All marketing efforts should be built around keyword optimization. And yet keyword audits—the process of analyzing and reporting on keyword performance over time—are often overlooked or done wrong by keen marketers looking for results who don’t know exactly where to look. In fact, audits are often the first step an SEO consultant in Long Beach, CA will take when assessing digital performance, looking with acute focus at what is driving conversions versus what is driving people away from a site.
What is a keyword audit?
A keyword audit is a comprehensive overview of how your keywords performed over a given period based on a granular level analysis of conversion metrics. As Wells Yu points out, audits are meant to help you “assess whether your existing campaigns are doing well for the original set of terms you optimized for.”
From Audits to Performance
Marketing is a data-driven endeavor that can run like a fine-tuned engine if you know how to uncover actional data. By actionable data we mean the kind of numbers that side-step vanity metrics and look with fine granularity at what keywords are driving conversions, which are underperforming, and what can be done about both. It’s tiring to be at the top, and even keywords that are performing well this month could easily be superseded by a competitor that is hungry to find ways to outdo you with better copy.
The question is: what can be done when your copy is not converting as planned? Should you pivot your target keywords or persevere with the ones you have? The answer is almost always to persevere by improving your reporting practices and add or subtract new keywords based on performance data. The most astute marketers are constantly checking in to test the validity and accuracy of their content work, and when it comes to written content, the best way to do this in a concise way is through a keyword audit.
Keyword audits give SEOs and content marketers the ability to:
- Isolate and discard underperforming keywords. Are you using a group of keywords that is simply not reaching your target personas and pulling in a bunch of vanity metrics? Maybe you were too ambitious and chose keywords with extreme difficulty that are crowded out by huge industry players. This happens to the best of us and the only way to mitigate the wasted money and energy is to perform a keyword audit to see what keywords are dead weights. Discarding dead-weight keywords also makes room to pick better keywords for your current state—whether that’s focusing on a different topic altogether or sticking with the same content pillar but choosing longer tail keywords.
- Understand personas better. Certain keywords will resonate better with your personas than you thought. SEO specialists in Long Beach, CA are experts at figuring out which keywords convert the best and then doubling down on them to help them rank #1. There is no better way to pull key takeaways about your persona’s search intent than through a keyword audit. As you pull together more content pillars, you can flesh them out with related content clusters that you know will be of interest.
- Grow sustainable traffic. Organic traffic comes slowly over time. The benefits are mostly felt if you use the same keywords in your content for core pages and study how best to optimize them over time. You can learn how to best optimize them through keyword audits. Sure, your secondary keywords might change once in a while, but your target keywords should remain the same for an extended period. Although having patience can be difficult, it is far better than pivoting keyword usage sporadically because you’re not happy with the results. That is confusing to searchers and search engines alike.
Keyword Audits Bring Clarity and Precision to Your Copy
Content marketers and SEOs looking to write impactful copy should be analysts of their own work. A keyword audit brings clarity and precision to copy more than any other research or reporting tool can. Since core target keywords are an investment in the mid- to long-term, and copy is always being added to the site, you want to have a roadmap for the next 6-12 months based on analysis, not intuition.
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