Digital Native

Brad Barbeau

A Health Checkup for Your Website

Brad Barbeau explains why a healthy website can get better traffic.

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Brad Barbeau
Founder, 21CM Digital Marketing

What is Site Health and Why Should You Pay Attention To It?

[Note: this blog is adapted from Technical SEO is the foundation of any SEO strategy. Every house needs a solid foundation, and taller houses require better foundations. The same can be said for websites.With Site Health you’re measuring how stable the foundation of a site is — and getting that stronger foundation will only help any other efforts to build up the site.  Let’s talk about what the Site Health score means in more detail.

Site Health can't be "Seen" - but your users (and Google) hear it loud and clear

Site Health is mainly calculated on technical issues of your site – like page loading speed, broken links, attributes of backlinks – that are difficult to see simply by viewing your site. But they affect your user’s experiences on your site, and Google wants to direct search traffic to sites that have great user experiences. Site Health is also affected by measures of how “crawlable” your site is – how easy it is for Google (and other search engines) to read and index your site. This is basic to getting a good 

How Site Health is Calculated

Site Health is calculated based on the issues Semrush finds during its crawl. We add some other measures to the Semrush report, checking for some basic structure and content-related issues that affect your website user experience and search performance. These include

  • Is your site connected to your social media?
  • Are you using internal linking to guide users to other pages in your site?

The Site Health issues are weighted in three main categories:

  • Errors — the most impactful issues that should be addressed first.
  • Warnings — issues of medium impact and should be addressed but not as urgently as errors.
  • Notices — not dangerous, but important instances to be aware of.

The more dangerous errors (such as broken internal links) contribute to your Site Health score more than warnings.

Notices (like external links with nofollow attributes) do not impact the score at all since they’re not usually indicative of any error, but they are included to keep you fully informed on your site’s foundation.

Critical Issues Hurt Overall Site Health

Not all errors and warnings are weighted the same. In general, the more critical an error is to the website, the more impactful it is to Site Health score.

So, there could be a case where a specific warning has a 10-fold weaker effect than a specific error.

Examples of critical issues include:

  • Incorrect page in sitemap, canonical and hreflang. This can confuse the search engine on deciding which page to show in the search.
  • Broken pages generate broken links. You can redirect broken links with a 301 redirect, but if a site doesn’t update the links, this means that users following the links will wait longer for the content (until they are redirected to the desired page).

Site Health Score and What You Should Do

When we provide you with a Site Health Report, we include recommendations for actions that will raise your Site Health Score, along with the priority for each action. Following these recommendations, starting with fixing errors, then addressing warnings, and finally reviewing notices for ideas for improving your site health, will keep your site in “tip-top” shape.

Site Health as a Comparison Metric

One awesome thing about Site Health is that we will also show you the average Site Health of the top-10% of websites on the Internet. We can also provide you a comparison to other sites in your industry, and even compare your site score directly with the Site Health score for key competitors (not included in the free version, of course!).

Site Health FAQs

Does Site Health correlate directly with my rankings?

On-Page SEO consists of a lot of different tasks, and a boost in rankings generally comes when you combine great website health with other SEO efforts like link building and content marketing. 

There is no direct relationship between the technical quality of the site and the rankings because the ranking happens at the page level. For example, if a page takes a long time to load, then this can become a negative signal for the ranking of such a page. Nobody wants to wait very long to get information that they can quickly take from other pages. With slow pages, your visitors will simply leave. 

What should I do when I reach 90% or more?

Site Health is based on lots of errors and warnings. Notices, however, are not included in the calculation but can indicate opportunities for further improvements. 

Perhaps your site has poor link architecture and search bots and users cannot easily find a lot of pages. This is a reason to reconsider your approach to internal linking. 

You can make changes that can lead to the spread of Page Rank across the pages of the site, which will lead to an increase in rankings.

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