Every week, a superhero tells you about a new feature of the new version of OnPage.org – that is OnPage’s Eleven! In today’s article, we will show you how to optimize and improve your website using the “Files (static content)“ report in OnPage.org V3.
In the last article, our superhero Stephan described the custom fields and counts and how they can be used effectively. This article focuses on the "Files - static content" report and shows you the importance of static content as well as the common errors and how you can easily identify them.
Static files are largely responsible for the appearance and functionality of a website. For example, if a user visits a product detail page and the page takes too long to load, no product images are displayed.
Here, several factors come together. One of them is the long loading time, which is mainly caused by the use of very large or too many static files. Another reason is the flawed appearance of the page, e.g., due to erroneous status codes from the static content. Both factors not only send negative signals to the search engine but also have an effect on the user’s experience and user’s confidence in the website.
With this article, I am going to show you how you can use our "Files" report to analyze the static content on your page, actively avoid long page loading times as well as both functional and display errors, and constantly keep track of the status of your website.
Correct display of images on your website can be quite crucial for visitors. A website on which multiple images do not load does not leave a positive or professional impression. Furthermore, even a single image that fails to load can be reason enough for a reduced conversion rate. A good example is a case where a visitor is looking for a specific product, but the product detail image is not displayed.
The status code of the images is crucial. Optimally, all images on the website should always have the status code 200. The status code report of the images informs you about the status code of the respective image. You should constantly examine this in order to prevent faulty images.
In addition to the status codes, it is also very important to correctly use the ALT attribute that is displayed in the place of the image in case the image fails to load. The ALT attribute or ALT text is particularly helpful to blind website visitors who can obtain the image’s ALT attribute through voice output. Search engines also evaluate the ALT attribute in order to check whether the content matches.
Nevertheless, mistakes are often made in relation to images. The following are some of the common mistakes that should be avoided:
404 status code: Always use the status code to check if all images are displayed correctly. Images that have a 404 status code should be corrected as soon as possible.
Missing ALT attributes: One common mistake occurs when an ALT attribute for a specific image, which has been used on multiple websites, is set only once. The ALT should be set on each website where the image is embedded. Here, you should also note that an image, which has been used on several websites, should also have identical ALT text.
You can easily identify the missing ALT attributes:
Go to the "Files (static content)" report -> Images -> ALT values. This displays a list of all images that are used on the corresponding URLs as well as their respective ALT tags.
Add a filter and use the following values:
Figure 1: Add filter - all images that have ALT tags
All images that do not have an ALT tag will now be displayed.
Figure 2: Evaluation of all images that do not have an ALT tag
The URL in the left column additionally shows you the page on which the image with the missing ALT tag is used.
Figure 3: Add the ‘load time’ column in the table
CSS files are a style language and determine the graphical design of the website. The CSS files should be properly integrated since the website’s design is the first thing that catches the visitor’s eye. The CSS report enables you to monitor the status codes and usage of CSS files on each page in order to avoid the typical errors listed below.
404 status codes: Faulty CSS files are easily conspicuous for visitors and often lead to a negative user experience. You should therefore review the status codes of the CSS files using the "CSS status codes" report and immediately correct any CSS files that have the status code 4xx.
With CSS files, it is also important to note that they can also overwrite each other. Therefore, copying and pasting CSS files in an existing source code should only be exercised with caution in order to ensure that existing files are not overwritten. We recommend using a maximum of four CSS files per page.
Figure 5: Aggregated file size and use of static content
The evaluation of the crawl, which is shown in the "Files (static content)" report, is based on snapshot results and reflects the state of the website at the time of the last crawl. Since contents can change very quickly and without the knowledge of the website operator, you should regularly conduct crawls of the website to keep track of the state of your website. Every packet, excluding the free account, allows you to perform as many crawls as possible per month. Furthermore, you can also set up an automatic crawl at specific time intervals.
Figure 6: Set up automatic crawls
After every crawl, you should check to see for any static contents that might have changed. Changes are always indicated by the colored checkbox behind the KPIs. A green arrow means improvement, whereas a red arrow signalizes a worsening of that particular section.
The following KPIs can be checked in the dashboard for static content:
Figure 7: Check KPIs for static content in the dashboard
Google and website visitors place great value in the proper functioning and display of websites. Always make sure you monitor the static contents on your website. The "Files" report in OnPage.org Zoom as well as regular crawls are important in helping you improve your website even more.
The following articles have been published in this series so far:
OnPage.org starts OnPage’s Eleven - Welcome to the V3 Dashboard
OnPage's Eleven No.2 – The various modules and their use
OnPage’s Eleven No. 3 – Improved report view
What is indexable? - Report: Check if web content is indexable
OnPage’s Eleven No. 5 – Custom counts and fields
OnPage's Eleven No. 7 – PDF Exports
Published on 02/17/2016 by Christian Müller.
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