What Does an SEO Audit Cost and Why?

Shutterstock 2070558446 What Does an SEO Audit Cost and Why? Vizion Interactive Reading Time: 7 minutes

An SEO audit cost can vary greatly depending on several important factors.

A comprehensive audit of a large, complex website with many pages of content is understandably more expensive than a basic analysis of a simpler site. Additionally, other variables like the depth of analysis, hiring an agency versus a freelancer, follow-up services required, and more will impact the ultimate price.

Read on as we provide a detailed breakdown of the typical costs involved with an SEO audit while exploring the key aspects that determine spending.

Key Elements of an SEO Audit

An essential part of any SEO strategy is conducting regular audits of your website and content. A thorough SEO audit examines all aspects of your online presence that could impact your search engine rankings and organic traffic.

Some of the critical elements of an SEO audit that should be analyzed include:

  • URL structure: The URLs of your pages must be optimized for readability and include relevant keywords. Check that your URL structure is consistent, hierarchical, and avoids unnecessary characters or parameters.
  • Page titles: Page titles are a critical on-page element that appear in search results. Audit titles to ensure they are unique, optimized for target keywords and enticing to click.
  • Meta descriptions: Just like page titles, meta descriptions provide context in search results and influence click-through rates. Ensure descriptions are unique and optimized to highlight core value props and call users to action.
  • Content: All textual content must be optimized, grammatically correct, and encourage time on the page. Ensure the content is tailored for readers and includes internal links and headers. It should also have the proper format to enable scanning. Audit for duplicate, thin, or irrelevant content that hurts rankings.
  • Link profile: The number and quality of inbound links to your site signal authority to search engines. An audit identifies opportunities to build more relevant natural links from high-quality sources.
  • XML sitemaps: Check Google’s ability to access an XML sitemap listing all pages to crawl the site comprehensively for freshness and updates.
  • Mobile usability: Search engines prioritize mobile-friendly sites. Audit rendering and functionality across devices like mobile or tablet.
  • Information Architecture: The organization and labeling of content on your site. Check for logical grouping of pages into sections and the use of clear navigation.
  • Taxonomy: The naming conventions and categories used to classify content. Audit terms for consistency and understandability.
  • Indexability: Google’s ability to discover, access, and understand all of your site’s content. Ensure technical elements allow comprehensive crawling.
  • Page Speed: Page load time impacts user experience and rankings. Test mobile and desktop speeds to identify opportunities to optimize assets and code.

Factors That Determine the Cost of an SEO Audit

Here are some of the top elements that impact the price tag of an SEO audit.

1. Size and Complexity of the Website

The size and complexity of a website is often the most significant determinant of SEO audit costs. Larger websites with more pages and sections take much longer to review than smaller sites. 

Here are some example price ranges of what you can expect to pay for different websites:

  • Basic small site (10-50 pages): $5,000 
  • Mid-sized websites (50-100 pages): $5,000-$15,000
  • Complex enterprise-level sites (thousands of pages): $15,000-$50,000 

Note: Some technical factors like database integration, custom functionality, and specialized architectures also increase audit fees for large, sophisticated websites.

2. Amount of Website Analysis Required

Naturally, a more comprehensive and data-rich audit requires more significant time commitments from your SEO consultant. Here’s roughly how much time an SEO consultant is likely to spend on different types of audits: 

  • Basic Audits: A high-level 25-50-point check covering major on-page, technical, and some off-page elements. Approximately 5-10 hours of work.
  • Intermediate Audits: A more expansive 75-150-point examination of additional areas like content, site architecture and limited user testing. 10-25 hours of work.
  • Advanced Audits: Thorough 200+ point inspections with detailed competitive analysis, extensive technical malware/vulnerability scans, personalized keyword rankings/volume, and usability study findings. 25-75 hours of work.

A standard audit involves on-page optimization assessments, technical SEO evaluations, backlink profiles, and content reviews. 

Here are some key SEO audit components that your SEO consultant is also likely to include:

  • Technical SEO: Assess speed, site performance, user experience, accessibility, security and any crawler errors. Check page load speed, mobile friendliness, ADA compliance, HTTPS implementation, security issues, etc. At Vizion, we have a checklist of over 100 items that we check.
  • On-Page optimization: Audit meta titles, headers, internal linking structure, image alt text, and metadata usage. Ensure title tags, heading tags, body content, and links are optimized for target keywords.
  • Off-Page factors: Analyze backlink profile, citations and social shares. Check link quantity, quality and relevance from other websites and directories to your site’s SEO strength and authority.
  • Content strategy: Evaluate topic coverage, keyword strategy implementation and content structure. Ensure topics are relevant to the target audience and optimized content exists for high-volume, low-competition keywords.
  • Competitive research: Compare direct keyword rankings overlaps and opportunities to differentiate in search results. Find tactics competitors are using to rank for the same terms.
  • Keyword gap analysis: Identify the volume and difficulty of keywords currently not ranking for but have the opportunity to target. Find new opportunities.
  • Local SEO: Check local listings in Google Business Profiles, Bing Places, and Apple Business Connect, local citations, and local ranking performance. Optimize profiles for local search results based on geographic location and services or products offered.
  • Number of site sections and templates: The auditor will need to analyze each individual site section, template and content type. More sections/templates means more time is required for a thorough analysis.
  • Complexity of CMS platform: If the site utilizes multiple CMS platforms, this increases complexity. The auditor needs to learn each system to effectively evaluate technical and on-page factors. A complex, multi-platform site requires more hours than a single platform like WordPress.

Costs will increase as the SEO consultant goes deeper into the above audit components. An assessment’s “depth price tag” depends on advanced analytics, customized action planning and optimization estimator tools.

For example, sites that have experienced issues such as a penalty, algorithm update impact, or major technical change, additional audit work may be required. The consultant will need to dig deeper into the site’s historical setup and performance to understand what may have caused the current problem. 

This involves an in-depth technical analysis of the previous infrastructure, content structure, and linking profile. Keyword and content gaps from the past will be evaluated against the current landscape. 

Reporting will outline the likely factors that triggered the issue and provide a recovery plan, with implementation guidance to get performance back on track. This level of auditing requires use of specialized tools that can retrieve archived site and ranking data, adding to overall project costs.

3. SEO Agency or Freelancer

You can choose between agencies and individual freelancers when selecting an SEO audit provider. Here are some of the benefits of each:

SEO Agencies:

  • Teams of dedicated specialists provide multi-faceted expertise (content, technical, and analytical ).
  • Established reputations command higher commercial rates ($1000-$5000 typically).
  • More polished final reports and ongoing support are included.
  • Quality assurances like liability coverage and professional certifications.

SEO Freelancers:

  • Solo practitioners charge less per hour (often $50-$150/hour).
  • The budget audits range from $500-$1500.
  • They have streamlined processes are less expensive for straightforward sites.
  • There are no costly agency commercial overheads to factor in.
  • Their expertise may be more narrow depending on the specialization.

For small business sites, freelancers can audit effectively for fair prices. However, larger, complex enterprise-level websites often necessitate an agency’s cross-functional team of certified specialists. 

4. Tools and Software Used

Advanced auditing tools & technologies like crawler software, link analyzer, and keyword research tools significantly boost the depth and quality of insights. Popular options and estimated annual costs include:

Remember, an SEO audit may need more than one of the above tools because they have different strengths for different areas of the audit. 

While optional, utilizing these SEO tool sets often allows consultants to do more rigorous auditing. Of course, they recoup these costs by including them in their professional rates. 

What portion of your audit will these toolkit costs be? The answer depends on what your SEO hire uses in their processes. Everyone has a different preference for software and the processes they have developed in accordance to those tools. 

Just as a reference, an average SEO auditor’s toolkit costs $500-$2,000 in monthly subscriptions. 

How Long Does an SEO Audit Take?

The time required to complete a thorough SEO audit varies based on the size and complexity of the website being evaluated. However, most professionals can analyze basic to mid-sized sites within 3-4 weeks.

For simpler websites with fewer pages (under 500 pages), the audit process can take 5-10 business days. Consultants will map the site structure, analyze key pages for on-page SEO factors, evaluate backlink profiles, and perform keyword research and competition analysis. They can then generate a prioritized report of opportunities for optimization.

More extensive audits for large, complex websites may take 3-4 weeks to comprehensively analyze all major sections and internal link structure. For a comprehensive crawl, sites with thousands of pages with dynamically generated or database-driven content will naturally require more time. Usability testing and conversion rate optimization will also add additional time.

The various technical elements like information architecture, site speed, mobile friendliness,  and complex indexability issues can also be time-intensive to diagnose for huge sites. The usability of the navigation and information architecture also takes longer to evaluate on massive websites with millions of pages.

Are SEO Audits a Good Investment?

The return on investment from an SEO audit is high because correcting the issues found is  going to provide long term benefits to the site, long after the audit has been completed.

By identifying and fixing technical issues such as missing or duplicate content, internal linking problems, an audit provides a roadmap for improvements to propel a website up in terms of search results and help it endure future algorithm updates.

When Should You Do an SEO Audit? 

There are several common times when an SEO audit is highly recommended. 

An audit should be conducted after major website changes or updates that could impact SEO, such as platform migrations, website redesigns, or content overhauls. This allows an SEO agency to inspect the site thoroughly and identify any technical, on-page, or off-page SEO issues introduced during the process.

SEO audits are also important after algorithm updates by search engines. These periodic changes may cause unexpected drops in traffic, so an audit can pinpoint what specifically needs addressing. 

Similarly, audits provide value when SEO efforts plateau. An external agency brings a fresh set of eyes to analyze what further optimizations could boost performance. 

Switching agencies also necessitates an audit for the new team to fully understand your website structure and SEO strategy. Proper audits set the stage for seamless transitions and continued success. 

At Vizion Interactive, we have the expertise, experience, and enthusiasm to get results and keep clients happy! Learn more about how our SEO Audits, Local Listing Management, Website Redesign Consulting, and B2B digital marketing services can increase sales and boost your ROI. But don’t just take our word for it, check out what our clients have to say, along with our case studies.