What Tools Should You Use to Undertake SEO Site Audits?
At Zelst we have used Moz for, what seems like, ever, and still like it. In addition, we use Semrush
extensively, Ahrefs, and Screaming Frog, which is an amazing tool. We have also used Searchmetrics, which is now part of Conductor , and have trialled and tested a variety of other tools.
We also rely on free tools like Google Search Console,
Google Analytics, the Structured Data Testing Tool, PageSpeed Insights, and Bing Webmaster, for essential insights. As well as using these as stand-alone resources in themselves, all our paid tools also integrate with Search Console, PageSpeed Insights and Analytics, which provides even more depth and context to their findings.
Why Not Just Use One SEO Tool?
Most SEO Platforms claim that they are a one-stop shop, providing a full range of analysis tools, and it might be possible, as well as considerably cheaper and less time-consuming to rely on just one platform, however, as experienced SEOs, we recognise the importance of having reliable and robust data, and each of the platforms does provide unique, and, often, very different insights.
We use our knowledge and experience to understand what the data means and how we can best use it to make a difference and ‘move the needle’. We also know how we can use the best each platform offers and what platform offers the best information or analysis on a range of factors, so that we can review and apply changes that will make a difference.
What a Tool is Good For?
Whilst you can manually see some issues on a page, it is not possible to spot every broken link, redirected link, page without a title tag, image without an alt tag, page without a viewport tag or any of the, literally, hundreds of issues that could affect a site's performance in search, the traffic it gets and the user experience offered, without relying on a really good SEO tool (or a number of tools). This is especially true when you have a large site, where it can even take an automated bot a number of days to crawl.
The SEO Tools Bots can also ape the Google Bot and so give an experienced SEO an insight into what Google sees.
What a Tool Will Not Tell You
Whilst a good SEO tool will tell you if a page has a Title Tag and Meta Description and if they are of the right length, what they cannot really do is to tell you whether they are relevant and optimised for the page and the keyword themes you are targeting, and whether it is better than those of all the other pages you are competing with in the SERP.
Tools will tell you if links exist on a page, but they will not tell you if they are going to the right destination, whether the links are relevant on the page, or the context of the link.
Tools often can’t differentiate context, so, for instance, they may flag that links to a 302 redirect exist throughout the site, without taking into account that maybe these are links to social media pages (which all redirect to a login page), or that links to a buy button
will often 302 to a basket page, or that links to URLs which are “no indexed” or blocked by the robots.txt file often have a purpose, and there is a reason why those URLs were blocked or no indexed.
Essentially the tool can undertake the heavy lifting but you need an experienced SEO to analyse and interpret the data, and decide what needs to be changed.
How Should You Use Site Audit
You need to use automated tools to provide the scale of analysis that is required, however, how you use that information is the key, and it is important not just to slavishly follow a series of recommendations.
As John Mueller, lead Search Advocate at Google says:-