SEO is constantly changing and evolving, but conducting your own SEO audit is a simple way to identify areas for improvement and ensure there’s nothing on your website that could be affecting your rankings — from broken backlinks to poor-quality content.
Staying one step ahead of the game is key when it comes to beating your competitors to the top of the search engines, so we recommend auditing your website 3 times a year. In the world of online marketing, what worked 6 months ago might not be so effective now – especially when you consider algorithm changes, updates and emerging trends.
Conducting an SEO audit can seem like quite a technical and daunting task, but using the right tools can really make your job a whole lot easier. We’ve picked out 4 of the best tools to help you assess your website’s current SEO performance.
No relation to the Crazy Frog, Screaming Frog is actually a handy desktop program which ‘crawls’ your website’s links, CSS, script and images.
Not only does it help you better understand how exactly Google’s crawlers see your website, it also makes it easy to amend broken links, find redirected pages, discover duplicate content and analyse your page titles and meta data.
The great thing about Screaming Frog is that you can crawl a single subdirectory or identify specific pages with lengthy titles or URLS – as well as having the option to look at your website as a whole.
You can download the programme for free directly to your PC or Mac, which covers all the basics you need for an SEO audit. However there is a paid version if you want to make the most of the more advanced features.
Google Search Console
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console gives you organic information relating to your website’s crawlability and flags any broken links.
A crucial part of any SEO audit is checking for 404 and 403 page errors, and Google Search Console lets you do just that. You’ll be able to see what’s caused the problems and fix them or provide an alternative page by using a 301 permanent redirect for any pages which are no longer in use by replacing the page (or applying a HTTP 301 redirect to a similar page).
Another great feature of the tool is being able to discover ways to improve your website’s HTML. It could be that pages have duplicate meta descriptions, or missing title tags – and amending these small problems can have a big impact on your search engine rankings.
Arguably the most popular auditing tool, Google Analytics is great for companies who are on a budget because it’s completely free. And, it’s certainly a tool that will teach you a lot about your website’s SEO performance.
Using GA, you can see which pages customers visit the most frequently and which pages don’t attract as much traffic – as well as giving you insights about which marketing channels are sending traffic to your website. You can then use this information as a guide when you’re creating new content.
If it’s information about your audience that you’re looking for, Google Analytics will soon become your new best friend. You’ll have access to a wide range of data, including audience interests, devices and demographics – which again will help to guide your content strategy.
Don’t forget to use the ‘Behaviour Flow’ feature, where you can find out how visitors interact with your website. For example, do visitors click though to additional pages after visiting one landing page? If not, it could be an indication that your website lacks effective CTAs or is hard to navigate – both factors which can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings.
Poor-quality backlinks can damage your SEO, so it’s important to know where exactly they’re coming from. And, when it comes to link analysis tools, Ahrefs is considered by many SEO professionals to be one of the best.
Ahrefs will give you a thorough backlink profile to your website. Not only will you see which sites are linking to yours, you’ll also be able to see information about the anchor text they use and the quality of the links.
However, backlink monitoring isn’t the only thing that it’s good for. You can also access crawl reports and track your competitors’ keywords, which comes in handy when you’re brainstorming topics for new content or tweaking your on-site optimisation.
If you’ve never conducted an SEO audit before, it’s well worth investing the time to do it. By using the tools mentioned in this post, you will easily be able to identify areas which could be letting your website down. After all, the sooner you pick up on the issues, the sooner you can fix them and look forward to better rankings and more customers.