SEO Audit Tool Comparison

by on 11/05/2010 • 40 Comments | SEO

At Outspoken Media, we love SEO audits. Link development and online reputation management may be our bread and butter, but three of us not-so-secretly pine for the SEO audit. If I have the time, I will fight with Dawn over who takes the lead on a complicated SEO audit even though I know it means having to sit with Rae for hours of fast-talking, finger-breaking analysis.

When Lisa, Rae and myself first founded Outspoken Media, we had to flush out which services we would offer. SEO audits were never a point of debate. Rae loved them as much as me. She’d been performing audits on her own properties, potential acquisitions and at conferences on SEO site clinics for years. She had a system and she had a lot of bookmarks to help her hands perform almost as fast her brain!

Rae’s system was different from mine. I was used to working from a template. I would systematically walk through a website isolating different areas and typing up recommendations as I went. Rae’s system was more organic. She would start with Google’s index and work out from there. She wanted to know how Google saw the site, which told her where the areas of strength and more important, weakness were. From our two backgrounds, everything fell into place.

We’re a great team and we produce an SEO audit that I’d compare only to that of a very short list of other SEOs in the world. As Outspoken Media grew it became obvious that even though I loved working on a SEO audit every other week, there was no way I could continue being the sole person to work with Rae on them as our demand and client load increased. We needed a second Rhea. Someone who could pickup where my brain left off, meet our very high standards and work closely with Rae for long periods of time. Rae had known Dawn for awhile and knew that Dawn could fit our company’s culture, something that in our business is more than half the battle. What Dawn also brought to the table was a technical proficiency far beyond that of Rae and myself. She could talk servers, JavaScript, microformats and more. She completed us.

For over a year now we’ve been cranking out high-quality SEO audits for our clients. We have our internal processes and tools, but we’ve always been curious about the other SEO audit tools on the market. Over the past couple of weeks Dawn has been collecting these tools and weighing their advantages and disadvantages to help us gain some inspiration for making our process even better. Without further ado here is our audit of the SEO audit tools! Take it away Dawn. :)

SEO Audit Tool Comparison

Features Web CEO Alexa Site Audit Website Grader Website Auditor SEOmoz Tools
Overview
Executive Summary x x x x
Number of indexed pages x x x x
Domain History
Domain Registration x x First crawled
Domain expiration x
Crawl Stats
Crawl of site’s URLs x Limit 10,000 pages x Limit 100,000 pages
Last crawl date x x
Filter URLs for crawl x x
Domains & Sub Domains
URL report x x x
Extraneous parameter/session ID detection x
Errors & Error Pages
HTTP header status report x x x
404 report x x x x
Redirect report x x x
Server errors x x x
Website Technology
Load time x x x x
HTML validation x x
Robots.txt detection x x
Rel=canonical detection x
Keywords
Keyword rankings x x
Checks multiple search engines x
Content Analysis
Top pages x x x
Page titles x x x x
Duplicate page titles x x x
Meta descriptions x x x x x
Duplicate meta descriptions x x x
H tags x x x
Duplicate content detection x x x
Meta robots detection x
Link Analysis
External links summary x x x x
Internal links summary x Count only x x
Broken links finder x x x
Backlinks report x x x
Nofollow report x x
Anchor text report x x x
Orphaned page report x x
Deep page report x x
Competitive Analysis
Competitors x x
Digital Asset Analysis
Image analysis Missing images x x x
Alt/title tag detection x x x
Alt/title tag report x
Crawl of SWF, PDF, iframes, etc. x
Other things we love!
PageRank Historical data to 2007
mozRank x x
Directory report DMOZ & Yahoo
Blog detection x
RSS feed detection x
Usability
All-inclusive vs. tool suite All-inclusive Single tool Suite Suite Suite
Intuitive interface 3/5 5/5 4/5 n/a* 3/5
Features
Cost Free, $199, $389 $199 (currently $79) Free Website Auditor: Free, $99.75, $249.75, SEO Power Suite: Free, $249, $599 Free (limited), $99/mo, $499/mo, $2,000/mo
Web-based vs. desktop Desktop; Windows only Web-based Web-based Desktop; Windows, Mac, Linux Web-based
Updates x x
Report export (PDF, CSV, etc.) x x Some
White label x x

*Because the site crawl took so long, we didn’t end up finishing the report. We looked at as much of the tool as we could without having that step completed.

SEO AUDIT TOOLS COMPARED

Web CEO


http://www.webceo.com/

Back in the day, Web CEO was the SEO audit and management tool. We wanted to see if it could hold it’s own against some of the new kids on the block. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Being Windows-only, Rhea couldn’t even use it. Fail #1. After I downloaded and installed it, I attempted to run the Quality Audit. It found 33 pages on our 500-something page site. Fail #2. Then I tried to run the Page Optimization report (why that’s not part of the audit, I have no clue), but it choked and the software froze. Fail #3. I gave up at that point.

Features:

  • Will check for deep pages that aren’t well-linked to, as well as, orphaned pages.
  • Supposedly detects server response codes and anything that isn’t a 2xx is reported as a broken link for further analysis.

Advantages: Audit, rank tracking, linkbuilding and reporting software, all in one.

Disadvantages: Windows-only, unintuitive UI, crashed before I could get much out of it.

Alexa Site Audit


http://www.alexa.com/siteaudit

Alexa Site Audit is the latest addition to the toolbox, the launch of which actually inspired this post. This tool produced a very thorough report, and one of the prettiest. Many of the reports included suggestions for keywords – such as the title tags and internal linking. However, I’m not sure where they are getting these suggestions from, as some of them didn’t really make sense. I would hate to see website owners making changes on keyword suggestions that are completely out in left field. The other odd thing I noticed was that it determined the most important recommendation for our site was to add alt attributes to our images. Really?

The backlinks report is obviously based on Alexa’s own data, so it’s up to you how valuable you find that to be. The part I found hilarious was that it suggested we get links from Graywolf, Sugarrae, and BBGeeks, among others. I…um…are they stalking us?

Features:

  • External links report lists all linked-to domains – great for checking for spam
  • Internal linking reports consist of link depth (# of clicks to reach a page), internal link counts for most linked to pages, most common anchor text, pages that have more than 100 links on them and internal link suggestions from strong pages to weak pages.
  • Checks for duplicate content across the site.
  • Will also detect pages with little to no text content on the page.
  • Nice page-specific snapshot of load time.

Advantages: Overview page gives overall grade (letter grade – A, B, C – as well as number out of 100), all reports include a description of WHY the factor is important.

Disadvantages: Can only export one page at a time, slightly disorganized report (aspects relating to internal linking were found in several sections), redirect report does not list 301 redirects, recommendations were somewhat vague and generic.

Website Grader


http://grader.com/

Website Grader, from Hubspot, takes a bit of a different approach to the site audit, in looking at your site from a marketing point of view rather than a technical one. Grader is actually a suite of tools for measuring your website, Twitter account, Facebook page, blogging efforts and more. Once you’ve completed “grading” your site, you can sign up for a 30-day trial of Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing Software, which helps manage and track your performance, much like Web CEO.

Website Grader gives an overall grade out of a 100, which is great to get a snapshot of how your site is doing. Website Grader gave us a much higher grade than the Alexa Site Audit tool, but then again, they are measuring different factors. There were a couple areas where this audit specifically failed – it couldn’t find any recent blog posts (uhmm, how about every day?) and couldn’t find any sort of conversion form (I guess http://outspokenmedia.com/contact/ – linked from every page – isn’t obvious enough?).

Features:

  • Compare your site with competitors across website grade, mozRank, # of indexed pages, Alexa traffic rank, blog grade, # of inbound links, and Declicious bookmarks.
  • Looks at how well you’re doing in social media – pulls in data from Twitter Grader and Blog Grader, as well as Delicious bookmarks and Google Buzz.

Advantages: Overall grade out of a 100, can sign up for monthly email updates of your grade so you can see how you are progressing.

Disadvantages: For some reports, Grader only looked at the homepage and three sample pages (About, Services & Blog), which is probably not representative of our overall site. You also can’t export the audit report, although it does print nicely.

WebSite Auditor


http://www.link-assistant.com/website-auditor/

WebSite Auditor is part of the SEO Power Suite group of tools, although you can download/purchase just the auditor tool if you wish. The other tools include a rank tracker, competitive intelligence, and link manager. The first step in WebSite Auditor is to crawl the website; it should be noted that this can take a long time, and with the software being desktop-based it means you can’t leave and come back when it’s done.

Update: It should be noted that we did not complete the audit, as the crawl was taking too long. We looked at as much of the tool as we could without having that step completed.

SEOmoz Tools


http://www.seomoz.org/tools/

SEOmoz has become a powerhouse in the SEO tools sector in recent years. The most recent tool releases include the Campaign Based Web-App and Open Site Explorer, although they have many, many other tools – some of which are available with a free site membership, and some that require a Pro subscription. Of course, all the really cool ones are Pro-only.

One of SEOmoz’s strengths is in data visualization to help SEOs analyze the data that is available, but there is a bit of a learning curve as they have developed their own language for certain factors, e.g. mozRank, mozTrust, etc.

Features:

  • Open Site Explorer tells you everything you wanted to know, and more, about yours or your competitors’ internal links and back links.
  • The Campaign Based Web App includes crawl diagnostics, rank tracking, on-page optimization suggestions and backlink analysis – you can even hook it up to your Google Analytics to get a traffic analysis.
  • Other nifty tools include the SEO Toolbar for Firefox and Chrome, Historical Page Rank Checker, Custom Crawl tool and Blogscape

Advantages: You can not only audit your site, but do advanced linkbuilding analysis, as well as get access to direct Q&A with experienced SEOmoz staff for those hard-to-solve problems.

Disadvantages: There is no cohesive package. While you can access all tools from the SEOmoz website, Open Site Explorer is also found on it’s own domain. Also, most of the tools don’t give you a decent way to export the data.

Do you have or know of a SEO audit tool we’ve missed? Leave a comment with the link and we’ll add it to the mix in an update.

Yesterday we noticed that Adam Audette had a similar write-up over at Search Engine Watch. Great minds think alike! Check out his post for the finer points of what *should* be included in a SEO audit, as well as, some additional tool recommendations. Also, Lindsay Wassell has been compiling an outline with individual posts for each section of the SEO audit. It’s a great look at the different components of audits. And, a final note… after we’d put everything together we realized that Google Webmaster Central could be considered the ultimate SEO audit tool as it now offers many of the features listed above. If you haven’t already verified your site, what are you waiting for?

We hope this table and features breakdown will help you find the tool that’s right for you. Keep in mind that these are great tools, but nothing can replace the experience of a skilled SEO team. If you’re interested in a quote for a SEO audit, contact us!

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About the Author

Rhea Drysdale

Rhea Drysdale is the Chief Executive Officer of Outspoken Media. When she isn't fighting for the SEO industry, she's She-Ra on Twitter. Connect with Rhea on Google.

Get social with Rhea at Twitter

40 thoughts on “SEO Audit Tool Comparison

  1. These tools are an must to have..I use a couple of of tool for my seo company..and having a tool that can give you real numbers are very vital to your clients success.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  2. Excellent post. I perform SEO audits on a regular basis and the way you organized the Audit Tool Comparison table is an excellent rough outline for an audit. *Like*

    One other tool I like to use is TouchGraph’s Google Browser. It helps reveal semantic relationships and how a website stacks up to others in the same space.

  3. Hi Rhea,

    Thank you for your time to put this post together. I’m sorry but your data is a bit off, I’m an avid user of Website Auditor.

    Website Auditor:
    1. Image Tags – Yes. (inside page contents)
    2. PR – Yes.
    3. NoFollow Links – Yes.
    4. H Tags – Yes. (inside page contents)
    5. Load Time – Yes in the reporting feature
    6. Executive Summary – Yes in the reporting feature.

    Maybe you reviewed a old build? I can send you screen shots if you’d like!

    Goodluck!

    • Hi Anthony! We weren’t able to complete the audit with WebSite Auditor because of the crawl taking so long (it estimated 120 or so hours, and I need to unplug my computer before then to take it to Pubcon next week), so we looked at as much of the tool as we could without that step having been done. Which was quite limited.

      Anyway, thanks for providing the additional info. I’ve updated the table with those items.

      Dawn

      • Yes, the tool runs on any Windows computer or server platform under the IIS Management Console. It’s a little tricky to get setup, but it’s worth it.

        The bot looks at all sites, unless someone has told them not to “capture” the information via robots.txt. Caveat, the information can be a little outdated, just like any tool that “scrapes” in advance. But it covers violations, page speed, broken links, and a plethora of insight.

  4. Thanks so much for this informative post and for including SEOmoz! As you mentioned, since our tools are not all rolled into one it’s hard to navigate determine what everything does. Our web app actually does show “Last crawl date” and does “Duplicate content detection” however it’s certainly understandable how those could be missed! For the future, the current web app will serve as a more “all-in-one” package and will be much easier to navigate and keep track. :)

    Again we really appreciate all the work you’ve put into this! We’ve talked many times about putting something like this together. Now we can just point people to this post when they ask about it! Plus we’ve already started a discussion around adding some of these features that we’re missing.

    Much appreciated!

    • Thanks Jen! Just updated the chart to include last crawl date and duplicate content detection. If there’s anything else, let us know. Really appreciate the tools and knowledge you guys provide to the community. Keep us posted as they evolve! :)

    • My favorite part of the SEOmoz web app is the newly added analytics integration. It is the easiest way I have found to track rankings, keyword traffic, the number of keywords sending traffic and the pages receiving search traffic.

      Just thought I would point that out because I had been trying to improve the efficiency of tracking that data for quite awhile and the app has saved me a lot of time! (pro member)

      • Awesome! We haven’t publicized it that much yet, as we have a few more great features to add to it in the coming weeks. Really glad you’re liking it! :)

    • Hi Steve, we understand and appreciate the criticism, we’re our own worst critics and we’re not happy. When we launched we had to do so virtually overnight and with so much client work on our plate, the site was never a hot topic. It’s gotten to a point that we don’t want to live by the “cobbler’s children have no shoes” so we’re working to fix the problems, beef up the site and add some new features. We ran all of the auditor tools on our site for competitive analysis with our in-house tools and processes, as well as, more insight on the site itself. With a proprietary version of Thesis, we need the right developer for the job (and someone who can put up with us!), we’ve got him. Thanks again and for the record, we do a great job of ranking regardless of the validation problems thanks to the hard work of Rae and Lisa everyday in building the brand and backlinks.

  5. Rhea,

    Great review. Thanks for the info. We actually just released a Free SEO Report Card (https://www.diyseo.com/free-tools/seo-report-card) last week. We’re actually targeting small business owners so it’s purposefully less exhaustive than the tools above but focused on simplicity and ease of use. Would love your thoughts if you get chance to try it out.

    Thanks again,
    Dan Olson
    CEO | DIYSEO

  6. Thanks for the post. I started using Web CEO and i just got the hang of ranking. Reading you points it helps find what i’m looking for.

  7. An excellent article and summary of some of the leading tools!

    Personally, I think that these tools are good at performing time consuming tasks and identifying crawl issues, but (like any tool) it is how you use them that will define your success as an SEO.

    Far too often, we see these reports in a white label form with no real ‘value add’ commentary and feel sorry for the client that has just forked out a fortune to have their agency press the go button.

    The best reports will use the data but will present it in a bespoke fashion and explain what it all means.

    Not a critique of your article (which is great) but a minor moan about how many people use the tools.

  8. Great list of SEO audit tools. I’ve used all of it and I can say it’s great. It has different functions but made for one thing. Thanks for sharing this one. It’s really worth reading.

  9. I’m reviewing my SEO audit process, tools and templates right now for my client work. I keep finding new areas to include in the audit, such as local and mobile search. The tools and processes will keep evolving, I’m sure.

    Thanks for doing such a helpful comparison! Did you consider Raven Tools (I didn’t see it mentioned unless I missed it)? If not, mind if I ask why not? I’ve used SEOMoz and Raven and like both.

    When you work with a team of SEOs, I find it’s helpful to have a more standardized process with checklists and templates. Anything you’d like to share along those lines would also be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Sally, we use Raven Tools everyday and love it. We did not include it as an auditor tool, because it isn’t an auditor tool by nature. It does have a suite of tools that make auditing a site useful, but we use it for so much more on an ongoing basis! Love it though and happy to see others do, too. :)

  10. Love the article, but I really wanted to see a review of the Raven SEO suite. It always interested me and I’d love to see a trustworthy review before I make the investment. On the other hand, my SEOmoz Pro membership has been invaluable for my client work – and I’m glad to see that it’s pretty much the best out of what was reviewed here. The web interface is awesome – desktop software feels so 1990′s. I half expect Web CEO to recommend that I stuff my keywords in black text on a black background at the bottom of each page…

    • I use Raven for their reporting suite and extensive SERP tracker. It’s more of a campaign management tool than an audit tool for me. You can try it for a month for free. I don’t think they even ask for a credit card. Play around. Have fun. :)

  11. I looked forward to reading this as I perform SEO Audits for clients almost weekly. I would suggest you take another look at the Web CEO data, I use it regularly. Errors in your data include: Web CEO has indexed page reports/data, it does include last crawl date, it does have options to check multiple search engines… dozens in fact. It also has has competitive ranking analysis, AND there is a web only version (although I’m not sure if it is still in beta or not).

    With that said, thanks for the look at the other tools and as an SEOMoz Pro member, they have some really cool stuff but the interface and reporting is only half-baked, or IMO, 3/4-baked. They need to go to version .2 and they will be really the only way to go.

    Cheers.

  12. Dawn and Rhea,

    Thank you for putting together such a useful post! You’ve given me some new avenues to explore as I refine my own audit process. The more tools and automation, the better.

    Oh, and thanks for the mention and the link. That may just have to be my favorite part. ;) I am a little behind, but need to get those audit process posts going again. You’ve given me a friendly kick in the pants.

  13. Great compilation Rhea!

    I regularly use SEOMoz (I’m a pro subscriber) for off-site analysis, but I must agree that there is something of a lack of both cohesiveness and comprehensiveness. It doesn’t seem to provide that “1-Stop” for auditing (albeit no tool does). I’m going to give Website Auditor a shot after reading this…

    Thanks!

  14. You guys should revisit this review, seeing as I just noted Web CEO is now offered via SaaS as well, so you MAY have less issues with it (not associated with them nor do I have it, just pointing it out)

  15. Dear Rhea,

    We at SEO-Visuals recently released one of the most speedy (+/- 2 minutes) and advanced SEO grading auditing services. Where most auditing tools merely look at the onpage factors, number of backlinks and social media shares, we also look at a lot more additional factors such as the quality and relevancy of the backlink profile and social media (http://www.seo-visuals.com/images/seo-score-dashboard.png).

    Cheers,

    Rick

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