Wondering why you need to pay for an SEO audit when I can get a free one? What’s the difference between a free SEO audit?
You get what you pay for in the SEO world and If you ask an agency for one of their free website audits, you will likely receive something like that you see below. These automated reports are easy to run and generally only take a few seconds for smaller websites. They can be useful and we use these at seo4anyone as well, but these reports lack a few key aspects that a real SEO audit will have.
What is the difference between a free SEO audit and a paid SEO audit?
Number of SEO Audit Checkpoints
The number of checkpoints on the audit list will be much longer for most manual audits. There are fewer than 50 checkpoints in the automated report that you see on this page. Our manual audits will have 125+ checkpoints.
Scope of SEO Audit and Marketing Recommendations
The recommendations that come from an automated SEO audit will only pertain to fixing issues that are found by the audit. This will not include recommendations for category pages that should be added, blog content that should be written, or link building campaigns that should be considered.
Prioritization and Practical Implementation
Not everything that is red flagged in an SEO audit is of equal importance. Some things can easily be glossed over while others should be made a priority. For example, fixing duplicate meta descriptions is something that can usually be put towards the bottom of the list. However, implementing category pages that all of your competitors have but you do not have is something that will likely be high on the priority list. This is because this may mean missing out on revenue every day that you wait to implement the new content. The latter is something that you would want to implement ASAP, especially considering that this is also usually relatively easy from a practical standpoint.
Time Spent Analyzing Website During an SEO Audit
An automated SEO audit will require very little time on the site, if any. Most free website audits won’t include much interpretation or investigation at all. This means that there will probably be lots of issues raised by the report that should be considered “non-issues”. A client won’t receive any advice on how to fix certain issues and they may not understand what their priorities should be.
The time that is spent by SEO audit staff is the primary variable when it comes to pricing audit services. A premium e-commerce SEO audit will require 20 – 50+ hours in many cases.
How Many People Participate in the Audit Process?
A free website audit is likely going to be handled by one person. They will run the report, export the pdf and send it to you. You can expect to hear from a salesperson in most cases. They will usually have a reasonable SEO background, but they will work in sales. This is much different than hiring a team of experts with in-depth experience in the SEO field. For a premium audit, you can expect 2 to 3 people to deal with the project at a minimum. This will generally include a project lead, a technical seo specialist and someone to lead the keyword research and content analysis.
Strategic Alignment of Goals Before an SEO Audit
We don’t just begin the process without any discussion. We follow a roadmap that begins with us understanding your goals, priorities, capabilities and capacities. The website audit process can be tailored to skew in the direction that your business needs and your management wants.
For example: if your site doesn’t run a content blog and the management doesn’t want a content blog, we will focus keyword-related content recommendations on product pages, category pages, and static content pages. This may result in different strategies being recommended to attack voids in the SERPs that we see. On the other hand, if your e-commerce business is fueled by links and interaction that results from blog content, we may spend a considerable amount of time making blog-related recommendations.
Cost of an SEO Audit
This is the obvious difference between a free automated report and a premium enterprise report. It usually makes the most sense to look for a free audit report or spend money for a premium report that is in the $x,xxx range. A report in the mid-range that costs $100 or $500 is more likely to be a money grab that does not provide sufficient value. You won’t get much more than you would get in an automated report and the report won’t be as good as an enterprise report. In other words, don’t split the difference and buy something cheap when it comes to cost.
What Is the Most Valuable Thing Missing from Free SEO Audits?
These reports are missing out on some of the most valuable low hanging fruit that you can find in the SEO world. When we begin our website audits, one of our main objectives is to hunt for high volume targets and low hanging fruit. You can think of this as doing a partial SWOT analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your keyword rankings. This allows us to provide meaningful recommendations that go beyond how to fix technical SEO issues. After our evaluation we can give your website and content program the direction that it needs to maximize the ROI of your efforts.
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