How do you know if your website is healthy?
In 2020 website health is a huge SEO factor. Poor website health leads to poor Google ranking. In fact, if a site is very unhealthy Google will remove it from search all together.
Your website health affects how Google will place your site in search. You could look at it this way. A healthy website lets Google know you care.
- PHP version
- CMS Software
- SSL Security
- Mobile Usability check
Google Search Console is where we can monitor clients’ website health and other factors which can affect search ranking. We can also use Hubspot’s Website Grader to get a goodoverview on health and other factors like SEO (What is SEO in 2020? Read this article). Google Analytics allows us to monitor pages on a site that need attention.
With 1.5bn websites, Google is pickier than ever. They are looking for any excuse to NOT put your site at the top of a search result page. The desire to be in position number one on the first page of a result page for a phrase such as “lawn mowing adelaide” will set you back thousands of dollars. And as this SEO article about Google ranking espouses, it’s rarely in your best interests to be first in search. As any musician will tell you, ego is very expensive.
Audio Interview about “Website Health”
WordPress Website Health
For WordPress 5.2, WordPress introduced a website health check. You can find it in the admin area, under admin > tools > site health. What you want is a green circle at the top of the page with the word “Good” right next to it. Anything else means that there’s work to do. Our bread and butter equates doing that on a daily basis for more than 100 clients. We call it website maintenance, but increasingly there’s a crossover between SEO and general website maintenance.
Server tuning and onsite code tweaks will make your site healthy and improve your position in search results.
SEO Software and site monitoring
SEO software is prohibiitvely expensive and can cost thousands of dollars per month.
Places where you can check your website health
Computer Programming Languages
PHP is now at version 7.3 but most websites are still running the 2005 version of php (PHP 5.3). Updating PHP is one of the first things we do for WordPress websites. In fact, many WordPress plug-ins require PHP 7.x just to function.
From the jQuery website:
As of this writing, jQuery is now at version 3.4.1 and yet so many websites and WordPress themes still use Versions 1.x (2006-16) or 2.x (2005-13).
Updating PHP should be enough.
What does an unhealthy website look like?
A really unhealthy website will be found by your virus checker. Google Chrome browser (and others) can be ruthless and simply not show the site. Unhealthy sites are completely removed from search engines until they are fixed.
Case Study: Investment Company
I was asked to look after a series of sites by an investment company. Several of the sites had been hacked and security on the other sites was low. The team had an IT department with 5 computer programmers working on the sites. But the websites had huge, overworked child themes (read more about bloated child themes here) and as a result, they were difficult to update. programmers often move from job to job and each person has a different style and approach. Throw 10+ years into the mix and you can guess the mess.
Before I even started working on the website, the Australian Federal Police got in touch. The main site buttons were linking directly to child pornography websites (which the police were monitoring). Needless to say – the best way forward was to delete the site and start again.
My site looks healthy
Your website may look healthy but under the hood it’s ripe for hacking. Your finely honed gym junky looks great on the outside but all those McDonalds meals have turned his liver to fat and he now has diabetes.
Is that your website?
Edwin wrote his first (Harrier Jump Jet) text adventure computer program in 1982 during the Falklands War. He now builds websites using best practice, future-proof web development, Ad marketing & SEO. He at Curtin Uni and OUA where in 2007 he was voted 5th best lecturer (out of 2,500) over all disciplines taught in Australia. He loves sharing what he knows with Australian businesses.