What is the best SEO audit tool?
So thats like asking whats the best tool for building a house?
Just like in building a house the right tool for the job is essential. So as an SEO, BSIT MBA MEd whos “top rated” by clients on Upwork and has tested in the top 10% there heres how I see it.
No automated free audit tool is really that much better than another because they cant accurately audit the 200+ signals that we suspect Google uses, because of course Google does not publish that. These tools are usually just lead generating gimmicks intended to gain your contact info so someone can actually follow up with ya. Now they are useful …. in like a heart monitor is useful. They cant diagnose the problem but they can be an indicator of something catastrophic.
I divide audits into groupings and each has a tool set.
- User Behavior – The most important factor…this includes bounce rate, how many pages they view, if they return, whats the CTR in Google Search Console…these are the most important signals. And it makes sense….if a page doesn’t include a phrase on the page but every time Google lists it first for a specific search everyone clicks it and stays on that site for an hour …. its safe to assume the site is relevant to the user’s search. So in this one I think the best tool is Google Search Console and then Google Analytics. You can combine the data in Data Studio for free.
- Backlinks and Mentions (What others think of the site) A Little less important than user behavior but a heck of a lot more important than meta tags and keywords are the off page signals. For this Google Search Console is a good tool again. Now if you’d like a site that breaks this into more then you have to consider that SEMRush .com SEOProfiler .com Moz .com and HREFS .com all crawl the web on their own. They are always going to have a smaller sample size than Google. So all of them are only as good as how fast they can crawl the web and start all over again. With that said I go with SEMRush .com and SEOProfiler .com as they are reasonably priced and I always use at least 2 because of the smaller sample size. You notice the often disagree on what site has how many backlinks and that’s fine I just average them in my head… I also like Monitor Backlinks for just monitoring backlinks.
A couple notes here … DA Domain Authority is no more accurate than Citation Flow or Trust Flow they aren’t accurate. Neither can fully predict Google’s algorithms and focusing on any one of these is as effective as chewing gum to treat a heart attack. Taken together they become more accurate…so know all three and SEMRush offers you DS with LIS from SEOProfiler so there are plenty of measures that eyeball it … but don’t get fixed on anyone. Its like looking over your three credit reports and trying to come up with a FICO score.
- The least important part is the most thought of part and the one that gets too much attention…the on page audits of a site. Any of the tools already mentioned with audit the site for broken links and error pages…so just use anyone of them. I use SEOProfiler then SEMRush’s audit but I also like WebSite Auditor as its available offline. On page though is the least accurate indicator to the relevancy of a page to a search. I’d give it maybe 30% of a site’s signals.
- Finally the often forgotten but important … especially in the world of mobile. ( Don’t forget over 50% of searches are mobile and Google has a separate index for them ) is Technical SEO. How long does the page take to load. GTMetrix .com is the tool I use for that.