What’s An SEO Audit?
An SEO audit – like an accounting audit – enables you to have an accurate view of the performance of your website.
An SEO audit refers to the process through which you inspect your website to ensure that it is properly functioning, that it can rank on search engines, and that it can be easily accessed from different devices (especially mobile devices). You can do it yourself or hire an SEO auditor.
What Is the Importance of an SEO Audit?
There are several benefits that you will gain from conducting regular SEO audits on your website.
1. Identify the Performance of Your Website
An SEO audit will establish how well your website is performing. In this case, it will provide correct results on the traffic your website attracts and the content that brings in the most visitors to your site.
Identify how mobile friendly your website is
An SEO audit will enable you as the website owner to identify how well your website is optimized for mobile devices. With most people around the world interacting with the internet from their mobile devices, it is important for your website to be mobile friendly.
Only a complete SEO audit will enable you to identify this.
2. Helps Improve the Functioning of Your Website
An SEO audit enables you to improve the performance of your website. As a result, it is able to rank on search engines, resulting in improved visibility and more organic site growth.
3. Helps Identify Ease of Use On Your Website
An SEO audit enables you to find out how easy your website is to use. How fast are the pages on your website loading? Are your visitors struggling to view your products and information that you share? These and other questions you may have on why your website is not contributing much to your sales and growth of your business will be answered with an SEO audit.
4. Helps Your Website Recover from Algorithm Changes
Search engines keep changing their algorithms that determine the visibility of websites on the internet. Through SEO audits, you can capably stay up to date with the algorithms. Lack of compliance with the changes in the algorithms causes the rank and visibility of your website to diminish. This leads to low traffic to your website and thus lower sales for your business.
From the above benefits, you can understand and see the importance of an SEO audit to the growth, accessibility, and reputation of your business.
Improve Your Website’s Visibility and Usage
An SEO website audit will rate your website by a number between 0-100. This is the SEO ranking. This number defines your position in online search results returned when searches on your products or keywords are carried out.
When you identify your website’s position you can develop strategies that can help you improve on your web search rankings. These strategies include:
Modernizing Obsolete Content
Your SEO audit may reveal that your content is out of date and may need to be updated and made contemporary.
Publishing Often and Publishing Relevant Content
To rank higher, your content also needs to be relevant and published regularly. Regularly updated sites are search engine friendly, and their algorithms help such sites acquire higher positions on search results that lead to increased visibility and more organic visitors.
An SEO audit could also reveal the need for a website redesign. A website redesign will ensure that your website can be easily accessed on mobile devices and that its pages load faster, are appealing to the eye, and are easy to use.
An SEO audit can be technical and complicated, so how does a person with little-to-no computer knowledge gather the valuable information an audit can find, and how much does it cost to do so?
How Much Does an SEO Audit Cost?
Like every other business service, the cost of an SEO audit may vary. The cost of an SEO audit is affected by various factors.
Time It Takes to Complete the Audit
Different providers of this service take varying amounts of time to conduct and offer a business the audit results of their websites.
This is as a result of differentiation of the services that they provide.
Online services are often offered in packages. Some packages take only a short time to complete, while other packages that offer a comprehensive service take longer.
Each package has its own charges and costs to the business. The cost of the audit to a business varies depending on the services and package that a business chooses.
Most SEO auditors have packages that range between 30 days and 45 days. Often, the 30-day package is cheaper than the 45-day package.
Further, these packages have different deliverables. With the shorter term package offering less in their service than the long term package.
When it comes to time, there are auditors and businesses that prefer long term relationships with their service providers. In this case, the business has to pay a monthly retainer for monthly website audits. Businesses that pay a retainer to their auditors will eventually end up paying more for the same service than those who pay a one-time fee and engage the auditors when a need arises.
Expertise of the Auditor
The level of expertise of the SEO audit provider also affects the amount of money a business is charged for the service. A new SEO auditor will not charge the same price as an expert practitioner would. Like in all other jobs, a less experienced individual is paid less than a highly experienced individual.
Type of Auditor Engaged
A business can engage for their SEO audit a freelancer or an agency. Each of these will charge according to their proficiency and the level of service required by their client. They will also consider the time it will take to carry out the audit and their expertise.
Agencies will also consider the number of resources they put at a businesses’ disposal (in terms of human and financial resources) and thus their charges will be completely different from those of a freelancer.
Different types of auditors also charge for their services in different ways. There are those who will charge hourly rates while others will charge fixed rates.
Depending on their expertise, high-level freelancers will charge more than their low-level freelancers. You will even come across freelancers who charge more than some agencies, owing to their level of expertise.
Also, depending on whether the rates are fixed or hourly, you could end up spending more. It is good business practice to select a fixed price auditor rather than one who charges an hourly rate.
Complexity of Your Website
A small business with a locally focused website most likely does not have a complex website. Additionally, the type of service a company offers will determine the complexity of their business. An e-commerce website is more complicated than the website owned by a company that offers consultancy or personal services to businesses and individuals.
Some websites have pages and pages of content, and there are some SEO auditors who will charge based on the number of pages a website has. The fewer the pages, the lower the cost of the audit.
A more complex website with lots of pages will require the SEO auditor to spend more time on it. Therefore, a website owner might have to pay more than for a fixed rate of the audit.
Expected Results from the SEO Auditor
Different businesses will need a range of results from the SEO auditor they engage. This will also result in varying prices of the service.
In addition to the audit report, different businesses will engage their auditor to help them rank highly for different keyword searches.
As a result, the amount that they spend on the audit and to rank highly on search engines will be much higher than a business that just pays for the audit and advice on how to rank highly in respect to their industry or products.
Numerous business reports and freelancer rates that can be checked and confirmed online show that the cost of an SEO audit ranges from as little as $700 to as high as $7,500 depending on who you pick to offer the service and the other extra services that may be requested of them.
How Long Does an SEO Audit Take?
As already mentioned, an SEO audit enables you to increase the visibility of your website by finding and eliminating any issues that may be causing it to rank poorly on search engines. With its importance under consideration, you may want to know how long it will take before you see the results promised by the auditor.
Just like determining the cost of an SEO audit, it will be quite difficult to determine how long it will take before your website is completely audited and well optimized for search engines to send visitors your way.
Different SEO auditors give you different time on how long an SEO audit will take. With the numerous tools at their disposal, some promise a minimum of four hours, others promise 30-90 days while others hold the view that SEO audits take up to a year to be effective and for you to start seeing results. For a business that perform SEO audits regularly, it is recommended that they keep it an ongoing endeavor carried out at least every quarter.
How long an SEO audit takes, depends on different factors.
Website Owner Expectations
A website is of utmost importance to any business. When you call in the experts for an audit, it is usually because you have noticed a lapse in the performance of your website. For example, revenues from your website or traffic have dropped.
Invite the experts to help you diagnose where the problem is and show you how you can rectify the problem and get back to your profit-making ways with your website.
An initial audit can discover that your website needs a lot of work for it to bounce back to its initial position. You can then decide either to take it to experts or to work on it yourself.
If you decide to leave it to the experts, you can monitor how long it takes for your website to get back to its initial position for organic searches. It may take anywhere between two months to a year of consistent optimization work on your website, for it to bounce back.
Tools Used for the Audit
With the appropriate tools, your website SEO audit could be done in a matter of hours. Some SEO tools automate a portion of the audit process while the auditor develops insights and completes other tasks in the audit that cannot be automated.
Complexity of the Website
Conducting the audit of a complex website will definitely take longer than that of a simple website, even when using the most advanced tools for an SEO audit. For example, the SEO audit for a large e-commerce shop will take a few hours to a day, but will be longer than that of a simple website.
Regularity of Conducting Website Audits
For a business owner who conducts regular SEO audits, the audit will take a short time as most of the hitches that arise are continuously worked on. It is therefore important to ensure that you conduct regular website audits.
Scope of the Audit
Websites have different aspects that affect their ranking on search engines. These aspects include content on the website and the site itself. When conducting an SEO audit, the auditor will look at the content, its relevance, the frequency of updating and give recommendations that will help rank the website. For example, the auditor could recommend that they develop longer content and couple it with video.
Besides content, the auditor could also be analyzing the site itself. They could be looking at aspects of the site such as backlinks present, indexing, site speed, and other factors.
If the website audit is analyzing the different aspects, it could take longer than a few hours while only a single aspect being audited will take at the minimum an hour to four hours.
Depending on the scope of your SEO audit, your strategy, expectations, and auditor, your SEO audit can take as long as a few hours to a whole year. You should ensure that you have the right information on what you need and engage the suitable experts to help you achieve it.
SEO Audit Checklist
To effectively conduct a successful SEO audit, there are several steps that every auditor ensures that they do not miss.
Confirm that Only a Single Version of Your Site Exists
This is done by searching for your website on search engines with different variations that anyone could use. Ensure that all these variations lead to your site.
Execute a Website Crawl
Using the right tools, crawl your website. This crawl will offer you a view of the problems on your site. Crawling tools work exactly like search engines and help you see the same problems that search engines see on your site.
Confirm that Your Site is Recognized by Google
Google recognizes websites in a process known as indexing. To confirm that your website is indexed, go to Google Search Console then Google Index then Google Status to find out. Unless your website is indexed, it does not exist and therefore cannot rank. A site audit will help you find this out as well as the number of pages on your website that are indexed.
Execute an On-page SEO Audit
Ensure first that you do not have duplicate pages, then identify your keywords and how they appear in search and how they are helping your website to rank. Also, check on the relevance and arrangement of your content. When these are well done, search engines will rank your website highly.
Check the Links to Your Website
At this stage, SEO audit tools will check if there any broken links on your website. The results will show all the links that are in order and those that are not. Fix the broken links, as they affect the rank of your website.
Check on Your Site Speed
Site speed is a major factor on how search engines rank your website. Search engines want to offer their users a pleasant experience, and fast websites are part of that. If your page is slow, ensure that it is fixed for better rank positions.
Check for Any Analytics Issues with Your Website
At this stage, ensure that your site metrics analysis software is working correctly. Analyze your bounce rate, error messages, and issues with site security and have them rectified. All these issues on your website will affect how well and fast your site ranks.
Does your website have a sitemap? How easy is it to navigate and use your website? Check and confirm that you do not have navigation issues present on your site. If they are present, rectify them and you will see an improvement in traffic and ranking on search engines.
Check for Plagiarism Issues
Check for plagiarism and ensure it does not occur. Where plagiarism occurs, search engines will punish your website and could even crash it. This will leave your website invisible and inaccessible by users.
Also, ensure that your content is not too thin. Search engines will consider little content on a page unhelpful and thus will not rank it highly.
Assess the Links Linking Back to Your Website
Backlinks help a great deal in ranking your website. They show search engines that the content you create is relevant and has functional value. It is therefore important that you identify any broken backlinks and fix them and you will find that your website will soon start ranking highly.
Analyze the Pages in Your Website that Attract High Traffic
These are the pages that are already ranking highly on search engines with certain keywords. Check if there is anything you need to rectify in these pages to ensure that they are well optimized and could rank higher on search engines driving more traffic to your website.
See How Much Organic Traffic You Have
Identify the keywords that your customers are using when they search for your products or services. Check how many people you attract organically and, with the help of your auditor, develop strategies on how to attract more organic traffic.
An SEO audit will show you the issues affecting your website and causing it not to rank well on search engines. With expert help, all identified issues will be rectified and you will – in time – see a spike in organic traffic to your site.