In our site reviews we check a website from multiple angles, and because of that we use a variety of tools to determine what to advise. Some tools are for analysing, some for clearing things up when we are in doubt. It only seems logical to provide you with a list of some of these tools and encourage you to use them as well. Here they are:
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
We have mentioned this tool a few times before, as we are really enthusiastic about it. Screaming Frog SEO Spider makes our job a lot easier, as it goes over all links and pages of a website and provides among others:
- Status codes (301, 404)
- Page titles and meta descriptions
- Canonical URLs and robots meta data
Besides that, there is a bunch of extra information and all is filterable per file type, but also for instance on page titles longer than 65 characters.
Visit their website for more information: www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/.
The possibilities of searchmetrics.com are huge. Their set of collected data per website is always giving us insights on trends in SEO Visibility, backlinks and much more. We use their graphs to determine possible Panda and Penguin problems, for instance (when visibility drops all of a sudden). Sudden rises in visibility could indicate malicious link practices.
We also like the (weekly) rankings for keywords, to see whether the website is ranking for keywords they tell us they want to rank for. Searchmetrics.com provides insights on overall search trends, and changes in rankings for the major websites. Next to that, the social rank and visibility tells us whether a website is using social media marketing the right way.
Please find more information on their website: searchmetrics.com.
When analysing backlinks for a website, you want to determine whether links and anchors are high or low quality, and what the number of links is. Although links currently is an SEO subject of discussion, bad links are never a good thing. The list of anchor texts also gives a hint on over-optimisation of links.
MajesticSEO shows all the link information you need, not just in numbers and text, but also in trends and graphs. The Referring Domains and External Backlinks Link Profiles use a trust flow (how well-known are the websites linking your website) and citation flow (how many websites link to your website) to show immediately how well a website is doing, link wise.
This tool can be found on www.majesticseo.com
Yes, Joost built this one a couple of years ago, and we haven’t been maintaining it for a while. Yet the tool provides a lot of quick insight on a specific page, for instance using the command ‘seocss’ to see which headings a site is using and which links are (no-)followed. The ‘seo’ command shows some basic checks: is the canonical right, and does the page title make sense? It also counts the number of links per page, for instance.
For server checks (what server, etc), the command ‘h’ tells you more. Next to SEO checks, the plugin does a lot more. As mentioned, the app is not supported at the moment, and some of the commands may not work properly, it is still an essential tool for our site reviews.
More on Quix App at the website: quixapp.com
Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Tools, Yslow, WebPageTest
Obviously, site speed is different when checking it from different locations, and the tools mentioned above do not always provide the same results. That is why we use all these tools and do not rely on just one. Google Page Speed Insights splits mobile and desktop, Pingdom Tools allows for multiple locations and Yslow has segmented the checks nicely. WebPageTest has a few main checks it grades nicely.
URLs for these tools:
Sometimes you just want a quick check for broken links or status codes. That is where the free tool Integrity (for Mac) comes in. Just enter an URL and find the information you are looking for. A nice alternative for Windows is Xenu.
Visit the Integrity website at peacockmedia.co.uk/integrity/.
Like Integrity, this tool is just for a quick check. Where the speed tools we mentioned do provide recommendations like ‘enable compression’, this check has told us more than once that compression is already enabled. Which means the possible compression advice in the review either is not valid for the website (compression is recommended for files that can norm easily be influenced) or should be more specified.
For more information see www.gidnetwork.com/tools/gzip-test.php
And of course we use Google as well. D’oh.
We would be more than happy to hear from other tools you use, and why. Please leave a comment (don’t forget the URL of that tool!).