Crazy Egg shows you a "heat map" of where your site's visitors tend to click most frequently. Plans start at $9 a month. The tool helps you discover which pages are most important to your visitors, according to Dave Davies, CEO, Beanstalk SEO.
Siteliner is a free utility designed to help find duplicate content, broken links and other site issues that can negatively impact SEO.
Ahrefs Site Explorer is a popular tool, with a free trial, for investigating links to and from your site.
QuickSprout offers free website analysis tools in graphical format and provides recommendations for fixing problems.
What to Do With Data You Collect
Many SEO experts use spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel, to incorporate data they gather from site audits, and they often augment the spreadsheets with written reports or presentations.
"Typically, we deliver two documents in the site audit," Marchie says. "The first is a spreadsheet with every active URL listed and a note of the changes we'd recommend to each URL, such as redirects, content updates, title tag changes and so on. Additionally, we use this to line up the keyword we want to optimize each page for."
Marchie also prepares a Word or PDF document with broader recommendations he'd give to the site's owners. "This can point out poorly structured URLs, poor converting design issues, speed issues, and crawler errors, as well as off-page opportunities their competition may be using. We also sum up the changes we recommend in our spreadsheet."
SEO Audits Aren't 'Set and Forget' Affairs
"You can't justrun an SEO audit, fix all of the items that have been flagged, and assume you'll be in the clear," says Lisa Kirschner, managing director, Flair Interactive Services Inc. "You have to go above and beyond that and make sure you're truly offering unique, valuable content in many forms. That's what attracts users, converts them into paying customers, gets readers to share your message and ultimately increases your rankings. SEO is a constant endeavor that requires continual improvements and truly valuable content."
One audit isn't enough, according to Davies. "Once an audit is completed, it's time to schedule the work to be done and to schedule the next audit. If you did an audit every year or six months, there would be a lot of new information to digest and a lot of algorithm and industry tweaks to consider."
SEO is always changing, and staying on top of it is a time-consuming process, according to James Blews, online presence consultant, Smart Idea Lane. "But if you get started today, you'll see returns one day earlier," Blews says.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.