5 Competitive Advantages of Manual SEO Auditing over Automated Auditing

manual auditing tool

Not everything on a website can be audited through tools. There are elements which are exclusive to manual intervention.

Running an audit on a website is similar to running medical tests on a patient to diagnose the ailment and to recommend the likely prognosis. An SEO audit primarily is run on a website to check if it is SEO-friendly or not.

There are 2 ways to audit a website; a manual audit and an automated audit.


Automated Audit

Automated audits are done by online SEO tools available on the internet such as SEMRush, SEO Optimizer, HREFS and many more. The reports deployed by such tools have standard results of their own, for example, some tools might provide you with results exclusive to them, such as broken links, number of backlinks, website performance score and even give you an insight on the performance of subpages. While most of them generate reports on basic SEO parameters such as title meta description, heading tags, image alt attributes, social media existence, etc.

Manual Audit

Manual audits are highly characterised by recommendations which can only be identified by human intervention. An automated audit will give you the data, for example, number of backlinks created for the website, but it is not programmed to recommend you on either increasing the number of backlinks or improving their quality. Manual audits are run manually, that doesn’t mean online tools are not required in manual audits. In fact, certain technical SEO parameters such as desktop website speed is measured through speed test tools. This makes the manual audit less dependent on the reports on basic or exclusive SEO parameters, (whatever the case may be) generated by just one specific tool (Automated audit).

Here are 5 advantages of manual auditing over automated auditing:

1. Meeting The Industry Standards

A manual audit lets you evaluate the website in terms with what is trending in your industry. Website development has evolved over time and with changing technologies, trends also change such as integrating multimedia—HD pictures and video embedding, using dynamic slides etc. Only human intervention can tell if a website needs to undergo such changes or not based on the business and the industry.. On the flip side, Automated auditing, have predefined functionalities and rules to test every website, irrespective of the industry your business belongs to.

2. UI/UX Efficacy

No automated audit can tell the efficacy of the user interface and user experience. Running a manual audit tells if a website has a UI which can be optimized such as the number of CTAs on the home page, the position of the CTAs on a page, information on the footer. According to research, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. A bad user experience can directly impact on the sales/leads of your business. A manual audit also tells if the user experience would be hampered due to redundancies such as lengthy ‘contact us’ form, difficult website navigation, etc. The Look and Feel of a website also help in improving the website’s ranking in SERPs.

3. Website indexing

A search engine indexes all the web pages of a website to rank on SERPs, although not every page needs to be indexed. A manual audit helps in identifying which pages should be indexed and which should not. Pages with more important information such as service, product, privacy policy, disclaimer, blogs should be indexed as compared to pages with trivial information like login, forgot password, etc. While an automated audit tool generally checks the indexing status of the web pages but is not smart enough to index the pages which come later in the customer journey such as the ‘checkout’ page, ‘thank you’ page, ‘add to cart’ page. The automated audit also does not recommend to add ‘noindex’ tag on such pages, so that the web crawlers do not index them. Such suggestions are only possible through a manual audit .

4. Domain Duplicity

When a website can be accessed with multiple versions of URLs such as HTTP, HTTPS, WWW, this creates the problem of domain duplicity which is a major hurdle for keyword ranking. A manual audit helps you check whether your website is working on multiple versions. You can check the response code of all the 4 versions which are—https://www.example.com, http://www.example.com, https://example.com, and http://example.com. Only one correct version which is https://www.example.com should return the response code as “200OK” and all the other versions should return the status code“301 Moved Permanently” which redirects to the correct version.

5. Optimization Recommendations

Manual audit helps in identifying various technical prospects that need optimization such as XML sitemap, internal linking, mobile view, footer information, content, navigation etc. Only human intervention can give optimization recommendations for your website based on the manual in-depth analysis. On the other hand, an automated tool runs on algorithms designed just to spot errors in your website and cannot make recommendations to fix them.