[SmartCrawl Pro] Issues with SEO Checkup

I get a yellow warning to add a Canonical link … it\'s in there.
I get a red warning that there is no meta description … it\'s in there.
I get a red warning that there are no microdata. I don\'t want microdata now. How do I turn this off?

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hello @tg!

    Currently SEO Checkup options are "fixed" so there's no way to disable particular "checkup modules". However, these information are just "informational" so they're not "carried over to search engines" in that way that search engines would actually depend on SEO Chekup results report.

    Having that said, I am wondering why SmartCrawl is actually detecting issues with canonical link and description on the site. Would you mind enabling support access to the site so I could take a closer look at this to try to find what is the reason for this?

    You can enable support access by going to "WPMU DEV -> Support" page in your site's back-end and clicking on "Grant Support Access" button there (let me know here about enabling it, please).

    Kind regards,
    Adam

  • Tony G

    I actually have not been setting the canonical URL properly across my sites. Just realized this while researching this problem. In short, for posts, pages, and other post types, where SmartCrawl is available for SEO optimization on the post page, we should go to the SmartCrawl > Advanced settings for every post where it seems reasonable, and enter a canonical URL. So that issue is now off the table.

    The same goes for metadata, per post under SEO > Edit Meta.

    About microdata, indeed I am not using microdata anywhere on my sites yet.

    What's happening for me, can't speak for others, is that when I see a yellow or red warning somewhere it draws my attention - as these colors and warnings are intended to do. But if I am aware of a situation, like it will take me months to properly canonicalize pages and provide them with metadata, then I don't want to be bothered with this visual attention-getter every time I'm in the site. And if I'm not ever going to use microdata on a site, I don't want a persistent "error" about it.

    I only want to be alerted when there is something actionable. I want Defender to tell me when something is up with the site, but I don't want (as an example of something that it does not flag) to be alerted if I am using the default login page compared to hiding that default to reduce my site's target surface. If that does get added and I consciously choose to use the default login for some intranet site, I don't want that to be flagged as a persistent warning or error. This is what's happening with SmartCrawl.

    So my real message here is that I think plugins that call attention to themselves should be more judicious about why they're doing that, and distinguish between real issues, things that deserve an occasional reminder, and things that are a matter of user preference rather than some globally accepted standard.

    Thanks.

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hi @tg!

    I actually have not been setting the canonical URL properly across my sites. Just realized (...) So that issue is now off the table.

    So, that's actually sorted than and the point would rather be the related to the "way the plugin alerts you about various issues". I tend to agree with your remarks but I must admit I can't think of any reasonable way of achieving such "alert flow" that you're suggesting - in "technical" terms. Not that I'm saying it's impossible, of course :slight_smile: But I'd be more than happy to hear some more suggestions from you on how we could achieve that so I could also forward that to our developers. If you got some ideas in mind, don't hesitate to share them, please. I really appreciate your feedback on this!

    Have a nice day,
    Adam

  • Tony G

    Thanks for the exchanges.

    I'm guessing most people still don't use microdata because of it's complexity and because of the nature of blogs and other more freeform site content. So I think a Settings option to disable microdata checking would be helpful. This addresses the "don't warn me if I'm never going to use it" problem.

    Let's back up a moment. I'm confused about what the crawler is telling us. When running a checkup it says:

    A full scan can take quite a while, especially if you have a large site!
    But for canonical links and meta descriptions it only seems to be checking the home page. I actually would like to ensure that an entire site is somewhat SEO friendly, since Google and other crawlers do index entire sites.

    If this actually checked the entire site and reported individual bad pages, then we could potentially see hundreds of pages and posts. Examples of such errors might be pages that don't have canonical links, or maybe they do but they're redundant or cyclical or lead to 404's, etc. If we really have hundreds of posts then this task of fixing all canonical links could be never-ending, as new content gets added. The same goes for pages without meta descriptions, keywords, etc.

    So the real challenge we're facing isn't a one-time "it's OK or it's not OK". We will never be able to remove that kind of all-or-nothing alert. For an alert to have any value on a page it needs to be able to call us to action for a task that we can complete. We need to break down the task of SEO maintenance into pieces that we can digest more easily, tasks that we can actually accomplish and say "we're done with some aspect of this". That could mean breaking up pages into sub-lists, like "Pages in Category Foo that require Canonical Links", or "Posts with Tag Foo that have short meta descriptions", or "Pages under /products with no microdata" (where /products might be the archive for a specific CPT type".

    Those are just random ideas for categorization but the point there is to provide a mechanism that allows us to breakdown actionable targets into smaller lists. I'd be happy to do that with a plugin and/or through a checkbox of common groupings.

    Continuing ... There might be a long list of posts that require attention. I don't want a constant alert - I know stuff needs attention. I want this tool to really just alert me when something needs to be done now. Again, if alerts are displaying all the time, they have no real value. So the next option for improvement might be a toggle for a reminder in N days. For example, I fully intend to get to all of those meta descriptions, but for right now I'm just focused on canonical urls within my site structure. So I'd like to check a toggle that essentially says "don't flag this as needing attention for another 15 days" (or configurable with settings for any N day reprieve). That gets that persistent warning out of my face for a while so that I can just see alerts that are in my current scope of effort. I don't mind if items remain in a displayed list. I just don't want to be warned about it like it's an ongoing problem.

    I'll pause for now. Thoughts?

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hi Tony G,

    Thanks for getting back to me with this!

    I've read your post carefully and can see a point there. I can imagine how "breaking things down" and an option to kind of "postpone" warnings or disable them might be useful, especially on big/complex sites.

    I have moved this to our "Features and Feedback" session (more with a "feedback" in mind rather than "feature request" so other members would feel encouraged to take part in that discussion as well) but I've also forwarded this too directly to SmartCrawl's develeopr-in-charge :slight_smile:

    Best regards,
    Adam

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