The term ‘let me Google it’ has become a worldwide phenomenon, it’s the quasi-equivalent of searching for a word, term or meaning in an Encyclopedia using the Dewey Decimal System. Google is so good at their job that SEO has had to branch out into many facets and is no longer all about cloning your site using the same content with varied URLs. Yep, that’s how they did SEO back in the day!
But we are not here to go into the history of SEO and how it was managed back in the day (Ugh, age is showing). Instead, let’s talk about site auditing and the importance it brings to your business by hyperfocusing on the elements that need to be addressed and how you can improve your search results. So what is a website audit?
According to HubSpot: A website audit is an examination of page performance prior to large-scale search engine optimization (SEO) or a website redesign. Auditing your website can determine whether or not it's optimized to achieve your traffic goals, and if not, how you can improve it to increase performance.
Simply put, website audits are necessary to see what the problem areas are of your website and how they can be improved to maximise the potential of your website. So in a New York minute, introducing our favourite SEO Auditing tools that we use almost as much as we use our mobile phones!
Ahrefs - an All in One SEO Tool
I am not gonna lie, I use Ahrefs the most here at SEIRIM. Aside from pointing out the issues brought about in doing a website audit, it has so many other rich features that make SEO what it is today.
Ahrefs is a powerful all-around tool that will help to see what is under the hood of your website. It has a myriad of features that make it an all-in-one SEO tool including keyword research, competitor analysis, rank tracking, to name a few. These features will help to implement your SEO strategy for your clients.
Grasps the most important issues and what we can do about it. It touches on areas such as slow performance, HTML tags, and content quality, to name a few.
Displays the meta titles and descriptions and lets us know if it’s too short or too long. Alongside this, we use Kayak Marketing to know how best to display meta titles and descriptions. With this, we can go into the backend of your website and change the titles and descriptions using the right amount of keywords and using the focused keywords that you are striving to rank for.
301 & 302 redirects: a 301 redirect indicates that a page has permanently moved to a new location, meanwhile, a 302 redirect says that the page has moved to a new location, but that it is only temporary. A 301 & 302 redirect is extremely important to SEO since it will index and display new and cleaner pages.
Ahrefs is blazingly fast! Their site is cloud-based and recognised as the second fastest crawler in the market today, next to Google. Aside from that, Ahrefs provides visual graphs grouped making it easier to explain to clients.
Google Search Console
I just want to say that even if we super love using Ahrefs, it goes hand in hand with Google Search Console and there are a few features that work particularly well in helping to improve your SEO.
GSC as most people call it these days lets us monitor and in some instances, resolve server errors, site loading issues, and monitor security issues.
Submission of new pages to Search Console to get these pages indexed quicker resulting in better search rankings.
Invetigates those pesky technical issues which could lead to an SEO deranking.
Identify the pages with low impression that may need to be reworked, or retargeted thus giving us ideas on how to improve the metadata.
Checking issues on a website can be time-consuming so Screaming Frog actually makes it a bit easier by giving you a detailed version of what needs to be done and addressed. In lieu of Ahrefs and Google Search Console; we at SEIRIM also love to use Screaming Frog for our QA process as well!
Investigates Crawl Depth, say what? In short, this tells us what a page’s crawl depth is, the number of clicks it takes to get to that page from the homepage.
Identifies page errors such as 404 ‘not found’ and 30X redirects. The tool is super duper helpful since it tells you where the errors are being triggered from (the ‘inlink’ pages), making it easier to fix the issues encountered.
Identifying external links going through redirects or hitting 404 page errors helps to improve user experience.
Identifying images over 100kb! Heavy images super slow down the page loading time so having smaller images will help and super crucial for mobile speed and SEO in general.
SEMRush is a tool that I have used a few times and also one of our faves here. SEMRush is just like Ahrefs except that it has a few other features which help to improve search rankings.
Keyword volumes & content recommendations
PPC keyword research
Domain keyword history goes back many years
Simple to use
Proactive and are always adding new tools and functionality and soliciting feedback from users
SEO Tools for CHINA:
Aizhan works like Ahrefs and is one of the more used tools for SEO in China. Now it’s a little hard to talk about Aizhan since the whole site is in Chinese (a language I don’t speak a word of!). From what we have discovered and researched is that Aizhan works like Ahrefs and is one of the most used tools for SEO in China. Aizhan is pretty okay to run an audit on but mainly recommending to use Aizhan when you need to work on Chinese SEO (not an easy feat but super helps with a Chinese colleague!)
Aizhan updates real-time so the statistics from the other search engines are completely up-to-date in their rankings.
They have this function to help us find long-tail keywords.
In addition to providing web developers with common tools such as IP antiquery, whois query, Ping detection, website reverse link query, and friendship link detection, aizhan also provides webmasters with a unique webpage Baidu weight value query.
The most important aspect I see here is that it supports crawling, URL submissions, and robots testing. The site is fairly beginner-friendly and will crawl your entire site and evaluate the webpages for any errors due to redirects, servers, robots and your usual 404 errors.
Just like Google Search Console, they even have a fancy toolkit that lets you clear obsolete content and it allows you to define error pages for 3 types of errors, namely HTTP 404 errors, soft 404 errors, and HTTP redirects due to errors. There is also a meta tag which tells Baidu that this page is obsolete: <meta name="baidu-deadlink" value="1">. They make it easy, don’t they?
Works like Google Search Console where it points out errors that need to be addressed such as redirects and those pesky 404’s. Crawls the site frequently and points out errors for better SEO optimisation.
Constantly updating their platform and has now released an HTTPS validation tool - this triggers a validation on whether the site has a valid HTTPS or has been successfully migrated to HTTPS.
There is a broken link submission tool where you can submit your broken links to Baidu (this normally happens after you do a check with Screaming Frog).
Like Google Search Console, you can also check the site’s ranking keywords, impression and clicks In Baidu.
And last but not least, an optimisation tool for Baidu Mobile because let’s face it, we live on our phones and we need everything to be mobile-friendly!
And so there you have it, a little sneak peek on the tools we use at SEIRIM.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lead Project Manager and Head of SEO and Quality Assurance, Maite focuses on the art and science of all web development strategies to help keep driving SEIRIM's projects and abilities forward.