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Our Next SEO Checker Website Analyzer Review: Nibbler

A nicely designed, lightweight SEO analysis tool

This is the 8th entry in our series of reviews of “SEO Checkers,” online tools that allow you to plug in your website address and have the tool check for areas of poor search engine optimization. Our latest entry is one of the nicest tools we’ve checked so far. The video review will walk you through the tool and I’ll show you things I like (quite a few) and things I don’t like (not very many) for this tool.

If you’d like a free SEO audit checklist, just like the one we use for our professional in-house SEO assessments, we give you a chance to get one here.

If you’re the type of person who would prefer to skim text, beneath the video is a full transcript of the video. Please let us know how you like it, or suggest other tools you think we should review, in the comments on the video or the blog.

Transcript of Nibbler SEO Checker Video Review

Hi. I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing. We’re about to get started with the next in our series of tool reviews for free SEO checkup tools. Stick with me. I’ll be back in just a second. Hi, and welcome back. As you know, we’ve been working through a lot of free SEO tools that do a site analysis or a checkup on the SEO of your website. We’ve done quite a few in this series, and as a matter of fact, if you look down below in our playlists, you’ll see a playlist that is all of the various tool reviews that we have done so far. Make sure that you check those out. Also, I’m going to ask you right at the front, just in case you nod off during the video, please go ahead and subscribe to our channel. This gives Google an indication that the channel has some value, and we think it does. We hope you do too, so hit that Subscribe button. If you like this video, also hit the Like button, and that’ll make sure that YouTube and Google show it to more people.

In any case, let’s go ahead and get started with this particular tool that we’re looking at today. As you can see on my screen, what I’m showing is the website for the company that produces this tool, and I’m not really familiar with this company. They’re in the UK, and the name of the company is Silktide. Obviously, as they say, their business is in helping companies to come to grips with their websites and SEO analysis and so forth. They have a free tool that they offer, and this is where it’s located. It’s at nibbler.silktide.com. You can see Nibbler at the front. This is their free tool. They also have a Pro version of this tool, and I’m sure that’s the one that you hope you will, that they hope you will buy once you try out their free check. It’s actually a pretty cool tool, and one of the coolest things starts right off in the sense that you don’t have to give them an email address in order to try it out.

We’re going to go ahead and put it through its paces. We’ve been using this particular website that you see on screen. Very plain, very boring. It’s sort of a demo site that we use for this. It’s called Artisans of Colorado. It’s not at all professionally optimized. As a matter of fact, I’ve deliberately deoptimized certain aspects of this particular website so that we can perform these checks and have something we can work with. What we did is, we went to Nibbler, and we plugged that website in and generated a report. Once the report comes back, it takes a little while for it to generate, and it comes back looking like this. Really like their interface. It’s clean. It’s easy to use. Over on the right, you have the various sections of the report. They have a numeric grade that they give you. If you’re wondering how that numeric grade is composed, they’ve got a little overview over here on the left, so you can see like the accessibility grade. They’ve got a numeric rating on each of some subsections within that particular section of the website.

screen shot of intro screen for Nibbler free SEO checker

I like how things will expand and contract very quickly, and they’ve got some really good advice. As you drop down through their site, you can see they’ve got top priorities for website improvement. They’ve got links to read more material. They emphasize, right at the top, social media, and so that’s what they get started with is, just start scrolling through the interface. Now, I’d like to stay at the outset, but this tool is definitely not going to give you a complete audit, but we’ve checked half a dozen tools so far. None of them give you a complete audit, a complete SEO audit. Each of them will check certain aspects of your site. Nibbler is no exception. It’s not going to be complete, but what it does, it does pretty well. Let’s start out and just take a quick look at some of these sections. It’ll take a look, first of all, at your social media, and in this sense, it looks at whether you have a Facebook page that it can find or a Twitter account that it can find.

If you drop down here, it’ll also check for any indications that there have been some social shares of the website. Now, the one thing that, and I’ll go through and I’ll tell you some of the things that I fault about this tool and a lot of things that I really like about it in a general sense, one of the things that I do fault, and it’s a fairly minor fault, is that sometimes the organization of the various things could leave something to be desired. For example, when it comes to social media, they mix in this little rating here for Alexa. All right? It shows this Alexa ranking, which is really, doesn’t have anything to do with social media, so I don’t know why it’s sandwiched in between the analysis of a Twitter, or looking for a discovery of a Twitter account, and social shares. You’ll find that, in a number of different places, there’s kind of this curious organization that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Let’s drop down, though, and see where they start out. Here, and the very next section is sort of like that. The next section goes into meta tags. Usually, these tools will rank your title and your description tag all in the same area, because the title tag typically is what shows up here in a search engine result. This is, would be a simulation of a Google result, and the description tag, the meta description tag, is usually what shows up as the description in the snippet. I like the fact that they have a preview of what a search snippet might look like, and I like the fact that they will not only check the page I plugged in for a meta description tag, and for a number of other things. They’re also checking proactively for the randomly selected pages within the site. Notice they’re telling me here that these pages below that they’ve checked have no meta description. That’s a very important heads up.

If we go down a little bit farther, you’ll notice that it also gives me a review of other meta tags that show up within this page. Now, unless you know a little bit something about HTML and web design, this may not do you a whole lot of good, but it is good to be able to reference it. Notice how they also have multiple pages, so they’ve tried to keep a clean design by only showing you certain tags, and then within that block, you can go to a page two and a page three to see other meta tags. I think that’s nicely done. It’s a good interface.

screen shot of the meta description tag analysis in nibbler

I like this content designation here. It tells me whether I have thin content. That’s Google’s word. Thin content. In other words, not a whole lot of textual content on the page. It gives it to me in this nice little sort of speedometer, tachometer type of representation, which is good, because the amount of content you have is a little bit on the subjective side.

Then if you look down below here and we expand it, you’ll see that it gives me the number of words of textual content on the other pages it’s checked. I really like that aspect. Content is extremely important. Most of the tools don’t do something like that. It’ll give me some indication as to whether it has the requisite pages on the server. It’ll also talk to me a little bit about internal links. I’m not crazy about this particular section, because it makes a recommendation I don’t necessarily agree with. Namely, that you should always have text in your anchors. An anchor is a link to another page, and the anchor text is the text that you click on. Yeah, it’s a good idea to have relevant text that people can click on and that describes the link, but there are many situations where you don’t need to do that, so I have a little bit of a quibble for giving that a red circle with a white X in it.

Now, down here under Headings, it gives me a keyword cloud, which shows the relative importance of certain words that it’s discovered within the headings or the H tags of these five pages. This is a great way to visualize where you’re either weak on content or you’ve emphasized the wrong content. This is a website, for example, for artists and artwork, and you’ll notice that the word that comes up the most is the word “recent,” which has nothing to do with our topic. That would need to be something that, from a content strategy, we would want to look at.

screen shot of the keyword cloud for heading elements for SEO analysis

We’ll scroll down here, and let’s see. It says, “Some pages did not define headings correctly.” This is a correct observation, because headings are often not used correctly on webpages. Headings should be in a hierarchy with one single H1 tag on a particular page. Now, it doesn’t tell me that right here. It doesn’t tell me that there should only be one H1 tag that’s the prime top-level heading of a page. This has two H1 tags, and it really would have been best if it flagged me as that not being, that that was not according to best practices, but the fact that it shows it in a hierarchy is a good thing, and they emphasize that also when it comes to their recommendations.

Let’s keep it moving here. I don’t want to keep you here too much longer. They give you some heads up about some images. It gives you information on the domain age, URL formats. I’m going to drop down here. I like the incoming links. They show number of links and number of domains. One thing I’d like to comment on that I really find to be refreshing is that they give the source of that data. A lot of these SEO checkers won’t tell you what the source is, so this is Ahrefs. A lot of people just call them hrefs, and they’re basically a service. There’s one of the most reputable in the SEO industry. They are used by tons of SEOs. It tells us that they’re using reputable information for this.

We go down here, there is one bug in their interface. It says, “Page titles,” and it reports correctly that all of the pages they checked do have defined titles, but notice here it says, “No Title,” “No Title,” “No Title,” in the breakout of pages, and that is incorrect. Probably a bug that their development team is already working on fixing. They show that there’s analytics on the site, and even give a call out to the fact that it’s using Google Tag Manager, which shows that it’s fairly recent. That is the construction of the tool.

Then freshness, they basically just look at the last modified date on the various pages in order to give you an idea. This is not that great of a metric, because often, pages can be modified in ways that don’t really matter, but it does give you all the various states for all the various pages it’s found and that you’ll basically do more than just the pages that are in the review. Now, this is at the end. It’s giving basically a little advertisement for their professional level Silktide Insites. I’d have to say if I was in the business of buying tools like this, I’d be very interested in their professional level tool based on my favorable impression of their free tool. However, we’re, this series of reviews is basically just taking a look at free tools, so we’ll stop with this one.

Now, let’s jump over real quick to the tale of the tape, so to speak. We’ve been lining up the various SEO checkers that we’ve been reviewing, and we’ve been taking a look at the internal SEO audit checklist that we use as a team. When we’re going through a site and doing a full SEO audit, we check a total 91 items, and that number tends to grow as SEO becomes more complex. You’ll see that Nibbler would help us to have cleared a total of sixteen out of 91 of those items. That seems like a really low percentage, but you can see here Google’s own tool, Lighthouse, only helped us clear six of the items on our checklist. HubSpot’s Website Grader only cleared two, so Nibbler tied for second so far in the number of items on a full-blown SEO audit that it helps us clear.

screen shot of a comparison of free seo checkers

That’s it for our review or our quick walkthrough of the Nibbler tool. Overall, I’d say this is one of the nicest tools I’ve looked at so far. It says a lot of good things about Silktide, the company that produced it. Personally, at some point, I might like to check out their Pro level tool, because this was a pleasant experience. In the meantime, if you have a tool that you’d like us to check, please go ahead and put it in the comments. If you’d like to ask us a question, put it in the comments. We’ll be glad to answer your questions, or if you just have an observation. Like I said at the outset of the video, please, if you find this useful, and even if you don’t, go ahead and hit the Subscribe button and the Like button, and we’ll be looking forward to presenting more what we hope to be very useful SEO and digital marketing videos in the near future. Again, my name is Ross Barefoot. Glad to have you join me for this walkthrough and hope to see you next time. Bye for now.

Video Review: Google Lighthouse SEO Audit Tool

Did you know that Google has its own SEO Audit tool? It’s part of their “Lighthouse” suite of webmaster tools, which now is itself incorporated into the developer tools that are built into the Google Chrome browser. (Lighthouse is also available as an extension for Google Chrome, which makes it conveniently accessible from the browser toolbar)

In this video review review I take a look at the SEO audit portion of Google Lighthouse. It certainly sounds promising, and after all, if it’s from Google isn’t it from the horse’s mouth? Spoiler alert: it’s not a replacement for a real SEO audit. Have you used Google Lighthouse? Do you like it? Hate it? Are you mystified by it? Watch the video and add your own comments and questions below.

Google Lighthouse Review: Video Transcript

Hi. This is Ross, with Horizon Web Marketing and it’s time for another SEO checker review. I’ll be right back.

As you probably know, I’ve been working through these free SEO checkers that are online tools that purport to give you an overview of the SEO potential of your website. In most cases, you go to a website, put in the homepage or any page, sometimes, of your website, and you click a button and they’ll give you a report.

SEO Checkers in General

Those tools are often referred to as SEO checkers, SEO checkup tools, free SEO analyzers. There’s a whole bunch of them out there, and if you look down below in our list, in the playlist that we have on this YouTube channel, you’ll be able to see that I’ve done quite a few reviews so far.

Now usually, what you do is you go to a website and you plug in the address for your website, and click a button, and it’ll go, and it’ll do its thing and it’ll check a whole bunch of different stuff, and it’ll give you a report onscreen.

The tool that we’re going to look at today is a little bit different for a couple of reasons. One is, it’s not a website. The second is, that it’s actually produced by a company you may have heard of called Google. Let’s take a look at Google Lighthouse, which is Google’s own tool for conducting what they call an SEO audit on your website, so let’s see how this works.

All right. I’ve been using this particular website, Artisans of Colorado. It’s sort of a demo site, and I’ve been using it in some of my other SEO checker reviews. We’re going to run this website through Google Lighthouse. Google Lighthouse has been getting quite a bit of ink lately. It’s actually been around for a couple of years. It’s a, basically a tool that Google makes available for free to webmasters to get a handle on all sorts of good stuff that has to do with your website.

An SEO Audit is Part of Google’s Developer Tools

Most recently, Google Lighthouse has been getting more publicity because the speed test results from Google Lighthouse are now being incorporated into Google’s own PageSpeed test tool which is … Let’s go here and just take a look just for chuckles here. I’m actually going to Google it. Google’s PageSpeed test, which is this one here, PageSpeed Insight. You can see PageSpeed Insights, and it will give you an overview of the speed of your website, and it’s tied into now another tool that Google had made available called Google Lighthouse.

There’s a couple of different ways that you can run Google Lighthouse. One way is by going and getting it as a free extension for Chrome. Now, I’ve done videos before about how you get extensions for Chrome and the way you do that is you click on the three dots up here at the top right of a Google Chrome browser and then you go to settings. Once you get to settings here, you can over and click on the hamburger menu at the top left.

Using Google Lighthouse as an Extension

Then go down and click on “extensions.” Now, the extensions is going to show you the extensions that are currently installed on your browser. If you click on the hamburger menu yet again, and go all the way to the bottom, you’ll see that you can open the Chrome web store. Go to the chrome web store and just go ahead and type in “Google Lighthouse.” If you want to, you can tick the little extensions filter here but, typically, it’s going to come up at the top anyway.

Here it is, and it says “rate it” on mine because I’ve already installed it. Usually, it will have a little button that says “add to Chrome” and you click, and then it asks you for permission to do it. You add that extension to Chrome, and then it’ll show up, this tiny little icon up here at the top right. See how I have that installed, and that means it’s as an extension on my site.

Now, if I go back to the site I want to check, so all I have to is click on that Lighthouse extension, and then notice it’s got a variety of options that we can set, so we’ll click on that. You’ll notice, it’s got a bunch of different categories it says to include. Performance, it’ll test the, whether your site is built according to standards as a progressive web app. This is nothing that I pay attention to right now. I probably should, but I don’t.

Accessibility, best practices and then finally, SEO. This is, I don’t know when they included the SEO audit, I think it’s been within the last year. I’m doing this in January of 2019. I could be wrong on that, but in any case, now we’ve got this nice little tool here, SEO.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to un-tick “progressive web app,” and I’m going to un-tick the “accessibility” one just to keep the set manageable. I’ll go ahead and click on “okay” for options. Now I’m going to click on “generate report.” Let’s see what we get. Normally, what Lighthouse will do is you’ll see it going through its paces, it’s checking various configurations of the site. Then it’s going to come up and open a new browser window, and it gives me a report.

Performance = Speed Performance

Now, notice it’s given me a 23 on performance. Now, this is how fast the site loads. We’re not really focused on load speed here, but we can use this in order to try to determine whether our site is below par or not. This is the same results or similar results that you would get if you go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights, that has best practices, and then finally, notice, my SEO audit. I’m getting 100% on my SEO audit, so that seems pretty encouraging at face value.

Let’s scroll down here and see what various categories that we have. Now, there is … I was actually pleasantly or, I guess, unpleasantly surprised to see that the best practices show, pointed me in the direction of something I was not aware of and that is that I have a security vulnerability on this website. You’ll notice it here, it says “one vulnerability detected.” You can typically always drop down the little dropdown button. If you’ve got a down triangle, then you click on it and it’ll show you more information.

This is telling me that, basically, the version I have of jQuery has a vulnerability, and so we would need to update jQuery to be able to patch that vulnerability. I’ll admit straight out, I did not realize we had this problem on this particular site. It’s basically a demo site, so it’s not a big deal but I intend now to go and check my other sites as well.

Checklist of Best Practices – Lucky 13

Now, it says that I’ve passed a total of 13 audits. I can see where I’m doing well, and you can see one of them uses https. In other words, our site is running securely. You can see its checked all sorts of different things, whether the page has doctype, it will talk about avoiding deprecated APIs. Some of this is pretty technical stuff. It displays images with correct aspect ratio. These are all useful tests. Really, although they are not under the SEO section of this audit, I would normally audit these things as part of an SEO audit, so you could say that it’s sort of an extension of their SEO audit.

Let’s go down to the actual SEO section right here. Now, it’ll tell me that there are two areas that I need to check manually. Notice, it tells me that the page is mobile-friendly and we do have some structured data going. If you’re not familiar with that, then this isn’t the place to learn, but structured data is looked for by Google and those other search engines that are still trying to be competitive.

Don’t Forget that Manual Check

Structured data is valid, but Google is going to tell me that I should still be checking these things manually as well. In my experience, this is wise advice. Often, automated tools will tell you that your website is mobile-friendly, and then you’ll go and look at it on a phone and you’ll see the automated tool didn’t really show you that it’s not mobile-friendly at all.

The one thing I don’t like about this, if you drop it down, it basically will just give you an opportunity to learn more, and then you’ll have links to more learning resources at Google, some of which are useful and some of which are pretty general. It points you in the direction of Google’s mobile-friendly test tool that you can use to explore your site a little bit more. Structured data. It’ll tell you more about what structured data is, about the testing tool and so forth, so it does give you resources to be able to follow up.

These past audits in SEO, now we’ll take a look, and those are then further subdivided into other categories. Mobile-friendly. Notice here that the mobile-friendly check is very, very sparse, in my opinion. Basically, it just checks this particular tag, which is a viewport tag, and normally that’s used if you have a responsive designed website.

You can’t be mobile-friendly without having that tag, but on the other hand, there’s a whole lot more to actually being mobile-friendly than simply having that tag. When it comes to explanations, Google’s explanation is pretty lean as well. Same way with the legible font sizes. Tells you that the legible text, notice, is greater than 12 pixels.

It still doesn’t tell you a lot of things like whether the fonts are too close together or whether particular elements are overlaying your site. I guess what I’m trying to say is this is a real cursory check. I would not consider this to be a full-blown SEO audit or even close to one. A lot of the tools we’ve checked that are website-based are more complete than this.

SEO Content Checks: Way Too Shallow to be Useful

Let’s go ahead and look at the other sections they have. Content, best practices. Here’s where I have more criticisms of this particular tool. For example, it says, “the document has a title element.” Okay, fine. Most webpages have a title element, but SEO would involve making sure that that title element was the appropriate length, that it described the content on the page, that it was tied into keyword research that you’ve done, that it would appear correctly on a search engine results page.

There’s a lot that goes into SEO beyond simply having a title tag, and so this is almost useless. As a matter of fact, if you looked at this and said, “Oh, hey, my title is fine,” then it’s actually done you a disservice. The same can be said for the meta description tag, is all it does is check to see if you have one. It doesn’t tell you anything about how well it’s been optimized.

The same criticism applies to “links have descriptive text.” Well, okay, descriptive, but descriptive of what? It says, “hreflang.” This is basically a tag that’s used to make sure that you’re compliant with best practices for multi-language, which is usually not an issue. “Document has a valid rel=canonical,” that’s good to know, but it’s still pretty minimal.

Then finally, “the document avoids plug-ins.” They have also crawling and indexing. “Page has success http status code.” Okay, that’s extremely basic. “Page isn’t blocked from indexing,” also basically what it means is like it’s checking your front door to your store during business hours and making sure it’s not locked. “Robots.txt is valid.”

We’ve gone through here a total of 11 checks that Google has done as part of their SEO audit. Now, here is a comparison, the SEO audit that we normally do on a website is 91 different checks, so this is indeed a pretty basic tool.

Bottom Line: D+ to C- as an SEO Audit Tool (Please don’t hurt me Google; I gotta say it like I see it!)

Before I conclude this review, and I’d give this tool a really low grade overall. No offense to Google. It’s great that they’re moving in a direction of giving us more information, but in terms of believing that you’ve done an SEO audit when you’ve run this, you haven’t.

I’m going to show you an alternate way to run Google Lighthouse, and like I said, it is useful, particularly when it comes to page speed, some of these other best practices, checking for security vulnerabilities. Here’s the other way to do it. When you’re looking at your page, you hit the F12 key on your keyboard. What the F12 key will normally bring up is your developer tools. These will show up as a panel. Most developers who do programming are very familiar with these. Usually, they’ll come up on this panel.

Now, you may have caught, when I first brought it up, it showed Lighthouse because developer tools now includes a hook into Lighthouse through the, when you click on the double arrow, depending on how much screen real estate you have, you often will have a “more,” a little double arrow, that indicates more choices. You click on that and you can go down to “audit.” Click on that, and notice, we can access, we can basically access the same Google Lighthouse tools here, and we didn’t have to get a plug-in to do it.

The plug-in is a little bit redundant now. In a certain respect, I want to show the plug-in availability because it does pull up the results in a separate browser window, which makes it a little easier to use.

All right, so there you go. That’s Google Lighthouse. The bottom line, if I had to give this a grade, I’d give it a C or a D as an SEO audit tool. Good to see Google giving us some SEO information, but we’d really like to see something that’s much more in-depth that what we have here. As far as other SEO checkers that are out there, most of the ones that we’ve tested are far more complete than this one that we just checked from Google.

Now, we’ll be doing more SEO checkers as we go along, and I hope this has proved useful to you. I’m going to ask you now for a favor, and that is, if you’ve made it this far, please go ahead and subscribe to our channel. When you subscribe to the channel, it basically is showing Google that, hey, you were interested in the video. Then Google will know to show the video to more people.

Go ahead and subscribe. Hit the “thumbs up” if you like the video and please also, when you do subscribe, click on that little alarm button next to the subscribe button. That means you’ll get a notification when we have new video content that will help you do the digital marketing that will help your website succeed on the Internet.

Thanks again for watching. My name is Ross Barefoot, and I hope to see you on the next video. Bye for now.

SEO Checker Tool Review: SEO SiteCheckup (video)

An Easy Website Analyzer with a Short Trial Period

SEO SiteCheckup is an online SEO checker that is designed to promote a more complete, subscription based set of SEO tools called SEO Toolbox. Their SiteCheckup tool is free for your first use without inputting your email address, but to see the most complete results you do need to create a free account and start a trial period (no credit card is required however). The tool itself does pretty well for a free SEO analyzer, and in this video I’ll walk you through an overview and see how it stacks up on our SEO Audit checklist scoring system.

[Note: Check out the other SEO Checker reviews we’ve posted on our blog or on our YouTube channel]

For skimmers and video-phobes (or people that just don’t want to see me talking into a camera), a transcript is provided below.

 

Audio Transcript

Hi, you probably know that we’ve been doing reviews of tool- a class of tool that we call ‘SEO checkers’ or ‘website checkers,’ and these are basically free tools online where you can plug in your website address and then we’ll come back and give you an analysis of the SEO factors that relate to your site. And some of these are pretty good and some of them, not so much.

We’re gonna take the next one that we have in our queue of tools to review. This one is a pretty full-featured tool for what it is, known as ‘SEOs Site CheckUp.’ And so let’s go ahead and see what it gives us and walk through some of the results.

So the site that we’ve been using for this is a project site, let me go over here and show it to you. It’s called ‘Artisans of Colorado.’ And this is basically a site that has not been optimized for search, and a matter of fact, I’ve thrown a couple things into this page here, that I would like to see a tool pick up on as being negative factors. Just a couple of little tests to put things through.

So let’s go over here and see what we get when we run it through SEO’s Site CheckUp. SEO Site CheckUp basically will give you one free review of a website and then if you log in and create a free account with them, for what they call their ‘trial period,’ then it’ll give you a total of 15 site reviews, according to the information that I’ve read online.

Now, when you do this one, like for example, here I did ‘artisansofcolorado.com,’ and it didn’t ask me for an email address to do that, so I liked that feature, I like that I don’t have to plug in an email address. And when I sign up for a free account it doesn’t at that point, ask for a credit card, so I also like that it’s not asking for a credit card.

screenshot 1 of SEO Site Checkup

If you’re just doing a one-time check on a site, this would give you some decent information. Now, in this case, I’ve done it without logging in and it will present some ads here because it’s ad supported, so you can see an ad here for a ‘WP engine,’ in the main body of the page, and one on the right.

It gives you an overall optimization score on the left, in this case 77 out of 100. And then they’ll do a number of different checks and it gives you which ones have failed, which ones have warnings, and which ones have passed. One of the good things about it, it does have a nice PDF download. So if you click it and do the PDF download, it pretty much gives you all of the metrics that we’re gonna be looking at here, as we walk through this page.

It starts out with the most common SEO issues, for example it says, “Meta title, meta description.” Here again, I will give one qualification, which I always do on these tools, and that is none of them really will help you do SEO on your site if you know absolutely nothing about SEO. Now if you’ve got some basic knowledge, they’re very helpful, if you have no knowledge whatsoever, you’re typically gonna have to do a little bit of research as you go. Some of the tools help you with that, some of them don’t. I’ll show you where this tool might help with that.

The ‘title tag’ is extremely important [ed: here’s a link to a free course on optimizing title tags] , it is basically just reflecting it back to me. I would imagine if I had no title tag, it would fail me on this check.

The one thing it didn’t pick up on, is we do have duplicate title tags on this page, which is a no-no, and it doesn’t show me that a duplicate exists, which I would prefer that it does.

It’ll also show me the ‘meta description.’ That doesn’t help you rank higher, but it does influence the way this looks, and that is the snippet that comes back on Google search results page.

screenshot of seo site checkup, SERP snippet preview

It’ll also give you some relevancy factors. In this case, relevance is okay. What are the primary keywords that exist on your site? Now in this case, this one is a little less robust than some of the others we’ve checked in, that it will only do single words in this analysis, and it won’t do two, three, or four letter phrases, as some of them will do that and I find that to be useful.

Then it does a quick and basic check whether the most used keywords appear in your title and meta description, which is useful. And it’ll give you a visual representation of kind of, what is this page going to be most relevant for, by showing you the words that occur the most on the page.

Now wherever it says, “Here get it now,” when you click on that it’s going to take you over to, basically a path where you can set up a free account, a trial account, and I’ll just- before we terminate this review, I’ll show you what it would look like if you do that.

It’ll also go down and give you a review of your ‘H1 headings,’ which is great. It says, “Your page contains H1 headings.” This is another area where I wish it would give me some guidance on the fact that there are two H1s and most SEOs, there’s a little controversy here, but, most SEOs would recommend that there only be one H1 on the page, and it does not alert me to that. Does show me what the H2s are.

It’ll give me whether there’s the presence of a robots.txt, and farther down it actually does a little further analysis on the robots.txt, which is good.

It also looks for the presence of sitemaps. Gives us an alert as to the sitemaps. And these are all technical SEO checks, basically.

It’ll look for broken links. Good thing there.

On the ‘image alt tags,’ this is where you’re actually gonna get some guidance on what’s important about this metric and how to fix it. So if I click on this ‘how to fix,’ it’ll bring up some more text information, also give me a little tutorial video here and I didn’t look at all the tutorial videos they had, but that one, for example, I looked at, and it was a reasonably good video, about three minutes, telling you about the ‘alt’ attribute and why it’s important, what you can do about fixing it.

screen shot of image alt attribute with tutorial video

Same thing with the ‘inline CSS.’ It’ll give you an explanation of why you might wanna take a look at these, the fact that CSS is being used inline and that’s kind of a technical term, and that’s why if you don’t know much about web development, you’re gonna need the little video to figure that one out.

So scrolling down farther, I don’t wanna go through every single one of these here, or I’ll make this a 20 minute video, and I’d rather not. So we’ll go down and take a look at- then the next section, when we get to this point, you’ll notice they’ll give you kind of a little clue, visual clue up at the top, that now you’re in the section of the site that deals with speed and it will give me an alert as to whether the size is too large or not.

I’ll also take a look at a number of technical factors that influence how fast the page comes up on search. Now if you’re non-technical, this is where it’s- you’re really gonna get into the weeds pretty quickly, in terms of stuff that you won’t understand. So, but, really they have no choice here, because to know how to make your page load faster, you really have to get into some technical information.

So where this would be useful, is if you ran this check and you download the PDF, then it’s very useful to send it to whoever does your website maintenance or your development, and say, “Okay, I see a few alerts on things, like your warnings on particular types of speed optimization techniques.” And you can have your developer give you an explanation as to why these are not being made use of or to just go ahead and make your page faster by addressing these issues.

So I won’t linger all over- over all of these because I would imagine most people watching this video are not professional developers, so we’ll go down here and take a look at the server and security. And here’s your little pop-up for a 14-day free trial.

And it’ll check to see if you’re running over ‘https,’ in other words, a secure protocol.

this ‘URL canonicalization test’ is good, I don’t see this on a lot of the SEO checkers, and that’s something that should be checked, on your site, even by a free checker.

Then you’ll go down here, and this is another thing that’s a must have nowadays, and that is, take a look at- it takes a look at whether the site is mobile friendly. Now in this case, it is picking up on the fact that one of the key elements that indicates whether a site is mobile friendly, is missing. From this site, it gives me a preview window, which I like.

screenshot of mobile preview test

And then we go into an advanced SEO section here. And it shows a number of different technical SEO checks that you would take a look at if you were trying to get into a more advanced level of SEO.

One of the things that it does that a lot of sites don’t do, is it checks whether SPF records are set up. And this is very important if you’re doing a lot of, for example, email marketing. If your SPF isn’t set up correctly, probably more of your mail is gonna wind up in your recipient’s spam folders. It’s not really an SEO thing, per se, but I- it was kinda nice that they did a check on that.

And so, here we get to the bottom, and there again, it’ll give you a review of what your medium priority fixes are, what your high priority fixes are, and that’s these here. And on the social media check, it basically- we didn’t spend much time on that, but it shows whether you’re tied into social media accounts or not. And that can influence SEOs, so it’s gonna tell you you fail if you have no social media presence.

So any case, that’s what it looks like when you do the free check. Now if you have logged into their tool and set up a free account, then you get something else that’s very useful and that is ‘the total back links.’ And before, it didn’t really give you, on the free checker, it didn’t really address back links at all. And I think that would have been a deficiency except for the fact that if you create a free account then you can go into it and check on the back links. Looks like it’s actually telling me I’m not signed up, here. And I had created a free account. Let me sign in here real quick.

Okay, so I signed in with the test account that I put up. Now, one thing that I will tell you, is I did actually a dry-run on this video a couple of days ago. I created a test account, a trial account, here, and it expired after two days, even though the website tells that I should’ve had a 14 day free trial. I don’t know if that’s gonna be your experience or not, but, just be advised, you might wanna make use of it right away.

Now if we go down here, you’ll see- now it’s telling me what the SEO score was with the check. And when you set it up for a free trial account, it’ll ask you for a few keywords, it’ll allow you to select competitors and see where you stand- and right here it shows the competitors, where these companies stand in relationship to our site, when it comes to SEO factors. And so that is nice, that you can do that. Again, you’re not gonna be able to keep doing this unless you sign up for a paid account.

And here we’ll go- now we’ll try again, the ‘back links’ check and you can see what it will do, is it will give me the total number of back links, the referring domains. It’ll give me the domain score on this. Now, I couldn’t find out exactly where this domain score was coming and just by the nature of these I have not been checking with the companies, if someone from the companies can tell us that and put it in the comments, that would be great.

And then down here it’ll show me where the back link URL is, the target that it’s pointed to. So, a lot more stuff when you get into it, or at least some more stuff. Along with a ‘keyword position tracker,’ for the keywords you enter. I think you can enter up to five.

All in all, I would say for a- for free access at this level, it’s a pretty good quality tool. It checks a lot of the stuff you would expect a free SEO checker to do.

Let’s go over now, and take a look at how it ranks on our SEO audit essentials checklist. Now this is a free resource that we give you and it’s for a professional SEO audit, so, you’ll notice here our SEO audit check list has a total of 90 different items to check.

SEO Site CheckUp actually is a tool that you could’ve used to clear 20 of these and when it comes to technical factors, we have 30 items on our list, SEO Site CheckUp would’ve cleared, or helped you to clear, nine. And as we go down here, you can see, and I’m not gonna tell you, every one of these again, in interest of time, but a lot of the items on our checklist could’ve been helped by using this particular tool.

screenshot of seo site checkup and our seo audit checklist

Now this 20 is actually not a bad score, you know, it’s a small minimum, but that just illustrates the fact that there’s a lot more to doing an SEO audit than simply running an SEO checker tool over your site.

Just as a reminder, the SEO Audit CheckList is a free download that we offer, a resource that you can use to go through and have a look at the factors that affect your ranking. SEO Site CheckUp is a good starting point for getting into that audit checklist.

Graphic indicating the free download for the SEO audit checklistSo, in any case, I hope that this review has been of some use to you, and, the SEO Audit CheckList that we offer, is a resource that will be of even more use to you.

And if you want to see other reviews and how-to videos and so forth, that we put out in the interest of helping to train business people to do their own SEO, please subscribe to the channel, with the big red button underneath the video, and also, follow the links in the description for this video, in order to get those free resources.

Website Checker Review: SEOptimer

A Website Checker from Down Under

This video review is part of our ongoing series covering website SEO checkers, tools that will check the search engine optimization of a page or pages on your website to see how well they measure up against SEO best practices.

In previous video reviews, I’ve covered Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer and SEO Centro’s SEO Analyzer.  This time around we’ll take a look at an Australian SEO Checker that’s been around since 2012, SEOptimer.

[Note: Check out the other SEO Checker reviews we’ve posted on our blog or on our YouTube channel]

And if you, like me, would prefer to skim text, a verbatim transcript appears below the video.

Do you use any of these tools? Leave us a comment. Do you want us to review your favorite tool? Leave us a comment about that too.

And if you’d like to download our SEO Audit Essentials checklist (which you’ll see in the video), you can get a copy by visiting this page.

Transcript of SEOptimer Video Review

With a sleek, modern interface, SEOptimerclaims to have the “grade to rule all” grades, and that’s a pretty ambitious claim for a free tool that does an SEO check on your website. Now, I don’t really know this company and I don’t even know whether to call it S-E-O optimer or S-E optimer, but any case, we’ll answer the question about the grade to rule all grades in just a minute.

Hi. I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy and we’ve been going through some of the free online tools that are available that will help you to do an SEO check on your website. So, the next one that we’re going to take a look at is SEOptimer and we’re going to just take a quick walk through it and see if it does what it purports to do, which is to give you that grade that rules all grades.

So, when you arrive at the homepage for Seoptimer, you’ll see that it’s a very modern website. It looks like a fair amount of budget has gone into developing it and if you poke around in their website a bit, you’ll see that this tool’s been up and online since 2012, according to the site. The company is in Australia and they have a number of free tools available on their website and they also do SEO consulting services. I’m not really familiar with them as a provider. I don’t really make a recommendation or a criticism, but in my other tab here, we’re going to take a look at a project that I’ve plugged in to see what it looks like when we do an SEO check on that site.

In this case, it’s a site we’ve been using with other similar checkers. It’s called Artisans of Colorado. Right at the top it gives me a letter grade, which is fairly typical for these types of tools. It tells me that I’m ranking a C+, that my page could be better, which of course, is something you could say just about any website that’s out there. Let’s just scroll down a little bit and you can see how they’ve broken this down into a number of different categories. SEO, usability, performance, social and security. Kind of ironic social and security are next to each other, at least for the U.S. market. Now, we’ll drop down, we’ll see the overall grade and then we’ll see that they examined a number of the basic things that should be given attention to. In the header of the website, they’ll take a look at the title tag. They’ll give me a printout of what it contains. Recommendation on its length. Meta description tag. It’ll give me a notification if there’s no title tag or no meta description tag.

screen capture of seoptimer seo letter grade

Drop down a little bit farther here, and it’ll tell me whether there’s a good distribution of text in the header tags for the website. Now, one of the things that I did pick out is it’ll tell me that I have multiple H1 tags. It won’t necessarily give any sort of warning with regard to those, and one of the things that I’d like to see here that it doesn’t have would be, a better inventory right at the front side of these header tags. But, it does have it buried, just a little bit deeper, so in this interface, if I click where it says show more details, there I will see the inventory of contents of those various header tags.

screen capture of seoptimer header tags review

Definitely nice the way they have that. You just have to know to click on the blue button to show more details. The keyword, consistency, will show me some distribution of words and which ones are most common on the page. That’s a good thing. It would be nice if they had two and three keyword phrases as well, but the single keywords are better than nothing, definitely. It’ll also give me a warning on the low content on this page and certainly this page does have minimal, textual content, so that’s a valid warning.

On the image alt attributes, it’s a similar situation to the header tags. You’ve got to click to show them. The one thing here that I’d prefer to see is I’d like to see what the alt attribute says. In this case it’ll tell me which image on the page, this one right here, does not have any text in the alt attribute, but it won’t really give me anything in terms of a recommendation. It also has a section that tells me about the number of backlinks. It gives me a nice overview, here, of Moz’s domain authority, which is one of the industry’s standard numbers, measuring how high quality the backlink structure is. Dropdown here for the link structure. It’ll tell me, and I like this, that it gives me all the various links on the page, along with whether they’re flagged as follow or no-follow. Now, if you’re a beginner with SEO, a lot of this stuff that I’ve been rolling through here, you’re probably going to need to do some research and know how to analyze some of theses elements.

Screen capture of seoptimer analysis of backlink structure

This tool’s a little bit lean on recommendations for absolute beginners, but it does, if you’ve got something else that’s giving you some guidance, it’ll show you some reportage here of what’s going on in your site, that is very useful. I’m going to dropdown here. It’ll show the presence of a robots.txt, XML site map. It takes a look as to whether the site is going to render correctly on mobile, versus tablet, versus desktop. It’ll check a few of the various elements that could be a problem if crawlers need to access your site, which of course, they do. So, it’s good that it checks those things. On the speed check, it’s actually a pretty good test of the page speed info, because it doesn’t just give you a overall low time. It’ll show you the response time of the server. It’ll give you an all-page content loaded and then all-page scripts complete. Now, here again, if you’re not familiar with some of these terms, it’s going to be of limited usefulness to you, but if you know a little bit more, it does give you some useful information and then it will give you a little bit more in terms of the various components of your page that are being used. For example, the number of JavaScript files that are going on.

screen capture of seoptimer page load analysis for seo

And if you’re a programmer, you can use this as kind of a heads up, if you’ve got over usage of some of these elements. Dropdown a little bit here and it will take a look at your social profiles. In the case of this site, we don’t have anything going on, so it’s giving me a red flag on all of these various elements. Then it does have a good check of security. It’ll tell me whether I’m using secure protocol, the SSL right here. It’ll tell me whether HTTPS has been set up correctly and it’ll also tell me whether I’m being reported as having malware embedded on my site. I think that’s very useful. Most of the checkers don’t give us this type of feedback, so I think in that case, it was superior to some of the other tools we’ve taken a look at.

screen capture of seoptimer review of site security

Then, it will give me an overview of some of the various technological components used to build the page. Some of the various, sort of, techy details that are related to it. Then it’ll give me a number of recommendations. In this case, they’re good recommendations. Again, they’re pretty minimal, in the sense that they’ll tell me to execute a link building strategy, but they don’t really tell me how to do that. And to be fair, it’s really hard to teach someone how to, for example, do a link building strategy on a tool that’s a free one-page checker. So, a number of these things here are very good to take a look at. Not going to try to explain each of them. What I am going to do is, I’m going to see how does this stack up, and this is kind of a new thing I’m doing on some of these checkers, in that I’m going to go to our SEO audit checklist.

screen capture of seoptimer seo recommendations

Now, this checklist is a free resource, that we make available to anyone, and as a matter of fact, you can download a copy of this for yourself, and what I’ve started doing is taking a look at our checklist, which has 91 different items on it, and seeing is SEO, and I put here, this is an incorrect statement here, by the way. I need to stop myself right now. See where it says SEO Optimer up here? I kept calling it, in my mind, SEO Optimer, and then, if you go to Seoptimer, you’ll actually go to a site that downloads malware, so please, let me do a verbal correction here that this site, as a matter of fact, I think I’ll do it even though I’ve got the video running, I’m going to change this right here, right now. It’s SE Optimer.com, so make sure you get it right. Don’t make the mistake that I did.

On our 91 checklist, basically, I’ve got two different components that this audit checklist is broken into. The whole thing and then also the technical side of things. So, for technical SEO factors, and most of these checkers are focused on the technical factors, I have 30 different points that we check when we do an SEO audit on the site and they hit nine of these where SE Optimer can actually help you, and you’ll see some of them here. For example, the presence of an XML sitemap. Whether the site speed is acceptable or not. Is the site using HTTPS? Is the domain clean of malicious code, and again, most tools won’t do that. Dangerously invalid HTML, broken links. Is the site mobile friendly? And these things over here, you’ll see them flagged, yes, and yes means that SE Optimer, if you’re using it, could actually help you to clear those items if you’re doing your own audit checklist.

You can see, however, that it’s not going to really hit everything that a professional SEO audit would hit. I can just scroll down here and kind of give you a general overview of all the items that you still need to pay attention to, even if you’re running it. So, although I really like a lot of aspects of this tool and I like the fact that it’s modern, well maintained and so forth, I probably would not agree that it will give you the grade to rule all grades. On our comprehensive SEO audit checklist, it hit 16 out of 91 points. On our technical checklist, it hit 9 out of 30 points. So, good tool, but you will have to do more if you’re going to do a thorough SEO audit on your site. By the way, if you want a professional to do an SEO audit for you, definitely come to Horizon Web Marketing. That’s the type of thing we really love digging our teeth into. And, if you want to learn how to do one for yourself, take a look at the Horizon Web Marketing Academy, that’s the training arm of Horizon Web Marketing, where we teach business people and web masters and basically anyone who has an interest, how they can master a lot of these issues with regard to search engine optimization and perform them on their own or with their own team.

Again, my name is Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and Horizon Web Marketing Academy. I appreciate you taking the time and subscribe, down at the bottom, so that you can get the next review, that we do have a website grader and you can stay on top of the best tools that are out there at the lowest cost. Thanks again for watching.

Website Tool Review: SEO Analyzer from SEO Centro

Don’t be Fooled by its Old School Appearance

In a lot of ways I really like the SEO Analyzer from SEO Centro, especially its lack of pretension.  After all, an analytical SEO Checker is there to provide a function, not an artistic user interface.  Still, it’s easy to ignore this free tool when you arrive at their home page, mainly because of the blizzard of ads, one of which tried to drive me away with flashing neon.

[Note: Check out the other SEO Checker reviews we’ve posted on our blog or on our YouTube channel]

I guess that’s a downside to a particular virtue of this tool, which is that it doesn’t demand your email address to use it (not to mention your money), but of course you do pay for it in a way; I counted 7 ads in the screenshot below. At least the advertising doesn’t bedevil you with pop-ups or pop-unders.

Picture of home page for SEO analyzer

SEO Nuts and Bolts

Once you get past the ads the approach is simple: input your web page URL (address) and the simplistic, anti-spam “access code” (i.e., the CAPTCHA) and wait a bit for it to do its magic.  Once it has processed your page you’ll have a tabbed interface divided into the following 8 sections:

  • SEO
  • Content
  • Keywords
  • Social Media
  • Usability
  • Reputation
  • Speed
  • Server

Image of the tabs on SEO Centro analyzer

Let’s just cover a few of these in turn.

The SEO Tab

What you’ll find on this tab

  • The page title, whether it is present, how long it is (although the length recommendation is out of date as of this writing), and whether it is “relevant” (it does this by comparing whether the words in the title are found elsewhere on the page).
  • The meta “description” tag (often referred to as simply the description of the page).  Like the title it will see if the description tag is present, and if it is it will give similar output on length and relevancy.
  • Also checks for the presence of robots.txt and robots element in html, as well as the presence of a sitemap.  It doesn’t seem to offer any insight as to the quality of those elements.
  • Under this tab you’ll see a “snippet preview” for desktop, showing you approximately how the page might look if it showed up in search results.
  • Headings are important for SEO, of course, and the SEO Analyzer offers a nice clear table of H usage with contents of each H tag, so you can review on your own.  Of course you need some knowledge of the principle of relevancy to be able to put this table to good use.

What the SEO tab is missing

  • It doesn’t give much guidance on <H> tags, for example I placed 2 <H1>s on page (which is a practice normally frowned up on in SEO) and it didn’t alert me to this.
  • It does not check whether the “www” variant of the website, or something similar called ip canonicalization, is set up correctly.  This is a fine technical point but an important one.
  • I would like to see it check for correct implementation of canonical tags on pages.
  • Also there is no analysis of the SEO properties of the body content that I could see.

The Content Tab

Highlights of what you’ll find on this tab

  • This section cherry picks a couple of technical issues, such as whether your page has a doctype set and whether it is using a technical construct called “frames” that can make the page less Search Engine Friendly (SEF).
  • Gives you a word count, which can alert you to pages that don’t have enough textual content.
  • It offers a recommendation to keep the load size of your page below 250mb, but I find in this age of rich content experiences (often expected by visitors) and widespread adoption of broadband (offered to most consumers of Internet content) a 250mb limit is a bit unrealistic nowadays.
  • This tab also shows a list of links on page and whether they are dofollow or nofollow, which can be moderately useful if you spot a pattern and know what to do about it.
  • It does check to see if the alt attribute of images is being made use of, which is a lower priority relevancy factor in SEO
  • In an effort to help you diagnose page size issues (which will be common if anything over 250mb is viewed as an error, it gives a list of all resources associated with the page that make up that big size, primarily JavaScript (js) and Cascading Style Sheet (css) but as no further explanation is offered you would need a developer’s knowledge for that to help you much.

What the Content tab is missing

  • I would like to see it show the content of those alt image attributes, so I can determine whether they are actually helping the relevancy of the page.
  • For anyone who is not a hard-core SEO, I think there needs to be much more explanation of what to do about many of the results that are reported.  There are indeed summaries on most of these, but they are so brief as to be not helpful to novice SEOs, business or marketing people.

The Keywords Tab

Highlights of what you’ll find on this tab, which is one of the more useful tabs this tool offers.

  • It has a decent keyword cloud, giving a visual representation of the importance of words it finds on the page.
  • You’ll find a number of tables that illustrate how keywords and keyword phrases are used on the page, both single keywords and multi-keyword groupings.
  • The “Top Keywords” section does a fairly decent job of picking out the most relevant phrases.
  • For each of the keywords and phrases it will indicate whether it is used in Title, Description, or any of the H tags on the page.
  • It will also show the keywords used in the anchor text (the clickable part of a link on the page).

What the keywords tab is missing

  • It would be nice to see more data on the keywords being used, such as search volume.

The Social Media Tab

  • Whether structured data is used (primarily Facebook’s Open Graph) to facilitate sharing on social networks.
  • Share data for a limited number of social media networks.

What the Social Media Tab is Missing

  • A check for the existence of Facebook Page, Twitter account, Instagram account.  The only check is for Google+ which is now a footnote to social media

The Usability Tab

  • This tab has a number of useful bits of information, including whether a language declaration is used (which is mainly useful if you serve a mutli lingual audience.
  • More importantly it checks for a couple of settings relevant to mobile usability, such as the presence of a viewport and media queries.

What the Usability Tab is missing

  • The most important missing feature on this page is a preview of the page on mobile vs. desktop screens.

The Speed Tab

  • Information on a lot of specifics related to technical aspects that affect speed.
  • Lots of very brief tips on how to implement the tips that are given.

What the Speed Tab is missing

  • Any non technical information to guide you in using the data that is presented.  The tips that are presented are mainly useful if you already know how to develop websites.

Summary

SEO Analyzer by SEO Centro is a pretty bare-bones tool.  Despite the aging look of the interface and the ad-supported nature of the tool, there’s some handy stuff in here, especially in the keywords tab.  However, I would definitely recommend this tool to someone who already has intermediate or advanced knowledge of SEO, not to the typical SEO beginner.

Do you use the SEO Analyzer by SEO Centro? Do you see important things this post overlooks? Do you have a similar tool you’d like to recommend for future reviews?  Feel free to post a comment below. And subscribe to this post to be automatically notified of other reviews soon to come in our SEO Checkers review series.