Website Audit Tools Every SEO must know
I recently noticed that all my Mondays seem to be fading into one gigantic day, always doing the same thing.
That’s because Mondays are control days (so are Wednesdays, but that’s another issue).
Every Monday I ignore all emails that have accumulated during the last hours of Friday and during the weekend. I open a browser that is only intended for audits, put on my headphones and immediately dive into it.
Fortunately I really enjoy doing audits. Otherwise I might have lost it at some point, but performing a website check is just like playing archeology and being a detective at the same time. Was that just a reference to Indiana Jones?
Over the years I have purchased a very reliable arsenal of tools that I trust to do the actual digging for me. Now I know we all have our favorites, and we can give preference to one or the other, but here is my view of the control tools that every SEO Agency should know at least. Note that there is no specific order or method for the list.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Let’s Start With the Obvious Duo.
The first thing you need to do is jump to Analytics and Search Console and analyze the traffic, traffic sources, landing pages, user behavior, dwell time, bounce rate, keywords, rankings and all those fun things. Know your bases before you actually proceed with another tool.
Some SEOs tend to neglect this first step that I often find, but the best place to start an audit is always to analyze what you already have and the best place to do that is the most reliable source. Although all the other tools I have mentioned are great, they can never be as accurate or reliable as your own Google duet.
Another good thing to do now is to outline a list of improvements and ideas that you have achieved simply by looking at this raw data. The tools will help you come up with more, but your own experience and imagination will turn that data into usable steps. Knowing where you can find the data is one thing – knowing what to do with it is a different matter altogether.
Woorank is a great all-in-one tool if you are looking for a quick and easy way to find out how you can improve a website. It analyzes more than 70 statistics (including SEO and social signals) and will certainly offer you a good start.
The disadvantage of Woorank is that the data it offers is just a bit too wide and not always detailed enough. Each segment it focuses on can be analyzed with a special tool, but there is no better option for a quick audit.
However, if you are looking for something in-depth, you should also use a few other tools.
More of a crawler than a control tool, ScreamingFrog is the dream of an SEO. Although the interface may not be really nice, the data you can use to find information is endless if you know how to use the crawler and how to interpret the data that you get.
The tool can scrape any website and provide data that must be compiled manually. Think in terms of redirects, broken links, metadata, word counts, titles, and so on. It can also help you discover thin pages and weak content and is generally a great benefit for on-page analysis. (Shout here quickly to Site bulb, I started using this at the beginning of this year and it can make SF superfluous)
Another all-in-one type of tool, SEMRush has an audit function that gives you data to work with (albeit fairly basic), including meta and title suggestions, link building opportunities and content ideas.
The content checking feature is also useful and can help you quickly go through your pages and provide a truly valuable insight into the available solutions.
Another way to use it is for research by competitors – the information that is revealed is quite different from what the tools mentioned below offer, so it can be a nice goal to compare the results you get from each.
Ahrefs vs. Majestic vs. Moz
There is an endless discussion in the SEO world about the winner in this fight.
Although each of us is a clear favorite, all of these tools are great for certain parts of the audit that you perform.
Admittedly, you can do it without Moz. Their spinning and crawling power are no match for Ahrefs – but they just reopen their Link Explorer feature, so it would be good to keep an eye on developments.
Majestic has a unique Trust Flow statistic, which is very different from the domain assessment / competence of the other two. It is also great for doing bulk website analysis, link audits and can often pick up things that Ahrefs will not do. Use it to check backlinks and potential link prospecting.
The current leader of this package for me is Ahrefs – with the functions they keep adding, you could only rely on their tool for your audit.
It can help you search for keywords, offer ranking insights, backlink analysis, their content explorer is great for working on content marketing ideas, their audit function is also an all-rounder, it provides insight into anchors and competing pages – all in all, a great tool to have in your arsenal.
Speaking of content audits, Copyscape is another tool you need to know. It helps to find duplicate content that your website is dealing with – always an important fact to check.
Google Keyword Planner
Building on keywords and associated tools, the Google keyword planner is the obvious place to start (except the Search Console). While some may claim that this is the most accurate data you can find, remember that this tool is designed for paid, non-organic search results, so the results you get may not apply to your SEO campaigns.
Another disadvantage is that only accounts that spend a significant amount of ads get the most precise data – accounts without spending get a very wide range of results.
If the Keyword Planner fails, there is WordTracker. Praised by the Next Scoop as the best keyword research tool there is, it is undoubtedly a great resource – it delivers results in minutes, and the data it reveals are really useful. Don’t forget to always refer back to your Search Console to see how your efforts pay off.
There are also dozens if not hundreds of tools that offer an SEO Audit function – some are free, others require payment, but most will only offer a very broad picture. They can be a good place to start, but a good, in-depth analysis requires more manpower and more tool power.
What tools do you use to perform your audits?