As any data-driven marketer knows, keyword research and analysis are the backbone to any effective digital marketing effort. Whether you’re looking to implement a new campaign, make improvements to an existing one or just better align your various digital marketing efforts for more consistency across the board, SEO keyword analysis is step one. This holds true for your SEO and link building, paid search ads, as well as display ads. But understanding your audience and the various ways they search for and find your brand (or your competitor’s brand) is an ongoing, full-time task.

So how do you know if your website and online ads are still attracting the right audience? A good practice is to regularly scrape your keyword list to remove search terms that may be outdated or prove to bring in irrelevant traffic. At the same time, you should add any new keywords that have recently trended up or that you missed the first time around. Once your updated SEO keyword list is squeaky clean and ready to go, it’s time to analyze existing content on your web pages. A great way to do that is through word clouds. What you find might just surprise you.

A word cloud is a tool that can analyze text from various sources, such as your website. It then visually lays out your keywords, making those that appear more frequently on your site actually appear more prominent within the word cloud. From there, you can compare your keyword list to the keywords you’re actually using on your site to target search traffic. Surprised by what you find? Well now with your arsenal of data to back you up, you can easily point out those keywords on your site that should be replaced or that require additional optimization.

Want to create your own word cloud? Wordle provides a free tool that allows you to create word clouds using different fonts, layouts and colors. Once your word cloud is created, you can remove irrelevant words such as “the” so you can focus only on those related to your digital marketing efforts.