Why has my score changed even though I have not made changes to my site?
By Sean Needham
Siteimprove provide scores for Quality Assurance, Accessibility, and SEO. These scores all feed into the overarching DCI® Score.
Scores can change even though changes have not been made on your website. This is normally due to changes in the number of pages the crawler found on your website or changes on sites/assets that your site links to.
Examples of how external changes can affect your score
- DCI® Score: A change in the number of pages found by the crawler can affect all scores and therefore also the overall DCI® score.
- QA Score: If an externally linked website is down, then this will cause broken links and therefore change your Quality Assurance Score.
- Accessibility Score: Changes to an external style sheet can affect your Accessibility Score. For example, CSS often controls the color of elements and this can affect the color contrast.
- SEO Score: Although rare, changes to industry recommended SEO thresholds can result in an update to our check criteria and therefore affect your SEO Score.
How do I investigate what has changed?
We suggest you look in the following areas to determine why your score has changed:
QA Check History
A change in the number of pages found on your website can affect all scores. The QA Check history is a good place to investigate the number of pages, broken links, etc., found on your site during recent crawls.
From the main menu, go to Quality Assurance > Summary > Check history.
Here, you are presented with a table showing a history of all checks that have been run for the selected site.
Page count changes
In Check history, you can expand the 'Page count' column to view pages that have been added or removed during the last crawl.
Common reasons for page count changes include:
- The Siteimprove crawler is being blocked. e.g. Due to 'too many requests', Changes in your website's firewall settings, etc.
- The Log-in credentials provided to Siteimprove, for a website behind a login, have expired.
- A server hosting a section of your website content was down when the site was crawled.
- Exclusions/alias settings have been changed within your site settings.
If there is no obvious reason for the removal/addition of pages listed, then you re-check the site to see if your score returns to the previously expected score.
For further information on rechecking your site see, “How to re-crawl a site, a page, multiple pages or a group”.
Note: Page numbers can be also be affected by changes to your IT systems. For example, we see cases where our crawler IP address or user agents are blocked causing a reduction in the number of pages. If you see a large reduction in the number of pages found during a check then please make sure your IT department is still allowing access to our crawlers. Further information on Siteimprove IP addresses and user agents can be found in “What IP addresses and User agents are used by Siteimprove?”
Broken link changes
The Check history table also presents the broken links found in the latest check. Changes in the number of broken links found will affect your QA Score. Broken links to external sites can occur at any time. For example, if the webpage is moved or deleted by the owner. Expand the 'Broken links' column in Check history to see the broken links are on your site or external.
If the Accessibility Score has changed then we suggest you look at the Accessibility Issues list at Accessibility > Issues.
Here, you can view changes in the number of pages with each issue over the last 30 days. You can also filter on Responsibility, Priority Issues, Conformance level, and Severity to help identify the issues that have affected your score recently.
It is also useful to look at the graphs on the Accessibility Overview page to view recent variations in the score and number of issues.
The SEO Score may change if changes were made to the SEO check thresholds. If Siteimprove changes a check threshold, an annotation will be added to the SEO Score progress graph on the bottom of the SEO overview page.
Go to SEO > SEO Overview and click on 'Annotations' in the bottom right corner of the page for a list of all annotations.
You can also find information on any changes to SEO checks on 'The latest updates to the Siteimprove Platform' release feed.
Issues and Recommendations
It can also be useful to look at the Issues and Recommendations page at SEO > Issues and Recommendations.
Here you can see which category of SEO issues has had the most effect on your SEO Score since the last check. Filtering the Issues and Recommendations table on the same page can help identify the issue affecting your score recently.
If you have any questions regarding this please submit a request and we'll get in contact with you.