Updated: November 14, 2021.
A full guide on how to audit a site with Sitebulb in 30+ simple steps with clear instructions, screenshots, and a lot of pro SEO insights.
If you have been following me for a while (I hope you have), you know that I’ve recently added Sitebulb to my daily SEO toolkit.
Why? The answer is simple. Sitebulb rocks!
Therefore, today I want to show you step by step how to audit your site with the help of Sitebulb.
And don’t worry. You don’t need to buy the tool to follow my audit guide because Sitebulb provides 60-day free access to the visitors of SEOSLY. How cool is that?
⚡ If you want to learn more about the technical SEO auditing process, make sure to also check my technical SEO audit process and my guide on how to perform an SEO audit using Google Search Console and how to audit a site with JetOctopus.
What Sitebulb is & why I use it
In case you don’t know Sitebulb (yet)…
Sitebulb is a comprehensive website auditing and crawling tool that does much more than a regular site crawler. In addition to extracting and analyzing all the crawling data important from the SEO standpoint, Sitebulb also helps you interpret these data, prioritize the issues, and decide what to do next.
Not only does it provide clear explanations and offers possible fixes to each issue, but Sitebulb also gives you access to more in-depth articles and guides about each SEO element so that you can fully understand each SEO issue detected and take the RIGHT action.
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How to audit a site with Sitebulb step by step
Below are all the steps you need to take to perform an SEO audit with Sitebulb.
☝️ Sitebulb is indeed an awesome SEO auditing tool but you need to still apply your common SEO sense while analyzing the crawl results. Site crawling tools are there to show you possible issues and often highlight the elements that are not real issues. It is your job as an SEO to decide if a given “issue” is really an issue.
Sitebulb, fortunately, makes it easier to accurately assess potential issues by providing explanations and further reading next to every SEO hint it gives.
I don’t think you need to know anything more. Let’s start the audit!
Download & install Sitebulb (for free)
1: Download & install Sitebulb
Set it all up (in a few seconds)
2: Add a new project
Open Sitebulb and click on New Project to add a new project for the site you are going to audit.
Give your project a name, enter the domain URL, and hit Save and Continue.
Sitebulb will quickly analyze the configuration of your site before letting you set up the audit.
3: Configure audit settings
Next, choose the additional types of data to analyze as part of the audit. Make sure to choose Page Speed, Mobile Friendly and Front-end to analyze the speed of the website.
If your site uses AMP, check AMP as well. If your site is multilingual, check International to analyze hreflang tags.
Check Google Analytics and Google Search Console if you want to overlay the audit results with data from these tools.
☝️ You need to connect Sitebulb to your GA and GSC accounts to be able to analyze the data from these tools.
Under Extraction make sure to check Structured Data to analyze and validate structured data on your site (I recommend you do that).
Under Select URL sources to Audit, make sure to check both Crawl Website and XML Sitemaps (to audit your XML sitemap as well).
Go to Advanced Settings if you want to adjust advanced settings, such as accessibility, HTTP response timeout, render timeout, URLs to ignore, crawl depth, saving rendered screenshots, saving HTML, and more.
4: Run the crawl
Click Start Now, make yourself a cup of coffee, and come back to analyze the results.
Depending on how big the site is and how many resources it has, the crawl can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours.
Review the crawl results
5: Check the Audit Overview
Once the audit is done, take a look at the audit overview to get a general feel of the health and condition of the site.
Sitebulb will assess and score the site in different areas of SEO (SEO Score), site security (Security Score), and site speed (Page Speed Score). The Audit Score is the summary of how the site does in all of these areas.
6: Check All Hints
Go through the hints one by one, paying special attention to the critical ones. You can sort the hints by importance, by report, by type, or even search for a hint using the search bar.
All Hints is the section where you can view all the issues (of all categories, types, and priorities) in one place.
Dig deep into specific areas of SEO (the fun part)
Sitebulb provides a detailed analysis of every SEO area that you – as an auditor – should always analyze in your SEO audits. These areas include:
- internal links and internal linking structure,
- on-page SEO elements,
- duplicate content,
- XML sitemaps,
- site rendering,
- page resources (images, CSS, JS)
- page speed
- structured data,
- external links,
- and more.
Moreover, Sitebulb provides specific hints for each of the areas analyzed and groups them according to the priority (critical, high, medium, low, insight, no issue) and type (issue, potential issue, opportunity).
Here I’m going to show you how Sitebulb analyzes and reports on each of these specific areas of SEO, and how you – an SEO – can interpret and use what Sitebulb is telling you.
7: SEO Score
SEO Score is the overall assessment of the site in terms of the most important areas of SEO.
Click SEO in the left panel to see the Overview of the SEO Score and the SEO issues detected on the site. My site has few issues and passes the majority of checks, so it has a score of 92.
To see the SEO hints for a site, go to Hints or click on the hint of a specific priority (critical, high, medium, low, insights, no issue) or type (all hints, issues, potential issues, opportunities).
You will see similar assessment scores together with hints (divided into different categories) in each SEO element analyzed.
Let’s see the top SEO hints for my site (click Hints).
The Overview of the SEO section (scroll down a bit) will also show you the information on the Domain Resolution Test Results (basically if your site is properly redirected from other URL versions).
There are also the Not Found (404) Test Results (that check if your site handles 404 pages correctly).
8: Internal URLs
Internal URL Score is the assessment of the internal linking structure of the site.
Go to SEO > Internal to see the Overview of the Internal URL Score and internal linking issues on the site. Click on any element you are interested in to see more details.
- Click on Hints to view all hints for this section.
- Click on URLs to see all internal URLs and their metrics (like HTTP status code, crawl depth, and so on).
Scroll down to see more insights on internal links.
Let’s click on the 301 in the HTTP Status Codes section to see the list of URLs that are permanently redirected (301).
This is the list of the 301-redirected URLs on my site.
Let’s now analyze one of the hints for my site regarding internal URLs (Broken Internal URLs).
☝️ As you can see each hint has a decent description with a further reading link, the option to export the URLs affected, and the possibility to view the URLs affected directly in Sitebulb.
9: External URLs
Let’s now analyze the external links on the site.
Go to External in the left panel and you will see the summary of the external links on the site.
- Under URLs you can see all the external links.
- Under Top External Domains you can see the domains to which you most often link to.
The Broken section will show you broken external links. Click View to see the details (if you have external broken links).
???? Indexability Score is the overview of the indexability of the site audited. This is a very important section of technical SEO.
Go to SEO > Indexability to see if the site has any indexability issues.
- Tab Overview will show you the basic data regarding the indexability of the site.
- Tab Hints contains a list of all the hints regarding indexability.
- Tab URLs lists all the URLs together with information about their indexability.
- Robots.txt lets you see the contents of the robots.txt file.
Let’s click on Missing under Canonicals to see the list of URLs without a canonical link element.
Now let’s click on Robots.txt to preview the robots.txt file on my site.
⚡ If there are any issues with your robots.txt and you use WordPress, you might want to check my guide on how to access robots.txt in WordPress.
Go to SEO > Redirects to analyze the redirects on the site.
- The Overview tab shows the summary and the most important data on the redirects on the site. The chart and other elements are interactive so you can click on them to see more details.
- The Hints tab lists specific hints and suggested actions.
- The URLs tab lists all the URLs with a redirect.
Let’s see what’s under Hints for my site.
12: On-Page SEO
Go to SEO > On Page to analyze the on-page SEO elements, such as word count, readability, sentiment, title elements, meta description elements, and header 1 tags.
- The Content tab displays the summary of the analysis of on-page SEO elements. Click on any element to see details (view the URLs affected).
- The Hints tab contains the on-page SEO hints.
- The URLs tab lets you analyze all the URLs and the on-page SEO elements on them.
To check the analysis of basic on-page SEO elements, scroll down when in the Content tab. Click on any element to see the list of the URLs affected.
Let’s see the URLs with the title element that is too short.
This is a great example of a situation where it’s great to use your common SEO sense. From my own SEO experience, I know that it is not a problem that these info pages have title tags that are below 40 characters. Sitebulb, fortunately, marks this as low-priority.
Let’s see what other hints Sitebulb has for my site (tab Hints).
⚡ Speaking of on-page SEO, make sure to check my on-page SEO checklist.
13: Duplicate Content
Go to SEO > Duplicate content to check if the site has duplicate content issues.
- The Overview tab will show you the overview of duplicate content issues (identical pages, similar pages, duplicate page titles, and duplicate H1 tags).
- The Hints tab contains specific hints for your site. My site, fortunately, has no duplicate content issues so all the hints are marked as No Issue.
14: XML Sitemaps
Go to SEO > XML Sitemaps to audit the sitemaps of the site.
- The Overview tab lets you see the results of the analysis of the XML sitemaps on the site. Sitebulb will analyze the XML sitemaps (and the sitemap index), the URLs submitted in sitemaps, non-indexable URLs in sitemaps, and URLs that are not indicated in sitemaps. Click on any element to see details.
- Scroll down to see the URLs of sitemaps and the sitemaps submitted in GSC (you can see that if you connect Sitebulb to GSC).
- In tab Hints you can see the issues with your sitemaps. Let’s see what issues my site has.
???? Another thing you need to pay attention to when reading hints is how many URLs they affect. The above two XML sitemap issues look quite serious unless you look at the number of URLs they concern.
⚡ If the XML sitemap of the site you are auditing is not in the standard location and you have trouble finding it, check my guide on how to find the sitemap of a website.
15: Response vs Render
Go to SEO > Response vs Render to check if there are any meaningful differences between the rendered and source HTML of the site.
Sitebulb will check for the differences in meta robots, canonical links, titles, meta descriptions, internal links, and external links.
Ideally, you want to see no differences like in the case of my site.
16: Page Resources
- Tab Overview shows you the types of resources on a page. Click on any element to see the details.
- Tab URLs lists the URLs of all the resources of the site.
Let’s analyze the images on the site. To do that, click on View next to the Images section. You will see the list of all the images together with their parameters (size, type, HTTTP status code, cache-control, ALT text, and more).
17: Page Speed
Go to Page Speed to check the page speed analysis results.
- The Overview section presents the Page Speed Score (assigned by Sitebulb) and the main page speed elements analyzed, such as Time to First Byte and Download Time.
- The Hints tab lists all the page speed issues and suggested improvements.
- In URLs you can view all the URLs together with their speed metrics and sort/filter them in any way you like.
18: Mobile Friendly
Go to Mobile Friendly to check if there are any issues with the mobile version of the site and/or if it is mobile-friendly.
Sitebulb checks if the site has the two most popular issues with mobile friendliness:
- Total page size too big for 3G connections
- Tap targets are too small and close
In tab URLs, you can view all the URLs of the site together with their mobile-friendly metrics, such as Missing Viewport, Multiple Viewports, Viewport Error, Responsiveness, and more.
19: Structured Data
Go to Structured Data to check if structured data is used on the site and if it’s valid.
- The Overview tab shows you the summary of the URLs with/without Schema, with/without Schema for rich results (Search Features), and with/without valid Schema. The charts are interactive, so you can click on any element to see the details.
- The tab Search Features shows only the structured data types that can be displayed as rich results. Errors are marked in red and warnings in orange. To see the details, simply click on the button.
Let’s click on See Errors to see the details.
- Go to tab Schema to view all Schema entities on the site. Entities with errors will be shown on top.
- Tabs Entity Explorer and Property Explorer let you analyze the Schema entities and properties on the site. These reports are priceless if you want to dig deeper into the Schema side of things.
Go to Security to see the results of the site security tests.
Sitebulb will not only check if a site has an SSL certificate but will also analyze it in terms of basic security practices, such as vulnerable opener links, unsecured password fields, HTTPS forms with HTTP actions, and more.
- Go to URLs to see the security details for each URLs.
Analyze all URLs (from an SEO standpoint)
21: URL Explorer
Navigate to the top horizontal menu element URL Explorer to analyze all the URLs of the site and check their SEO optimization or SEO issues.
The URL Explorer presents the data on all the SEO elements analyzed as part of the crawl (internal links, external links, page resources, indexability, meta data, and so on) in the form of a table you can modify, filter, or sort in any way you like.
Audit internal and external linking (like a pro)
22: Link Explorer & Links
Navigate to the top horizontal menu element Link Explorer to view the data on internal and external links on the site in the form of a clear table that you can modify, filter, or sort in any way you like. This really makes internal link analysis way easier!
Go to SEO > Links to see the overview of the link metrics on the site and analyze the hints.
The Overview tab shows the Links Score assigned by Sitebulb and the most important link data, such as the number of internal followed links, internal/external link status, internal/external link location, internal anchor text word counts, and more.
In tab Hints you can view all the hints that Sitebulb has prepared for your site. Let’s see what’s there for me.
23: Site Visualizations
Navigate to the top horizontal menu element Site Visualizations to generate different site visualizations, such as Crawl Map, Crawl Tree, Crawl Radial, and more. This is really an awesome feature that will help you understand the structure of the site and view it from the perspective of a crawler.
Let’s see the crawl map for my site.
And here is the crawl tree which is probably the best site structure visualization you can get.
And there are many more to check!
Use built-in SEO tools (to quickly analyze a single page)
In the topmost horizontal menu (under Tools) you can access five nice tools for analyzing one specific URL.
24: Single Page Analysis
Just enter the URL of the page to analyze and Sitebulb will render the page and perform a full technical SEO analysis (including measuring the PSI scores).
25: Fetch and Render
Enter the URL and test how search engine bots see the page.
Sitebulb will render the page in real-time, and then display the source code and screenshots, and will indicate any page resources that are blocked from crawling. You can change the user-agent to see how different bots see the page.
26: PageSpeed Insights
Just enter the URLs of the page and Sitebulb will run the Google PageSpeed Insights test for you right in the app.
27: Mobile-Friendly Test
You can also run a Mobile-Friendly Test right from the Sitebulb interface. Just enter the URL and hit Check.
28: Structured Data Checker
You can also do the Structured Data Test right in the Sitebulb app.
29: XML Sitemap Generator
In the top horizontal menu, you will find the XML Sitemap Generator tool that will let you generate the XML sitemap of the site audited.
Export data & generate nicely-looking PDF reports
30: Bulk Exports
Fortunately, Sitebulb lets you export practically every type of data or report.
- In the top horizontal menu, the item Bulk Exports lets you export all the data that Sitebulb extracted (even more than is visible in the reports in the app).
- Each SEO report also allows you export data into either Excel or PDF.
- And Sitebulb also lets you export to Google Sheets.
31: PDF Report
The PDF Report also available in the top horizontal menu lets you generate a nice-looking PDF report on different types of SEO data (you choose which ones to include in the report).
Learn SEO (while auditing)
☝️ Not only does Sitebulb provide the list of issues on your site but also gives you clear explanations about each issue, further reading links, and suggested ways to fix a specific issue.
Every SEO element analyzed by Sitebulb provides these explanations. Even though I am an experienced technical SEO, I learn new things about SEO every time I do an SEO audit with Sitebulb.
Let’s analyze one example hint for my site regarding broken internal URLs.
The explanation Sitebulb gives here is clear and I can navigate directly to the affected URLs. However, if I don’t understand this hint fully, I can go to the further reading link which points to the entire article explaining what broken internal URLs are, why this issue is important, and how to fix it.
I don’t need to google anything! It’s all here. Amazing!
???? Sitebulb lets you – a site auditor – get both the practical and theoretical knowledge about SEO.
What I REALLY like about Sitebulb
I’ve been using Sitebulb for some time already and have performed quite a few technical SEO audits with its help. There are a few things I especially like about it:
- Sitebulb automatically saves your crawl data You don’t need to manually save or export the crawl data to be able to get back to it later. All you need to do to get back to any crawl is to simply open Sitebulb, navigate to the project you are interested in, and click Latest Audit.
- Sitebulb has 18 different default user agents and you can even define a custom user agent.
- Sitebulb lets you analyze the speed of all the web pages without the Google PageSpeed Insights API.
- Sitebulb does a great job dividing issues into different categories. I really love how Sitebulb divides issues into different priorities (critical, high, medium, low, insights) and different types (issues, potential issues, opportunities). Sitebulb is very accurate when it comes to assigning priority to specific issues. It does not unnecessarily alert me that, for example, my site contains a critical error because the title tag of the contact page is too short.
- Sitebulb has both dark and light modes. With just one click you can turn the lights off and on.