Manual SEO Audit for better check of website SEO health with John Locke – SWC 46

john locke seo audit process
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Manual SEO Audit for better check of website SEO health with John Locke - SWC 46

SEO health of a website is very critical. While it is a clean slate for a new website, but for an existing website, SEO audit comes into the picture to diagnose SEO health of the website.

Unlike free automated SEO Audit tools, manual SEO Audit requires manual expert diagnosis and analysis. As a result, manual SEO Audit produces more actionable insights about website SEO. John Locke expertise in the manual SEO Audit process to help direct SEO efforts in the right direction.

01. Concept of SEO audit

  • In plain words, SEO audit is about checking website health concerning Google search rankings or is there more to it?
  • Get a free SEO audit report; this lead funnel tactic is used by a lot of agencies focussing on SEO. Even you experimented with free SEO audit where the audit report is generated by an automated tool. But you stopped that altogether and went for all manual audit process, why so?

02. The manual process of SEO audit

  • Let’s talk about the manual process of SEO audit and not the quick automated SEO audit process. So, a client comes to you with an existing small business website. What is the first step in your SEO audit process?
  • The next step would be keyword research and competitor(s) analysis. How do you perform that and how detailed is this process?
  • For on-site elements and contents of the website, how deep do you go with content analysis and technical SEO?
  • With regard to off-site elements, besides backlinks profile – are there other aspects that become part of the SEO audit?

03. Preparing an SEO audit report

  • In which format do you deliver SEO audit report to the client?
  • Do you attach an excel sheet or docs with supported data presentation in the form of graphs or charts?
  • Is there one to one call or meeting to help the client understand SEO audit report better?

04. Pricing SEO audit service

  • Besides time, creating an in-depth SEO audit report require good technical know-how about both on-site and off-site elements of the website. So, do you offer SEO audit at a fixed price or it is a custom quote depending on the website in question?
  • Curious, how much time does it take to prepare a detailed SEO audit report say for 10 pages of a small business website?
  • Circling back to the free SEO audit report offerings, a client questioning on why you are charging for something that I can get for free without understanding the whole process. Do you invest time explaining that this is different from automated SEO audit services or just let it go?

05. After SEO audit workflow

  • Now that you have shared the possible SEO improvements that can be done, as highlighted by the SEO audit process. How do you handle client expectation of getting immediate results as SEO is a slow process and results takes time for sure?
  • Client wanting your SEO services after the SEO audit report, what other services does SEO audit report funnel into for your business setup?

John Locke’s ToolBox

  • Regularly use ahrefs, KWFinder, brightlocal for SEO needs.
  • Use freshbooks for invoicing purpose in the business.
  • Personally, use WPEngine hosting and also recommend Siteground.

About John Locke

john locke SEO websiteWhen I was 38, I was working in a Wonder Bread factory and had vested 19 years in the Baker’s Union. I had moved jobs there right after they came out of bankruptcy the first time, and some people there were saying that they were trying to sell the company. At the time, I was also suffering from repetitive motion injuries. I knew there was no future in the Baker’s union in its current state, so I needed to learn a new trade. I was taking classes on web design in between shifts. There was one other person in the whole plant that was going back to school. When the plant ultimately closed, that was the last time I worked a W2 job. I have been building websites and doing online marketing ever since then.

About a year before the factory closed, around 2011, I found WordPress. I built sites for friends and family, just to learn the template hierarchy, and practice web design, and to have something in my portfolio at the time. I already knew HTML, CSS, and a bit of jQuery, so working with a CMS seemed the next logical step.

I did a lot of odd jobs at first, getting gigs from job boards. I did subcontract site builds and other web development for a few agencies on the East Coast. This wasn’t just straight website builds. I did everything from email templates in table layout to interactive quizzes to get through the first couple of years.

I also built up some clients locally, from a variety of sources, like the local Chamber of Commerce, the local WordPress Meetup, people finding my site through SEO. The one thing that I believe helped me from the start was writing and sharing what I was learning. I was blogging from the beginning of 2013 onwards, and that helped me develop a voice. Around 2014, I became a recurring panellist on the WP-Tonic podcast, which is another thing that was instrumental in helping people in the web community get to know me better.

Around 2015, I was doing about a 50/50 split between subcontracting to a larger agency and handling my clients. I did that for about two years. There came a point around 2017, where I realized I was getting further away from my original goal of growing my own business. To backtrack a bit, there was a time between early 2012 and early 2014 where I was applying to different agencies to be an employee, before I decided that I didn’t want to, and shouldn’t try to work for anyone else, and instead go all-in on making my own business work. To put it bluntly, no one was trying to hire a 40-year-old junior developer.
What I was doing in 2017 was more and more complex stuff for the agency I was subcontracting to, but we were not agreeing on compensation (I was billing a flat per-project fee which they did not want to renegotiate), so I stopped subcontracting for everyone.

Around this same time, I noticed various smaller agencies starting to struggle, so I decided to focus on SEO. I had done some SEO for a friend of mine, and I had a hobby site that had been relatively successful, so I slowly started shifting all my messaging in this direction. All the content I’ve put out since that time has been primarily about SEO. Fast forward two years to the present day, I am getting SEO leads outside of my zip code, mostly through my YouTube channel and blog.

More: LockdownSEO / SEO Audit Process / Youtube

Davinder Singh Kainth

Davinder loves creating and implementing online spaces. He has over a decade of experience reaching corners of: design, development, blogging and SEO. Learn more at

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