The Case Files: A Collection of SEO Failures & Successes

Posted on June 27, 2019

Developing a strong search marketing strategy is crucial to the success of a business. However, it requires a lot of trial and error. Some factors to consider when developing an SEO account are the competition; you need to understand where your company stands against your competitors. Another factor to consider is the users’ intent. For instance, you need to know why your customers are on your site: do they have a clear idea of what they want or did they go into your website to do more research on what they want? Understanding this will help you to better cater to your audience. A great tool to monitor your search marketing results is SEMRush. It is import to analyze your content by first reviewing your current content, then identify content gaps, followed by organizing your content, and lastly, setting goals for your content. Want to learn more? Keep reading or watch the video.


Hi, my name is Justin Kerley, the Director of Search Marketing. I’ve been doing SEO for a little over 6 years and it is my passion and one of the things I really enjoy most about my job. What we’re going to cover today is more of a background on things you should consider for a successful SEO campaign. I’ll also key in on some of the failures to keep aware of.

Main Factors When Planning an SEO Campaign

  1. Competition
  2. User Intent
  3. Content


Your website does not exist in a vacuum. Collecting information on these competitors will inform the successes you have online.

Competition Things to Consider:

  • Identify who they are – you may have internal assumptions or knowledge, but make sure to talk with sales staff, customers/prospects, etc.
  • Estimate Their Traffic and Visibility – you can get a general sense of how they’re positioned in search engines. There are tools out there you can use to estimate how much traffic you are generating based on keywords. (SEMRush is a good one)
  • Domain Authority – this is a metric developed by Moz to predict how well a website will rank on search engines. It evaluates a number of factors, mainly linking root domains and total links into the website from external sources. It is scored on a 100 point logarithmic scale. Moz is a paid tool that will easily generate this information in a clean report.
  • SWOT Analysis – I’m sure everyone knows what a SWOT analysis is and has likely done one already for their company, but to review – it includes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for a company. Performing a SWOT analysis on your competition gives you some ideas where you can fill in the gaps and possibly grab some of the markets.

User Intent

This has to do with SEO but also the website and functionality and usability of it. The two really go hand in hand.

People typically go online to accomplish a task. Even if that task is just to research and gather information, it’s still a goal they seek to meet. Instead of thinking in terms of buyer personas, think about what tasks need to be done.

When you’re looking at user intent, try to break down the groups of people that will be potentially researching/buying your product and tailor information to each of them. What specifically does the website need to do for them, and what information will mean the most? Whether it’s a visual website, clear descriptions of the products, or finding locations easily.


Your site as it stands today is full of content – pages, images, PDFs, etc. You want to make sure you’re doing an inventory and figuring out what your key content is.

As you go into your content analysis, its important to review your current content. Do an inventory of your assets – anything from videos, whitepapers, testimonials, etc. From there identify some content gaps. Look at your competition and see where you fall short. Next up, organize your content. Map out where this content should exist including the information you collected during your review. Lastly, set goals for each content type. Success should look different for various forms of content, so keep that in mind.

What’s the Process? Setting Yourself Up for Success, or Failure

  • Planning
  • Tracking Setup – there are various tools to use (Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager)
  • Keyword Research – this is the foundation of any successful SEO campaign (tools to use include Google Search Console, Google Ads & Moz)
  • Optimization – work your target keywords into the content and really focus on some key elements.
  • 301 Redirects – if you’re changing URL’s or moving some things around – you want to make sure these are set up properly. If you’re consolidating or eliminating pages, redirects will not save all of your traffic.
  • Technical Review – if a search engine can’t understand what your website is doing – none of this is going to matter. (Tools to use include Screaming Frog, Sitebulb and Deepcrawl)
  • Launch – even if you’re not redesigning your website, it’s important to document a “start date” which will help you to see how you’ve improved.
  • Validation – check optimizations, test 301 redirects, check for incorrect robots directives and verify tracking is in place and working.

Failures to Avoid

  • No Google Analytics set up on the website (or not set up properly)
  • Multiple Instances of the same analytics code installed
  • No goals set up within Google Analytics
  • No redirects on your website – thinking Google will figure it out.
  • Eliminating content and relying on redirects alone
  • Blocking robots

As you can see, a lot of work and time goes into an SEO campaign, and missteps can definitely happen along the way. If you’d like more information on how to strategize for optimal SEO, check out our free eBook: A Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Marketing.