs even easier is Screaming Frogs Log Analyzer.  It’s a paid tool but if you plan on regularly downloading your logs, this tool will save you more than enough time to justify the cost.  (I do not receive compensation for promoting Screaming Frog – it’s simply a tool I find valuable.)

SEO Tips & Advice

Dawn Anderson wrote a great piece on Search Engine Land regarding crawl budgets and URL scheduling impacting rankings during a migration.  Despite the article title, you don’t have to be a certified technical SEO dork like myself to understand and get value from this post.

Dawn outlines many tips that Google reps have stated over time regarding site migrations and why a site might experience ranking fluctuation.  It probably goes without saying, but having a technically sound website will really help the process of getting your new site fully indexed and displaying within the search results.  Below are just a few items you should be checking off with your migrations

  • 301 redirects from old pages to new pages (1:1 relationship)
  • proper site taxonomy that easily allows crawling deep within the site
  • proper canonicalization, HREFLang, robots txt parameters
  • internal linking
  • XML sitemaps

Ultimately it’s up to Google how frequently they crawl and re-index the content from your migration. If your company is going through a migration and isn’t keeping SEO in mind, then I highly suggest you hit the pause button.  Migrations can absolutely kill your sites organic traffic if not handled appropriately.

Even if you have an SEO person on staff/retainer I would make sure you discuss crawl efficiencies, budgets and URL scheduling and how it’s being incorporated into your migration strategy.

Interesting Reads in Your Spare Time

That’s everything for this week’s folks.  As always, feel free to connect with me, tweet me or hit reply to email me directly. I respond to all emails personally.


Nick LeRoy
Nick LeRoy
Nick has 10+ years of SEO consulting experience building and executing strategies for clients ranging from multi-billion dollar consumer packaged goods to fashion entities with hundreds of physical store locations. He also writes the weekly SEO newsletter #SEOForLunch that allows you to stay up to date with industry updates in the amount of time it takes you to eat your lunch.

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