How Much Does an SEO Audit Cost in 2023? Website Audit Pricing and Costs

Pankil Shah
by Pankil Shah
Updated On: October 24, 2023
How Much Does an SEO Audit Cost in 2023? Website Audit Pricing and Costs

As Google continues to update its algorithm, websites’ SEO rapidly becomes outdated. Technical, on-page, and off-page issues frequently arise, affecting the website’s rankings. To make sure your business doesn’t suffer, you can hire an SEO expert to perform an SEO audit so that you can identify and fix any possible issues standing in the way of your website’s success. SEO audits aren’t cheap, but the investment pays off in the long term. Wondering what you should expect to pay for an SEO audit in 2023? It depends upon various factors.

In this article, you will learn about SEO audits and their cost. Let’s get started!

Understanding SEO Audits

What is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit forms the backbone of debugging and enhancing your website’s performance. Picture it as the doctor’s visit to your website, facilitating an overarching SEO health diagnosis. An SEO audit dutifully spans across on-page, off-page, and technical elements influencing the SEO health of your site. If your target is to bolster online visibility and snowball organic traffic, the value of this procedure is unparalleled.

A screenshot of a completed SEO audit report
SEO audits identify various areas for improvement

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The Importance of an SEO Audit for Websites

In the realm of online business success, SEO audits take a pole position. In particular, these meticulous evaluations prove essential for startups, playing a pivotal role in carving efficient SEO tactics. An SEO audit transforms shortcomings like tardy load times, missing tags, or defective links that may dent your search engine visibility into opportunities for rectification. By partnering with a dedicated SEO firm for periodic audits, it’s possible to soar your site’s rankings and by extension, rake in more traffic. Through earnest SEO attention, your site could become more conspicuous to your intended audience, broadening your commercial reach.

An exhaustive SEO audit could serve as a catalyst for revolutionizing websites, offering substantial improvements in both organic visibility and revenue. A prime example of this can be witnessed in this compelling Technical SEO Case Study conducted by InFlow. Upon completing a thorough SEO audit and addressing several highlighted issues, the outcome was astounding. Both organic sessions and users experienced an uptick of 18.6% and 18.8% respectively, complemented by a stellar 118% surge in organic revenue. Clearly, an SEO audit is no less than a strategic instrument designed to finetune a website, conferring benefits that breach mere statistical limitations.

Types of SEO Audit

Technical SEO Audit

Just like a car mechanic assesses a vehicle’s condition by looking under the hood, a technical SEO audit takes a deep dive into the backend aspects of your website. This type of audit aims to evaluate the SEO foundation of your site, detect SEO errors, identify page speed, ensure HTTPS status codes are correct, and verify that your XML sitemap is properly submitted to Google.  The application of refined SEO optimization further enhances the site’s readability and indexability by search engines, thereby augmenting your ability to rank higher and perform better in search results.

Content Audit

When it comes to the various types of SEO audits, there’s one champ that leaves a lasting impact on organic traffic: the content audit. It assesses the quality, relevance, and performance of your site’s content. By delving into the details, such as keyword strategy, readability, and meta descriptions, a content audit essentially digs deep to answer two questions: is the content engaging enough, and does it have a robust SEO structure?

Taking a peek at a Semrush spreadsheet, we can observe how an audit examines every element for SEO optimization.

A screenshot of a spreadsheet from a Semrush SEO audit
An SEO audit examines every element on your web page

If your website has passed a content audit, it’s time to focus on creating quality content now so that your next content audit doesn’t detect any major issues. For this purpose, using tools like Outranking can ensure your content quality remains top-notch while complying with Google’s guidelines. Outranking provides suggestions on improving existing content as well as developing an SEO Content Strategy for higher rankings. 📈

Outranking is also an AI content writing, optimization, and analysis software that helps in first draft generation. As it is GPT-4 powered, it is great for generating factual content as opposed to creative story creation.

See how Outranking can create quality content in less than an hour here:

Link Audit

The intricacies of a link audit involve the comprehensive examination of all backlinks directed toward your website. A combination of backlink SEO audit tools ensures detailed tracking and analysis of both the quality and quantity of these links. The primary objective lies in identifying and eliminating ineffective or spammy backlinks that may be detrimental to your SEO efforts.

Prominent SEO data-driven checks performed on a regular basis help maintain your website’s backlinks. These checks emphasize ensuring the existence of high-quality, organic, and authoritative backlinks that strengthen your domain authority while boosting search engine rankings. Here’s a glimpse into a harmful links report from a link audit.

Google labels any link that appears to be a deliberate manipulative effort towards your search rankings as violating their Webmaster Guidelines. Simplistically, these exceptions are links that are not editorially placed and have been aggressively placed by an SEO with the main agenda being to enhance search rankings. Here are a few characteristics of what Google sees as toxic backlinks:

  • Links from sites created solely for linking out
  • Links from unrelated sites or content
  • Links from sites that aren’t indexed by Google
  • Links that have been forcefully inserted into blog comments.
  • Links hidden in website footers
  • Links prevalent on every page of a website
  • Links that use exact match anchor text (commercial money terms and target keywords as the link text)
  • Followed links that are clearly marked as sponsored

Social Audit

In the vast realm of SEO audits, a social audit holds a critical position. It intensively evaluates your online social existence and investigates how integrated your site is with social networks like Facebook and many others. The main objective? To boost your brand’s visibility, engage your audience more and establish your authority over the bustling social media landscape.

A screenshot of a social media audit
A social audit examines your site’s social media interactions

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One unique aspect of a social audit is its hand in observing your site’s social traffic flow, gauging its shareability, and keeping track of the intensity of interaction from individuals active on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Basically, it observes how enthusiastically your content is shared, commented on, and liked.

Recent statistics from a survey carried out by Statista reveal fascinating insights about social media interactions. For instance, 36 percent of U.S. social media users are actively following brands on Instagram, possibly due to its appeal to younger people and its dominant focus on visual content. Despite Facebook accounting for 23 percent of brand content interactions in the U.S. in 2020, Instagram surged ahead with an impressive share of 67 percent, crowning it as a significant player in brand advocacy in the country.

Highlighting the power of an effective social audit, a case study by Live Video Lab discloses the following results in social media engagement, after implementing strategies derived from a social media audit:

  • A 137% rise in Instagram followers, adding over 3k new followers.
  • A boost of 420% in average weekly Instagram impressions, reaching 6.6K impressions.
  • User-generated content submissions witnessed a massive increase of 860%, averaging 55 brand mentions each week.
  • Post engagements surged by 993%, from an average of 49 weekly engagements to 530.
  • The community grew by 51%, amassing 5.8k Facebook fans.

These results are a testament to the far-reaching impacts of a well-executed social audit.

Factors Influencing the Cost of an SEO Audit

Scope of Audit Work

When considering the factors that shape the cost of an SEO audit, the scope of the auditor’s task plays a significant role. Essentially, the wider the task’s brim, which often correlates with the amount of work entrusted to the SEO team, the higher the resultant cost. This vast scope can range from primary on-page evaluations to detailed link and technical audits.

The width of this scope directly links to the duration, exertion, and resources expended on the audit — justifying the consequent audit pricing. Consequently, this workload invariably impacts the size of the SEO budget that needs to be set aside. This principle is consistently evident in the audit data made publicly available by SEO agencies.

Website Size

The cost of a comprehensive SEO audit is significantly impacted by the size of your website. Specifically, the number of pages your website hosts forms a direct correlation with the audit price. Naturally, websites of larger businesses, especially those of enterprise scale, necessitate a more thorough inspection of their search engine optimization, thereby increasing the cost of the audit.

Moreover, the complexity of your website’s design and the application of technical SEO aspects – like meta tags and link structures – are also contributing elements to the overall pricing. Keep in mind, should you choose to conduct SEO in-house, this will factor in the effort and time dedicated to learning the nuances of SEO and staying up-to-date with any new developments and trending practices.

Business SizeEstimated Costs
Small $500 – $2500
Medium$3000 – $7000
Large $8000 – $30,000 and above

Site Structure

Two vital elements affecting the cost of an SEO audit are the size of your website and the quality of the SEO agency chosen. Understandably, the count of your website’s pages and potentially the number of different websites requiring audit will substantially influence the audit cost. Analyzing each page, with its unique set of metrics, contributes to the total time and hence the cost of the SEO services. Furthermore, renowned SEO agencies, due to their expertise, may charge higher fees—however, this isn’t consistently true.

For instance, seasoned professionals command a higher price for an SEO audit, which could easily be north of $10,000. Meanwhile, a smaller agency, not older than two years, might even offer a free audit.

The size and complexity of the SEO project, technical hurdles, and a requirement for content creation are other aspects impacting the pricing. Complex projects demanding more time and resources would result in a higher cost for SEO services. The size of the website matters too. Larger websites with more pages, and complex structures require more work, in terms of coding, designing, and development, subsequently increasing the cost. Furthermore, these larger websites often demand a custom-made content management system (CMS), which again can escalate the expense.

Level of Competition in Your Niche

In the unforgiving battlefield of online visibility, the stakes are notably high where competition is fierce. The complexity of your industry often dictates the extent – and expense – of an SEO audit. Why so? SEO companies are tasked with the challenging duty of digging deep. They’ve got to uncover innovative strategies and efficiently crafty SEO tactics that push you ahead of the competition to grab those sought-after prime spots on search engine results pages (SERPs). However, this race to outdo rivals does take a toll on your resources. The intensity of the audit can substantially amplify the financial burden. Some savvy SEO companies might even allure new clients with the promise of a free “audit,” a clever-on-the-surface recruitment technique.

Size and Popularity of SEO Agency

Quite a few elements come into play when discussing the cost of an SEO audit, one of which is the scale and reputation of the SEO agency involved. Predictably, larger, more well-known agencies charge a premium. They justify their higher rates through their extensive knowledge base, notable clientele, and tried-and-tested methods. They are known for their advanced, detailed SEO metrics and comprehensive reports that foster transparency and effectiveness in their results.

On the contrary, smaller agencies might compete through lower pricing, but it’s essential to evaluate their skill level, reputation, and the range of their digital marketing tool integration capabilities.

Comparing SEO Audit Pricing Models

Hourly Rate

The hourly rate model for SEO auditing is formatted around the quantity of time necessitated for audit finalization. It provides a transparent pricing structure, enabling clients to track precisely where their investment is allocated. This model is particularly beneficial for smaller ventures.

The cost under this model can vary depending on factors like time duration and website size. A direct consequence of these factors could be an increased cost of several hundred dollars from the agency. On average, a freelancer may charge approximately $68 per hour, while an agency might require nearly $134 per hour. These costs can potentially escalate based on the SEO audit deadline. Such straightforwardness aids in harmonizing anticipated deliverables with the timeline, resulting in optimal utilization of resources.

A bar chart showing estimated hourly rates for SEO services by size and location
SEO auditors’ rates vary by location and agency size

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Economic pointers like hourly rates or monthly minimum SEO costs are handy, but they aren’t the prime priority. It’s vital to comprehend the price dynamics in the SEO industry and familiarize yourself with standard charges. The pricing modulations can also emerge based on whether you need local SEO, keyword exploration, an SEO strategy, technical SEO, an SEO audit, or a blend of two or more.

Fixed Price Packages

Average pricing varies globally; in the US and Europe, the expected cost rests around $2500, and in Latin America, it’s approximately $1500. However, these one-size-fits-all packages may not accommodate complex or unique business needs, in which case agencies offer custom-made SEO solutions discussed and defined according to individual business expectations.

A closer look into industry trends reveals that a staggering 73.3% of SEO agencies charge over $1001 per project in comparison to a significantly lower percentage belonging to consultants (64%) and freelancers (40.68%). Evaluating median project fees across the board, freelancers tend to charge between $101 and $250, SEO agencies range from $2,501 to $5,000, and consultants, on the higher end, mark prices $5,001 to $10,000.

Assuming SEO professionals charge the top rate in their respective pricing brackets (such as $1,500 from the $1,001 to $1,500 range) and averaging the monthly per-project rates for each category, we find:

  • Agencies: $9,507.84/month
  • Consultancies: $8,685.53/month
  • Freelancers: $2,348.63/month

These numbers, while average, provide a clear understanding of SEO audit costs across different service providers. Always remember, that the best solution for you is as unique as your project needs.

Retainer Model

The retainer model can be likened to a continuous monthly subscription program, administering constant SEO services and habitual audits. This design plays a fundamental role in your exhaustive SEO strategy, updating your website regularly to match the ever-changing SEO tactics. The popular SEO retainer fee hovers just above $3000, most suitable for websites that require a steady stream of refinement and adjustment in their SEO maneuvers.

An infographic listing monthly retainer rates for SEO freelancers, consultants, and agencies.
Monthly retainer rates vary widely

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When it comes to monthly retainers, over half of SEO agencies maintain a rate upwards of $1,001, leaving only 32.2% of freelancers in a similar bracket. However, consultants seem to cash the largest check, with 70.6% accumulating more than $1,001 each month. The prevalent monthly retainer range falls between $500 and $1000 for agencies, $2,501 – $5,000 for consultants, and $251 – $500 for freelancers.

Assuming every one of these SEO parties charges the top-end of their respective price bands for the sake of clarity (e.g., $1,500 for the range: $1,001–$1,500), we obtain the following average monthly retainers rates for each grouping:

  • Agencies average at: $3,209/month
  • Consultancies float around: $3,250/month
  • Freelancers make an average of $1,348.63/month

Value-Based Pricing Model

When it comes to the Value-Based pricing model for SEO audits, you’re essentially buying into the promise of performance. This model determines cost by the expected value an SEO audit can bring to your business – a handsome return on your investment. So, if an audit has the potential to boost your revenue by 20%, the audit’s price tag is tied directly to that potential.

However, this model isn’t all rainbows and sunshine; it requires an SEO agency with in-depth industry experience, a comprehensive understanding of SEO performance metrics, and a knack for identifying your SEO strengths and weaknesses.

The crème de la crème of SEO audits, if you ask Forbes, lies in its value-based pricing due to its focus on results. No more trading time for money! Instead, clients pay for tangible value; perhaps it’s based on the expertise of the assigned SEO account manager or prioritized content delivery. From an ideal standpoint, the client settles the bill only when specific results are achieved, like generating 20 marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) a month.

That said, there’s a slight dent in this rosy picture. Value pricing can pose a challenge in maintaining client trust. Picture this: A senior account manager quits mid-project, or the much-anticipated MQL goal is not achieved, the client’s trust can tumble faster than a house of cards in a gust of wind.

To navigate these choppy waters, some clients find it helpful to consult with their customers, garnering feedback through surveys to determine a fair price for specific features. However, whatever the model, remember that relationships built on trust and transparency lead to a When it comes to the Value-Based pricing model for SEO audits, you’re essentially buying into the promise of performance. This model determines cost by the expected value an SEO audit can bring to your business – a handsome return on your investment. So, if an audit has the potential to boost your revenue by 20%, the audit’s price tag is tied directly to that potential.

Hybrid Pricing Model

In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO audit pricing, the hybrid pricing model represents a blend of both fixed-rate aspects and value-based pricing. Typically, it involves an agency imposing a static fee for the initial SEO audit—a pillar of SEO tactics— before transitioning to a retainer model for sustained SEO operations. Regarded for its flexibility, this model suits a wide array of clients with differing requirements and financial plans. Despite its versatility, managing this SEO campaign model could pose some complexity.

The hybrid pricing model, a fusion of two or more pricing structures, is an emerging trend among online businesses. Keen to explore diverse billing strategies, these businesses aim to enhance conversions and elevate the lifetime value of their clients. Remember, a company’s pricing strategy is often inseparable from its overall business plan and should not be taken lightly. The power of a robust and well-executed pricing model should never be underappreciated.

This raises the question: Why might a hybrid pricing model be the ideal choice for your business? The model offers several benefits, namely increasing data collection, providing flexibility with pricing structures, better forecasting rates for revenue, and boosting conversions.

SEO Audit Services Included in Different Costs

What a Basic Free SEO Audit May Include

A fundamental free SEO audit usually entails a cursory examination of your website’s on-page SEO elements. In an era where organizations are gradually shifting their SEO operations in-house with specialized SEO platforms for cost-cutting and improved productivity, it’s important to note that these rudimentary do-it-yourself audits have their limitations.

Your typical quick-and-easy audit will help uncover simple issues such as absent meta descriptions or title tags, but it rarely provides a comprehensive review. This limitation stems from the fact that free audit tools usually examine a restricted range of web pages and often require a sign-up for limited free trials.

A screenshot of a basic, free SEO audit report
A free audit generally provides a very basic assessment of your on-page SEO

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Google Analytics and Google Search Console are popular tools that facilitate these preliminary audits. They are however flagged for presenting restricted insights, providing just a top-level view for users. Picture it as an up-close and personal glance rather than a bird’s eye view. Whether it’s in-house or via an agency, it becomes critical to note that a comprehensive audit is essential for optimized visibility and performance of your website.

Here’s a fun fact, good SEO professionals rarely perform website audits for free. They might glance through your site to form a general impression, but won’t delve too deep. Usually, after this, they propose a detailed audit for a cost. The trouble with free audits is that they’re often used as bait to secure clients. They pinpoint basic, common website issues, and play on client fears to promote their services. This isn’t to say that all free audits are a ruse. With growing demand, several free SEO tools have cropped up online, making them a common go-to resource, despite the potential long-term costs of using free SEO tools and audits.

Insights from a Comprehensive Paid SEO Audit

A comprehensive paid SEO audit does more than just scratch the surface; it delivers an in-depth and meticulous analysis of your website’s SEO performance. This analysis isn’t limited to technical SEO but transcends to include links, content, and social audits. From optimizing your website to carrying out keyword research, from dissecting your competitor’s strategies to analyzing backlinks, a comprehensive SEO audit provides you with a wealth of data-driven insights. Uniquely, this advanced approach includes a deep review of duplicate content and a comprehensive report on broken links, paving the way for a well-informed and successful SEO strategy. Unlike a basic SEO tool report, a comprehensive paid SEO audit equips you with a nuanced understanding of your website’s strategy and performance.

A screenshot of a comprehensive paid SEO audit report from Ahrefs
A complete SEO audit report will help you troubleshoot every aspect of your website’s performance

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A comprehensive paid SEO Audit Report provides clear, practical advice on improving website performance that’s easy to comprehend and implement, enabling users to troubleshoot all their website errors in line with SEO best practices, identify and track internal and external links on specific pages, optimize image sizes to improve page loading times, and observe the performance of specific pages (audit URLs) based on keywords. 

Evaluating the Cost Effectiveness of SEO Audits

Assessing the Benefits of an SEO Audit for Your Website

Down to brass tacks, the perks of an SEO audit undoubtedly outweigh the costs. The process sharpens your website’s visibility, ramps up user experience, and shines a floodlight on hitherto hidden issues. A balanced assessment of your site’s strengths and soft spots is fundamental for aligning your SEO strategy. The gratifying long-term return on investment through higher conversions and augmented organic traffic makes the SEO audit cost a shrewd enterprise. So, when pinning down SEO audit pricing, be sure to consider the comprehensive benefits to your digital footprint and business expansion. An illuminating case study demonstrates how an SEO audit can feature SEO strengths, mitigate weaknesses, and enhance overall SEO performance for a website.

The statistics are a handbook for any skeptic. A stunning 85% of retailers vouch that SEO along with paid searches is their go-to approach for customer acquisition. Organic searches rank high on marketers’ preferred list, with 49% touting it as offering the highest ROI. Moreover, organic traffic drives a significant 40% of revenue.

Organic traffic significantly dictates your business’s visibility on search engines, which in turn feeds your website’s performance. It’s prudent to gauge relevant keyword ranking and produce a backlink report while tracking analytics KPIs like bounce rates, time spent on a page, and overall user experience in your SEO analytics.

Distinguishing itself from automated SEO audits swarming over the web, this SEO audit is meticulously executed by Senior SEO Consultants. Their expertise is brought to bear upon finding SEO flaws and discovering opportunities unique to particular projects or niches. The result? A well-documented 20-30 page PDF report listing precious recommendations and notable SEO findings.

How to Assess SEO Auditors

Navigating the field of SEO audits demands a sharp eye for detail and scrupulous evaluation. Beware of the red flags: tantalizingly low prices may signal a potential plethora of SEO errors or simply a deficit in necessary experience. Look through their sample audits rigorously and ensure the clarity of their process. Each should be a testament to their deep-rooted understanding of SEO, showcasing a wide repertoire of analytical tools and streamlined methodologies. Remember, any SEO firm making lofty promises of guaranteed returns is likely over-shooting. Lastly and most importantly, an ideal SEO agency would be more than willing to jump on a discovery call to comprehend your particular needs. This could pave the way to an all-inclusive, customized service, regardless of your decision to insource your SEO endeavors or sustain an ongoing relationship with external agencies.

A list of red flags to watch out for
When you’re choosing an SEO auditor, pay attention to common red flags!

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The role of search agencies extends beyond just the typical tasks, often acting as a ‘second set of eyes’ for websites. The rationale behind this is reminiscent of the corporate practice of combining in-house legal teams with a law firm or in-house accountants with an external auditor. Spotting SEO gaps and oversights can make a considerable difference to revenue and profitability. Hence, undermining the importance of this ‘second set of eyes’ just to save a few bucks by keeping everything in-house can prove to be an unwise decision.

Concluding Thoughts on SEO Audit Costs

Balancing Cost and Value in SEO Audits

In the realm of SEO audits, striking the right equilibrium between cost and achieved value is paramount. It’s essential that you carefully consider your SEO budget, the size and complexity of your business site, and, above all, the tangible benefits that the audit will deliver. Lower-cost audits might seem attractive, but, unfortunately, they often turn out to fall short. An exceptional audit is a worthwhile investment because it can truly be a game-changer, delivering high ROI by offering valuable insights that can fine-tune your SEO tactics and catalyze growth.

Future Projections for SEO Audit Costs in 2023

SEO audits will become increasingly sophisticated in 2023, as the digital landscape continues to evolve. New and improved SEO tools may cost slightly more, but will offer unparalleled results; their more targeted approach and deep-digging analyses promise an even better return on investment. The added value comes from these high-tech tools’ ability to maximize your SEO performance through data-driven insights.

One of the first questions that likely springs to mind is, “how much is this going to set me back?” In 2023, an SEO audit could range anywhere from $500 to a steep $30,000. There’s always the option for a free audit, but, as mentioned above, these won’t be as comprehensive as their premium counterparts.

Think of an SEO audit as less of a one-time purchase and more of a valuable investment for your business. It’s a way to increase your website’s commercial potential. Splurging now could mean huge payoffs later. Consider it as the starting line for your business upgrade strategy, because, remember—it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Often Should You Get an SEO Audit?

The frequency at which you should carry out an SEO audit depends largely on the size and scope of your website. For instance, larger organizations that fall under the ‘SEO audit enterprise’ category, such as eCommerce platforms, could benefit from quarterly audits. On the other hand, smaller sites generally need an SEO audit once a year. However, don’t underestimate the impact of regular audits — they’re essential for spotting potential areas for improvement, increasing your online visibility, and reinforcing your SEO efforts. Plus, a well-executed audit can provide revealing insights into your competitors’ SEO approaches, keeping your business at the forefront of the ever-evolving digital world.

Do SEO Services Include SEO Audits in Their Pricing?

Indeed, comprehensive SEO service packages often integrate SEO audits. However, it’s crucial to double-check with your selected agency as this is not always the case. An initial SEO audit significantly enhances online visibility and organic traffic — amplifying the potency of your SEO campaign. Be wary of agencies that either exclude audits or surreptitiously include them as hidden costs. An unambiguous SEO audit is a linchpin for unfolding a triumphant SEO strategy that aligns with your predetermined budget. Bear in mind that the pricing models offered differ across agencies and consultants, tailored to meet diverse needs and budgets.

Ready to Take Your Website to the Next Level?

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