Kickstart Your Results With an SEO Keyword Audit

When refreshing existing content, the first goal is to match the audience’s search intent to improve rankings. For that, perform an SEO keyword audit.

My SEO approach is simple, as it should be with you. Serve your audience first, focus on quality content, attract natural links, and structure around topics.

More content doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes, the benefits of refreshing existing content outweigh those of creating new content. The goal is to match the audience’s search intent as best as possible to improve ranking. The more you do, the higher the quality traffic and conversions you will generate.

To do that, you need to carry out an SEO keyword audit.

If you have a website and it has been live for at least six months, chances are Google has crawled and indexed it. If so, here’s a tip that I encourage every professional to do. Go to Google, and type in the following: "keyword(s)"

Google will list what it thinks is the best page from your website that matches that keyword or keyphrase. If your search turns up many pages, the topmost one is the one Google has determined to be the most relevant

You can do this right now if you have a good idea of who your audience is, what they’re searching for, and what stage of awareness they’re at.

But if you don’t know what topics your audience is searching for, you can conduct some keyword research to get an idea of the topics you want your content to cover. With the tip above, you will see if you currently have any pages that match any topics you’re after.

In SEO, we call this technique “pagematching.”

The goal is to find the page that best matches the keyword and the user’s search intent. If the top page Google thinks is the best is either irrelevant or not the best match, then you have one of three choices to make:

1. Find and edit a page that matches it better.

You may find a more relevant page that appears further down. For example, you’re a dentist. You type in “best price for dental crown” as your keyword. Google gives you 12 search results from your website. And result number seven may be the most relevant page.

Take that page and edit it to focus on that topic more. It’s not about keyword stuffing. It’s about matching the topic and the user’s search intent.

Either that or you can edit the less relevant ones(s) to downplay the topic. This might be a lot of work if you have several pages outranking the most relevant one. But it might help if those pages are similar and stealing traffic from the best one through keyword cannibalization.

2. Deduplicate and redirect less relevant pages.

Speaking of similar pages, look at the list of URLs Google is giving you, and see if they’re duplicates. Determine the primary one and delete the others.

But be careful.

There’s a difference between “duplicate” and “related” content. If the goal of each piece is the same or similar, they’re likely dupes. But if the goal is different, then they’re related. Kill the dupes, not the related ones.

Also, before you delete anything, check to see if there’s any content you want to keep. You can take out paragraphs that you can merge into the primary one. Add them where it makes sense and edit for flow. Then delete the dupes, and redirect them to that primary one.

As a quality assurance step, see if any of your other content links to the dupes you’ve deleted. Make sure they now point to the consolidated one.

3. Write a new, more relevant piece of content.

If Google shows no result for your keyword at all, it will say “no results found” and show broad matches. Using the previous example, you might have articles that match “dental,” “crown,” and “price,” but not in that exact order.

Look at the results of those broad matches. They may be synonymous or contextually related. Are any of these pages relevant to the search? If yes, go back to step one or two (i.e., edit or merge). If not, write a new piece of content focusing on that topic.

Finally, you might want to create an inventory of all your existing pages and match them with the keyword (i.e., “focus keyword”) they should rank highest for. And then list the URL of the page that actually does rank highest based on the previous exercise.

Do they match? Are they similar? Is one more relevant than the other?

If your website only has a few pages, this list should give you a good idea of which pages to fix, merge, or delete. But if you have quite a few, you might want to pull performance reports from Google Search Console and compare it against your analytics.

But that’s for another day.

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By Michel Fortin

Michel Fortin is a digital marketing advisor specializing in SEO, communications, and strategy. For over 30 years, he helped hundreds of thousands of clients increase their visibility and their revenue. He is also the VP of Digital Marketing at Musora, the company behind award-winning platforms Drumeo and Pianote. He is the author of the More Traffic Memo™ SEO email newsletter.