Your log should track all changes to the website, not just those that were made with SEO in mind. Organizations make many changes that they do not think will affect SEO, but that have a big impact on it.
Here are some examples:
• Adding content areas/features/options to the site (this could be anything from a new blog to a new categorization system).
• Changing the domain of the site. This can have a significant impact, and you should document when the switch over was made.
• Modifying URL structures. Changes to URLs on your site will likely impact your rankings, so record any and all changes.
• Implementing a new CMS. This is a big one, with a very big impact. If you must change your CMS, make sure you do a thorough analysis of the SEO shortcomings of the new CMS versus the old one, and make sure you track the timing and the impact.
• Establishing new partnerships that either send links or require them (meaning your site is earning new links or linking out to new places).
• Acquiring new links to pages on the site other than the home page (referred to as “deep links”).
• Making changes to navigation/menu systems (moving links around on pages, creating new link systems, etc.).
• Implementing redirects either to or from the site.
• New/updated sitemaps, canonical tag implementations, schema markup usage, etc.
When you track these items, you can create an accurate story line to help correlate causes with effects. If, for example, you’ve observed a spike in traffic from Bing that started four to five days after you switched your menu links from the page footer to the header, it is likely that there is a correlation; further analysis would determine whether, and to what extent, there is causation.
Without such documentation it could be months before you noticed the impact—and there would be no way to trace it back to the responsible modification. Your design team might later choose to switch back to footer links, your traffic might fall, and no record would exist to help you understand why. Without the lessons of history, you cannot leverage the positive influencing factors.
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