The depth of your articles impresses and amazes me. I love all the specific examples and tool recommendations. You discuss the importance of backlinks. How important is it to use a tool to list you on directories (Yext, Moz Local, Synup or JJUMP)? Will Google penalize you for listing on unimportant directories? Is it better to avoid these tools and get backlinks one at a time and avoid all but a few key directories?
Now keep in mind that, based on their stated crawling guidelines, the stronger links from stronger sites tend to get crawled more frequently so the spammiest of the spammy link approaches might not get picked up on. For that level of deep research a historical report from Majestic SEO and a link status checker, like Advanced Link Manager, is likely a better bet. 

Of the three popular backlink reporting tools (Majestic, Moz, Ahrefs), Ahrefs provides the most useful link data. Even in other areas of SEO, Ahrefs seems to always keep their toolsets fresh. They continually add in useful tools and features that make other software suites less relevant. The most recent addition is their site audit tool which provides a beautiful visualization of technical site issues.
What does it mean for a site to be SEO friendly? It goes beyond just posting quality content (though that’s a very important part!). There are all kinds of ways big and small that can prevent your site from being seen by search engines and thus by users. Our free audit tool begins by looking at some of the most important facets of your website you might not even be aware of.
Checking a website’s on-page health is indispensable to making and keeping a website SEO- and user-friendly. Whether you manage a small website or a large one composed of thousands of webpages, detection of issues can be challenging. You just cannot afford to spend days looking for every possible mistake in the code or checking for broken images or URLs.

Many websites rely on other traffic generation methods such as traffic from social media, email, referrals, and direct traffic sources over search engines. For sites like these, SEO errors aren’t as important because search engines aren’t their #1 traffic source. For a smaller website, a couple of errors can have a much bigger negative effect than those same errors on a larger website.

Google Webmaster SEO Starter Guide - Originally written for Google Employees to improve website performance with users and search engines. Related Terms: SERP - Search Engine Rank Position  |  PageRank (PR) - Named for Google Co-founder, Larry Page. The PR Scale of 0-10 rates a web page. In the past, rank was based on the number of high ranking links pointing to the website. Recently factors like relevance and quality have gained importance. This website's current PR rating: 
Brian is the founder of MeiggsMedia and has a love for digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. Brian has been quoted in several online publications, including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, MSN, AOL, Discover, GOBankingRates, Student Loan Hero and more. When not helping others reach their goals, Brian can be found at the gym, traveling, exploring Washington DC, or helping bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses succeed at MeiggsMedia.
Hi Anil, a fantastic post. I would like to know your opinion since in my case I do not have the budget to keep two tools at the same time. I currently use semrush since there are things that I like a lot but I have doubts about the speed of the backlink audit tool. Recently I have encountered a problem in which semrush has not detected backlinks that were potentially dangerous to my website and this has hurt me. This part worries me a little because I’ve already seen the ears of the wolf. On the price-quality ratio of the two tools, would you continue with semrush or would you go to ahrefs? Thank you very much!
Hi Andres, sad to know that you’ve not discovered few toxic links using SEMrush. How did you find those toxic links? Have you used any other tool to find them? Also you might want to get in touch with the SEMrush support team and let them know about this issue, so they’ll look into it. But if you still are not comfortable with it, you might want to give a try to Ahrefs for a month or two to really find out the best one among them. I’d suggest you give a try to Ahrefs for some time to see if it’s the right fit for you.
I've used a couple of SEO software programs over the last 4 years. Moz, Serpstat, SEM Rush and now Ahrefs. Since the bulk of my focus is actually building links, I think Ahrefs has the most reliable results. For example, if you checked the backlink profile of 10-20 websites on Ahrefs and compared to another SEO software provider, I bet that you would average at least 10-15% more results with Ahrefs. That can be a lot more opportunities! Their keyword phrase tracker seems to work pretty quickly and seems to be accurate.
Brian, I have a burning question regarding keyword placement and frequency. You wrote: “Use the key in the first 100 words … “. What else? I use Yoast and a WDF*IDF semantic analysis tool to check the content of the top10 rankings. Pretty often I have the feeling I overdo it, although Yoast and WDF/IDF told me I use the focus keyword not often enough.
Building Relationships: Follow up on people linking to your sites to build even more beneficial relationships. You can also use this tool to find trustworthy influencers that are related to your business and who have established page authority. They can help you reach your target audience and earn you a valuable link in the process. Use this tool to see who they’re linking to or who’s linking to them. Reach out and discuss possible ways of getting a link or two from them based on the information our tool presents.
Many websites rely on other traffic generation methods such as traffic from social media, email, referrals, and direct traffic sources over search engines. For sites like these, SEO errors aren’t as important because search engines aren’t their #1 traffic source. For a smaller website, a couple of errors can have a much bigger negative effect than those same errors on a larger website.
The biggest downside I think is the inaccurate keyword volume sometimes. Previously, I was only using Google's keyword planner and it gave us more precise volumes. I guess it's easier for Google since it's their own tool and they can give better numbers. This confuses us because in Ahrefs we may see potential in various keywords but in the long run, after our articles are published – the traffic is not what we expect sometimes. Though, it's accurate enough for the most part.
You can schedule a weekly technical SEO audit and our Site Audit tool will automatically start crawling your website. You’ll get a notification when it is finished in your inbox. By running website SEO audits on a regular basis, you are tracking the progress of your website’s health. With the Compare Crawls and History reports, and mini-trends on the Overview, Issues, and Page reports, you can analyze the results of different SEO audits and track changes in the number of issues over time. 
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