Brian, I’m going through Step 3, which is referring to the one version of the website. I found a very good free tool (https://varvy.com/tools/redirects/) to recommend. It checks on the redirect and gives you a visual number of hops. More hops mean more delay. For example, if I use your manual method to check on https://uprenew.com, all looks good. However, if I use the tool and check, I realize there is an unnecessary 1 hop/delay, whereby I can fix it. Hope this helps. : )
Competitor Backlink Audit: Analyze the link profile of your competitors and look for opportunities that can help improve your own link building and search performance. Whenever you perform a competitor backlink check or audit, you must also check the inbound links that are pointing to top ranking pages so you wouldn’t miss out on important link opportunities.
Love how you just dive into the details for this Site Audit guide. Excellent stuff! Yours is much much easier to understand than other guides online and I feel like I could integrate this to how I site audit my websites and actually cut down the time I make my reports. I only need to do more research on how to remove “zombie pages”. If you could have a ste-by-step guide to it, that would be awesome! Thanks! 

SEOptimer is a free SEO Audit Tool that will perform a detailed SEO Analysis across 100 website data points, and provide clear and actionable recommendations for steps you can take to improve your online presence and ultimately rank better in Search Engine Results. SEOptimer is ideal for website owners, website designers and digital agencies who want to improve their own sites or theirs of their clients.
AHREFS is certainly a great tool for bloggers and internet marketers. You have explained every functionality in great detail. I liked the link intersection part. It provides ou with a great opportunity to get backlinks from sites which are usually linking to your competitors. Further, its adds to the fact that these types of backlinks would be easier to get as compared to the ones that we search manually for any website. Plus, these would be niche specific too!

Your article reaches me at just the perfect time. I’ve been working on getting back to blogging and have been at it for almost a month now. I’ve been fixing SEO related stuff on my blog and after reading this article (by the way is way too long for one sitting) I’m kind of confused. I’m looking at bloggers like Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, and so many other bloggers who use blogging or their blogs as a platform to educate their readers more than thinking about search rankings (but I’m sure they do).
Hi, Brian. Thank you for the great article. I have a question about the part about 4 website addresses. Ours currently is set to https://www., and we would like to change it to just an https:// as the main website. Will this hurt our current link profile, or will everything stay the same? This might be a foolish question, but we are a bit worried. Thank you.
Ahrefs boasts the best link database among any system out there. It does most everything -- link monitoring, alerts, calculated metrics, the richest clickstream blend out there, and much more. Its UI is cluttered in a good way and the company has quick and polite support. And Tim Soulo -- the public face of Ahrefs -- has done a ton of good for the SEO community.

I work with legal websites and it makes it easy to see what the top law firm websites are using for backlinks. I can then export all the backlinks into an Excel file and decide what are the best ones for me to try and obtain for our clients. The reports section is nice too, it gives us an easy to understand solution for our clients and answers their question of where their money is going to.
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.

Its interesting that you overlooked Ahrefs site audit tool. Unlike SEMRush which limits you to 20,000 URLs, Ahrefs can crawl very large websites. Their data explorer is by far the best in the business. SEMRush gives you a list of URLs with issues they want to identify. But no option to customize. Ahrefs, much easier to use and powerful Data Explorer are very powerful indeed. 

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.
The software is very easy to use and understand, it comes packed with lots of features that you may need two or more software suites to do. I find it worth far more than we pay for it. It has payed for itself in a very short time. It allows me to get very granular with my searches and also lets me export a lot of information so that I can make business decisions based on the whole picture.
I work with legal websites and it makes it easy to see what the top law firm websites are using for backlinks. I can then export all the backlinks into an Excel file and decide what are the best ones for me to try and obtain for our clients. The reports section is nice too, it gives us an easy to understand solution for our clients and answers their question of where their money is going to.
If you're okay with the pricing they offer – Ahrefs is the perfect solution for any content creators out there. You are able to step up your SEO game with data on number of backlinks as well as info on that particular site. But before you start using Ahrefs, try out what Google already offers first, maybe it will be enough for you in the beginning.
Ahrefs is an all-inclusive software tool that includes the necessary features you need to rank above your competitors. Site auditing and SEO analysis are some of the notable features. I like how it analyzes my website pages and highlights what parts of a page require improvements to help achieve the best ranking. Another item that I like is the inbuilt analysis and tracking of competitor websites to help determine their backlinks and use them to grow your own website. Ahrefs has an extremely large database of backlinks to make this possible.
FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.
FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.
The total number of backlinks and their quality pointing to your complete website result in the overall authority of your domain. The external links that all point to a specific page will help this page to rank in the search engine results (SERPs). The relevance and quality of an external link are very important factors when you like to measure the impact / value of an link. To find out more about quality links have a look at this article on: the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog – https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/06/quality-links-to-your-site.html
Terrific blog post. So much great stuff here. Just wondering about Step #16. When you promote your Skyscraper post across multiple social media channels (FB, LinkedIn, etc.) it looks like you are using the exact same introduction. Is that correct? For LinkedIn, do you create an ARTICLE or just a short newsfeed post with a URL link back to your website?

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?


Thank you for the great checklist. It is really useful and gave us a couple of new hints on optimization process. We’ve been using WebSite Auditor and found it exremely helpful in site’s structure and content analysis, bringing all the statistical information on the validation errors, social mentions, duplicate stuff, etc. under one roof. Still there is so many different SEO information you sometimes cannot understand what to start with. Fortunately you answered this question. Thank you again!
The software is very easy to use and understand, it comes packed with lots of features that you may need two or more software suites to do. I find it worth far more than we pay for it. It has payed for itself in a very short time. It allows me to get very granular with my searches and also lets me export a lot of information so that I can make business decisions based on the whole picture.
A few years back we decided to move our community forum from a different URL (myforum.com) to our main URL (mywebsite.com/forum), thinking all the community content could only help drive additional traffic to our website. We have 8930 site links currently, which probably 8800 are forum content or blog content. Should we move our forum back to a different URL?
What would be the purpose of/reason for moving back to a different url? If its been a few years, I’d leave it alone unless you watched everything decline since moving to the main url. Moving the forum to a new url now would probably be a bit chaotic, not only for your main url but for the forum itself…. Only reason I could imagine myself moving the forum in this scenario would be if all those links were really awful and unrelated to the url it currently sits on…
Another function included in the backlink profile section is the data for Referring Domains. Basically speaking, it shows you the number of websites that are linking to the domain you’ve inputted in the search bar. So, in this instance, I’m using seo-hacker.com as the target website/URL, and the number of referring domains is shown with the corresponding details you will ever need:
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