SEOmoz Crawl Test - SEO Tool Review
This past weekend I signed up for the premium membership option offered by SEOmoz. My overall assessment of the membership benefits was positive with the information being worth the cost of membership. Although I spent a good amount of time reading, I didn't spend too much time looking at the SEO tools that come with the membership. I started to remedy that today by examining the Crawl Test SEO tool.
The purpose of the Crawl Test is to identify obstacles in a web page that might negatively impact a search engine's ability to index content and properly determine the topic of that content. It's not clear from the tool's description who the audience is i.e. professional SEOs that handle multiple large projects or those with fewer responsibilities. As such, let me say that my assessment of the tool is based entirely on its value to me and not to the public at large.
Once you specify a URL, the tool produces a report that contains two sections. The first section is a summary of findings. Here's a screenshot:
As a quick glance, the numbers on this report are good at pointing out problems and helping you validate any gut feelings you may have for a particular page. The report falls apart for me in several areas though.
- The number of pages indexed in Yahoo is wrong. I checked manually using the site: directive and confirmed that Yahoo has cached copies of this site.
- This item could be quite handy except for two problems. The first is there's no easy way to determine what pages caused these problems. It would be handy if these numbers were hyperlinked to the detail section of the report. In addition, I checked the URLs manually and found no errors. Perhaps the tool hit my site too quickly resulting in these errors.
- Again, hyperlinking to the problem pages in the detail section of the report would help me fix the problem. I'm now left manually checking page titles looking for the duplicate.
- Same as item 4 except instead of titles, it's meta descriptions.
- Seeing the most common words is handy except with only 5, the list is likely to contain "non-content" words. That is, words that are part of the structure of the site like blog, comments, your name, etc. This list should be longer or you should be able to provide an ignore list.
The second section of the report provides detail at the page level. Here's a screenshot of the detail for a single page:
The detail report has the potential to be useful when looking at a site where even basic SEO hasn't been applied. However it had two problem areas for me similar to items that appeared in the summary report.
- Again, the Yahoo inclusion check is wrong.
- The HTTP status code is useful except errors reported turned out to not be errors when I checked the pages manually.
So in the end I have to give the Crawl Test tool an average rating. It doesn't do anything that other tools don't and it doesn't do those things any better.