Have you ever started an SEO audit that just never seemed to end?
The work just kept coming, and it took you days to complete the whole thing.
I’m guessing that’s not an experience you want to repeat.
Thankfully, there’s something that can help you avoid this entirely.
Do this right, and you’ll have your SEO audit done in a matter of hours instead of days.
What am I talking about?
The right SEO audit tool.
If you’re unsure of which SEO tools provide site audits, or if you’re planning to use a number of different tools to complete different parts of your audit, you should know that there’s a better way.
Throughout this article we’re going to discuss some of the top SEO audit tools available—and which ones you’ll need to complete your audit faster than ever.
First, let’s talk about what your SEO audit tool should be able to do for you.
What Should an SEO Audit Tool Do?
A full SEO audit will analyze many different parts of your website. To that end, what different aspects of your website should an SEO audit tool cover?
- Rank Analysis: Tracking and analysis of the different keywords that your website is trying to rank for. You’ll want to see at a glance which of your site’s pages are ranking for which keywords in the first page of Google results, and of course, which pages aren’t ranking well or at all. The best tools can even will even show if you’re missing easy ranking opportunities for related keywords—a little outside the scope of your standard SEO audit, but useful nontheless.
- Technical SEO: Review of your site’s robots.txt file, structured data and security.
- On-page SEO: Overview and recommendations for every SEO element within you’re site’s content, including: keyword usage, related keyword usage, meta description, URL length, permalink structure, internal and external linking, word count, presence of H1, H2 and H3 headings, and so on.
- Content: Competitive analysis of your site’s content. It’s not enough to look at easy-to-add details like H1s—SEO is about quality content, so you need to review the quality to boot. This includes comparing your content against the competition on page one of Google, as well as preventing or reporting plagiarism.
- Accessibility: Evaluation of your site’s loading speed and mobile-friendliness.
- Incoming, Outgoing and Internal Links: Comprehensive analysis and reporting of your backlink profile. Backlinks are one of the most important (and most often underestimated) aspects of your website’s SEO. Your SEO audit tool should show you all the links that are pointing to your website, what domains they’re coming from and what effect they’re having on your SEO (good, neutral or bad). You’ll also want a tool that can tell you about your internal linking (which may be covered in the “on-page SEO” features) and the number of links that you’re sending out to other websites.
All of the above is essential for understanding your site’s current SEO status.
Once you’ve got a clear picture, you’ll know why certain content isn’t performing as well as it could, and you’ll cover huge opportunities to boost your website in the SERPs without creating new content.
Ain’t that the dream?
Now that you’ve got an idea of what to look out for, we can go through the best tools available for these purposes.
To start, we’ll check out free tools that claim to provide SEO audits—but keep in mind that the paid tools are designed to significantly reduce your workload, streamline your audit and give you the most thorough report possible.
5 Free Tools for a Quick SEO Audit
Alright, so here are the freebies! Take ’em for a spin to get a rough idea of what an SEO audit should entail. Consider this the practice round.
Google Webmaster Tools
Let’s start with the tools that come from the SEO motherland: Google itself.
Obviously, if your website passes the tests available from Google Webmasters, Google is happy with your website.
There are three different SEO audit tools available from Google:
Mobile Friendly Test
Ever since the infamous Mobilegeddon update, your website is either mobile friendly or it’s not.
Using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test is a fast way to see whether or not your website complies with this update.
The tool is pretty straightforward: Simply input the URL that you want to check, and Google will test if it’s mobile friendly or not.
Recent Google updates have made page speed extremely important, both for desktop and mobile search results.
Using this tool, you’ll be able to see how fast your page loads and how optimized it is. It also shows separate results for mobile and desktop loading.
PageSpeed Insights gives you suggestions of how to optimize your page for faster loading, as well as a list of optimizations that you’ve already implemented.
Structured Data Testing Tool
When you implement structured data on your website, it’s important to make sure that everything is formatted correctly.
Enter the Structured Data Testing Tool.
Once you input the URL that you want to check, you’ll see any errors in the structured data. This allows you to quickly check for issues and fix as necessary.
Neil Patel SEO Anaylzer
When a tool has Neil Patel’s internet-famous name stamped on it, you know it’s going to be good.
This simple yet slick tool delivers a fast, visually-friendly SEO audit. Input your URL and out pops the complete report.
You can choose between two different SEO reports. In the website analyzer, you’ll see a page-level speed score and a page-level SEO score based on technical and content-based SEO requirements.
This report gives you actionable recommendations based on what it finds. This allows you to see not only what you’re doing right, but also the specific points that you need to fix.
Personally, I feel that the shining feature of this free tool is the competitor analysis report, which goes even deeper into your website’s SEO in comparison to your main competition.
Here, you’ll be able to see a traffic score, SEO score and speed score for your website and for up to three competitors of your choice. You’ll then see tables and charts that show you how your SEO score compares to that of your competition.
You’ll see the number of SEO errors you competitors have, as well as their total backlinks compared to yours, how they use their top keywords and more. Export these reports to PDF to keep them on hand.
Not bad for a free overview, eh?
Upcity SEO Report Card
This SEO Report Card is a simple form that you fill out with your website, your main keyword and your top competitor. Then the report gets sent right to your inbox.
The report covers six basic SEO factors:
- Keyword ranking
- Keyword use on your website
- Trust metrics
It compares your ranking to your competition on Google, Bing and Yahoo. That’s rare, with everyone else zeroing in on Google these days. That being said, it does lack many of the more technical SEO factors.
All in all, it’s a simple and easy audit tool that’s also free! Gives you a good place to start from.
SEOptimer Audit Tool
This tool’s extremely detailed checklist is perfect for SEO beginners who are looking for fast recommendations to improve SEO.
Just input your URL into SEOptimer’s audit tool, and you’ll receive an SEO score based on five different factors:
- On-page SEO
Scrolling through the list, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’re doing right and what you need to fix. At the end of this list, you’ll see a checklist of SEO tasks, each with their own priority level.
Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider is a tool that pummels you with a giant wave of SEO data, which is great for those with a bit more experience in SEO.
The SEO Spider is a website crawler that discovers everything you need to know about your website’s SEO situation. It will crawl all the pages on your website, and then deliver information such as:
- Metrics for inbound and outbound links
- Anchor text
- Page titles and meta data
- Response time
- Meta robots
- Duplicate pages
For each page, you can also see a SERP snippet that shows how the page would look in the SERP results. Here, you can also edit the information that’s shown.
You can also filter the information that appears to you in each tab, depending on what kind of metrics you’re looking for.
While the SEO Spider is extremely comprehensive, it does have a substantial learning curve. However, this free tool is downloadable, and with time you can get some truly incredible results with it.
As we mentioned above, site speed is a huge factor when it comes to SEO. If you’re having trouble with Google’s SiteSpeed Insights tool, as some smaller websites do, then Pingdom is an extremely reliable site speed checker.
Another important feature of this tool is that you can choose where your site is pinged from, to test the speed from different parts of the world.
Once you test your website, you’ll see how fast the page loaded, as well as the performance grade given by Pingdom.
After this, you’ll also see different metrics, such as the type of information on your pages, as well as a graph with segregated information on file requests and response times.
Although simple, Pingdom packs a lot of information about site speed and responses into one easy-to-ready report.
Google frowns on duplicate content, even when the fault lies with other websites copying your content.
To protect yourself from duplicate content, Copyscape’s free plagiarism checker is an essential tool for your SEO audit toolbox.
Simply input the URL of your website, and Copyscape will check for duplicate content online. Their paid version also allows you to set up plagiarism alerts, giving you peace of mind knowing that someone is looking out for your content to prevent plagiarism.
Now that we’ve discussed these free tools, you’ve seen both the benefits and the setbacks of using free tools for your SEO audit. If you’re on the lookout for an SEO audit tool that covers all bases for an in-depth checkup, the paid tools we’ll discuss are just what you need.
4 Paid Tools for a Deeper SEO Audit
Free tools are great to have in your bookmarks bar, but you’re busy—the prospect of recurring manual work might not be appealing.
Plus, with free tools, you’re only getting an overview at best. The SEO details are where the real opportunities for improvement lie.
Not only will these paid SEO audit tools make your audit a heck of a lot easier, and take all the heavy lifting out of your hands, they’ll also give all the details.
Oh, and they’re not one-off audits—they’re powerful subscription tools for ongoing monitoring, analysis and reporting.
Just think about it: You won’t need to wait for that monthly or yearly SEO audit to know what’s up. You’ll always know what’s up.
We mentioned above how important backlinks are for a healthy SEO profile.
So, a tool that keeps track of all of your backlinks is going to be an essential part of your SEO audit.
Monitor Backlinks not only allows you to check on backlinks, it does exactly what its name suggests: It monitors your backlinks.
This means you won’t have to keep checking on your backlinks: Monitor Backlinks will keep you informed of any new or lost backlinks, as well as spammy backlinks that you need to take care of. Goodbye, manual backlink checks.
Monitor Backlinks also gives you all of the metrics you need to see regarding each of your backlinks. Within the backlink list, you’ll see metrics such as:
- Index status for page and domain
- Anchor text
- MozRank and Majestic
- External link count
You can use Monitor Backlinks to track keywords and audit your current SERP rankings. This tool keeps you up-to-date on which keywords your pages are ranking for, which rankings have risen or fallen (and by how much), your average keyword position in Google and a side-by-side comparison with your competition.
To boot, you’ll see key metrics to assess your site’s overall quality.
Another fantastic paid tool for SEO experts, Ahrefs Site Audit tool will come in handy for an incredibly detailed audit.
If there are any issues with your website’s SEO, Ahrefs will find them. This tool crawls your website and checks for over 100 different types of issues, giving you complete reports on what needs to be fixed and how to do it.
See an overview of all issues, or check out the individual reports on the issues that are most important to you, such as incoming or outgoing links, site performance, content quality, HTML tags and more.
Also, with the customizable data explorer, you can configure your own reports and tailor them to your specific needs. That way, you’re always getting the information that matters.
Best of all, you can schedule automatic audits with Ahrefs, meaning these reports will automatically run and be delivered to you whenever you need them.
While this tool has a steep learning curve, it’s great for those with some experience in SEO.
Moz Pro works as another all-in-one SEO tool, allowing SEOs working for large sites to really dig into the meat of their SEO audits.
The Site Crawl tool within Moz Pro is both easy-to-use and comprehensive, designed to take very large websites and crawl them quickly.
Once your site has been crawled, Moz tells you how many issues it found within your site. These issues are categorized by priority, showing you which problems you need to fix immediately and which ones can sit on the back burner for now.
When going through Moz’s list of your site’s SEO issues, you’ll see not only the problem, but also how it affects that page’s SEO, as well as tips on how to fix it. As you complete tasks, you can check these off the list, and do an instant re-crawl to see how your changes have affected the issue.
Moz’s Site Crawl can be set to run automatic crawls every week, alerting you to new issues as they come in. You’ll also see historical data showing how your site’s issues have improved over time.
Other features of Moz Pro that can help in an SEO audit are the Rank Tracking and Link Research tools. What’s even better about these tools is that, just like Monitor Backlinks, these items are tracked constantly, meaning you’re always up-to-date on your site’s current SEO profile.
This brand new SEO audit tool from the makers of KWFinder and SERPWatcher is definitely something to keep in mind for those with less experience in SEO.
This tool covers five important areas of your SEO audit:
- Traffic: Discover total visits, average time on site, bounce rate, and traffic by country. You’ll also see where your traffic is coming from (organic, email, paid, social, etc.) as well as your top organic keywords.
- Backlinks: Find out how many backlinks you have coming in to your site, new vs. lost, ratio of nofollow to dofollow, top referring domain, anchor text distribution, and more. If you want a more detailed view of your backlinks with other important metrics, you can also open the LinkMiner tool, a part of the Mangools tool set.
- Content: See a list of your top content based either on Facebook shares or referring domains.
- Audience: Find out details about your main audience, such as gender, education, browsing location, and general interests.
- Competitors: Figure out who your top competitors are, and see quick stats to compare such as Alexa rank, referring IPs, and Facebook shares. You can then run any of these websites through the SiteProfiler to get a more comprehensive view.
This tool’s user-friendly dashboard makes it extremely easy to use. The only downside is that it does not cover the more technical aspects of SEO.
Conclusion: SEO Audit vs. Monitoring SEO
So, after analyzing all of these tools, which is the right SEO audit tool for your website?
Obviously, the decision will depend on your budget and your website’s unique needs.
We all know that doing an SEO audit is important, and using a few of the free tools we mentioned above can help you with all the important aspects of an audit.
However, is that really the best option for your website?
The problem with running one single SEO audit is that you’ll need to keep doing this over and over again, setting up the tools repeatedly. It’s also harder to keep track of the results you’ve had over the past few months when you’re just using free tools.
So, why are the paid tools better?
Because paid SEO audit tools give you more than just one screenshot of your site’s SEO profile. The tools we talked about give you a comprehensive look at what’s going on with your site now, and have the ability to compare that with past audits.
Best of all, you don’t have to run around setting up multiple tools, configuring each one for your needs. With many of the paid SEO audit tools we mentioned, you can actually set your SEO audits to run automatically, giving you updated information right when you need it.
These tools allow you to have more than just a one-time view. They give you a constant view of your site’s SEO status, with the historical data that shows how you’ve improved.
Using paid tools to both audit and monitor your SEO will keep your website SEO-friendly and ranking well consistently, not just when you run an audit.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab the tool that best fits your needs, run through a free trial, and see just how powerful an SEO audit tool can be for your website.