One of my clients recently asked me about one of my SEO audit tools, saying:
‘Is it normal to use a desktop rather than online SEO auditing software?’
At that point I realised I had not shared that not only do I use both, but I have four different SEO audit tools that I use on every project! Two are desktop based, and two are online web app type tools.
I realised then it may be useful for me to share my full list of SEO audit tools with my clients and the community, and explain why I have chosen the ones that I have. So, rather than write a long email to just one client, I figured I’d create a blog post where I share the selection of tools I use, along with why I love them so much.
SEO Tools: Desktop vs Online
You’ll find that like myself most SEOs use both. I decided to run a quick poll as I was writing this article, and results so far show that 80% of SEOs use a mix of both. The reason for this is that online web apps have benefits as a result of the fact they are online web apps, but there are also limitations. The same can be said for desktop SEO tools, so by using both SEO’s give themselves a more rounded suite of tools for far deeper insight into clients sites. This article from Search Engine Journal from way back in 2011 goes into it in way more detail, give it a read if you’d like to understand more about the technical differences.
80% of SEOs use a mix of both desktop and online SEO Tools
My Desktop SEO Auditing Tools
My most frequently used desktop SEO tool is Screaming Frog. There is a free version of this, and I would highly recommend it if you are auditing your photography website. It’s simple and lightweight and very fast. I have the premium version of this tool and use it for every project to complete a full site crawl which I then export and add to clients workbooks. I then use this in my monthly SEO audits too. It’s a really fast way of quickly checking URL details.
The award-winning powerful and visually beautiful Sitebulb is, by far, my favourite tool for SEO audits on photographers websites. This is a way, way slower crawler, (I sometimes leave it running overnight) but the depth of data it provides, along with the accuracy and ease of use is truly worth the wait.
The world’s most insightful reporting systemSitebulb Website
The photo above is of a visual representation of a clients website, in the form of a crawl map.
I use this software for every client, and the features enable me to improve areas like site structure and crawlability, fix broken links, fix duplicate content issues, and many more areas that greatly improve the quality of a website. I especially love the visual features and the way the software presents things like crawl maps make it easy for my clients to see how everything in a site fits together, and where the areas are that need work.
My Online SEO Auditing Tools
SEO Profiler is an online tool that provides regular, automated website SEO audits that land in my clients’ inboxes every weekend. There’s both a PDF with key points that need attention, in addition to an online report that provides a breakdown of a website quality audit, as well as information about keyword performance and competitors that are being tracked.
It does, however, have its limitations, and I do not like or rate the link building section. Information can sometimes be inaccurate or incomplete, and this is not necessarily down to the software. When a site is audited, a whole host of things can be happening in that environment, so a problem that showed up during a scan on a Saturday morning at 3am is not necessarily a persistent issue that requires action, so I would not rely on this 100%. This is why I also use Sitebulb which is slower but more thorough.
It’s great software though, I’ve been using it since 2014 and it’s well worth the cost. Like any online auditing web app though, there are a few limitations, so it’s just a case of being aware of those and mindful of their impact on the data.
My clients have access to a training course on this software so that they can learn how to interpret the data and what action to take over in my SEO training area. (Site currently under construction)
I mainly use the powerful online SEO software Ahrefs for analysing my clients’ websites ranking performance, their competitors’ websites performance, and in-depth keyword research. It’s packed with features, and I find the backlink checker really useful. Much like the others, I use this tool with every SEO project that I work on, and it helps me provide valuable data that is hugely beneficial in formulating strategies. Ahrefs also has a powerful content gap tool, which I have used in the past, but no longer use. I have replaced that with another software that is a better fit for my clients.
As you can see, I have a whole suite of some of the best SEO auditing tools available today, and they are all used on every client project to provide thorough, in depth analysis and valuable data that helps me improve the rankings of my clients’ sites.
They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but using them together, and combining the strengths of each is a really powerful combination.