Search engine optimization (SEO), in its simplest terms, is the process of making changes to your website to make it more visible to search engines and improve your site’s rank.
But improving your SEO isn’t a process you want to simply jump into without a strategy in mind. The best first step in developing your SEO strategy is conducting an SEO analysis.What Is An SEO Analysis, and Why Is It Important?
Basically, an SEO analysis is a tool for people to study how they might improve a given website’s ranking on search engines like Google. With an SEO analysis, you can find what aspects of your SEO strategy are working and what your biggest obstacles are that are preventing you from improving your site ranking.
To put it simply, an SEO analysis is a must for you to rank higher, expand your reach, drive traffic, and hit your business objectives. With an analysis, you’re not taking shots in the dark; you’re making strategic decisions, which reduces time and resources spent.
Without a thorough SEO analysis of your site, it’s pretty much impossible to make informed decisions for improving your site’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Where SEO analysis gets complicated is in the breadth and depth of data and tools that are available.
What Are Some of the Best SEO Analysis Tools?
Nowadays, there are so many SEO tools you can use for strategizing and analyzing your efforts. But if you're not working with the right tools, you might feel lost and confused and your analysis might take longer.
Some of the best, most popular SEO analysis tools include the following:
Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, this free service is vital to your SEO analysis. You can do so much with this tool, like:
- Check your crawl rate, and view Googlebot statistics.
- List internal and external pages linking to your site.
- Receive notifications for certain search results.
- Identify what keyword searches led Google users to your site listed in the SERPs.
This is just scratching the surface. Google Search Console is a must-have for your SEO analysis.
One of the worst experiences you can deliver to your website visitors is providing broken links within your content. This is where the Check My Links extension comes in.
After you add it to your Chrome browser, you can easily ensure all your links on each webpage are working. The tool will highlight each link to denote which ones are working properly and which ones are broken.
The suite of Moz Pro solutions is impressive. It includes:
- Keyword research - create lists for keywords to target, compare your ranking with competitors, and prioritize keywords based on important metrics, like organic CTR and difficulty.
- Rank tracking - track rankings for your site and your competition, compare mobile and desktop visibility, and keep an eye on important keyword ranking metrics.
- Site crawl - check the pulse of your site’s health by crawling your site to find new and recurring issues, set alerts for critical issues, and determine the impact these issues have on your SEO.
- On-page optimization - enter your keyword and page combination to get customized guidance to optimize page content, find pages with high ranking potential, and receive content idea suggestions.
- Link research - receive a full link profile analysis, compare your profile to competitors, and set goals and track link building progress with Link Tracking Lists.
- Custom reports - run and export reports that fit your needs, including site crawl data, links, and search rankings, and customize and brand charts and graphs.
This free tool generates a comprehensive report that includes important data in sections, including:
- Rank analysis
- Link building
- On-site analysis
- Website accessibility
- Overall summary
With UpCity’s SEO Report Card, you’re ready to plan and execute SEO strategies.
By simply entering your URL and email into HubSpot’s Website Grader, you receive a comprehensive grade (0 - 100) that includes personalized suggestions.
Your total score out of 100 is made up of the following sections:
- Performance (30/100) - measures page size, page requests, page speed, redirects, browser caching, and more.
- Mobile (30/100) - checks mobile responsiveness and overall user experience on mobile.
- SEO (30/100) - looks at page titles, meta descriptions, heading tags usage, and sitemap presence.
- Security (10/100) - determines whether or not you have an SSL certificate.
Each of these tools bring a lot of value to your SEO analysis, providing their own unique reporting features.
Google’s Webmaster Tools remains one of the most popular SEO analysis tools out there because it’s free, newbie-friendly, and it’s from the most popular search engine provider, giving it plenty of credibility.
But many companies invest in pricier SEO analysis tools, like Moz Pro, when they have the budget for it.
What’s Included in an SEO Analysis?
Every reporting tool and marketing agency will include different aspects in their SEO analysis reports, but some commonly featured pieces of data include:
- Competitive SEO analyses detailing top competitors in your industry and their SEO performance.
- Keyword performance reports that include current rank, difficulty to rank, monthly searches, organic CTR, and competitor keywords.
- Backlinks audit to identify spammy, low quality links.
- Off-page linking building reports to measure link building activities.
- Page performance data, such as load speed and navigation.
- Information about site layout and structure.
- Content audit that identifies repetitive/duplicate content and pages lacking in content.
- Use of alt text for images.
- Use of meta descriptions.
- Use of social media integration.
- Responsiveness of site design on desktop and mobile.
This is just a few pieces you might see on a comprehensive SEO analysis report.
As you can see, an SEO analysis is vital to your long-term success. When you have the right tools in place and develop a strategy for conducting the analysis, you're well on your way to improving your rankings.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2016. It was updated in August 2018 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.