Which Site Audit Tool is Best For You? Here’s Three to Consider

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Comparison Review of 3 Site Audit Tools

No one in the industry would deny the importance of performing regular site audits. Your site, clients’ sites, your uncle’s side business’ site, they all have to be optimized and error free, or else…

 

But who wants to conduct those audits by hand? Ideally, you want a piece of software to do it for you and email you regularly with a list of issues you should take care of.

In search for a solution myself, I decided to compare three site audit tools. But my criteria stretched beyond that.

Site audit tools plentiful. But given the amount of different tasks I do and my budget, I decided to focus only on site auditors that are part of a larger suite of other tools and ignore dedicated crawlers.

Disclaimer: I signed up for and used demo trials of each tool. Therefore, there is a possibility that certain functionality I may highlight as lacking in a particular tool was simply blocked on trial mode.

Comparison Criteria

Here is what I looked at when comparing these programs:

  1. Presentation of information. In other words, how scan results are presented. Are they clear to a non-SEO person (a small business owner, perhaps) or do they require prior in-depth knowledge to analyze?
  2. Depth of analysis. How deep into the site issues does the site audit go. Does it only focus on basics, like meta tags and image alt tag or does it go deeper and analyze technical issues too?
  3. Schedule and data export. This functionality goes without saying, but I also wanted to test the effectiveness of those tools.

For the test I used a random site: seattle-florist.com ( I am not affiliated with them in any way).

Apps compared:

Comparison Results

Clean Presentation

I won’t deny presentation is crucial to me. The way the software looks and outlines the data is a big selling factor. For this comparison I considered the following criteria for presentation of information:

  • Immediate access to the top issues found in the audit
  • How it organizes the data
  • How it presents site issues
  • Explanation for each issues and how to tackle it

Here’s how each tool compares:

Displays Top Issues

Raven: Yes

Raven site auditor features a summary tab showcasing issues found with the site. They are split into tabs each covering a different aspect of the site. It, however, doesn’t give any audit score to indicate whether the site setup improved with each audit.

Raven Site Audit Tools Overview

SEMRush: Yes

Similarly, SEMRush features an overview page, giving you a preview of the most recent audit.

Unlike Raven though, SEMRush features an in-depth analysis of the most recent audit, an overall score, and quick access to frequent issues detected on the site.

SEMRush Site Tools Overview

WebCEO: No

WebCEO’s site audit goes straight to a list of issues found on the site and offers no overview whatsoever.

WebCEO Site Audit Tools Overview

WINNER: SEMRush. However, one could say that WebCEO offers the simplest solution, taking the user to their site issues without a fluff. It wasn’t what I was looking for, though.

Organization of Data

Raven organizes site issues into deep categories, covering various aspects of a site setup. There’s visibility, meta-information, content, links, images, semantics, page speed, and crawl comparison.

I have found this division to be very intuitive. A less seasoned webmaster might find this organization of information less intimidating.

RAVEN organisation of data

SEMRush organizes the data into three distinct categories depending on the severity of the issue: Errors, Warnings, and Notices. Errors are naturally the most severe issue that should be tackled right away. Warnings are less severe, whereas notices are issues that technically might not have negative effect on the site’s performance but should be tackled anyway.

This division might be less natural for a beginner. For a seasoned webmaster, however, it offers a very quick access to problems that should be dealt with immediately regardless of their category (content, technical etc.).

Also, an important feature the tool includes is the “History” tab that shows the progress of tackling issues between audits. From what I noticed, neither of the other two tools feature a similar functionality.

SEMRush Organisation of Data

WebCEO site audit only lists problems found with the site without breaking them into any categories. Having said that, the navigation on the main screen lists few categories under the site audit heading, although it includes various other elements.

WebCEO organisation of data

WINNER: Raven, because it’s so straightforward for beginners.

Presentation of Issues

All three tools work in a similar way when it comes to the presentation of individual issues found within the site. There are some subtle differences though.

Raven outputs all data in a handy table, giving an overview of each page in relation to category currently viewed. It also allows filtering actual issues.

Raven Presentation

SEMRush also outputs a table featuring slightly less information than Raven. Overall, it presents information in a clearer way, and does a good job communicating that these pages are in fact the ones with a particular issue on them. It took me few seconds to register the same fact with Raven.

SEMRush Presentation

Similarly, WebCEO outputs a list of URLs with a particular issue on them.

WebCEO Presentation

Leaving aesthetics aside, all three systems do a good job in communicating which pages contain a particular issue.

Instruction to Tackle a Specific Issue

Raven: Does not provide an instruction on how to tackle a specific issue, although it offers a description of every problem in overview.

SEMRush: Instructions are provided in a small pop up box with a short description of the issue.

WebCEO: No instructions given.

WINNER: SEMRush.

Depth of Analysis

All site audit tools will cover certain aspects of the sites set up such as meta tags, image optimization, duplicate content, and few other issues. But what about less common ones such as technical set up, site speed, and marketing factors? I decided to check that, too.

Raven: Deep

Raven offers quite a deep analysis of the site, from its visibility to basic content optimization factors (word count and duplicate content) to links, both external and internal (broken links, follow vs. nofollow), as well as page speed. However, it doesn’t offer any analysis of the domain, server, location, keywords consistency, etc.

SEMRush: Deep

Similarly, SEMRush goes deep into the site to analyze its issues. Apart from the obvious, it also checks for any DNS and server issues, redirect issues, language declarations, text vs. HTML ratio, frames, page speed, URL structure, and many others. But it doesn’t included any in-depth domain and server information, either.

WebCEO: Medium

Since WebCEO outputs only the results of an audit and doesn’t seem to allow seeing all factors it checks, it’s hard to say how deep into the site it goes. From the results of the test, the depth was medium but since I have no access to the entire checklist, I can’t confirm.

WINNER:  A tie between SEMRush  and Raven. SEMrush may provide an in-depth analysis more than Raven, but the latter provides higher limit of pages it can crawl.

Data Export

Raven allows compiling reports from every tool in the suite. The process might be a little cumbersome (i.e. no direct export of site audit data as far as I could see, and you have to go through the entire process to run a report) but the results are more than satisfactory.

Raven allows constructing complex reports, adding intro pages, etc. As a result, their reports make you look more professional.

Raven Report

SEMRush allows to output reports only in either Excel or CSV file format. Unlike Raven, you can export the site audit result directly from the tool. The data however was a bit disappointing, including only the statistics.

SEMRush Report

WebCEO allows to output PDF reports which pretty much emulate the look of their tool but I really enjoyed the ease in which a report was created. One click and I had a multipage report at hand.

WebCEO Report

WINNER: Raven for the professionalism of reports. WebCEO for the simplicity and straight to PDF export.

Conclusion

During this research, two tools stood out for me: SEMRush and Raven. My personal preference went towards SEMRush, mainly because I am not a beginner and I am happy with a bit more advanced interface and more advanced features.

Have you had any experience with these tools? Or is there another tool  you prefer? Please share your experiences in the comments below!

Image Credits

Featured Image: Tsyhun via Shutterstock
All screenshots taken August 2014

Pawel Grabowski
Pawel Grabowski is a SaaS copywriter and content marketer and the founder of UserMagnet.io, a content marketing agency helping B2B SaaS companies grow the user... Read Full Bio
Pawel Grabowski
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  • Excellent snapshot of these three Pawel. You might also check out WooRank, Screaming Frog, or SiteCondor (shameless plug).

  • Great write up man! Love seeing Web CEO finally being mentioned. I realize you were only comparing the Site Auditor, but Web CEO really gives you the best bang for your buck if you need an all around SEO tool. There site auditor like you said is good. They offer local keyword ranking (important part being local), complete backlink profile and competitor analysis powered by ahrefs, keyword suggestion tools, and much more. I left Raven a year or so ago because I needed better keyword ranking. The data from GWT is sometimes weeks behind which is almost useless sometimes. The SEMRush tool actually looks amazing. I haven’t tried it yet simply because I need local keyword tracking… once they add “local” to their keyword tracking I am definitely going to give them a try.

  • WebCEO specializes in CSV exports as well. Were you using our free version Pawel? We normally do extremely well in reviews where we provide a paid plan, especially a white label Pro Plan. Just on the csv issue…every report that can export numbers allows csv downloads.

  • Alesia Krush

    Pawel, that’s great analysis that addressed the SEO’s daily needs very well 🙂 By the way, have you ever tried WebSite Auditor (a desktop tool made by the company I work for)?
    It pretty much covers all the bases: crawl stats, in-software tips, white-label reports, data export in different formats, etc.
    It’d be interesting to know what you think!
    ~Alesia

  • Hi again Pawel,

    I just found your free account where CSV files were available for download via the Export function (last night I was on my smartphone wondering if we somehow didn’t offer that service with the free version, but we do). I noticed, however, that you didn’t set up the Landing Page Optimization section nor comment on the Site Structure report. We’re updating the navigation so those can’t be overlooked (they are now in tabs at the top of the interface).

    I can’t find you on LinkedIn but I can send an email with access to the White Label Pro Plan that can audit an entire website (the free tools only let you audit 100 pages). You can even quickly setup our tools under your brand on your own sub-domain on your own website.

    Please note that a misunderstanding in the article was the following:

    WebCEO’s free version is permanently free to use as long as anyone wants to but with limited keywords and only 100 pages audited for issues.

    That is not a drawback (problem) because the free versions of other tools are only available for 14 days (or so) and then they aren’t available at all unless one buys. So it’s just a different business model – apples instead of oranges.

    We were criticized for not auditing an entire large site for free when other tools did so…but one presumes those other tools would only do so for 14 days before the trials expired. Ours doesn’t expire. We just offer limitations for the free version.

    With agencies and large website owners evaluating our free version, they see the Site Audit results for 100 pages and decide to upgrade to a paid version after that. Small website owners can use our free version forever and never pay anyone.

    In any event, our upcoming Autumn Update will see the Site Audit section upgraded in a major way and we thank you for the input. You can be sure we had a meeting about this article this morning. =)

  • Depesh Mandalia

    The title “Which site audit tool is best for you?” is quite broad and you’ve selected 3 decent ones to consider based on your own needs.

    I know you’re after something automated and fairly ‘easy’ to follow but I’d throw into the mix using a combination of Screaming Frog’s SEO spider and Google Webmaster Tools. Granted, not for new or possibly intermediate site owners/SEOs but you can get so much insight this way for very low cost. It’s a bit more manual but you have much more control over this. I’d certainly advocate this approach client-side.

    Of the 3 you’ve suggested I think they all offer so much more than simply auditing as you’ve alluded to but I’d doubt you’d pick any if it was *just* site auditing. #

    Personally I’m a big fan of SEMRush for everything else it offers. Things like site auditing and KW monitoring are bonuses but not what I’d primarily use it for. Raven for example has interesting social and content marketing tools as well as others for a more rounded view of digital marketing (prior to Google enforcing them to stop using scraped SERP data their rank tracking was pretty decent). WebCEO is super SEO focused and is a pretty good tool too (this write-up doesn’t do it justice) whereas the other two tools have a wider remit (SEMRush for example enables useful competitor analysis/keyword mining).

  • Thanks, Pawel, for the review, and your attempts at fairness and balance. Three notes:
    1) comparing free versions is fraught with issues… Anytime you want to compare paid versions, get in touch for a free trial for legitimate research and testing purposes.
    2) I always loved Screaming Frog, but it devoured RAM and consumed computing power and bandwidth from my PC, and frequently got its crawler locked out due to overload. I looked at Deep Crawl for Enterprise-level remote crawls, very impressive, and settled on SEMrush because it operates remotely, freeing up my machine to be more productive, and it limits service demands and obeys bot commands. Which brings up my final point…
    3) Now audits Robots.txt files and discovers whether a Sitemap.xml is referenced there. Given Searchmetrics recent Rank Factors release, it is apparent that architecture and crawlability are among the factors with highest correlation to high Google SERP rank. That makes your review very useful and timely. Thanks again!

  • Kim

    Stellar write-up with a great comparison of 2 of my fav tools for auditing. And, even though I’ve never used WebCEO (and don’t see the need based upon your article), the snazzy screenshots gave me a wonderful idea about how to put together a “super simple SEO” presentation to a client who’s feeling overwhelmed with the amount of data and analytics. Thanks so much!