Website Auditor is the one tool we here at 2 Dogs Media just do not want to live without.
There are a lot of website audit tools out there and we do use others as well – but this is the one tool we will fire up for every website audit we complete for a client, it is just that good. Website Auditor is part of the SEO PowerSuite package of tools and delivers a full technical and content overview for you so you can see where you are missing opportunities to improve your rank.
This post is a full review/beginner’s guide to help you better understand what Website Auditor is and how it will benefit you in the long run.
This tool is for EVERYONE – not just SEO or web agencies.
We all have broken links. (yes, even us)
We all have images that are too large. (yes, even us)
We all have pages that are not well optimized. (yes, even us)
We all have pages that load to slow and my have crawl issues. (yes, even us)
What Is Website Auditor
Website Auditor is an auditing software that will tell you how the search engines see your website. It will crawl through the files on your website to find issues that may be preventing you from having the success you want in the search engines.
Just some of the many issues it can find include:
- Broken links (both internal and external)
- Pages that are too large
- W3C validation errors
- Thin content pages
- Hierarchy issues
- Duplicate title tags or meta-descriptions
Our History With Website Auditor
We have been using the whole SEO PowerSuite program for many years – I would guess about 5 or 6. We have seen them grow and improve over the years. In the early years it was a love hate relationship because the software was bulky and slow – I wanted to love it, but never really fell head over heels because of the slowness issue.
But about 2 years ago – I noticed a big improvement in speed and delivery of the data and that was it – it is not a core tool in our arsenal!
Can One Website Audit Tool Do It All?
Well, not really! While we absolutely love Website Auditor and it is our first stop when we need an audit – we actually use several tools as well as a manual review of a website to do a full audit for our clients.
Each tool we use offers different results and sometimes crawls things a bit differently and may find varying results and when clients want an audit we want to make sure we deliver the best possible results.
Website Auditor is our go to for monthly analysis of SEO client websites though! We run an automated reporting schedule in the tool so we can go in once a month to review the technical status and make sure there has been no changes to a clients website.
Installing Website Auditor
Installing Website Auditor is as easy as downloading it from the SEO PowerSuite website and installing the program on your desktop. It is available for both PC and MAC – and there is a free version you can use that will crawl up to 500 URL’s. If you have a small website then having the free version might be all you need if you are looking for a 1 time check of your website.
When you download the tool you will receive all 4 parts of it including the Website Auditor, Link Assistant, Rank Tracker and SEO Spyglass. At this time you cannot just download 1 tool – it gives you all 4. But it may be worth it to try them all – each tool has its own benefits!
Once you have it installed on your desktop you just click the Website Auditor icon and the tool will open.
Now, because this is a review and not really a how to article – we won’t delve too much into the settings at this time, but if you need help the website has a great tutorial section and even a forum for clients.
The Problem With Website Auditor
As with everything in life, there is a downside to this tool – it is a major downside too.
It offers too many options.
OK – so it is a GOOD problem – but still a problem for most basic users of the tool.
Once you install it you will need to review the Preferences it has so you can set it to do what you want it to. This is a FANTASTIC thing for developers and coders, but for business owners or nonprofit organizations it may be quite overwhelming. We are going to try and run through some of these with you so you do not waste time with things you may not really need.
Below is a screenshot of the Preferences dialog box – you access this through the Preferences link you see at the top of the page. We also are showing a dropdown from that menu item so you can see all of the different options you have available to you.
We are only going to cover what we think most customers will need to get a good overall picture of their website with the tool. A lot of the preference options are a bit advanced and may be more than you need! But it may be good to learn more about this tool as you go forward with it – the more you learn the better your website will be.
So let’s get this review started so you can see how Website Auditor is an amazing and affordable option!
Website Auditor Preference Settings
As noted above – the preferences can be overwhelming so we are going to see if we can simplify them for you. We will give you an overview of each of the areas as well as note the settings you SHOULD use as a beginner Website Auditor user.
This is for agencies that will be sending reports to clients so if you are not an agency, then you do not need to worry about this.
This section will allow you to define how your website will be crawled – there is a lot of options in here as you can see via the links at that top that are labeled Robots. txt Instructions, Filtering, Speed URL Parameters and Advanced Options. This is one of the areas that can really be confusing – below are our suggested settings for this area if you are a beginner — and using WordPress.
- Robots.txt Instruction
Follow robots.txt instruction – Googlebot is recommended
Crawl as specific user-agent – for now leave this unchecked
Limit scan depth – we usually leave this unchecked for a first crawl so we can get a full scope of the website structure. Leave this unchecked can slow the crawl if you have a lot of levels of content.
Search for orphan pages – we always check this and use All Sources in the dropdown. This tool helps us see pages that are indexed in Google but are not linked from any of our website pages.
Filtering allows you to control the pages that are crawled. So you can block certain areas of the website from being crawled or even resources like Flash or PDF files. For a first crawl we will typically leave the 1st 2 boxes unchecked and the last section all checked so we can get a deep dive of all files on the website.
This will allow you to control how fast the data is collected – we usually leave this unchecked and everything loads fast for us – your results may differ and you may want to use this to limit the amount of requests done to increase the delivery of the reports.
- URL Parameters
We suggest leaving this alone in most cases.
- Advanced Options
You can prevent the tool from crawling any sub-domains you have here or have them crawl a password protected area.
Tags allow you to append records to a certain topic – just like in WordPress.
This is a great way to keep track of work you have done on your website. Enter the date and the changes you made so you can compare your changes with your rank adjustments in the search engines.
Preferred Search Engines
Select the search engines you want the data to pull from – we typically only use Google but will run Bing and Yahoo on occasion. If it is a local website like a doctor or attorney we will also use the Google Maps option. The more you choose the slower the data will pull which is why we limit our options.
Since you probably use a plugin of some sort for your sitemap – you probably do not need this area as it generates a sitemap for you.
Another item that you can skip for now. If you are a fairly non-technical website owner then you probably do not mess with your Robots file anyway!
Google Analytics Account
We do recommend hooking up your Google Analytics account with Website Auditor so you can get more detailed information right in the dashboard regarding visits and sessions for your pages and content. All you need to do is sign in through the software to your Analytics account and your data will be retrieved for you.
This is your company information – it not necessary to fill it out as it is only needed if you are running reports and want your information on it. Usually only SEO agencies would use this to include their client information on the reports they provide.
SEO PowerSuite Cloud
When you keep your algorithm subscription updated you will be able to store your audits on the cloud for easy access. This is not required as you can also save them to your own hard drive. We do use it since we have multiple projects at one time and it saves on our drive memory!
You can save your reports to your Dropbox account.
You probably do not need this, it is mostly for agencies.
Not a required feature but if you do have a Moz subscription you can pull in additional data from their API.
Search Engine API Keys
You probably do not need to worry about these either if you are focusing on Google. If you do decide to use Bing or Yandex you will need to add in API keys to pull the data.
Search Safety Settings
This section is focused on helping you be able to run multiple searches without the search engines blocking you. What it does is the tool tries its best to emulate a “human” searching – which allows the data to be pulled.
The checkbox on the default Search Safety Settings page should be checked to allow Website Auditor to do what it needs to.
Human Emulation settings – we recommend Visit Search Engine’s Homepage be checked and that Enable Human Emulation Delays is checked with the values of 7 to 15 seconds. (You may need to adjust this based on your own results – but this works well for us). Everything else can remain unchecked.
User Agents, Proxy Rotations and CAPTCHA Settings are advanced features that we typically do not need or use. But if you have trouble collecting your data, these are options that may help you.
Most won’t need this – it just allows you to connect to the internet via a proxy server instead of your standard internet connection.
This is a feature we use to schedule reporting. We set a weekly audit for every client so it can run at night while we are sleeping – then in the morning everything is ready to review.
This already contains the most standard stop words in the English language – there is nothing else you really need to do here.
We actually do not use this but it is a tool that allows you export content from the tool in a variety of formats like SQL, HTML or CSV.
Allows you to control the language you want to see the data in as well as the size of the data in case 100% is too small for you visually.
Misc. Global Settings
We just left this as default settings. It is not really a necessary area for most.
Technical Website Audit Features
This is where Website Auditor rocks! Once you have setup your website to be crawled you will be given a whole array of information about your website from a technical perspective in an easy to understand manner.
The first part of the tool you will want to review is the Site Audit area – in there you will find the following areas and information.
Indexing & Crawlability
This section focuses on everything you need to make sure your website can be crawled by the search engines and to help you find out if there are pages that you have marked as no-indexed which should be indexed.
- 4xx and 5xx errors – resources not found or server connection issues
- Indexing Issues – resources that are being blocked from indexing – while you may want some files to not be indexed, it is important to know that you are blocking the right resources
- 404 Page – make sure you have a valid 404 page in place for users
- Robots.txt file – is there one in place with no errors
- .xml sitemap – is there one in place with no errors
This section provides important information about all the redirects that are happening on your websites. While it is common to have some redirects if you have removed old information for example, but there could be some that are not intentional.
This report will give you and www/non-www issues as well as 301/302 redirect issues and more.
This is a more technical area that if you find you have issues you may need a little help understanding how to fix it!
Encoding and Technical Factors
Another section that is a little more technical but so important! From whether your page is mobile-friendly to having mixed content issues, this section will find the technical issues that will deter you from the high rankings you want.
This area will allow you to easily see if you have dynamic URL issues (usually those with long URL strings that have questions marks and other non-relevant characters) – or if your URL structure is too long.
Broken links both internal and external, notifications of too many links on a page and the number of dofollow external links are all noted in this area.
Some dofollow links are A-OK — so you may never see this be a perfect green check mark and that is OK! You should link to websites that are authoritative and help your readers – those do not need to be no-follow links. Affiliate links, sponsored links or websites that are not really helpful to your readers you should no-follow.
Images are one of the biggest issues we see on websites! From them being too large – to no alt text, it is one area that most websites do not do well.
In this section you will find if you have any broken images and images that do not have the alt text – which you SHOULD have for every image!
This area covers your basic on-page optimization efforts in regards to title tags and meta descriptions. Find out if you have duplicates or missing information.
This is one of the newer additions to the tool that we absolutely LOVE! To be able to easily visual your website structure is critical to ensuring you are offering users and the search engines the best experience in terms of hierarchy and structure.
In the below example you can see how our website hierarchy looks from a creative perspective. It is not a perfect example of how a website should look – but is definitely on the right track. We will do a full post about this in the future, but this is a tool that will help you tremendously!
Website Page Audit
The pages portion of the audit is incredible as well. You will se a list of your website pages along with a whole slew of information about each page. You can customize the reports to filter only the data you would like and the options seem endless for how you can customize the data and reporting.
Some of the elements you can review include:
- Open graph & Structured Data
- Page Word Count (you have to be careful with this because it does take the word count from the WHOLE page – not just the content of your post or page so this number may seem a bit high.)
- Title and Meta Descriptions
- Technical factors for each page
- Social Media statistics for each post
- Traffic to each page
This area is all about your pages – what you can improve and where you are doing great!
This part of the audit focuses on all the resources your website is using (if you crawled the whole website as set in the preferences). We can see all of the PDF files, HTML files, JS files and more.
Content Analysis Audit Features
Nope -we are not done yet! There is still more this tool can do!
The Content Analysis tool is a whole other level of awesomeness and one of the best parts of the program. Once you go to the Page Audit tab you will be given a popup with all of your website pages – select the page you want to improve, then you will be prompted to add the keywords/phrases you would like the page to rank for.
Then the magic happens.
Once the software analyzes your page you will then get an overview of everything that is happening on the page from your title tags to your keyword usage. There is a Content optimization tab and a Technical Factors tab right within the window so you can easily see any important issues right away.
The real fun with this tool is the TF-IDF area.
What is TF-IDF?
TF-IDF stands for Term Frequency with Inverse Document Frequency.
We won’t get into the nitty gritty of what all this means, but here is a good article that talks more in depth about it. Google does not use keyword density anymore as a means to determine what an article is about – and there has been implications via the Google patents that TD-IDF does assist in better rankings so it is a good thing to understand.
TF-IDF will not have a direct effect on ranking – but will help the search engines better understand your content which will help in the long run!
This report basically tells you terms and phrases that are related to your target keywords based on the content from your top competitors. By applying some of these provided phrases and keywords into your own content you can help improve your “content topic” therefore helping your users and the search engines.
This part of the tool shows you how many times they use certain keywords/phrases and even recommends if you should add or remove a term based on what your competitors are doing.
The content editor is a great tool as well for seeing changes live! This will allow you to modify your page as needed then you can copy the source code and move it to your website. We do not really use this feature since we do all of our editing right on the website, so this is not an area that I think is a huge selling point – but it may be beneficial to some!
Website Audit Reporting Feature
If you have to submit an audit report to a boss or a board member – or are an SEO agency looking for reports for your SEO clients, then Website Auditor has you covered there too!
Below is a screenshot of the reports module within the auditing software. This area is incredibly customizable allowing you to add or remove sections of data that you need or don’t. You can also add content blocks with your own text to help you really customize the report for each client. Add your clients logo and details and you have the perfect customized SEO report for anyone you need to provide it to!
Download Website Auditor today to try it for free!
Website Auditor Overview Video
Because not everyone likes reading – we created an overview video to help you get a real live view of the Website Auditor interface. We review the different areas and the data you can expect to receive in the auditing software to help you make your website rock the search engines!
We will release a few more videos about the Website Auditor as well to help you learn more about how to use it and see the customizable options that are available in each of the sections!
Website Auditor Final Thoughts!
This tool is a must have! For the cost – you get a jam-packed software filled with tools, tips and recommendations for making your website better. SEO PowerSuite also does a great job of providing articles showing how you can use their tools to improve your website with their toolset.
- Easy interface for understanding where you need to make changes
- Tips for helping you understand different parts of the audit
- See what your top competitors are doing well so you can kick your content up a notch
- In-depth technical audit
- In-depth content audit
- One-time fee for lifetime access and updates
- Free trial and 30-day money back gurantee
- If you have a lot of pages and content it can be a bit slow
- Definitely a learning curve – especially for advanced usage
- Monthly fee for algorithm updates
There are 2 levels, Professional and Enterprise – for most Professional will be more than enough – this package as of this writing is $124.75 for just the Website Auditor software. Your initial purchase does include 6 months of algorithm updates.
Lots of people complain about the algorithm fee – but the company DOES have to pay fees to keep the API and code open to pull the data to keep your projects updates.
To keep the algorithm updated on a monthly basis is $12.95 per month, but you can save a lot of money by purchasing a year long subscription for $79.95 – then it is just $6.66 per month. Longer subscriptions are also available.
Keep in mind tools like Ahref and SEMrush are charging $100 or more a month for similar functionalities.
The Nitty Gritty
So – hopefully this has given you enough information to determine whether Website Auditor may be a good fit for your business.
You can download it for free to test it out – then if you decide to purchase the software there are 2 levels you can choose from based on your specific needs. For most – the Professional version is more than enough!
If you want more real reviews about Website Auditor and the SEO PowerSuite of tools – check out these links:
Jill Caren brings over 12 years of WordPress and SEO experience to help you improve and grow your website. She has spoken at several events on SEO and has been published in several top SEO publications. You can contact Jill here.