In the previous post, we talked about Content Audits, and how you should do one every year or so. In this post, we are going to look at Website Audits. These should be done once every month to help you stay on top of potential issues that may threaten your rankings.
There are lots of website audit tools on the market today. One of the best ones I’ve come across is Website Auditor. It’s a great tool that delivers a full content and technical analysis so you can see where you’re missing opportunities for improving your site’s ranking.
It’s actually a part of a more comprehensive SEO PowerSuite set of tools. In this review article, we are going to look at how Website Auditor works, as well as how you can use it to boost your standing with Google and other search engines in the long run.
What is Website Auditor and Who is it For?
This is auditing software that tells you how the different search engines view your website. It crawls through your site files to find issues that might be preventing your from ranking better in the search engines.
This tool is for everyone and not just for SEO agencies. If you have broken links, images that are way too large, pages that aren’t well optimized, or pages that load too slowly and may have crawl issues – then this tool is one that you absolutely must use.
The first step in ranking well in the SERPs (search engine results pages) is to ensure that your site is technically sound.
This tool will help get you there!
Some of the issues that this tool can find include the following:
- Broken internal and external links
- Pages on your site that are too large
- W3C validation errors
- Pages with thin content
- Any hierarchy issues
- Duplicate meta-descriptions or title tags
- Overused and underused keywords
- And a whole lot more…
Does This Website Audit Tool Do it All?
Well, no. No tool (so far) can do that. For a holistic SEO strategy, you’re going to need a few more tools, but this should be your first stop when doing your monthly audit. You can run an automatic reporting schedule from right within the tool so you can go into it once a month to make sure all is well.
How to Install Website Auditor
You can start using this tool for free. Simply download it from SEOPowerSuite.com and install the program on your computer. The free version will crawl 500 URLs, which means if your website is still small, it’s all you need for a one time check of your site. When you download the software, you get four parts of the SEO suite:
1. Website Auditor
2. Link Assistant
3. Rank Tracker
4. SEO Spyglass
Each of the tools has its own benefits, and it’s certainly worth trying them all. But for the purposes of your monthly SEO audit, we’re going to focus only on the Website Auditor. After installing it on your desktop, simply click the icon for Website Auditor, and the tool will open.
Because this is more of a ‘Review/Beginner’s Guide’ and less of a ‘How-to’ type of article, we’re not going to go into the settings right now. But, this tool was designed to be user-friendly, and has great support. There are also tons of free videos online detailing how to use it effectively.
The Downside of Website Auditor
Now that you know the advantages, it’s time to face the drawbacks of this tool. One of the worst things about this software is that it offers way too many options. While that isn’t really a BAD problem, it’s still a huge one for most basic users. It creates a lot of confusion and overwhelm.
After installing it, you’ll need to set the Preferences so the tool can do what you want it to do. This is great for coders and developers, but for most bloggers and online business owners, it can be quite frustrating.
Right now, I’m going to run through some of the things you may need, and those you shouldn’t waste time on.
Setting Your Preferences
You can access the Preferences dialog box through the Preferences link at the top left hand side of the page. The drop-down menu gives you a quick view of all the different options that are available to you. I’m only going to cover what I think you’ll need most to get a great overall picture of your website with this tool.
The majority of preference options are quite advanced, and offer more than you actually need right now. But, it’s always a good idea to learn and discover more about this tool going forward, because the more you know, the better your site will be.
Website Auditor Preferences can be divided into two groups: Project Preferences and Global Preferences.
Customer Profile – Mostly for use by agencies, so don’t worry about this.
Tags – These let you append records to specific topics, just like WordPress does.
Events – Helps you keep track of the actions you’ve taken and changes you made on your website.
Preferred Search Engines – Select Google for the search engine you want data pulled from.
XML Sitemap – If you’re using a plugin for your sitemap then you don’t have to worry about this area.
Robots.txt – This is something else that you can leave for now if you’re a non-technical website owner.
Google Analytics Account – If you have one, link to it here so you can receive more detailed information regarding page visits and sessions right in your dashboard.
Company Profile – Not necessary to fill this out unless you’re an SEO agency.
SEO PowerSuite Cloud – You can store your audits on the cloud to give you quick and easy access.
Dropbox Settings – This allows you to save your reports directly to your Dropbox.
Publishing Profiles – This is mostly for agencies, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Moz API – Not required, but if you have a Moz subscription, this allows you to pull in additional information from their API.
Search Engine API Keys – If you’re focusing on Google, then you don’t have to enter these, but you may need to do so for Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, etc.
Proxy Settings – Most website owners won’t need this. It basically connects you to the internet via a proxy server rather than your standard web connection.
Scheduling – This feature allows you to schedule reporting. You can set a weekly audit for your site if you so choose.
As for the rest, you can leave them all on the default settings.
Technical Website Audit Features:
Now comes the part that ROCKS! After setting up your site to get crawled, you’ll receive an array of information from a technical perspective. But don’t worry, it’s very easy to understand. The part you want to review first is the Site Audit area where you’ll find information on these areas:
Indexing & Crawlability – In this section you’ll discover everything you need to ensure that search engines can crawl your site. You’ll be able to find out if there are any pages that should be indexed but are marked as ‘no-indexed’. You’ll also be notified of any 4xx or 5xx errors and to verify if your 404 page, Robots.txt file, .xml sitemap, etc. are all in place.
Encoding or Technical Factors – This is a bit more technical, but very important. This is where you find out if your pages are mobile-friendly, or if you have mixed content issues, and so on. It’s important to pay attention to such issues because they may be keeping you from the higher rankings you deserve.
URLs – Here you’ll be able to see if your site has any dynamic URL issues (typically long URLs with question marks and other characters that aren’t relevant).
Links – You’ll be notified of any broken internal and external links as well as too many links on any page. The number of dofollow external links is also noted in this section.
Images – This is one of the major issues seen on websites. Some are too large, others have no alt text. Here you’ll find out if your site has any broken images or images that don’t have alt text.
On-Page – This covers your basic on-page optimization actions with regards to meta descriptions and title tags. You’ll know whether you have duplicates or any missing information.
Visualization Tool – Here you can easily visualize the structure of your website. It helps you determine if you’re offering the search engines and users the best experience in terms of structure and hierarchy.
Website Page Audit – This is yet another incredible feature which allows you to see a complete list of your site pages, together with a ton of information about each page. You’re able to customize the reports and filter out the information you don’t need.
You can review the following elements:
- Open-graph and Structured data
- Page word count
- Meta and title descriptions
- Each page’s technical factors
- Social media stats for each post
- Traffic going to each page
This section tells you everything about your pages. What you can improve, and what you’re doing well.
All Resources – This section focuses on the resources that your site uses (if you set the preferences to crawl your entire site, as opposed to a single page). This includes PDF files, JS files, HTML files, and more.
Content Analysis Features:
There’s still a lot more this software can do! The content analysis feature is one of the best things about this program, particularly where bloggers are concerned. The Page Audit tab will show you a list of all your site pages and you can select the one you want to improve. You’ll then be prompted to input the keywords or phrases that you want your page to be ranked for.
And that’s when the magic happens.
The software analyzes your pages and then gives you an overview of everything that’s happening on that page from your keyword usage to title tags, and so on. You’ll be able to see all the important issues easily in the Technical Factors tab and the Content Optimization tab.
Then there’s the TF-IDF area.
TF-IDF (Term Frequency with Inverse Document Frequency) helps the search engine understand your content better. It doesn’t have a direct impact on your rankings, but over the long term, it will benefit your website immensely.
The report tells you the terms and phrases related to your target keywords according to what your top competitors are using in their content.
Adding some of these provided keywords or phrases to your own content helps you improve the content topic, thereby making your content more valuable to both users and search engines. The tool also shows you the number of times you used a specific keyword and whether you should use more or less of it.
This feature allows you to see your changes live. It lets you easily make all the necessary modifications to your page. You can then copy the page’s source code and paste it on your website. However, since most bloggers typically do their editing right on the website, this feature may not be such a big selling point. But, it may be of benefit to some.
Summary of Website Auditor Features:
- Easy interface helps you understand where to make improvements
- The software provides tips to help you understand the various parts of the site audit
- You can see why your top competitors rank well so you can do better
- In-depth content audit In-depth technical audit
- Free trial plus 30 day money back guarantee
- For anyone with lots of content on their site, it can prove to be quite slow
- Has quite a learning curve, particularly for advanced use
- Algorithm updates command a monthly fee (but this is still considerably less than what other services like SEMrush and Ahrefs charge monthly for similar functionalities.)
Website Auditor Review: The Final Verdict
This is one of the tools that no online marketer’s toolkit should be without. You can do a lot with the free version, but the paid package will give you a bigger competitive edge when it comes to ranking well. At a cost of just $6.67/month (billed yearly), you’ll get all the latest and best tools, tips, and expert recommendations for making your site rank higher.
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