How to Execute an SEO Campaign Gut Check

The longer you work in the digital marketing field, the more proficient you typically become at helping your clients, and the more marketing savvy you are about your clients’ specific industries. Here’s what else can happen. All begins to feel so natural that you sometimes go on autopilot. So, this post will offer up a few gut checks to help ensure that you’re providing the most efficient and targeted services possible to your clients.

Commercial Intent of Keywords

In a world where hybrid strategies of content marketing and search engine optimization are more and more common, marketing professionals often spend increasing amounts of time creating fresh, original content, often long-form pieces that are time- and energy-intensive. And, that’s a good thing.

But, because so much of this content lends itself to educational keywords, it’s too easy to slack off a bit with, including ones with commercial intent, also known as transactional intent. (You already know this, but searchers who use keywords with commercial intent are far more likely to be ready to buy products and services.)

Here’s a related trap that’s easy to get caught up in. Keywords with commercial intent often have much lower traffic than broader keywords, such as those you use to educate prospects. And, if one of your goals is to make an extra push to boost relevant traffic to a client’s site, then it can be very tempting to go after those keywords with larger search volumes.

So, do a gut check.

If you provide digital marketing services to B2B companies, how many times would you find these words used in connection with your keywords?

  • Services
  • Consultant
  • Company
  • Firm

As a B2C example, let’s say you sell car mats. There are plenty of keywords with high traffic but, when people are shopping for car mats, they don’t want mats in general. They want those that precisely match the make and model of their cars. So, do a content audit to make sure you’ve got enough of those types of keywords.

If your commercial-intent-keyword usage is comparatively low, then it makes sense to review your content strategies. Perhaps you can have someone in your digital marketing firm who isn’t directly involved with a client do a walk-through of the site to see how often you use keywords with commercial intent. If you get thumbs-up, great. If not, then editing your content to include more keywords with commercial intent might be a fairly quick win.

Full Conversion Funnel

Maybe, though, what you need to fix is bigger than keyword issues.

Let’s say you get a new client who isn’t very happy with the amount of traffic coming to their site. During your website review, you quickly notice how this site has plenty of content for site visitors who are ready to buy, helping them to choose, say, between Widgets A, B, and C. But there isn’t much content of interest that draws prospects in during the early parts of the conversion funnel. So, it’s likely that your new client’s potential customers are being drawn towards competitors’ sites, instead, thanks to the helpful blog content they provide.

So, naturally enough, you focus your efforts on creating plenty of content to pull in prospects, early on, making sure it’s better than what competitors have created. And, as part of your gut check, we encourage you to ensure that you don’t get so focused on creating content on one end of the funnel that it’s to the detriment of mid-funnel content that facilitates the buyer’s journey.

This is just one example of what can happen; perhaps the opposite is true, in that quality content exists in the early stages of client cultivation, but it doesn’t effectively take them throughout the entire process to get them to the stage where they can decide what to buy.

Also look at Google Trends to see how what your client offers meshes with searches that are trending, and Answer the Public to see what questions people are asking (also check your keyword tool for questions). Plus, one of the best ways to beef up content with commercial-intent keywords are FAQs. So, if you haven’t already, explore FAQ Fox. Plus, Search Engine Journal provides strategies to take a deeper dive into conversion paths using Google Analytics.

Link Building Gap

When’s the last time you used a backlink gap tool, such as those offered by or, to discover what inbound linking opportunities your client’s competitors have taken advantage of, but you haven’t?

If you find yourself having link envy because your client’s main competitor is getting juice from well-respected sites, what kind of content did they create that attracted this attention? Do you have something similar on your client’s site? If so, what plan can you create to get it in front of sites offering your client’s competitor such valuable inbound links? If not, what unique content can you create that’s different from and better than what your client’s competitor created that would likely interest the sites inspiring your link envy?

You can use this analysis to create an editorial calendar that’s laser-targeted to attract the kinds of backlinks you want. And, when combining this strategy with the first two—to ensure a healthy supply of appropriately-used keywords with commercial intent and content that effectively spans the entire conversion funnel—you can go a long way in further boosting your digital marketing campaign, enticing and keeping prospects and customers that might otherwise head to competitors.

Final Gut Check

Once you’ve been working in the digital marketing industry for any length of time, if your gut is telling you that something just isn’t right, don’t ignore that feeling. You very well may have subconsciously spotted something that hasn’t yet made it to the front of your brain. And, if it ends up that you were worrying over nothing, then no harm, no foul. If you did catch something important in the nick of time…well, then. Whew.

2 Responses to “How to Execute an SEO Campaign Gut Check”

  1. Great article for those in the business, what advice do you have for local service business owners? How do we know we are getting the the most bang for the buck from our website providers?

  2. @David – that is a really good question. There is a lot that goes into an answer so I’ll boil it down to a Gut Check response. Your current provider should be able to break down their service into “what they are doing” each month and most importantly they should be able to explain “why” they need to do them. If you aren’t comfortable with their answer, or if you get secret sauce type answers it’s probably a good sign that it’s time to move on. If your gut is not sure about your provider it’s probably related to the above. It looks like you are in the HVAC industry. Here is a guide that I wrote that breaks down the components of a successful HVAC SEO campaign which might give you further insights: Thanks for commenting!

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