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SEMrush Toolkits
SEO Toolkit
Site Audit
Troubleshooting Site Audit

Troubleshooting Site Audit

Manual

Is your Site Audit not running properly?

There are a number of reasons why pages could be blocked from the Site Audit crawler based on your website’s configuration and structure, including:  

  • Robots.txt blocking crawler
  • Crawl scope excluding certain areas of the site
  • Website is not directly online due to shared hosting
  • Pages are behind a gateway / user base area of site
  • Crawler blocked by noindex tag
  • Domain could not be resolved by DNS - the domain entered in setup is offline -
  • Website content built on Javascript - our system only checks fixed website content and can only provide a partial audit of dynamic elements

Troubleshooting Steps

Follow these troubleshooting steps to see if you can make any adjustments on your own before reaching out to our support team for help.

Check your Robots.txt for Disallow Commands

A Robots.txt file gives instructions to bots about how to crawl (or not crawl) the pages of a website. You can allow and forbid bots such as Googlebot or SEMrushbot from crawling all of your site or specific areas of your site using commands such as Allow, Disallow, and Crawl Delay. 

If your robots.txt is disallowing our bot from crawling your site, our Site Audit tool will not be able to check your site. 

You can inspect your Robots.txt for any disallow commands that would prevent crawlers like ours from accessing your website. 

To allow the SEMrush Site Audit bot (SemrushBot-SA) to crawl your site, add the following into your robots.txt file:

User-agent: SemrushBot-SA

Disallow:   

(leave a blank space after “Disallow:”)

Here’s an example of how a robots.txt file may look:

Troubleshooting Site Audit image 1

Note the various commands based on the user agent (crawler) that the file is addressing.

These files are public and in order to be found must be hosted on the top level of a site. To find a website’s robots.txt file, enter the root domain of a site followed by /robots.txt into your browser. For example, the robots.txt file on SEMrush.com is found at https://semrush.com/robots.txt.

Some terms you may see on a robots.txt file include:

  • User-Agent = the web crawler you are giving instructions to. 
    • Ex: SEMrushBot-SI, Googlebot
  • Allow = a command (only for Googlebot) that tells the bot it can crawl a specific page or area of a site even if the parent page or folder is disallowed.
  • Disallow = a command that tells the bot not to crawl a specific URL or subfolder of a site. 
    • Ex: Disallow: /admin/
  • Crawl Delay = a command that tells bots how many seconds to wait before loading and crawling another page. 
  • Sitemap = indicating where the sitemap.xml file for a certain URL is.
  • / = use the “/” symbol after a disallow command to tell the bot not to crawl the entirety of your site 
  • * = a wildcard symbol that represents any string of possible characters in a URL, used to indicate an area of a site or all user agents. 
    • Ex: Disallow: /blog/* would indicate all URLs in a site’s blog subfolder
    • Ex: User agent: * would indicate instructions for all bots

Read more about Robots.txt specifications from Google or on the SEMrush blog.

Remove Restrictive Tags from your Site

If you see the following code on the main page of a website, it tells us that we’re not allowed to index/follow links on it and our access is blocked.

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow" >

Or, a page containing at least one of the following:  "noindex", "nofollow", "none", will lead to the error of crawling.

To allow our bot to crawl such a page, remove these “noindex” tags from your page’s code. For more information on the noindex tag, please refer to this Google Support article.

Whitelist SEMrushBot

To whitelist the bot, contact your webmaster or hosting provider and ask them to whitelist SemrushBot-SA.

The bot's IP addresses are: 

  • 46.229.173.68
  • 46.229.173.67
  • 46.229.173.66

The bot is using standard 80 HTTP and 443 HTTPS ports to connect.

If you use any plugins (Wordpress, for example) or CDNs (content delivery networks) to manage your site, you will have to whitelist the bot IP within those as well.

For whitelisting on Wordpress, contact Wordpress support.

Common CDNs that block our crawler include:

  • Cloudflare - read how to whitelist here
  • Imperva - read how to whitelist here
  • ModSecurity - read how to whitelist here
  • Sucuri - read how to whitelist here

Please note: If you have shared hosting, it is possible that your hosting provider may not allow you to whitelist any bots or edit the Robots.txt file.

Hosting Providers

Below is a list of some of the most popular hosting providers on the web and how to whitelist a bot on each or reach their support team for assistance: 

  1. Siteground - whitelisting instructions 

  2. 1&1 IONOS - whitelisting instructions 

  3. Bluehost* - whitelisting instructions 

  4. Hostgator* - whitelisting instructions 

  5. Hostinger - whitelisting instructions 

  6. GoDaddy - whitelisting instructions 

  7. GreenGeeks - whitelisting instructions 

  8. Big Commerce - Must contact support 

  9. Liquid Web - Must contact support 

  10. iPage - Must contact support

  11. InMotion - Must contact support

  12. Glowhost - Must contact support

  13. A2 Hosting - Must contact support

  14. DreamHost - Must contact support

* Please note: these instructions work for HostGator and Bluehost  if you have a website on VPS or Dedicated Hosting.

Check Account Limits

To see how much of your current crawl budget has been used, go to Profile - Subscription Info and look for “Pages to crawl” under “My plan.”

Depending on your subscription level, you are limited to a set number of pages that you can crawl in a month (monthly crawl budget). If you go over the amount of pages allowed within your subscription, you’ll have to purchase additional limits or wait until the next month when your limits will refresh.

Proper Redirects (for DNS Issues)

If the domain could not be resolved by DNS, it likely means that the domain you entered during configuration is offline. Commonly, users have this issue when entering a root domain (example.com) without realizing that the root domain version of their site doesn’t exist and the WWW version of their site would need to be entered instead (www.example.com).  

To prevent this issue, the website owner could add a redirect from the unsecured “example.com” to the secured “www.example.com” that exists on the server. This issue could also occur the other way around, if someone’s root domain is secured, but their WWW version is not. In such a case, you would just have to redirect the WWW version to the root domain.

Change Crawl Source (JavaScript)

SEMrush cannot parse JavaScript content at this time, so if your homepage has links to the rest of your site hidden in JavaScript elements, we will not be able to read them and crawl those pages.

We crawl JS and CSS and make performance checks (minify, compressed). We can not render JS because we cannot get content and links which show only after rendering.

However, you can implement AJAX crawling scheme, and Site Audit will find links in your JavaScript and follow them to the content on your site that they link to. All you have to do is re-run your campaign and change the crawl source from Website to Sitemap. You can read more about this in our news release.

In order to not miss the most important pages on your website with our crawl, you can change your crawl source from website to sitemap - this way we won’t miss any pages that are mentioned in the sitemap.

Although we cannot crawl JavaScript content, we can crawl the HTML of a page that has some JS elements and we can review the parameters of your JS and CSS files with our Performance checks.

Change the User Agent

Your website may be blocking the SEMrushBot in your robots.txt file. You can change the User Agent from SEMrushBot to GoogleBot and your website is likely to allow Google’s User Agent to crawl. To make this change, find the settings gear in your Project and select User Agent.

Troubleshooting Site Audit image 2

 

Bypass Disallow in Robots.txt

If this option is used, blocked internal resources and pages blocked from crawl checks will not be triggered. Keep in mind that to use this, site ownership will have to be verified.

This is useful for sites that are currently under maintenance. It’s also helpful for when the site owner does not want to modify the robots.txt file.

Crawl with your Credentials

To audit private areas of your website that are password protected enter your credentials in the “Crawling with your credentials” option under the settings gear. This slide allows the Site Audit bot to reach those pages and audit them for you.

This is highly recommended for sites still under development or are private and fully password protected.

Troubleshooting Site Audit image 3

 

Contact SEMrush Support

If you still are having issues running your Site Audit, send an email to mail@semrush.com or call us at the number on the website footer to explain your problem.

Further reading: Check out our 2017 study of the most common technical SEO mistakes.