Last week our team attended a local (Philadelphia) SEO meetup where there was a presentation from local wiz Sean Malseed of Circlerank. The presentation was called “Build Your Own Damn (SEO) Tools With Google Apps.” He showed us how to use Google Sheets for scraping and pulling API data to build your own custom tools. He also shared his own site that has some really incredible tools ready for free use: http://www.ranktank.org.

Rank Tank

Google Drive (notably Google Spreadsheets) are the free competitor to Microsoft Office. Cloud based. Web-based. But with the ability for webpage scraping with Xpath (querey language) and the ImportXML commands.

We use this ability for our client reports already, but Sean definitely opened our eyes to more of the advanced abilities of Google’s spreadsheets. After the presentation, I shared a few ideas of tools I’d love to see that (now) appeared possible with Google Apps. Sean seemed to be fond of the ideas; so much so, he already created the first one – Simple SEO Site Audit Tool

What Can The “Simple SEO Site Audit Tool” Do?

Sure, there’s plenty of plugins and pay tools that can give you a quick technical and tag audit of a given URL. However not many (with the exception of the desktop apps URLprofiler and Screaming Frog) can give you a quick audit in bulk, let alone right in your browser.  It turns out with Xpath, Google can.

What I really wanted to see was a tool that could audit a website and call out the schema that was implemented per URL.  I wanted to be able to find the URLs that had articles, and see if they were properly marked up. I wanted to be able to find URLs that had videos, and see if they were properly marked up.  I think you get the idea…

Now, my dream tool would be able to look at the page and say, “yup – this is an article. I’m certain. And it does not have the appropriate schema.” The problem is a scraper can’t be certain what the assets truly are.  There’s no 100% universal footprint to scan for.  So, we decided to list out the title, description, and headers of each page to hopefully help the end-user recognize the kind of page it is.  Many times the title of a page can easily suggest whether its a video, a blog post, a product, etc.

And with that, the Simple SEO Site Audit Tool was born.

Since we’re dealing with Google Drive here, you need to make a copy of the spreadsheet.  Then paste in a list of URLs, or paste in your XML sitemap. Within seconds you’ll get a great overview of your site, like this snippet example (column J is my favorite!):

Click for larger image:

RankTank - screenshot

Pretty outstanding. Now you can target URLs that need updating in terms of schema, tags, and their overall messaging. With just the quick review of the results above I can see I’ve been lazy on my blog posts’ meta descriptions, a touch heavy on my H1 tags (and even heavier on my H2s), and that my judicious use of schema seems accurate.

This is something you can use for schema audits, quick audits to compare against a competitor, or as data to review on a sales call.

Summary

A huge thanks to Sean for the brains and speed. He and I will be putting together a few more tools, so watch this spot.  And make sure you check out http://www.ranktank.org for more of Sean’s work, or go to Sean’s landing page for the tool.

Bill Sebald
Bill Sebald
Follow me on Twitter - @billsebald

I've been doing SEO since 1996. Blogger, speaker, and teacher at Philadelphia University. I started Greenlane in 2005 to help clients leverage search marketing to hit business goals. I love this stuff.

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  • Koen

    A month ago I’ve created an awesome SEO tool (to analyze my pages/articles) in Google Spreadsheets. I’ve used the importxml function a lot. After adding lots of data it seemed like Google couldn’t handle it anymore… I got this error at random: Error: Loading Data… Did you run into similar problems with the importxml function?

    It was too unstable to work with. I’ve changed to this tool which works (in combination with Excel) like a charm: http://nielsbosma.se/projects/seotools/

    • Sean Malseed

      Hey Koen, thanks for trying out the tool! It can definitely get a little unwieldy if you have tons of calls, but the new version of Sheets is really good. I’ve done 2000+ importXML calls at once and it’s worked pretty well.

  • Dario Zadro

    Hi Bill –

    Great set of SEO Tools! Thanks for putting this together and really nice to see a quick view of Schema. We’ve also put together small SEO audit tool that will provide other metrics such as PA/DA and the top 10 ranking keywords. I hope you feel this will benefit your readers…

    Here is the link:

    https://zadroweb.com/seo-auditor/

    Thanks again,

    Dario

  • Erick Racedo

    Awesome tool! Thanks! I’ll definitely be using it 🙂

  • Patrick Coombe

    You are the man, that is all. Tool looks righteous my brother.

  • Oscar

    Hmm. I ran the audit and after that deleted the sheet but now I noticed that I still keep getting traffic to my site from GoogleDocs (1-2 requests per second). How do I “terminate” the script? Or is something else going on?

    • Sean Malseed

      Hey Oscar, thanks for trying it out! Does the doc still exist in your Google Drive, or is it completely gone? Did the requests stop?

  • Stephen

    Alternatively I would use SEOTools for Excel by Niels Bosma instead of any application in Google Docs.

  • Monti

    For me Netpeak Spider is most powerfull and easy http://netpeak.us/soft/netpeak-spider/ for website audits.

  • Karthik

    I get a DIV/0 error, when I punch in my sitelink URL. Any ideas what’s wrong?

    • Sean Malseed

      Hey Karthik, could you share your sheet with me, including the DIV/0 error? sean@circlerank.com

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