When done correctly, search engine optimization (SEO) helps websites improve their organic traffic, rank higher in search engine results, and increase their online visibility.
However, achieving these results requires a strategic and data-driven approach. Several factors change within your SEO strategy:
Search engine algorithms update regularly: This can impact your meta tags, keyword phrases, and technical SEO practices. Understanding how algorithms are ranking search engine results pages (SERPs) is vital to ongoing SEO analysis.
Search intent of your target audience: The keyword phrases used in queries can evolve. You need to listen to your customers’ voices and align your on-page SEO to suit.
Broken links: External links from your website can break if a third party changes URLs or deletes web pages. Like link building is intrinsic to the best SEO, you must identify broken links and fix these SEO errors.
Web design and development standards: Site speed, individual page speed, performance, and design standards are all vital to success. For instance, mobile-friendly SEO is increasingly important.
Many more ranking factors: These four elements can quickly impact your positions in search engine results.
The best SEO strategy is constantly adapting, and your search engine visibility will fade if you do not maintain and improve your digital marketing tools.
This is where SEO audits come into play. An SEO audit is a comprehensive evaluation of a website’s SEO performance, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
Whether you use an individual SEO audit tool or custom SEO reports, an audit process helps guide your existing SEO initiatives and suggest additional strategies.
At Valve+Meter, our team follows a strenuous SEO audit checklist that blends the best SEO audit tools, including some paid applications.
The free SEO audit tool available from many manufacturers provides a starting point. This can provide valuable insights into your website’s current state and help you develop a roadmap for long-term success.
Why SEO Audits Can Save Your Website
Countless web design and marketing companies are eager to sell you new web pages and even a completely new website. Additions, changes, and updates do not get to the core of your business.
What if your marketing agency empowered you to understand how your website performed?
The best SEO audit tools give you control over your strategy. An SEO audit eliminates guesswork and expedites action, and when you learn how to use the best SEO audit tools, you can transform your website into a lead-generating machine.
Here are three reasons why SEO audits are essential:
Find and Fix Technical Issues
An SEO audit allows you to identify any technical or on-page issues that may be hindering your website’s visibility in search results. It helps you uncover issues like broken links, duplicate content, slow page load times, and improper use of meta tags.
By addressing these issues, you can monitor tools like Google Search Console and ensure that search engines can properly crawl, index, and understand your website, improving its chances of ranking higher.
Stay Updated with Best Practices
Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and SEO best practices are continuously changing. What worked a few years ago may not be effective today. An SEO audit helps you stay updated with the latest trends and algorithmic changes, ensuring your website adheres to current SEO guidelines.
You can keep your website optimized and aligned with best practices using tools like Google Analytics, Moz, SEMrush, AHRefs, and other website audit tools. Once problems are fixed, you can maintain or improve your keyword rankings and stay ahead of your competitors.
Maximize Organic Traffic and ROI
The ultimate goal of SEO is to drive organic traffic to your website. An SEO audit helps you identify optimization opportunities, whether by improving the keywords you’re targeting, optimizing existing content, filling content gaps, or enhancing user experience.
With the information gained from the website audit, you can increase the visibility of your website in search results, attract more organic traffic, and, ultimately, improve your return on investment (ROI).
One free SEO audit tool like Screaming Frog can quickly identify on-page SEO issues. Fixing errors within a single reporting tool can radically improve your organic traffic without paying for additional new pages.
What To Do When Performing an SEO Audit
An SEO audit allows you to take an in-depth look at everything surrounding your SEO and organic search efforts. Learning how to do an SEO audit is a separate article. To simplify the process, here are some steps to take when performing an SEO audit:
Identify Target Keywords
Your SEO audit should begin with understanding your target audience and their search intent. There are tools to help with keyword research but the best SEO audit tools are contained within your CRM.
Who are your customers? What are the pain points that you solve? What words do existing customers use when searching for your products and services?
Finally, what are the keywords that you want your website to rank for? Are there some valuable keywords to your industry that you’ve been ignoring? Make a list of your target keywords and optimize your website for them.
Analyze Existing Website Content
Make sure that your website’s content is high-quality and relevant to your target keywords. The copy should contain your target keywords, as well as any supporting keywords, to help your website rank for relevant and valuable search queries.
Make sure that all your website pages’ content is well-written and easy to read to enhance the overall user experience. One thing that never changes in search algorithms-great content is rewarded!
Optimize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Your title tags and meta descriptions are the first things that people will see when they search for your target keywords. Additionally, they’re indicators for search engines to better understand what your web page is about. Make sure that all metadata is optimized for search engines and that they accurately reflect the content of your pages.
Analyze Existing Backlinks
Marketing companies and individual businesses often overlook off-page SEO. Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. They are a valuable signal to search engines that other websites see yours as authoritative and trustworthy. The more backlinks your site has from high-quality websites, the more valuable search engines believe your website is.
You can build backlinks to your website by guest blogging, participating in social media, submitting your website to directories, and performing outreach to other websites. Creating incredibly engaging content with original thoughts and insights helps to earn inbound links.
Tracking your progress over time is crucial to see what is working and what is not. You can track progress from the beginning of the campaign to the present time, showing how effective your edits have been over time. You can use Google Analytics to track your website’s traffic and search engine rankings.
The Best Tools for SEO Audits
To capture the most organic traffic in your industry, it’s essential to use the best SEO audit tools. With advanced features, comprehensive data, and in-depth analyses, these tools allow you to uncover hidden opportunities and pinpoint possible SEO issues or technical areas for improvement.
The best SEO audit tools should be simple to use with room to expand as your skills evolve.
With SEMrush, you can check over 130 elements, including internal linking, overall site performance, core web vitals, security checks, and more. As SEO audit tools go, it’s pretty simple to jump in and use immediately.
It’s a reporting tool that provides comprehensive insights and data to optimize your website’s performance in search engine rankings. Semrush helps you find areas that need to be improved and provides actionable recommendations to enhance your website’s overall SEO health.
You can also create a campaign for your website, allowing you to track its health and performance continuously. This includes tracking keywords, finding technical errors and warnings, and more.
Creating a campaign with Semrush lets you monitor your website over time, seeing how any edits you’ve made during the audit have affected the site’s performance.
The best SEO audit tools should give you insight into your competitors.
Among the most highly regarded tools for SEO audits, Moz provides several functionalities that can help improve your website’s search engine performance and easily compare your position with competitors.
Moz features a “Site Crawl” tool that allows users to thoroughly analyze their websites for technical issues like broken incoming and outgoing links, duplicate content, and missing meta titles and meta descriptions.
Additionally, Moz provides tools for keyword research, backlink analysis, and other important aspects of an SEO audit.
Conducting an SEO audit with Moz provides you with the tools and data needed to identify areas for improvement, develop a targeted optimization strategy, and make informed decisions that positively impact your website’s search engine performance.
The best SEO audit tools should grow with you. Ahrefs does just that, providing both basic SEO audit tools and exceptionally complex tools.
Ahrefs is a similar tool to Moz and Semrush in that it provides a wide range of features for conducting comprehensive SEO audits and optimizing website performance.
Their powerful site audit tool provides valuable insights and data to help websites improve search engine rankings and increase organic traffic.
With Ahrefs, you can conduct in-depth keyword research, analyzing search volumes, keyword density, difficulty, and competitive keyword opportunities.
This enables website owners to target the most relevant and high-value keywords to optimize their content and drive organic traffic.
Ahrefs also provides users with robust backlink analysis tools, allowing you to assess the quality and quantity of your backlinks, identify potentially harmful spam links, and discover opportunities for building high-quality backlinks.
This helps you identify off-page SEO opportunities to improve your website’s authority, search engine visibility, and credibility in search engine rankings.
The best SEO audit tools should work across multiple channels. Screaming Frog scans your site and easily exports the data to familiar apps like Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or Apple Numbers.
If you’re looking to conduct a thorough technical SEO audit, Screaming Frog is a powerful technical SEO audit tool that should be in your arsenal.
This website crawler allows you to analyze various technical aspects of your website, uncovering potential issues that may impact your website’s search engine optimization rankings.
Screaming Frog crawls your entire URL structure, identifying any technical issues that may hinder search engine crawling and indexing, such as broken links, duplicate content, or improper use of meta tags.
The information gathered from the Screaming Frog crawl can help you fix any issues that could be hurting your website’s performance and ability to rank.
The best SEO audit tools should guide you in how to execute better SEO strategies.
Surfer SEO is an on-page optimization tool that can help you implement keywords throughout your website’s content. This helps you audit the content currently on your site and optimize future content as you create it.
The tool allows you to compare your content to the top-ranking web pages for any given keyword. It provides a list of keywords to implement throughout your content, in addition to the ideal word count, number of headings, and other on-page ranking factors.
With Surfer SEO, you can easily identify keyword gaps, implement high-value keywords, headings, and content length to align with best practices and increase your chances of ranking higher in search engine results.
By utilizing Surfer SEO’s comprehensive on-page optimization features, you can ensure that your content meets the criteria of top-ranking pages and maximize its potential to attract organic traffic.
Google Search Console
The best SEO audit tools should be accurate and free, maybe. Almost every free SEO audit tool will have limitations, but Google Search Console gives you everything you need without any paywalls.
Previously referred to as “Google Webmaster Tools,” Google Search Console is a free SEO audit tool that provides valuable insights and data directly from Google, making it an essential online SEO audit tool for any website looking to improve its SEO strategy.
This multi-functional tool offers a range of features and functionalities that can help optimize your website’s performance in search results.
As an SEO audit tool, Google Search Console can monitor and analyze important metrics such as search traffic, impressions, and click-through rates.
It provides detailed information about the keywords and phrases that drive organic traffic to your website, allowing you to refine your keyword targeting strategy.
One of the key benefits of using Google Search Console for SEO audits is its ability to identify and fix technical issues.
The tool highlights crawl errors, indexing problems, and mobile usability issues, helping you address these SEO issues promptly and improving your website’s overall performance. Google Search Console is among the best free SEO tools in 2023.
What is the Best SEO Audit Tool for You?
Ultimately, finding the best SEO audit tool for your website will depend on its needs.
For example, if you’re looking for an all-encompassing audit of everything relating to your website, Moz, Ahrefs, or Semrush might be your best bet.
However, if you’re looking to specifically dive deep into keyword research and the content on your site, Surfer SEO is a great choice.
When choosing an SEO audit tool, it is important to consider your budget, the features that are important to you, and the level of support that you need.
Many of these SEO tools offer free trials so you can play around in the free version of each and ultimately discover which provides your website with the most amount of benefits. Some of the best SEO audit tools are free forever.
Other Great SEO Tools
Beyond performing SEO audits, here are some other great tools that can improve your website’s organic traffic and visibility:
Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics tool that provides comprehensive insights into website traffic, user behavior, demographics, and conversion metrics.
All technical SEO audit tools pull data from Google Analytics. Mastering this tool allows you to customize data to suit the goals of your website audit.
It allows users to track and analyze relevant website data, including the number of visitors, traffic sources, bounce rates, and conversion rates, among other things.
With Google Analytics, websites can gain valuable insights into their performance and make data-driven decisions to optimize their website and improve their online presence.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a keyword research tool that helps websites discover the questions, queries, and keywords their target audiences are searching for on search engines.
The tool generates a visual map of keyword ideas based on real search queries, providing insights into the types of content users seek.
Answer the Public helps writers and website owners understand their target audience’s interests and concerns, showing them keywords they should create relevant and engaging content around.
Providing content relevant to a target audience’s queries and questions can boost organic visibility.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a platform that connects journalists and reporters with experts in any given industry.
Businesses and individuals can sign up as sources and receive queries from journalists seeking expert insights for their articles or news pieces.
Responding to queries and providing valuable information can increase media coverage and brand recognition and typically provide backlinks that can enhance a website’s online reputation and visibility.
GTMetrix is a website performance monitoring tool that assesses and analyzes a website’s speed and overall performance.
It provides web developers with detailed reports on factors that impact a website’s loading speed, such as image optimization, server response time, and caching settings.
GTMetrix helps websites find areas affecting site performance, speed, and user experience.
Making any necessary adjustments based on the provided information can positively impact search engine rankings and visitor retention.
Google Ads Keyword Research Tool
The Google Ads Keyword Planner, part of the Google Ads platform, is a free tool that helps websites target keywords relevant to their websites.
It provides insights into any keyword, including search volumes, competition levels, and suggested bid amounts for specific keywords.
The tool was created for PPC campaigns but can be used for organic research as well.
This tool lets websites discover high-value keywords to target in their paid and SEO search campaigns.
Yoast SEO is a popular plugin for WordPress websites that provides on-page SEO optimization features.
It offers tools and guidance to optimize content for target keywords, improve meta tags and descriptions, generate XML sitemaps, and enhance overall website SEO.
With the tool, you can edit canonical tags to let search engines know what content to rank for a given search query.
Yoast SEO helps websites ensure their content is well-optimized for search engines, making it easier to rank higher in search results and attract organic traffic.
ChatGPT is an AI-powered content creation tool that helps websites write high-quality content fast.
The tool can carry on conversations with humans naturally and engagingly. It can write expertly on nearly any topic to help you create engaging content.
It can answer questions, provide summaries of factual topics, and even generate creative text for poems, code, scripts, musical pieces, emails, letters, and more.
While your content creation efforts shouldn’t completely rely on AI generation, it’s a helpful tool that allows you to create content easily.
Google Bard is an AI model that can generate high-quality content that is both informative and engaging.
Google Bard can help you improve your writing style by making grammar, spelling, and punctuation suggestions. This can help you create clear, concise, and easy-to-read content.
While AI may not understand your audience and their needs, Bard can help you create more relevant and engaging content for your readers.
Sign Up for an SEO Audit
SEO is a moving target, and keeping up with your website’s SEO efforts can be a time-consuming process.
Turn to the marketing professionals at Valve+Meter Performance Marketing. Our team has years of experience in helping our customers improve their organic search presence.
When you turn to Valve+Meter for an SEO audit, we’ll provide a thorough
analysis of your website’s SEO performance.
Our experts will examine various aspects, including your website’s structure, on-page optimization, technical elements, backlink profile, and more.