One of the first things we always recommend to all our clients is a site audit. This is basically a report where we analyze many aspects of the website to find out if there are problems or things hindering potential rankings.
For example, when we do a site audit we start with looking at server specific items which can affect your rankings.
We start with the basics – an IP Address search. We obtain the IP of the server and also look at what other information we can find out about the hosting.
For example, one tool we use is the Domaintools WHOIS search. By pointing your browser to whois.domaintools.com you can get all sorts of information about your site and hosting.
For example, when we perform a WHOIS search for this site by going to the URL:
The first thing we can see is that our site has had 7 different IP Addresses over 7 years. We also see that there are over 4,800 other sites hosted on this server (yikes!). If we click on the “Server Stats” tab we can get our current IP address and when we click on the “Registration” tab we can see that our domain name was created in 2005 and expires in October of this year.
From the above information we can glean a lot of information.
The first thing that concerns us is the number of other sites using this IP address. while it is common to see large numbers of sites hosted on the same IP address, what does concern us is the possibility that one of the other sites hosted on our server can have a negative impact on our hosting.
For example, if one of the other sites gets SQL information incorrectly configured, it can cause that site to use up all the server’s resources which could then make ALL sites hosted on this server (including our own) load slowly or not load at all.
There is other information we can also get from this free tool: First, we see our domain has been around for over 6 years – this is great from a search engine point of view – it means we are “in the game” and are not likely going to disappear over night. Plus, we also know that our domain expires this year so when it comes due we know to renew it for the maximum of 5 years. That is what we did last time because we know search engines look at the registration length as a potential ranking factor – sites with longer registrations are generally better sites.
There you have it – the first tool we use to perform the first check on our site aWith the information we gather from a site audit, such as the IP and hosting information we have shown you above, we provide recommendations to the site owner. In this case our biggest concern is the fact that there are so many other sites hosted on this IP and as we mentioned above this could be a concern if one of those other sites is miconfigured. Therefore we normally would recommend talking to the web hosting company about the possibility of getting a unique IP, or research other hosting opportunities where the site could be hosted on it’s own server, and/or with it’s own IP address.
In our next article we will look at other tools we use and the information we get from them, and how you can use them as well to help identify potential obstacles to efficient indexing and rankings.