Having an SEO strategy is a no brainer for content marketers. Without one, you’re likely to spend a lot of time churning out content that doesn’t capture the attention of your audience or yield the results you want.
The thing is, SEO strategy doesn’t stop at creating content. Instead, it’s an ongoing process that involves developing a strategy, generating content, and conducting SEO audits to evaluate content performance and how you stack up against the competition.
It’s this final step that many companies leave out, assuming that once their content is published it will continue to perform. But every industry changes, thought leadership evolves, new competitors emerge, and errors inevitably pop up. Without SEO auditing, you risk giving your competitors an edge and sending your audience to outdated content.
SEO audits can help you:
- Assess how your content is performing for your target keywords
- Identify less competitive, relevant content niches where you can optimize visibility
- Glean insight into what your audience is searching for
- Identify competitive gaps by learning more about your competition
- Refresh old content to make it more relevant
- Fix technical errors like broken links, expired web pages and more
A quick Google search for SEO auditing tools will show you 1.3 million results and dozens of tools that all seem to have similar offerings. If you’re looking to conduct your first SEO audit or improve your current strategy, sifting through the options can be overwhelming.
The trick is finding which tools excel at which aspects of an SEO audit, and while most of the top-rated tools offer a comprehensive set of services, they’re all better at different things.
SEO auditing is essential but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Take it from us: these are the only SEO audit tools you’ll ever need.
- SEO audits are essential to a good SEO-driven content marketing strategy because they ensure content stays relevant and highly ranked
- Most SEO tools offer a comprehensive set of services, but they’re all better at different things
- SEO auditing doesn’t have to be complicated; it’s all about using the right tools for the right things
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider tool crawls your website to improve your onsite SEO. It identifies technical issues like broken links and server errors, assesses redirect loops, identifies duplicate content, and analyzes page titles and headers for quality control.
In short, it’s looking holistically at your on-site SEO performance and showing you where improvements are needed. An advantage to Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider is that you can integrate your crawl with Google Analytics and Search Console for the best possible insights without having to conduct a repeat audit.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider is free for sites with less than 500 URLs. The free version includes what we would consider the essentials, but the paid version does include expanded capabilities.
Ahref’s Content Gap Tool
Ahref’s Content Gap tool helps you uncover which keywords your competitors are ranking for that you aren’t. The tool offers some pretty advanced capabilities while staying super user-friendly so you don’t have to be an SEO expert to use it.
Users start by entering the site they want to audit (for example, their website’s blog page) and then clicking into the Content Gap tool to see insights. Competitor URLs have to be entered, but users can access a competing domains report within the tool if they aren’t sure who their competitors are.
From there, users can see which keywords their competitors are performing for that they aren’t and filter the data in different ways for diverse insights.
The Content Gap tool is also useful for refreshing and consolidating content; in the tool, users can see where they rank for certain keywords and assess their related content to make sure it’s still optimized (for example, if you rank high for a keyword but most of your related content is several years old, you’d want to focus on updating that content).
Similarly, you can assess content that covers the same topic and identify which are ranking highest, then redirect searches for those terms to your best-ranking content.
This video gives a great overview of the tool’s capabilities and how users can maximize results.
The Content Gap tool might require a little more manual interaction than some other automated tools, but the insight you can gain makes it well worth the effort.
SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool contains a database of more than 20 billion keywords. If you’re looking to identify keywords and phrases relevant to your company and content, here’s the tool to do it.
The Keyword Magic Tool can enhance your SEO audit by helping you find new keywords and phrases that may have emerged since your last keyword generation process. You can also check your current list of ranked keywords against those that come up in a new primary keyword search to identify any you should be ranking for but aren’t.
The tool also offers deeper insights such as how difficult it would be to outrank competitors for a certain keyword, filtered lists (such as question-only format keywords), level of competition for PPC advertisers around particular keywords, and more.
SEMrush is consistently mentioned as a top SEO tool for content marketers, and the Keyword Magic Tool is one of its best features.
Say what? All of the automated tools available to content marketers and we’re recommending Google Sheets?
You read it right. Google Sheets is a great tool for SEO data tracking, especially alongside content databases.
Example of SEO forecasting in Google Sheets. Source: searchenginejournal.com
It’s standard for SEO tools (including all of the ones we mentioned above) to allow users to export raw data and reports. The thing is, there is no one-size-fits-all report for every company. Part of optimizing your data-driven strategies is housing data and reporting in ways that fit specifically with your goals and organizational structure.
With Google Sheets, you can take all of those exported reports and put the data in one place in a format that works for you.
Not to mention that with more teams operating remotely than ever before, the option to collaborate directly and see real-time edit updates is a huge win.
Ready to Start Your SEO Audit?
SEO audits are a key part of measuring content marketing performance and are essential to ensuring a return on investment from the content you’re putting out.
All of the above SEO audit tools are user-friendly and with practice, companies can use them successfully on their own. If you want to take your SEO audit a step further by integrating insights across all of the tools you use and applying them to your overall content marketing strategy, Marketing Insider Group can help.
Check out our Content Builder Services (which include an SEO audit) to learn more!