How to Use SEMrush to Perform a SEO Website Audit For Beginners

Joran Hofman
August 8, 2020
How to Use SEMrush to Perform a SEO Website Audit For Beginners


Websites go through many different changes throughout their life cycle. As a result of those changes certain technical on page and off page SEO factors can occur. It’s important to conduct periodic websites audits in order to make sure your website is in good operational standing. In this guide we will go over how to use the SEMrush site audit tool in order to check for potential SEO and website performance issues.

The SEMrush site audit tool will provide us with valuable information about the technical aspects of our website performance along with important SEO factors that may be missing or invalid. 

Once we have the full report we can see where we can make improvements and changes that can improve the performance of our website.

The site audit tool has 4 major components which include:

  • The Site Audit report
  • SEO content template
  • On Page SEO Checker
  • Log File Analyzer 

These components make it easy to run a website audit, create tasks to manage improvements and track our progress. Let’s dive right in and see everything.

SITE AUDIT 

The site audit tool from SEMrush allows you to perform a deep technical SEO audit on your website and find issues you can fix on your website that impact your rankings in search engines. It allows you to scan your website for over 130 technical SEO factors. 



Once you run your website audit you will receive a summary report which details your website health along with important errors, warnings, and notices. Below is an example of what the report looks like. 

  • Site Health Score - Your website health score is a score that is based on the total number of errors and warnings that have been found on your website and their related uniqueness. The higher the score the less issues that are currently found on your website.

  • Crawled Pages - The crawled pages are the total number of pages on your website that have been analyzed by the SEMrush audit tool.

  • Errors - The errors refer to the total number of detected issues that exist on the total pages crawled. These are considered severe errors which can have a direct impact on your search engine rankings.

  • Warnings - The warnings are medium to low level issues that have been detected on your crawled pages. They are not as severe as the errors but are still worth taking a look into.

  • Notices - Notices are small things that aren’t very serious, but can have an overall improvement on your website if they are fixed. This can include missing anchor text, pages with lack of internal links, missing outgoing links and missing header tags.

Why does this matter ?

Improving website errors, warnings and notices is a great way to put your website and it’s related pages in a position to rank high in search engines. 

The easier you make it for Google to crawl and appropriately index your content, the higher it will rank. This starts with making sure that each webpage contains all the technical SEO elements that are required for proper indexing. 

Thematic Reports 

Thematic reports help you take a look into the technical factors of your website's performance. This includes the crawlability, https stats, site performance metrics and internal linking structure

  • Crawlability - This is a score that is given to your website based on how accessible it is by search engines. It’s meant to represent the percentage of pages that Googlebot can crawl and index. The higher the percentage the better.

  • Site Performance - This is a score which tests the loading speed of your pages. Page loading speed is a crucial factor in ranking because it affects user experience. A high score indicates that most of your pages load in under 3 seconds.

  • Internal Linking - This is an important report that will show you what kind of internal linking issues your website has.


Internal links are important to the organization and structure of your website and can carry decent weight on your rankings. It’s important to make sure your internal links on your pages point to relevant pages.

  • HTTPS stats - This small report is meant to help you monitor the security of your website. Having a secure website is important for both you and your website visitors.


The site audit tool checks to make sure your SSL certificate is up to date and points to the correct domain and subdomains. 

SEO Content Template 

The SEO content template can help content creators to come up with content that is SEO-friendly by giving them a template of recommendations based on the selected keywords they are targeting. 

Just type in your target keywords, the country destination and select create SEO template.


Once the SEO content tool runs, it will come back with the top 10 search results which feature your target keywords.


This is a great way to analyze the top pieces of content for your keywords and see what they are doing in order to rank that high.

It can also help you brainstorm some content ideas of your own and how you can create better pieces of content than your competitors. 

Site Content Basic Recommendations


The site content basic recommendations section allows you to see the ideal page title, meta description length, use of H1 header tags and text use that is used by the top ranking content. 

This is great because it allows you to see the basic content structure that is used by the top ranking content for your keywords. 

Site Content Competitors Keywords 

The site content competitors keyword section allows you to see how other competitors are making use of the target keywords in their content. 

This is extremely valuable because you get a front row seat into how top ranking content is using their target keywords throughout their content.

Site Content Keyword Recommendations 

The keyword recommendations from the content template helps you to identify other related keywords that you can target for your content. You can also see which domains you can target in order to get some backlinks that are relevant for your target keywords. 

The tool also shows you the average length of content for the top ranking pieces for those keywords. This is extremely valuable because it can help you pinpoint your content structure even further. 

On Page SEO Checker

The On-Page SEO Checker will provide you with a list of things you can do in order to improve the ranking of individual pages on your website. 

The tool will give you on-page SEO improvement ideas, related keywords to include on your pages, content length and readability factors and even backlink opportunities.

Once you click on the total ideas section you will be presented with pages on your website to optimize and different optimization ideas for each page.


This can be an extremely effective way to increase your search engine ranking and gain more traffic. If you take the recommended optimization ideas suggested by the tool you can then monitor and see how your content’s ranking changes.

Inside the ideas section by the individual pages you will be presented with 7 factors of improvement in order to help you content rank higher. 

They include: 

  • Strategy
  • SERP Features
  • Content
  • Content Semantics
  • Backlinks
  • Technical issues improvements
  • User Experience

Improving all of these factors on your pages can drive significant improvement in your individual page rankings along with an improvement in their page authority score. 

Why Should You Use the On-Page SEO Checker?

The on-page seo checker provides a standardized way to check your website’s SEO and make it very easy to improve. It provides a structured list of actions you can take in order to help improve individual pages. 

The tool will tell you what can be done to optimize the SEO of your pages and also tell you why these ideas will benefit your website long term. 

Log File Analyzer 

The log file analyzer is an advanced tool option offered by SEMrush which can provide you more accurate data in regards to how search engines are interacting with the contents of your website.

The tool works by having you dump log files directly from your website inside the log file analyzer. The log file analyzer will help you understand what happens once search engines begin crawling your website. 

It provides valuable information in regards to how the content on your website is consumed by search engines. You can see things such as: 

  • Pages on your website that were not crawled by search engines
  • Errors found by search engines during the crawling process
  • How crawling resources are used by your website ( crawling statistics )
  • What pages are crawled most frequently

This is important information that can help you structure your website's content in a way that makes it easy for search engines to crawl and index. Long term this has an impact on your websites ability to rank high in search results.

Below is the 3-step process for using the log analyzer. You will need to have a paid subscription to SEMrush in order to use this tool. 


Step 1) Download Log Files from Your Website


Step 2) Upload the Log Files




Step 3) Get a Detailed Report

Conclusion

All of the mentioned tools for performing a full site audit can help you gain an edge into the overall performance of your website. Making periodic improvements to your website content and pages will help ensure your website is ranking high in search engines. 

By staying up to date on new SEO practices your website’s performance will be in top shape. As your website grows, it’s highly recommended you perform quarterly site audits in order to stay compliant and up to date. 

Websites that perform audits and changes to old content on their website in order to improve it are 3 times more likely to rank higher in search engines.