Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the lifeblood of organic search and a tried and true digital marketing strategy through which a website can position itself highly in search engine results. One important aspect of an SEO is the keywords your website content is targetting. While most business owners are aware generally aware of the keywords their SEO strategy should target, they often see keywords as static. In fact, search behavior is dynamic. Search behaviour patterns (i.e. the keywords people use to find something online) can change, suddenly or gradually, over time. Thus a business' digital marketing plan, in regards to keywords, must be dynamic as well.
To find out if search patterns have changed for your business, check your website analytics for SEO-driven, organic search traffic. Variability in traffic is normal, but major changes in traffic that break an establish pattern may indicate that your SEO keyword strategy needs rethinking. If the volume of organic search traffic has been trending downward over several weeks or months, that's a sign that search trends are shifting away from the keywords for which your web pages are optimized and it's time to find new ones.
example organic search traffic stats in google analytics
Even if the volume of your organic traffic stays relatively stable, that doesn't mean there hasn't been a shift in what customers search to find your website. To find out more about how your customers are finding your website via organic search, use Google Search Console, which allows you to track what keyword searches bring up your website and how often. You can also compare the performance of keywords over time to see if the performance of particular keywords important to your brand are increasing or decreasing.
Depending on the results of your keyword research it might be time tweak your SEO strategy to boost the performance of some keywords, such as add new ones or remove keywords from your strategy that no long perform.
How often is too often to reevaluate keywords? Unless your website sees dramatic shifts in a short period, major changes in your SEO strategy won't be necessary. Periodic optimization should be your focus. While it is up to you, how often you reevaluate and update your keywords, setting a periodic evaluation date, such as monthly or quarterly, is generally a good idea. There will always be shifts in search terms based on the news, pop culture, and holidays and you want to be ready to take advantage of them.
Many spikes or dips in traffic for a particular keyword may be temporary and or worth the effort of researching new keywords and change content on you website. Design your site's SEO for more stable keywords, but adjust them when long term trends suggest it's wise to do so. If monthly or quarterly reviews are hard to get to, at least investigate your keywords every six month or annually. You don't want an outdated SEO strategy to compound or snowball overtime if you can avoid it.