When’s the last time you ran an SEO audit on your website?
For many website owners, the answer to that question is “never,” and that should change immediately.
It can cost a pretty penny to have a website built, and many developers claim that they optimize your website for SEO, included in the price. A nice free add-on, but how can you be sure that it’s being done correctly? After all, not every website designer offers a full suite of services like ShoreSite Web Designs.
There’s a bounty of free software and apps available that run your website through a series of checks and quickly gives you a comprehensive, thorough, and easy to understand report with everything that’s right–and wrong–with your site.
ShoreSite uses two different tools to get a complete picture of every website we work on, and they are both free to use! Let’s take a deeper look into Screaming Frog SEO Spider and Ahrefs Site Audit.
How To Use Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
Screaming Frog is an app that can be downloaded for either Mac or PC, and is free for crawls of websites with up to 500 URLs. Because of this limitation, eCommerce sites with large inventory might want to consider paying for Screaming Frog, but for other websites it usually works just fine.
Once you download and open the app, you’ll see a search bar at the top where you can simply enter the domain you’re looking to run an audit on. Make sure you enter the root domain to get all possible URLs. In our case, that would be https://shoresitedesigns.com.
Once the audit loads, you’ll see a couple windows. First, let’s look at this one:
As you scroll down, you’ll see the list of all the pages, plugins, themes, images, and anything else that has a URL on your website. For ShoreSite, it detected 408 total URLs. You can click on each individual one to get a full breakdown on it, from the content on the page itself to important factors behind the scenes like load response time, whether or not it’s indexable, and if it’s giving you a 404 error or not.
On the right side of the window, you’ll see something that looks like this under the “Overview” tab:
This is the bread and butter of Screaming Frog. As you scroll through this window, you’ll find a number of variables that are essential to SEO, such as Metatitles, Metadescriptions, H1s, H2s, H3s, content, images, structured data, directives, plus more. It will tell you what’s missing, what has duplicates, what’s too short, what’s too long, or if there are multiples of one thing on a specific page. Whenever you click on one of these filters, the left side of the window populates all of the URLs that it applies to.
All of this information can be used to optimize your website if it hasn’t been already. For example, in the above screenshot, there are two metatitles on the website that are over the recommended 60 character limit, and when I click on that, it shows me which two so I can go in and fix it immediately if I decide it’s a problem.
There are dozens of other filters and tabs to scroll through in Screaming Frog, but by spending 10 minutes going through each of the above categories, you’ve already got a leg up on your competitors who don’t know what might be wrong with their site.
How To Use Ahrefs Site Audit
If you don’t feel like downloading anything to your laptop, we’ve got an even better alternative for you. Ahrefs site audit is a free to use tool that is as easy as going right to the website and using it in the browser. The only catch with Ahrefs is that you need to be the verified owner of a Google Search Console account connected to your website, or you can verify it with an HTML file, HTML tag, or DNS record.
Once you’ve added the project, you can begin your site crawl by entering the non-www version of your website. Ahrefs might take longer than Screaming Frog, so you can start it up then let it run for a few hours–you’ll get an email when your site audit is complete.
When you come back, you’ll see something like this on your dashboard:
With Ahrefs, you can set up recurring site audits. For ShoreSite, we have weekly audits running, so every time we log in we get a look at historical data from weeks past. For your first audit though, you can dive right into the report dashboard to take a look at all the metrics with visually pleasing charts and graphs.
Ahrefs has come up with their own metric for measuring the overall health of a website–health score. The higher it is, the better. It is a metric that reflects the proportion of internal URLs that don’t have errors, which are commonly any of the following:
- 4xx errors
- Orphan page
- Page contains links to broken page
- Metadata missing or empty
- 3xx redirect in sitemap
- Non-canonical page in sitemap
- HTTPS page links to HTTP page
- Redirected page has no inbound links
- Broken redirect
On the right-hand side, you can see issue distribution, which allows you to click on each of notices, warnings, and errors, to get a full breakdown of exactly where you can optimize your website.
As with Screaming Frog, Ahrefs has dozens of other tabs to go through and learn about, plus a helpful question mark you can hover over to learn more about most metrics listed on the audit.
How Do I Fix My SEO?
Now you have a comprehensive report of everything wrong with your site, or small tweaks that can be made. Do you know what to do with them? Our SEO team at ShoreSite can run audits for you, interpret the data, and use it to improve your website’s organic presence in ways that most website owners wouldn’t think of. Contact us today to get started on the right path to page 1!