47 Experts Rank Best SEO Audit Tools for 2018 (with Category Leaderboards)

What are the best SEO audit tools?

Ask Google, and you’ll get 9.5M results:

Google SERP snapshot showing the number of people searching for best seo audit tools

You’ll see loads of posts listing dozens of different tools. And, while some are comprehensive, they usually aren’t organized in a way that allows you to quickly identify which tools are best for different parts of the SEO audit process.


A successful SEO audit can be broken down into 4 core areas:

  1. Technical
  2. On-Page
  3. Off-Page
  4. Competitor Analysis

So, how do you wade through the countless tools out there and find a stack that allows you to identify weaknesses AND opportunities across each phase in the audit process?

Rather than tell you what I think, I decided to reach out to 47 SEO practitioners and ask the following question:

Which tools do you rely on most to conduct SEO audits for your business and/or clients?

People listed the most important tools across each of the four audit phases mentioned above. The votes were tallied and used to create the category leaderboards you see below.

These folks are in the trenches every day performing small, medium, and large scale SEO audits for clients across a wide range of industries.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a single tool to assist with a specific part of the audit process, or if you need to assemble an entire toolset from scratch — this post will give you a shortlist of battle-tested options to look at.

Below I have included some jump links to quickly navigate to the different site audit categories:

  1. Top Voted Audit Tools (Overall)
  2. Technical SEO Audit Tools Leaderboard
  3. On-Page SEO Audit Tools Leaderboard
  4. Off-Page SEO Audit Tools Leaderboard
  5. Competitor Analysis Tools Leaderboard
  6. Expert Responses

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this article. If you decide to purchase a tool through one of those affiliate links, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you.


Let’s dive in…

Best Tools for SEO Audits (Overall Leaderboard)

Ahrefs was the overall winner, with ScreamingFrog and SEMrush in a close second.

Here’s a list of the top 10 SEO audit tools by total vote count across each of the categories:

  1. Ahrefs (53 votes) [Review // 7 Day Trial]
  2. ScreamingFrog and SEMrush (47 votes) [Review // 30 Day Trial]
  3. Google Search Console (28 votes)
  4. Majestic (14 votes)
  5. DeepCrawl and Moz (12 votes)
  6. Sitebulb (9 votes)
  7. GTMetrix (8 votes)
  8. Google Analytics (6 votes)
  9. Google Pagespeed Insights, Mozbar and Raven Tools (5 votes)
  10. Buzzsumo and Google Lighthouse (4 votes)

Now, let’s take a look across each of the audit categories…

Best Tools for Technical SEO Audits

Technical SEO audit tools feature image

#1: ScreamingFrog SEO Spider (30 votes)
#2: Google Search Console (25 votes)

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is the clear winner in this category. The tool has been around for almost a decade. It can be configured to give a wealth of technical and on-page SEO data for sites of any size.

Coming in a close second is Google Search Console. The tool provides a ton of data, including technical SEO insights about crawl and indexability issues.

Here are 5 ways the experts use Screaming Frog for technical SEO audits:

  • Get comprehensive data on HTTP status, find duplicate content, identify broken links, 404s, redirect errors, and issues with blocked resources.
  • Map internal link structure to optimize your sitemap and identify deep linking opportunities.
  • Use the Log File Analyzer to see the most/least crawled pages on your site, including crawls from bots.
  • Identify large image files and drive down site loading times.
  • During the site migration process, check whether or not old URLs are being redirected by re-crawling the site in ‘List’ mode to check status codes.

Bonus resource: This fantastic guide from SEER Interactive shows you how to use ScreamingFrog to identify a laundry list of technical SEO issues and opportunities.

Best Tools for On-Page SEO Audits

On-Page SEO Audit Tools Feature Image

#1: Screaming Frog SEO Spider (16 votes)
#2: SEMrush (11 votes)

ScreamingFrog tops the list again, and for good reason. The tool makes it incredibly easy to pull data on almost every on-page SEO element you can think of – titles, headings, duplicate content, meta descriptions, site speed, UX, content length, broken links, file sizes and more – in a matter of minutes, for sites of any size.

SEMrush made some serious strides this year with the launch of its new On-Page SEO Checker. The tool provides a wide range of practical suggestions for improving different on-page elements, including the usual meta tags, as well as body copy, relevancy, duplicate content and a lot more.

Here are 5 ways the experts use Screaming Frog for on-page SEO audits:

  • Identify and optimize different metadata – titles, headings, descriptions.
  • Supplement server logs — double check suspect URLs flagged in log files.
  • Ecommerce site structure – use the page depth tool to find category and product pages buried too many levels down in the site structure.
  • Identify thin content and page load issues.
  • Find internal and external broken page links that could hurt UX.

Bonus resource: Check out this 19-step checklist (and automation template) to learn how to optimize any site’s on-page SEO.

Best Tools for Off-Page SEO Audits

Off-Page SEO Audit Tools Feature Image
#1: Ahrefs (25 votes)
#2 SEMrush (10 votes)

Ahrefs is the clear winner in this category. The tool’s massive 12 trillion link index, content explorer and newly added site audit tool make it a formidable opponent.

Here are 5 ways the experts use Ahrefs for off-page SEO audits:

  • Domain vs. domain backlink data and social media comparisons.
  • Reverse-engineer competitor link building strategies.
  • Scrape competitor link profiles to find product review sites to target for PR outreach.
  • Perform content gap analysis to find all the keywordscompetitors are ranking for, but you are not.
  • Monitor new backlinks and media mentions.

Bonus resource: Check out this guide that walks you step-by-step through 50+ practical applications of the entire Ahrefs toolset.

Best Tools for Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis Feature Image

#1. SEMrush (19 votes)
#2. Ahrefs (17 votes)

SEMrush consistently ranks as the top tool for competitor analysis. This time beating Ahrefs to the #1 spot with features like its new competitor discovery, keyword analysis, SERP tracking.

Here are 5 ways the experts use SEMRush to outsmart the competition:

  • Monitor organic visibility and keyword rankings changes across multiple domains and device types.
  • Identify pages driving the most organic traffic to competitor websites.
  • Analyze keyword metrics and estimated search volume across 115+ different countries.
  • Use the Keyword Gap Analysis tool to find keywords competitors rank for, but you don’t.
  • Analyzing competitor performance across both the Google and Bing search engines.

Bonus resource: Check out this guide that walks you step-by-step through 34 practical applications of the entire SEMrush toolset.

47 Experts Reveal Best SEO Audit Tools for 2018
(By Category)


That’s a quick recap of the top SEO audit tools (and common use cases) in each category. Now it’s time to dive deeper and find out how the experts are using the different tools to run site audits for their business and clients.


Luke Sousa

Gustin Quon | SEO Manager

1) Technical: We combine data from Screaming Frog & Search Console to quickly find pages with indexation and accessibility issues.

2) On-Page: Screaming Frog & Google sheets is a lifesaver. We also make extensive use of tools such as GTMetrix to check speed issues, Siteliner for internal duplicate content, Copyscape for external duplicate content, Google’s structured data testing tool to ensure an error free use of Schema, and the SEMrush Site Audit Tool after all is said and done to clean up any loose ends.

3) Off-Page: Majestic is invaluable for finding competitor link opportunities. We also use Whitespark to find valuable citation opportunities for local businesses.

4) Competitor Analysis: Using the “related:” search operator in Google while having the Moz bar activated is a quick & dirty way to identify a client’s competition, and get an idea of each competitor’s domain and page strength.

Dropping the URLs into Majestic will help us quickly find new link building opportunities. After that a gap analysis using SEMrush can help quickly identify keywords our competitors are using to get traffic, but we are not targeting yet.

Rich Missey

Cars.com | Enterprise SEO Senior Manager
DeepCrawl is undeniably the best technical crawler I’ve used. There’s a level of detail available in exports and through the interface that – while they may be available in other crawlers – aren’t anywhere near as easy to access, use, and share. DeepCrawl doesn’t just find the issues, it helps us also share insights with relevant team members.ScreamingFrog is one of the standard tools for any SEO’s arsenal. There’s a lot of guides available to showcase how to use its advanced features, which can uncover incredible opportunities.Sitebulb is newer, and I haven’t had a chance to dive in as much as I’d like, but it’s worth a mention. The Crawl Map feature is VERY interesting.Google Search Console – annoying in its limitations and restrictions, but difficult to turn away information from the primary traffic driver.

Google Lighthouse, because mobile friendly insights and recommendations are a must.ScreamingFrog is useful for identifying data points that can be self analyzed later. Custom extractions make these even more interesting.

Sitebulb has the basic crawl-based recommendations on duplicate/missing elements, broken link checks, and other hints.

Ghostery is fantastic for showing the impact all those tracking pixels have on a site,
XPather is extremely useful if you know XPath, and LinkRedirectTrace does an excellent job showing redirect hops.

Ahrefs is the best at showing offsite profile information in an easily consumable format.

Majestic is the best if you want raw, bulk exports of link data to run your own analysis.

LinkResearchTools is the priciest option, but if you’re looking for power tools, it is hands-down the most powerful link analysis tool on the market.

Competitor Analysis:
SEMrush takes first place in competitive analysis. Trending their data can be obnoxious if you’re looking at daily numbers, but at monthly views, it does the best job visualizing how sites fare against one another.

The competitive insights and gap analysis tools can take some poking and prodding to get what you want, but when it works, its great!


Gabriella Sannino

Level343 | Managing Partner

We’re pretty big on SEMrush, MOZ and Majestic.

One of the things that is huge for MOZ is the local SEO research. I love being able to see where a client or competitor stands in terms of social citations and accounts.

For clients, this gives actionable data: places that haven’t been capitalized on yet, or perhaps could use a bit more beefing up. Of course there’s more, but as someone who rides social media all the time, this is a big plus for me.

SEMrush has an awesome and in depth technical crawl. So does MOZ, of course, but I don’t see as many false positives with SEMrush that I see with MOZ.

And MajesticSEO, well, it doesn’t really need an introduction, does it? Being able to look into my clients’ and competitors’ link profile is priceless. Again, actionable data – it’s easy to pinpoint areas that need more TLC.

There are others. For instance, we always start out by just looking over the site as a user might. Computers are all well and good, but the human eye may catch something the computer missed, because it has to do with UI.

Sam McRoberts

I use a variety of tools, but my main go-to tools for technical SEO are Screaming Frog and Sitebulb, which do similar things (crawling and extracting data) but present the findings in very different ways.

The above tools also play a key role, but I also throw SEMrush into the mix as they have an excellent page analysis tool.

I also like to do on-page analysis the old fashioned way, sans tools, just looking at the page and the code to see what I can spot that tools don’t always catch (I find a LOT of stuff this way that doesn’t show in the tools).

I use SEMrush as well as Ahrefs, Majestic and Moz (they all have a lot of overlap, but the different link indices tend to catch different things).

And of course, last but not least, Google Search Console provides insight right from the horse’s mouth across all of these areas.

There are other tools I use for different pieces of the puzzle (like Pingdom or GTmetrix for site speed, BuiltWith for analyzing site technology stacks, etc.), but these are the main ones.

Sean Si

SEO Hacker | Digital Marketing Consultant

One of the tools we immediately go to whenever there are problems with our client’s site’s accessibility or indexation is Google Webmaster Tools or Google Search Console. This is, for me, the top tool to use with regards to a site’s SEO capabilities.

While there are a lot of tools out there, nothing can beat old-fashioned manual checking of the page. Tasks like checking and optimizing a page’s URL slug, keyword placement and density, internal linking, call-to-actions, etc. .

We use Ahrefs and CognitiveSEO. Ahrefs’ massive database and its features dedicated to link building is top quality and most of our off-page SEO efforts start with Ahrefs.

Competitor Analysis:
SEMrush is the only tool we go to competitive analysis. This tool’s Keyword Gap feature enables us to compare a client’s site with its competitors and check what keywords they are ranking for.

Joe Williams

Learn SEO Fast | Founder and SEO Trainer


Screaming Frog SEO Spider: its uses are so varied, from identifying technical issues, like incorrect canonical tag implementation, to helping improve site structure, through reviewing page depth of key landing pages.Google Search Console: it’s become increasingly useful through its new Index Coverage reporting.Finally, a way to quickly find which pages are indexed, which are not and which are simply being ignored!

On-Page:Chrome DevTools: if I need to quickly check the HTML structure of an on-page element, I can do this in one click.

Seoptimer: it extracts the important on-page elements from the source code in one go, which can be a real time saver.

Off-Page:Ahrefs: It’s probably the most complete tool for off-page opportunities. When starting a new off-page SEO project, I head straight over to the Link Intersect tool. It helps find high-value backlinks common in a group of competitors (but not the site I am researching), which are often easy to replicate.

Majestic: While I mainly rely on Ahrefs for off-page analysis, Majestic has an impressive database of backlinks and is handy when you need to stretch deeper into the backlink profile of a website.

Competitor Analysis:SEMrush: with historical keyword volumes and rankings at your finder-tips, SEMrush makes it easy to research up-and-coming competitors as well as the more established ones.

Ahrefs: with reliable backlink metrics for off-page benchmarking and an impressive backlink database, it is now also competing with Buzzsumo and SEMrush for content and keyword competitor research.

Emily Yost

SuperScript Marketing | SEO Influencer and Marketing Specialist

1. ScreamingFrog & GSC – Use SF to identify HTTP status errors, canonical errors, meta robots errors, & response time for initial audit. Then crosscheck with GSC to monitor/maintain.

2. GTmetrix & Chrome DevTools for on-page technical issues. Great for uncovering site speed issues and opportunities.

3. Ahrefs – Set up alerts for unlinked brand mentions, broken backlinks, and new backlinks. Also a good tool to mine influencer outreach opportunities.

4. Ahrefs Content Gap tool  to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for that your client is not, on both a domain and page level.

Justin McKinney

Wpromote | Senior SEO Manager

1. Technical: Screaming Frog, Google Search Console, Ahrefs Site Audit tool.
2. On-Page: Screaming Frog.
3. Off-Page: Ahrefs Site Explorer.
4. Competitor Analysis: Ahrefs Content and Site Explorer, Brightedge Datacube.

Screaming Frog is valuable because it provides you with tons of information in a single place. With this one tool you can analyze your metadata, internal linking, image sizes, and much more.

Google Search Console has a lot of useful functions, but for auditing purposes I use the Fetch & Render tool to ensure webpages are being rendered properly on both desktop and mobile devices.

Ahrefs is an amazing platform that keeps getting better. The site audit tool provides you with similar information to Screaming Frog, and you can setup reoccurring crawls to analyze performance and improvement over time.

It’s also the go-to tool for off-page analysis, whether you’re doing backlink reclamation, unlinked mentions, broken backlink building, etc.

Brightedge is a premium SEO and content marketing platform, but if you have access to it, the Datacube is an amazing tool. You can use it to analyze every keyword any domain is ranking for, and then apply dozens of filters to get to the information you want.

Trying to find what Quick Answers your competitors are ranking for? Trying to see what keywords you rank for on Page 1, but not in the top 3? The Datacube can tell you.

Dave Michaels

Sage Groove | Marketing Communications Consultant

I’m most concerned with 3 areas: indexing/crawl issues, speed, and mobile-friendliness. Google’s tools – Search Console and PageSpeed Insights – do a great job at identifying any issues to fix.

A checklist/visual inspection based on core marketing/SEO principles will go a long way and potentially spot something a tool won’t.

Are the priorities/objectives reflected in the menus, items above the fold, and calls to action, etc.? Will the design/UX drive engagement or will people bounce?

Of course, SEMrush does a good job of filling in any on-page issues including keyword ranking/visibility.

Ahrefs is my go-to tool for off-page SEO audit. It’s great for spotting gaps and opportunities based on your keyword/content priorities. It’s also good for reverse engineering backlink techniques and sources based on what’s already ranking.

Competitive Analysis:
SEMrush is again my go-to tool for comparing competitor performance side-by-side. For off-page, I’m still using Ahrefs.

Ady Berry

(1) Technical. Google Search Console is the best tool for checking accessibility and indexation issues.

I also use Screaming Frog’s Log File Analysis tool – this is a great tool for identifying issues such as – exactly which urls have been crawled by bots recently, urls with session ID’s, faceted navigation, infinite spaces or duplicate (non canonical urls), most and least crawled urls, as well as which sections of the site are being crawled more often than others.

I also use log file analysis to identify the date and time when bots enter in order to advise clients planning new content publication.

(2) On-page weaknesses. Screaming Frog is my go-to tool for auditing a site’s on-page performance. It pulls all the info I need for an on-page audit and when tied in with Google Analytics it can give you a great overview of individual page performance.

SEMrush’s On Page SEO checker is also a great starting point for auditing large numbers of pages within a site. It gives you lots of top level technical ideas.

Neil Patel’s SEO analyzer is a great free on page analyzing tool with some great graphics for load times, requests etc. and a general prioritisation of action items.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights still has some value but only for larger traffic sites – as the real world performance data doesn’t show any page speed scores for low traffic sites.

Google’s Lighthouse tool in Chrome is ok as a technical on page checker highlighting any performance issues with a site.

(3) Off-page opportunities. Majestic is my go-to tool for link analysis. It gives me plenty of links to work through and I find the trust flow metric great for working out how topically relevant current backlinks to a site really are.

I combined the links from Majestic with Search Console and SEMrush and use Google Docs to merge all of the backlinks and analyse them using pivot tables.

(4) Perform competitor analysis. SEMrush is perfect for competitor analysis. It allows me to identify the real competition for our clients in terms of both rankings, as well as on and off-page factors. It also allows me to track performance vs. clients.

Andy Halliday

Onpage Rock | Data Geek & Technical Audit Specialist

The SEO audit tools I rely on most:


Screaming Frog and Deepcrawl for crawling to find errors and issues across the website.

Depending on the size of the site, I’ll use a combination of both – Screaming Frog helps a bit with Server Log analysis as we can upload a list of URL and see the current response codes.

Deepcrawl is great for automating and comparing the differences in reports. This is great if you have ongoing clients to see what has been fixed and any new areas.

Screaming Frog is great as there isn’t many limitations, the main one being your machine, but it means you can crawl a large number of websites.

Indexations / Technical issues:

The other main tool is an internal tool for auditing server logs – this is a area where most people don’t consider important but its crucial for understanding what Googlebot / Google mobile bot is doing on your site.

The logs holds so much valuable information and can make the difference between doing a good technical audit and a great technical audit.

I have a motto:

“You wouldn’t build a million dollar house on quicksand, so don’t build a million dollar website on poor foundations” sorting out the technical is all about sorting the foundations.


Again, I have some internal reports which I am about to make public like I did with my Screaming Frog report – but it uses a combination of paid data and SEO data to identify keyword opportunities. It’s a cool reports, and should be live in the next week or so.

Brian Jackson

Kinsta | Chief Marketing Officer

1. Ahrefs is my go to tool when it comes to competitor analysis. Plug in any competitor’s site and you can instantly see what they are ranking for. Instantly put your site head to head with anyone else. Usually improvements or problems, such as perhaps you need better content, are pretty easy to spot.

I also have been using Ahref’s new audit tool for on-page SEO improvements (spotting weaknesses) and it works quite well! Glad to see they added this feature.

Find duplicate meta descriptions, fix title tags, too many H1s on a page (you one need one) redirect errors, social OG tags missing, bad hreflang tags, etc. One-click scan your site and you’re almost guaranteed to find some pages you can easily improve upon.

And of course, I also rely on Ahrefs for it’s backlink data. In my opinion they have the best database in the industry.

2. AccuRanker: As long as Google uses an algorithm it’s still going to be using keywords and search queries to determine where and what to deliver to people in SERPs. One of the easiest ways to monitor your keyword rankings is by using AccuRanker.

You can publish content and see where you stand against everyone else. On the second page? Then you know you need to improve your content or build some more link juice.

Monitor your updates and watch your keyword move up in SERPs. In most cases, the higher you are in SERPs, the more traffic you get, which results in more conversions.

3. Google Search Console is probably one of the more underutilized tools. Which is a pity because it’s completely free. You can easily see changes in your total clicks, impressions, average CTR, and average position.

The new Google Search Console now includes 16+ months worth of data. So you can easily go way back in time to pinpoint dips and gains.

Google Search Console is probably one of the easiest ways to pinpoint indexing issues.

Adam Rowles

1. Screaming Frog – This is our ideal tool for accessibility/indexation issues. We use to it scrap current on-page elements and test redirects.
2. Semrush – This tool helps us keep up-to-date with technical errors & issues that might arise on-page due to development or content changes.
3. Ahrefs – The perfect tool for backlink audits.
4. Google Page Speed / GT Metrics – Checking site speed. Also, I do manually check websites for above the fold load time.
5. Panguin SEO Tool – Check for any Google penalties

Tyler Tafelsky

Captivate Search Marekting | Senior SEO Specialist

(1) Screaming Frog is my favorite tool for technical analysis. It’s a steadfast platform for breaking down the fundamentals of a site’s accessibility, indexation, and pinpointing technical issues.

(2) Lately, the Moz Toolbar has been my favorite tool for troubleshooting on-page weaknesses. It makes it very easy to find problem areas without having to dig into the code too much.

(3) Ahrefs remains to be my favorite off-page optimization tool. It’s robust, intuitive, and insightful.

(4) In addition to Ahrefs, I prefer SEMrush for competitor analysis. Using these tools in conjunction can help reveal a lot of information and spawn creative ideas.

Michael Salvo

Whitecap SEO | Chief SEO Strategist

As a specialized SEO agency for e-commerce brands, we have found the following tools the most helpful in conducting SEO site audits for our e-commerce clients:

(1) Google Search Console: For accessibility and indexing issues, the solutions are a mix of obviously simple and more nuanced. Either way we start with Search Console to see what alerts Google has provided and most importantly, match up the timeline of indexing issues to development changes.

(2) Screaming Frog: As our focus is e-commerce, Screaming Frog is great for finding product categories that are too broad with pages buried levels deep within a site by using the page depth tool and we also manually analyze page titles and content in Excel exports.

(3) Ahrefs: Product and brand reviews are critical for our e-commerce clients and Ahrefs is a tool we use to find opportunities whether via targeted content searches or competitor backlink profiles.

(4) SEMrush: We’re able to build a large keyword set from competitors and manually refine to our clients’ product lineup and content needs.

Stephen Barringer

InventHelp | Digital Brand Manager

Through Google Search Console you can easily see which pages Google has indexed and if there are any crawling errors. It helps indentify a lot of the technical and indexation issues, if your structured data is set up correctly, mobile issues and more.

SEMrush is a great tool to see on-page weaknesses and missed opportunities.

Ahrefs: Some similar features to SEMrush, but the backlink analysis is a lot more in-depth especially when it comes to comparing profiles with competing sites.

Google PageSpeed Insights: There are many site speed tools available with Google PageSpeed Insights being one of the better options. It’s extremely important to test and fix site speed issues now since it can have a big impact on rankings and conversions.

Cross Browser Testing: I’m currently using Cross Browsing Testing to identify technical issues. With the amount of devices and browsers out there today, it’s important to test your site to make sure it’s working properly on each one.

Annalisa Hilliard

Pole Position Marketing | Search Engine Optimization Specialist

1 – Screaming Frog, SEMrush, SEOquake browser extension, SEO Site Tools browser extension, Lighthouse browser extension, BuiltWith Technology Profiler browser extension, Google Analytics, Google Search Console

2 – Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Show Document Metadata browser extension, Lighthouse browser extension, GTMetrix, Varvy, Google Analytics, Google Search Console

3 – Moz Open Site Explorer, SEMrush

4 – SEMrush, Moz Open Site Explorer, John Reinesch’s SEO Competitor Analysis Template.

Thomas Demers

Measured SEM | Co-Founder

I use a few different tools for SEO audits:

1) Deep Crawl – I typically start here, particularly for larger sites, and work through the reports and “issues”
2) Screaming Frog – I really like specific things like SF’s redirect chain reports, looking for specific HTML elements, etc.
3) Site Bulb – This is great for diagnosing specific javascript related issues, as well as visualizing a site’s information architecture.For competitive research I primarily use Ahrefs to look at keyword data, and major publications in the niche.

Adam Chronister

Enleaf | Director of Digital Marketing

(1) Technical – accessibility/indexation etc – issues;

We use a combination of SEMrush, Screaming Frog and Google Search Console. I also highly recommend that DIY Site Audit Template developed by Annie Cushing for those who want a great resource to take their SEO audit game to the next level.

(2) On-page weaknesses;

For day to day on-page observations we utilize the MozBar and look at things like page authority, meta data structure, markup etc.

If we need to go deeper we will stack on other tools such as the WAVE Web Accessibility Tool and the Web Developer and Page Analytics browser plugins to identify more opportunities to create a fully optimized on-site presence.

(3) Off-page opportunities;

For uncovering off-page opportunities we use a wide range of tools depending on the client and audience. Some of the tools in our inventory include SEMrush, Ahrefs, and ScrapeBox.

(4) Perform competitor analysis.

One of my favorite SEO strategies as of late involves using SEMrush and BuzzSumo to gain insights into a competitor’s top performing blog post. For those interested in the process, we have a step by step guide on our blog.

Craig Campbell

Craig Campbell | SEO Trainer and Consultant

I personally use 3 auditing tools as some tools are better in certain areas than others, while some I use purely to cross-reference.

When starting a website audit I tend to use SEMrush’s audit tool. It’s a solid tool that will flag most on-page issues, whether its a redirect loop, broken links, missing meta data or some other problem with your website.

I also use Screaming Frog as it pretty much covers everything. However, I wouldn’t show a client data from Screaming Frog as its too technical for most. But, the tool itself does a great job and helps me with pretty much every issue you can get with a website.

Deepcrawl is a tool you would use for much larger sites. It provides a clean reporting dashboard you can share with clients, and it integrates with other third party tools.

Danielle Zeigler

Danielle Zeigler LLC | Business Owner

When compiling SEO audits for clients, I use a mix of tools to build a custom report.

The following are my favorites:

1 & 2) For both the technical aspects and on-page weaknesses, I use Ahrefs and Raven Tools the most. Ahrefs is by far my favorite tool, but I prefer the way Raven Tools displays some of the on-page issues.

3) For off-page optimization opportunities I use Moz Local, Google, and/or Ahrefs depending on the type of business. Digging into the actual reviews on Google My Business listings can be helpful for brainstorming content ideas, as well as looking for competitor weaknesses.

4) I use a mix of tools for competitor analysis. Once I start digging around with the usual tools, I get ideas for where else to look. Running a URL through Ahrefs is always a good starting point, though!

Andy Drinkwater

iQ SEO Ltd | SEO Consultant

I use a lot of tools when auditing a website, but I do have a few that I use for specific tasks.

For technical indexation, I use Sitebulb. This tool gives me a great feature unavailable in others that allows me to visualise how a site is structured. Rather than trying to map out a site from a spreadsheet, this shows you exactly what you need to know in a fraction of the time. I also use Screaming Frog to help me look at pages in isolation.

For backlinks, it has to be Ahrefs. The dataset is probably the best in the market and it has some very clever tricks up its sleeve to help you find which are your most popular pages. This feature helps me decide which pages to use when creating a strong internal linking structure.

For on-page, I use a mix of SEMrush, Screaming Frog, OnCrawl and Deep Crawl. Each one gives me something additional to the others I use. These also give me technical input as well.

It is impossible to conduct a thorough SEO audit without using a mix of tools. No one tool gives you everything you need.


Chris Dreyer

Rankings.io | Founder & CEO

(1) Technical – accessibility/indexation etc – issues;

Google Search Console – The new Google Search Console provides a very in-depth look at index issues. It also offers the ability to fix and test indexability issues within the console.

In addition, we can see crawl errors, test robots files, get a detailed look at the sitemap, and check for any potential manual penalties. Analyzing a site in Google Search Console is often the first step in diagnosing any issues.

(2) On-page weaknesses;

Screaming Frog – We use Screaming Frog to get a sitewide look at the most important aspects of on-site optimization, including: page titles, headings, meta descriptions, permalinks and alt text. It also offers the ability to sort and dissect other on-site elements (as well as many technical ones). For instance, we can quickly see which pages are utilizing schema, if there are any duplicate pages, or analyze the sites internal linking structure.

(3) Off-page opportunities;

Ninja Outreach – In addition to using Ahrefs to compare backlink opportunities, outreach tools like Ninja Outreach are ideal in helping prospect the best influencers, highest authority sites, and top social media opportunities.

(4) Perform competitor analysis.

Ahrefs – A manual search with google is often the first step in deciphering who the competitors are for a given domain.

Once we determine who that is, Ahrefs gives a great analysis for us to see the backlink gap, keyword gap, and opportunities for content as well. Generally the sites that are ranking at the top of page one are the ones with the highest quality and quantity of inbound links. Ahrefs provides this data reliably.

Callum Mundine

Munday Digital | Digital Marketing Director

(1) Google Search Console: The new GSC interface is great for quickly identifying indexation issues on your site. Best of all – it’s free and simple.

(2) Ahrefs Site Audit: I really love this tool. It provides a detailed breakdown of technical on site issues. It’s cloud based too, so you can schedule frequent crawls to check for changes and identify any new issues.

(3) Ahrefs Site Explorer: In my opinion, this is the best backlink analysis and discovery tool on the market. Whenever I am launching a new SEO campaign, I collect all of the competing websites backlink profiles and try to identify their link acquisition strategy and look for ways to use it, and improve it.

(4) Ahrefs Content Gap: Another great tool from the Ahrefs suite. It provides a nice overview of keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but you are not.

Eugene Farber

Buzzergy Marketing | Senior Marketing Manager

I typically do a thorough scan with Screaming Frog. It’s great for identifying any technical issues that the site might have.

It’s also a good idea to look at Google’s own Search Console. If Google itself is telling you it has identified issues, it’s probably a good idea to get those taken care of.

It’s also a good idea to run a scan through Web Page Test or GTMetrix and see if there are any site speed and performance issues with the site (as this is increasingly important).

For identifying opportunities, there are tons of keyword tools out there – pick the one you like best. I look at SEMrush and Ahrefs to see what competitors are doing in that regard.

Ahrefs is also great for backlink analysis. Although no one tool ever gets them all. So, I’ll take a glance at Majestic as well to try and get a fuller picture.

There’s no tool that will ever replace an experienced SEO that can instantly pinpoint opportunities specifically catered to the type of client they are working with (because different industries and businesses require different work).

Ariel Kozicki

Wpromote | SEO Manager

1 & 2 . Screaming frog! Absolutely an essential tool for site-wide crawls and collecting aggregate data. Screaming frog can help detect room for improvement across URL structure, missing meta data, overly large images, robots tags, and so much more.

3. Ahrefs and Buzzsumo! Both of these are great to get a larger picture of content performance, current backlink trends, and domain authority.

4. For competitor analysis, BrightEdge is my go-to. It’s useful to perform a keyword gap analysis, keep track of share of voice, and monitor how we stack up in terms of our total keyword footprint.

Stacey Caprio

Stacy Caprio | Search Marketing Manager

My favorite SEO audit tools are Moz and SEMrush.

I like to use the Moz Chrome extension to check keyword competition, as well as the Moz open site explorer to check the DA/PA of sites. I use SEMrush to track keyword rankings and manage SEO campaigns.

Ryan Scollon

Bowler Hat | Head of SEO

(1) Technical – accessibility/indexation etc – issues;

For technical issues, we use a mixuture of tools such as Google Webmaster Tools, Deep Crawl and Screaming Frog.

(2) On-page weaknesses;

We use Screaming Frog to review any on-page weaknesses.

(3) Off-page opportunities;

For this, we tend to use good old Google.

(4) Perform competitor analysis.

For competitor analysis, we use Majestic as it allows us to carry out simple comparisons between a handful of sites to see how we stack up against the competition.


Felix Tarcomnicu

ProOptimization | SEO Manager

For Technical Analysis I prefer to use ScreamingFrog Web Crawler and the Log File Analyser. These tools can fill up your to-do list very quickly.

For On-Page weaknesses and opportunities, I also rely on ScreamingFrog and sometimes use specific features from SEMrush, for keyword research.

For Off-Page and competitor analysis, SEMrush is my go-to tool.



Tyler Thursby

Zion & Zion | Senior Search Analyst

1. Screaming Frog; quick way to crawl a site and easily diagnose technical issues including meta data and broken pages.

2. Google PageSpeed Insights; speed is critical in modern SEO, typically one of the first on-site areas I address.

3. Buzzsumo; a useful tool for discovering popular articles that relate to your target keywords, great inspiration to draw from for content or target for link outreach.

4. Ahrefs; provides a general overview of a competing website, including backlinks, ranking keywords and top pages.

Harris Schachter

OptimizePrime | Director of Marketing

My favorite crawler lately is Site Bulb – it might even beat out DeepCrawl for quickly identifying issues.

For on-page audits I typically look at a combination of the top 10 unbranded ranking keywords, and keyword overlap with other pages that have those same 10 ranking keywords. Plugins and crawlers simplify some of the other stuff like alt images, headline copy, titles and metas.

Off-page is typically handled with link metrics from Ahrefs and keyword data from SEMrush (also handy for competitors).

Ilan Shabad

One Egg | Director of Business Development
1) Screaming Frog & Google Search Console
2) Screaming Frog & WAVE Chrome Plugin
3) Ahrefs & MajesticSEO
4) SEMrush & Adthena

Alexandra Tachalova

AlexTachalova | Digital Marketing Consultant
1. SEMrush
2. Ahrefs
3. Deepcrawl
4. Spyfu

Dicky Phillips

CF Search Marketing | Senior SEO Strategist/Analyst

1) For Technical audits regarding crawling & indexation, I like to use ScreamingFrog SEO Spider. It has a ton of flexibility, and when dealing with dynamic pages, it is nice to be able to include or exclude them as I run my audits.

2) On-Page weaknesses is a mix of Screaming Frog for meta tags, Ahrefs for keyword analysis and page performance, as well as webpagetest.org for performance issues.

3) Off Page opportunities: I deal with a lot of local search clients, so tools like YEXT or even Moz Local are nice to use for NAP/Local Listings maintenance. I like to use tools like Scrapebox to seek out new linking opportunities that are localized, relevant and authoritative.

4) Competitor analysis: I will utilize all of the above because as I run these audits, I like to pin them up against top competitors, and point out why competitors may or may not be following best practices. It also allows me to paint a better picture for clients as to why specific weaknesses have allowed the competition to beat them in search.

Kevin Gibbons

BlueGlass | CEO & Co-Founder
Searchmetrics – competitor visibility trends.
DeepCrawl – identifying on-page /indexing / crawling /technical issues.
Majestic – link data analysis.

Jacob Wulff

RavenTools is a great tool we use at Thrive. RavenTools’ Site Auditor analyzes your sites to find all of the desktop and mobile SEO issues that need to be addressed. It also allows you to schedule sites to be audited and analyzed weekly or monthly. The tool will monitor and alert you when a new problem or optimization opportunity is identified.

SEMrush is another great tool used primarily for competitor analysis. Thrive uses the tool to analyze what our clients’ competitors are doing to get their web pages indexed and listed on search engine results pages. It also works great for paid search competitor research.

George Zlatin

Digital Third Coast | Partner/Owner
• Screaming Frog – crawling & indexing site for on-page issues
• seoClarity – competitor analysis, ranking analysis, on-page weaknesses
• GSC – Index rates, on-page analysis, backlink analysis, not provided keywords insight, page speed insights.
• GA – organic traffic and conversion data.
• Structured data testing tool
• GTMetrix – page speed
• Web Page Test – page speed
• Moz- Open Site Explorer – backlink auditing, competitor backlink analysis
• Ahrefs – backlink auditing, competitor backlink analysis

Scott Polk

1) Technical – accessibility/indexation etc – issues – I use quite a few crawlers to identify technical issues. For technical SEO, I use the Deep Crawl, ScreamingFrog and Sitebulb. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, so being able to use the right tool for the job is important.

Chrome DEV tool is also important to view and diagnose javascript frameworks that may not be operating as advertised. For accessibility (ADA WCAG 2.0 AA) I use PowerMapper OnDemand and Tenon.io.

2) On-page weaknesses; Insites QA tool, DeepCrawl, and human review.

3) Off-page opportunities; Ahrefs, Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools for link data.

4) Competitor analysis – SEMrush is our go-to tool for competitor research. We also use SimilarSites and Hitwise if needed.

Venchito Tampon

SharpRocket | Co-Founder and Marketing Director


1. Ahrefs
2. Screaming Frog
3. Google Search Console

Andy Crestodina

Orbit Media | Co-Founder and CMO
Technical: Google Search Console
On-Page Weaknesses: SEMrush
Off-Page Optimization: MOZ
Competitor Analysis: SEMrush

Joe Howard

WP Buffs | Head Buff
(1) AWR Cloud
(2) AWR Cloud
(3) Mozbar
(4) SEMrush

Eli Schwartz

SurveyMonkey | Director of SEO & Organic Product
My favorite tools for conducting any sort of site audit are a combination of ScreamingFrog to crawl the site and Ahrefs to understand the keywords it ranks for, competitors and backlinks.

Jay Markwood

Whereoware Llc. | Senior Search Analyst

Google Search Console
Screaming Frog

chris makara

Bulkly | Senior Digital Marketing Analyst

I primarily rely on Ahrefs to conduct SEO audits.  However, I occasionally use SERPstat and/or Link-Assistant’s Website Auditor. I’ll also use ScreamingFrog in some cases.

Since there is not a perfect one-size-fits-all tool, I typically rely on a mix and match approach to conducting SEO audits.

Jordan Kasteler

Hennessey Consulting | SEO Director
1) Screaming Frog & Sitebulb
2) Screaming Frog and Pagespeed Insights
3) Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Majestic
4) SimilarWeb and SEMrush

mariachiara marsella

Visual SEO Studio
SEO Zoom
Search Console
Google Analytics
TestMysite, Majestic
XENU link sleuth
…and mostly my brain 🙂

What Tools Are You Using for Website Audits in 2018?

There you have it – 47 SEO experts revealed the tools they use to perform competitor research, technical, on-page, and off-site SEO audits.

Here’s the list of the best SEO audit tools (by total votes):

  1. Ahrefs (53 votes) [Review // 7 Day Trial]
  2. ScreamingFrog and SEMrush (47 votes) [Review // 30 Day Trial]
  3. Google Search Console (28 votes)
  4. Majestic (14 votes)
  5. DeepCrawl and Moz (12 votes)
  6. Sitebulb (9 votes)
  7. GTMetrix (8 votes)
  8. Google Analytics (6 votes)
  9. Google Pagespeed InsightsMozbar and Raven Tools (5 votes)
  10. Buzzsumo and Google Lighthouse (4 votes)

Which tools do you use? Find any new ones?

Let me know in the comments below.

The post 47 Experts Rank Best SEO Audit Tools for 2018 (with Category Leaderboards) appeared first on Robbie Richards.