If you are just starting out managing a website on your own, it won’t be long before you encounter the world of SEO. If this is a foreign concept to you, we recommend you start by checking out our previous posts on SEO For Beginners (parts one and two), where we introduced the topic and linked to a couple of free website tools for you to try out.
For those of you already acquainted and ready to take the next steps in driving more traffic to your site, there are essentially two options. You can invest some of your marketing budget in a company that will analyze your competition and making the necessary adjustments for you to move up in the ranks, or you can do it yourself.
Now you may just not have the funds available to invest in a marketing company yet, but even if you do, it may not be a bad idea to familiarize yourself a bit more with the process. This will allow you to make informed decisions about where and how your marketing dollars are being spent.
Luckily, nowadays there are plenty of useful tools available online that can help you in your solo venture. Below you will find our list of the 7 best SEO audit tools you can use for free. In case you find them somewhat overwhelming, don’t worry, the Dept X team has tested them out for you, and we’re going to break down each of them for you by showing you which metric these websites measure, and how you can use that data to help improve your website!
In no particular order, here they are:
SEMrush is one of the most comprehensive website audit tools that are currently available. Their reports are extensive and valuable – not only to individual web developers such as yourself, but also major SEO companies who actively use their tools to help their clients reach their desired objectives. SEMrush is one of the most widely used tools SEO experts rely on to analyze competitors’ websites.
When you run your website through SEMrush, your report is going to look something like this:
This report gives you insight into your website’s top organic keywords, and, probably most importantly, into your main organic competitors. You can then analyze their website(s), and gain insight into how you can use their techniques to improve upon your website and rank higher in search results.
SEMrush offers a wide number of tools and reports you can use in competitive research: domain overview, traffic analytics, organic research, etc.
It also offers extensive keyword research, link building, and SEO tools. Although the use of their free website is limited, even the free version of SEMrush can help you create good content, or start to create an advertising campaign.
Their pricing varies from $119.95/mo to $449.95/mo, which is likely fairly expensive for an individual whose website is still in the making, so make sure to get the best out of their free tools.
2. Google Analytics
Upon first glance, Google’s Analytics tool looks similar to SEMrush, but the main difference between the two is that we use Google Analytics for internal website insight. When you register (or log in with Google), you will get a unique tracking code that you have to add to your website’s <head> section, usually right before the <body> tag. Google will then start acquiring data from each unique visitor to your website, and start building a comprehensive report about how people use your site.
How can this help you?
Let’s take a look at their demographics map:
If your website is in English, but you notice you have a large Chinese audience as well, you might want to think about implementing a Chinese translation tool for your website.
Google Analytics can also tell you which pages of your website users spend the most time on. If you notice users spending a short amount of time on certain pages, you will probably want to either redesign them or rewrite the content, to make them more appealing and make your visitors want to stick around longer.
You can think of Google’s Analytics tool like a club card – it collects data about patterns, and then uses these patterns to help you understand how to improve your website in order to drive more traffic to it.
Google Analytics one of the best free SEO tools out there, because you can utilize its entire potential without having to pay a cent. On top of that, it will also help you if you move into advertising with Google down the road.
3. SEO Site Checkup
With their „Search Engine Optimization Made Easy“ tagline, SEO Site Checkup‘s website vows to show you important data affecting your website’s SEO score and overall health. As well as the other free SEO website audit tools, it shows you your rankings, on-page quality, keyword analysis, etc.
Although it does give you a heads-up as far as errors go, in order to see what exactly is wrong and how to fix them, you need to register for free and start a free trial. SEO Site Checkup’s pricing ranges from $24.95/mo to $79.95/mo, and each of the plans offer a free trial, which you can cancel at any time, so make sure to make use of it.
Moz is one of the best and widely used free SEO analysis tools. On their website, you can check your domain for competitive SEO metrics. When you enter your domain’s name in Moz and click analyze, you can expect to see these main metrics:
Domain authority ranges from 1 to 100, and the higher the score, the greater your website’s ability to rank on search engine results. Linking root domains show you how many other websites have linked to your page (or site). Ranking keywords shows you how many keywords your website is currently ranking for. Unless you’re a news company or a budding scammer, chances are your spam score is going to be low. You can pre-emptively check domain names similar to the one you’re going for, to see how good (or bad) its spam index is on Moz. For example, domains with multiple hyphens are more likely to index as ‘spammy’ by Moz, because spam sites, in general, tend to use several hyphens in their domain names. Want a really long URL name? Might want to rethink that, as many spammer websites also have abnormally long URLs.
Other than these main four metrics, Moz offers other powerful SEO tools: Keyword explorer and Link explorer, each of which can help you discover the best keywords to use for your site, as well as show you what type of content you should be writing about.
Although Moz offers several free tools, you have to pay to uncover the full potential of this page. Their pricing ranges from $99/mo to $599/mo, but they do offer a 7-day free trial you can cancel at any time.
Although not as comprehensive as some of the other tools we have listed, SEOptimer offers a detailed website audit and helps you identify problems that might be holding you back from ranking higher.
For each of the main metrics, SEOptimer is going to show you exactly what you can do to get a higher score on the next crawl.
It can also tell you how you should tweak your website’s design to make it more legible / user friendly for any visitors with disabilities:
And show you how well or poorly certain parts of your website are doing according to loading times.
You should make use of all of SEOptimer’s advices, and apply them to your website to make it perform better. If you notice consistently slow load times or server response times, you may want to consider switching or upgrading your web hosting plan.
With the free version of SEOptimer, you can only crawl 3 websites a day. Their pricing ranges from $19/mo to $59/mo, and they offer a 14-day free trial.
Neil Patel’s UberSuggest is one of the most popular – and widely regarded as best – free SEO tools you can utilize to make your website rank higher.
Its SEO analyzer shows how much organic traffic a website gets, how many organic keywords it has, and how many other sites link back to it. It also performs a health check of a website to warn you of any critical errors. Much like other SEO audits, it shows you the speed of your site and lists the top SEO issues that it discovered.
What UberSuggest does better than other website audit tools is that it makes it fairly easy for you to analyze your competition. You can then make use of that data to write better content, have a better social media presence, brainstorm better keywords, and outrank your competitors more easily than you might have without any insight into their SEO „secrets“.
UberSuggest makes it possible for you to check each keyword a certain website ranks for, and then analyze those keywords to see what kind of content drives the most traffic. This way you can know what users want to read about most and start writing better content that will drive traffic to yours.
UberSuggest doesn’t only offer competitive analysis; you can use their Keyword Analyzer tool for detailed keyword overview and keyword ideas, and it will also give you more insight into content ideas for certain keywords.
Using the free version of UberSuggest, you can crawl up to 3 websites a day. With the best value for your money, UberSuggest pricing ranges from $29/mo to $99/mo. It also offers lifetime plans (pay once, use forever), ranging from $290 to $990.
So when you run your website through it, it will look something like this:
Much like with other websites we’ve listed, performance measures how fast your website loads. Accessibility measures how easily accessible your website is for everyone – including visitors with disabilities. Best practices imply good, easy-to-maintain code that’s well documented, and SEO measures how well your website is optimized for search engines.
After each crawl that usually lasts a couple of seconds (depending on the size of your website), web.dev offers you a detailed report on all four of the main metrics, as well as an easy to understand guide on how to correct any errors you might have, make your website load faster, make it more accessible and user-friendly for both your visitors and search engines.
web.dev is completely free of charge, making it a useful and powerful tool for an individual website manager.