The SEMrush site audit tool is by far the best website audit tool existing at the moment on the market.
Here in this article, I am going to tell you how you can improve your SEO and local SEO strategy using the SEMrush site audit tool.
Competition is fierce and the only very good source of traffic you can get, unfortunately, it’s just Google!
To stay competitive in this wild jungle where everyone wants the first spot of Google you need to excel over the others.
Something I like about this system is the meritocracy that Google will give you if you do things right.
I am from Italy and over there this feeling is completed dissolved together with the great desire Italians have to always do worse, lately.
One of the most important aspects and one of the few aspects you have total control to get your sites on a nice spot on the SERP are the errors and warnings that will come out of the SEMrush site audit tool.
If you want to learn how to start doing things right so that Google will reward you with traffic and all the good stuff that comes with traffic, read this tutorial all about the best SEO audit tool from SEMrush.
What’s The Difference Between SEO And Local SEO
SEO, in general, are all the best practices that will eventually bring your business on top of Google on a worldwide scale.
You can read more about it here on my SEO article.
Local SEO instead, is less competitive and focused on getting your business slapped in the face of people in a certain region.
Something that you want to do to start off with your local SEO business is to submit your site to Google my business.
You want to fill in it at least what’s called NAP (name, address, phone).
You don’t have total control over how the Google algorithms are going to position you on the SERP.
But, you can make it easier if you give Google good signals and your website is at least respecting the most important practices.
No one knows how the Google algorithms works, it’s like an area 51 thing. But some things like:
- duplicate content.
- duplicate titles and meta.
- missing ALT tags.
- broken links.
- 4xx/5xx errors.
- slow speed.
- low text-HTML ratio.
will definitely penalize your website and rankings. So in order to find out all of these issues, you will need SEMrush, period.
SEMrush Site Audit Tool Superpowers
So let’s start taking control over our websites and run an awesome website audit so we will be able to fix all the problems.
The easiest way to access the SEMrush site audit tool is via the project section.
You will need to add a new project there. Just put your domain name with no HTTP or WWW for instance:
and a name to identify the project:
If you have the SEMrush PRO plan you can put 5 projects. If you have the SEMrush Guru plan you can put 50 projects. If you have the SEMrush Business plan you can put unlimited projects.
Once the project is added you will be able to see many different tiles. Each tile is doing something different and specific with your website.
The tile that we are going to talk about in this article will be only the site audit tile. But it’s here where you can find nice things like:
- Position tracking.
- On page SEO.
- Organic traffic insights.
- And so much more.
If you are on a business plan, you will be able to share any of your projects even with free SEMrush users.
To do so you just need to click on share on the top right of the project and add the email of the person you want to share it with.
You can choose if you want to grant edit access or not to the person you are sharing the project with.
This can be helpful and someone else can fix the issues from the site audit for you.
SEMrush Site Audit Tool Main Tutorial
If you are using the new version of SEMrush and you have more than 1 project you will get a list of your domains and from there you can check:
- limits (according to your plan).
- you can remove the columns you don’t find interesting. ( I don’t need “mentions” for instance).
- you can share your projects if you have a business plan.
Then if you click on your project you will see the tiles mentioned above. If you go to the “site audit” tile.
You will see a little settings cog. This is the most important part of your site audit process.
You will need to adjust the settings of the SEMrush crawler according to your project needs. With SEMrush, you will be able to crawl no more than 20.000 pages for a project.
If your website has more than 20.000 pages you will need to use the “masks” so that you can split your project into different parts.
For instance, if your main website has 15000 pages and your blog have 18000 pages the total number of pages is 33.000 pages.
In order to be able to crawl the whole thing, you will need to create two projects with the same domain and disallow to crawl one part from the other.
I will talk later about this.
Also, depending on what SEMrush plan you have you will have crawl limits. Using “masks” and “removed parameters” will help you to stay in in the limits which are:
- 100.000 pages a month with (PRO).
- 300.000 pages a month with (GURU).
- 1.000.000 pages a month with (BUSINESS).
The SEMrush limits reset every month the first day of the month. It does not depend on the date when you have started a paid plan.
If you start your paid subscription the 25th of the month you will have only a few days to finish all the allowed limits.
The same applies to “SEO ideas units“.
Site Audit Settings
- Domain: from here you can decide how many pages need to be crawled at max. Note that if you put 20.000 as a limit and your website have 900 pages, you will use only 900 pages. Pretty honest!
- Crawl subdomain: you can also choose if you want to crawl your subdomains or not. Some people have huge subdomains like online stores or complex stuff that does not have much SEO value.
- Google Analytics: here you can connect your google analytics account with just a few clicks. It is very recommended to connect it and to grant full access to SEMrush. You will need to go into your Google webmasters console and add a user. The procedure will be given from SEMrush.
- Limit of check pages: This option is the same as the number 1 on this list.
- User agent: something interesting is that you can choose as a crawling agent different kind of bots. By default, you will have the desktop semrush bot but you can also pick the Google bot or a mobile-only bot. It is recommended to run reports with every user agent and fix problems for each of them.
- Crawl delay: it is recommended to use “minimum delay between pages“. Unless you have something specific in your robots.txt file.
- Masks: this is one of the most important settings. From here you can disallow the SEMrush bot to crawls parts of your site that don’t need to be crawled. You can see my settings in the picture below. I don’t want that the crawling robot is wasting my limits looking at my affiliate links folder, or the RSS feed of my forum. All of these parts of my sites might have tons of pages that are not going to be crawled and shown from Google. You will need to run a report with no masks and then peel out all the stuff that doesn’t need to be crawled from there. i.e: if you want to disallow the ‘recent‘ folder and your domain is marcodiversi.com/blog/forum/recent/ you will need to put all the stuff that comes after your domain like so: /blog/forum/recent/ and not only /recent/
- Removed parameters: the purpose of this is very similar to masks and very important as well. You don’t want SEMrush to crawl pages or URL parameters that Google will not crawl for instance: ?page=1 etc… You can remove parameters by adding the part usually after the question mark at the end of each URL.
- Excluded checks: if some of the SEMrush checks are not useful for you, you can turn them off by clicking on the “view eye” here on excluded checks.
- Schedule: you can decide when you want to run your site audit. If you have a lot of projects you might want to set it to “once” for the less important projects. What this means is that you will need to manually run a site audit by clicking on the run report icon. That way you will save your semrush crawling limits. Meanwhile, if a project is very important you should run a weekly check, and you can set up this from this menu. If you have 5 projects for instance on a PRO version you might want to run a report on Monday, one on Tuesday and so on until Friday for each project.
- Send me an e-mail: you can choose if you want to be mailed when the SEMrush site audit tool finishes his job.
SEMrush Site Audit Tool Dashboard
Once all the settings are good, you will need to run your report. This will start crawling your site and start to find:
The errors are the most dangerous ones and they need to be fixed ASAP. Be aware that sometimes SEMrush is not able to figure out if it’s an error for real. You will need to use your SEO knowledge and hide or disallow the errors you will get.
For instance here on marcodiversi.com, I am getting 239 errors, but I can not fix them all and it’s not a big deal.
95 + 95 of these errors are due to the fact that I have AMP on a bilingual site. In order to AMP to work, I had to create a special redirection system that SEMrush does not understand and it’s giving me an error.
If you know that it’s not a problem just disallow it from crawling. I was also getting thousands of errors from my brand new affiliate forum RSS feed.
The plugin I have used to create the forum is called wpForo you can read more on this wpforo review.
But wpForo is creating a ton of links that are not going to be indexed from Google but that SEMrush recognizes them like errors since it’s crawling any link available on your site.
So what I do is to disallow certain folders and remove certain URL parameters. That way I save my crawling limits and I get fewer errors because I know for a fact that these are not errors.
Fixing The Errors
Now you want to go over each line and start fixing the errors that are coming out in your report.
The easiest ones to fix are duplicate titles, duplicate descriptions, broken links, format errors, HTML errors etc…
When you identify an error you can simply click on “why and how to fix it” and you will get precious insights on how to fix it.
From the crawled pages tab on top, you will be able then to run your report only on that specific page that you have fixed and see if you have fixed the error.
To do that you will need to go to the “crawled pages” tab and click on the little circle arrow next to the link “re-audit URL“.
It is very recommended that you try to understand each single error and if it’s possible you will need to fix them all.
If you are on WordPress it might be harder to fix all of the errors since sometimes the errors are coming from the plugins you have and the theme.
But if you have coded the whole site sometimes it’s easier to fix any errors and make Google happier.
Fixing The Warnings
While fixing the errors is vital for the health of your site, warnings have less weight, at least for what we currently know about the Google algorithms.
Warnings are usually about wrong use of nofollow links, too much text in the title tags, duplicated headers, no HTTPS pages, etc…
A warning is usually easier to fix and sometimes they can be ignored. You will need to deeply understand SEO and start fixing every single warning if you can as well.
What I usually do is to start from the top row on “errors” fix them and go down to the next error. The same applies to warnings and notices.
Notices are the less important kind of error that you will get from your website audit.
Those include pages that are blocked from crawling for instance. Here on marcodiversi, I block certain pages because I want them to be blocked but I still get a notice of course.
You will also see how many clicks are needed to reach a page on your site. It is recommended to keep this number under 5.
You will be able to see the same results from the crawled pages tab. You must create a user experience where there are never more than 5 clicks needed to reach a page on your website.
Certain pages that have less importance they can have more than 5 clicks to get reached and they will be considered as a notice but if you are able to understand SEO sometimes those pages are not having any influence in your SEO strategy.
i.e: all the pages created from an SDK or an external service etc..
SEMrush Website Audit Menu Bar
On the SEMrush site audit tool menu bar you will have these options:
- Crawled pages.
- Compare crawls.
We have already talked about the first 3 points which are the most important ones. But you can also get cool insights from the remaining 3.
From statistics, you can look at some numbers in a very clean way like percentage of markup code, crawl depts etc..
Once you have multiple crawls and its already a few months that you are analyzing your websites you will be able to compare the results from the pasts crawls and exactly what is getting better and worst. You can pick up the date and the range of dates if you want to from the drop-down menu.
The progress tab will visualize with graphs all of your progress. You can turn ON or OFF certain errors, warnings, and notices and see them plotted on the screen. I really like this tab.
In this article, we have talked about how you can improve your SEO and Local SEO strategy using the SEMrush site audit tool.
This is something you have total control and that you can start to put in action from today just following this powerful tool advice.
Something else you have control is planning your keyword strategy. I wrote another article about the SEMrush keyword magic tool.
You always need to plan before writing an article which one is the keyword you want to rank for.
Doing so especially if you are looking to improve your local SEO strategy will give you some chances to rank first at least in your city or region.
If you didn’t already you should make a free account with SEMrush and get it as a freemium with 5 searches a day free for a lifetime.
This is the only product I really feel to recommend because is awesome.
What You Will Learn On This Blog!
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- SEO(Search Engine Optimization).
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- Coding and WordPress
- Make money with a computer and an internet connection even while you sleep.
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Much Love and Peace Out,