Today, we’re launching Version 5.6 of our platform which includes the move to a whole new look and feel with a new User Interface, together with a host of new features.
A new (collapsible) Menu
Experienced users of the platform will notice that we’ve moved the navigational elements to the left. This is a collapsible menu, so it now allows you to make full use of your screen width when you’re analyzing all the lovely data in the platform. (Click on the Menu icon in the top left hand side of the screen to hide/show the menu). We’ve also renamed a lot of modules and some of the section headings to make it all a little more intuitive.
If you’re wondering where things have moved to, you can make use of the new “Where is….?” feature, accessible from the new Help menu.
We’ve shrunk the Technical tab down to just three modules, by cleverly aggregating data together and linking it with other relevant modules. You’ll notice this in other areas too, but one result of this move is that we’ve now also got a new (simpler) way of looking at technical issues on a website with our Site Audit summary module.
*NEW* SITE AUDIT SUMMARY
This aggregates all the old technical modules together and also includes links to other relevant parts of the platform (e.g. indexation and unindexed pages) and yes, we’ve also added a nice visual breakdown as a pie chart. Who doesn’t like pie charts? 🙂
If you export this into PowerPoint, you’ll see that it all comes out as one slide. Handy, eh?
HTML Sitemap – will simply say Yes or No, but if we’re unable to find an HTML sitemap, you can still tell the platform where to look and we’ll pick it up by re-running that check immediately (you no longer have to wait until the following day); this now works as a simple pop from the “No” link.
XML Sitemap – Yes/No. As with the HTML sitemap, similarly if we can’t locate an XML sitemap, you can use the popup to tell us where to look and we’ll pick it up by re-running that check immediately.
404 error page – previously called the “Custom 404 Page”; this works the same way as it did before (i.e. it will check for a hard 404 page with custom CSS styling), but we didn’t think it required a module all to itself. If you have a problem with yours, just create a task from the top of the page as a reminder.
Robots.txt – we’ll still check for the existence of a robots.txt file (as it’s still an essential way in which webmasters can control how their sites are crawled and indexed) and we’ll still analyze its use to see if you’re blocking your whole site; however, we will no longer show you the contents of the file itself as we felt this didn’t help you save a lot of time as you could always just open a tab and type [domain name]/robots.txt in the address bar.
Domain redirect – previously labelled “Canonical URL”, this module still does the same thing, i.e. it checks if your www redirects to your non-www or vice versa as you don’t want to have effectively two copies of the same domain to maintain on a single server. It will just say Yes or No.
Encrypted (HTTPS) site – Google appears to be inclined to reward sites that implement the HTTPS standard, so we’re now also checking for this as part of our daily “site health checks”. It will simply show Yes or No.
Domain Age – those users with a good memory will remember that we used to have to a module dedicated to analyzing a site’s domain age some time ago. We retired it as the data was already showing in the Competitive Site Audit module, but we’ve added it back in here as it’s a useful metric to show on a Site Audit summary.
Pages Indexed in Google – this is added to your Site Audit dashboard and clicking on the number will take you to the Pages/Indexation module, which shows Google indexation numbers over time.
Indexed in Google Places – as before, this will simply report on whether we can find your business on Google Places (Google Maps effectively).
Indexed in Yahoo & Bing Local – as with Google Places, this will simply say Yes or No.
Unindexed Pages – this links through to Pages/Unindexed Pages which gives a breakdown of every URL we’ve manually checked against Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Live Pages – this is a new summary we’ve added and reports how many pages are live (i.e. returning a HTTP status of 200 from your web server)
Redirects (3XX Status) – how many pages are redirecting elsewhere (with 301s or 302s); links through to the new Crawl Health module
Dead Links (4XX errors) – how many pages return 4XX errors; links through to the new Crawl Health module
Server Errors (5XX errors) – how many pages return 5XX errors; links through to the new Crawl Health module
Blocked Pages – the number of pages blocked by meta tags or robots.txt exclusions; links through to the new Crawl Health module
*NEW* CRAWL HEALTH MODULE
This is another nice new summary module. Again, we’ve aggregated a lot of the old modules together (Pages Crawled, 4XX Deadlinks, 301s, 302s, 5XX Server Errors, Duplicate Meta Data, Long Meta Data, Short Meta Data & Unfriendly URLS) into one module!!! That’s 9 modules into 1! Less is more, right?
You’ll notice that there are now nice clickable summary boxes above the table. These auto sort the table for you (click on the blue numbers).
Yes, we’ve added a chart to show how these errors have cropped up over time. We think that’s going to be pretty handy, right? Want to know if your server is beginning to get overloaded and throwing out an increasing number of server errors? Are your number of dead links suddenly increasing? Have some key pages been accidentally taken down? Hopefully, plotting such data over time will help to provide you with insights you wouldn’t necessarily have had before.
Also, a lot of clients with existing sites on the platform will notice that when they first login today, their crawl health history will magically appear! That’s because we’ve been quietly accumulating this data on your behalf, with a view to this release going live! You’re welcome! 🙂
This particular feature has been high in demand from our users. Now, when we spider a site, we’ll make a note of what links point where and, as a result, you can now see at a glance how many links are pointing into a URL from other pages on the same site and from other domains and also how many links are pointing out, both to other pages on the same site and to other URLS on different domains.
A quick guide:
- Internal Links In – links to that URL from other pages on the same domain
- Internal Links Out – links from that URL to other pages on the same domain
- External Links In – links to that URL from URLs on other (referring) domains
- External Links Out – outbound links, i.e. links from that URL to other URLS on other domains
If you click on any of the blue numbers, a pop up will appear, from which you can download a quick export to CSV.
This is another key addition to the new version – page download speeds for every URL we’ve crawled. Remember, users expect sites to be quick nowadays! Do you have any URLs which are particularly problematic? Simply filter this table to find out!
*NEW* CONTENT ANALYSIS MODULE
Another result of our aggregation of modules is this new module – content analysis – which gives you a nice view of your issues with regards to low text count and meta data use over time. You’ll notice that the chart plots the issues with regards to meta data individually (a future update will allow users to set their own limits as to how we work out whether a piece of meta data is too short or too long).
The summary buttons work in the same way as those on the Crawl Health module, in that they will automatically filter the table for you. You can add the internal and external links columns into this table too. (H1s will be added back into this table in the next update).
More Historical Data
Again, those of you who have had existing sites on the platform will notice that when you fire up this new module, you’ll be presented with historical data, possibly going back as far as 12 months. We’ve been storing this data on the quiet, with a view to revealing it in this new module.
*NEW* TASK MANAGEMENT FEATURES
A Tasks link on every page, but no more task tables!
Above each module, you’ll now see a “Tasks” link. If you have any tasks set for this module, then you’ll see a nice bright red number appear too. You can create tasks here; in fact, you can create tasks now in virtually every part of the platform.
However, we’ve removed the dependency of certain tasks to certain modules and you no longer have to click on any green buttons to access a task table and explore very detailed data.
We also allow you to now design and save task templates. This should help you distinguish one custom task from another in your task tables.
You’ll also notice that we’ve added in a field for priorities (low, medium, high). You’ll see this reflected in the task tables too.
What has not (yet) changed!
Any custom report templates and scheduled reports are unaffected (more or less). So, don’t worry if you have a scheduled client report already in the platform. They haven’t gone anywhere and will still get delivered. The only caveat to that is that if you have any of the retired modules in your template, these will be replaced with the appropriate new summary module (e.g. technical modules will be replaced with the Site Audit summary and any Meta Data modules, for example, will be automatically replaced with the Crawl Health summary). Apart from those changes, you shouldn’t really notice any difference.
Features that have been removed or retired
Inevitably with wholesale changes like this, it means that there are some areas of the previous version of the software that no longer can be put in an appropriate place or they have simply become redundant due to other changes we’ve made. However, this time around the only actual module we’ve had to retire is:
- Pages/Strongest Site Pages module – this is no longer needed as we were already showing you your ranking URLs for your monitored keywords
- Authorship Data – we’re pulling this, not really as a result of this update, but because Google has removed authorship data from appearing in the SERPs, so we can no longer analyze it. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got something really nice in this area up our sleeves!
That’s it actually! Everything else has been moved, aggregated into a summary module or renamed. If you’re looking for an old module, please use the “Where is…?” feature under the help menu.
This update has been a particularly big and challenging one and all the staff here have put in the hours in over the past few weeks to get the platform to this point! So, please let us know what you think to the new design, by emailing us, tweeting us or leave a comment on this post. We’ve bought our engineers some biscuits and pastries as a thank you for their hard graft, but any feedback is always welcome too. It’s always nice to be appreciated! 🙂