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How to Do Keyword Mapping for SEO Success

Justin McGill
Sunday, 16th Jun 2024
how to do keyword mapping

One crucial strategy that is often overlooked in SEO is keyword mapping. This powerful technique involves assigning specific keywords to individual pages on your website, ensuring that each page is optimized to rank for its targeted terms.

By doing so, you avoid keyword cannibalization where multiple pages compete for the same terms. Plus, you create a more organized and effective content structure to help search engines better understand your site’s content — leading to higher rankings, increased organic traffic, and a more engaging experience for your audience.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the essentials of keyword mapping, offering practical tips and insights to help you implement this strategy effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just starting out, mastering keyword mapping can elevate your SEO game to new heights.

Table Of Contents:

What is Keyword Mapping?

Keyword mapping involves planning out which keywords you want your website to rank for and then assigning those keywords to specific pages on your site. It’s like creating a blueprint for your website’s content, ensuring that each page is optimized for a particular set of keywords.

Keyword mapping is a three-step process:

  1. Keyword Research: Start by figuring out what terms people are searching for that are related to your website’s niche. This might involve using keyword research tools or brainstorming relevant phrases.
  2. Keyword Grouping: Once you have a list of keywords, group them together based on similarity and search intent. This will help you create clusters of related keywords that can be targeted by specific pages on your website.
  3. Mapping Keywords to Pages: Match each keyword to the most appropriate page. This means each page should focus on one primary keyword and a few secondary ones.

By following these steps, you can create a keyword map that guides your website’s content strategy.

Why Keyword Mapping Is Important for SEO

Keyword mapping ensures that you’re targeting the most relevant keywords for your business. You can prioritize high-volume, low-competition keywords that match your audience’s search intent. Mapping keywords to pages keeps your SEO strategy focused and effective.

Another reason keyword mapping is so important is that it makes tracking your SEO progress much easier. With a clear map of which pages are targeting which keywords, you can measure rankings, organic traffic, and conversions at a granular level. You’ll be able to quickly spot issues and optimize underperforming pages.

Without keyword mapping, your content strategy can become disorganized and inefficient. You may end up with gaps in your content or pages that target the same keywords and compete with each other. Keyword mapping provides a clear framework for on-page optimization and content creation.

Search engines consider keyword relevance when ranking pages, so a good keyword map can help you improve your visibility in search results. This makes keyword mapping a valuable tool for anyone who wants to attract more organic traffic to their blog or website.

How to Do Keyword Mapping

Let’s get down to business. To strike gold, you need to start by creating a solid foundation for your SEO strategy. That means identifying the best keywords that match the intent and content of each page.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do keyword mapping.

Step 1: Set Up Your Spreadsheet

To create keyword maps, the first step is to build a master spreadsheet. I like to use Google Sheets so it’s easy to collaborate with my team, but Excel works too.

Set up columns for your core pages, target keywords, search volume, keyword difficulty, and URLs.

Step 2: Conduct Keyword Research

To get started, generate a list of seed keywords that are relevant to your business.

What specific products or services do you offer, and what key terms capture their essence? These broad terms will form the building blocks for your keyword strategy.

Run your seed keywords through a keyword research tool to expand on those seed keywords. I like to use Content at Scale’s in-app keyword generator because it’s built into the same dashboard as the Content at Scale long-form AI writer so I don’t have to subscribe to a separate tool.

Look for long-tail variations, related terms, and question-based queries. Pay attention to the search volume and difficulty scores to find the best opportunities.

Add the most relevant keywords to your spreadsheet, along with their metrics. Aim for a mix of high-volume head terms and lower-competition long-tail keywords that align with your overall marketing strategy.

Step 3: Map Out Your Keywords

Here’s where the actual mapping happens.

Look at your finalized keyword list and assign each term to a specific page. Your homepage should target your broadest keyword with the highest volume, while other pages can target more specific topics.

This is important: make sure each keyword matches the search intent. The page should align with what users are actually looking for when they search for that term.

For example, a transactional keyword should map to a product or service page, while an informational keyword belongs to a blog post or guide.

You’ll likely find that some keywords naturally group together around certain topics. These keyword groups are ideal for creating content clusters or pillar pages.

Assign a core page for the main keyword, then map supporting long-tail keywords to subpages. This creates a powerful hub-and-spoke structure for your content that can help drive more organic traffic to your site.

Step 4: Create and Publish Content

With your keyword map as your guide, review your existing content and pick the most relevant keywords from your list that match the intent of each page. Weave your target keywords into the title tags, headings, and body copy of these pages.

For new content, refer to your keyword map to guide your content creation process. Prioritize creating pages for your highest-value keywords, and make sure the content comprehensively covers the topic. Aim to make each page the best resource on the web for its particular keyword.

Here’s a neat trick: remember our keyword list generated by the Content at Scale keyword research tool? You can use that to automatically group related keywords and generate an entire content cluster by simply clicking the Create Topic Cluster button!

Optimizing Your Keyword Map for Search Intent

One of the most important factors for effective keyword mapping is search intent. That’s the why behind a user’s search query. To rank well and drive qualified traffic, the pages you map keywords to must align with searcher intent.

There are four main types of search intent:

  1. Informational – The user wants to learn something, like an answer to a question or background on a topic.
  2. Navigational – The user wants to find a specific website or page, like “YouTube” or “Amazon login”.
  3. Commercial – The user wants to research a product or service before buying, like “best laptop under $1500”.
  4. Transactional – The user is ready to make a purchase or complete an action, like “buy iPhone 15 Pro Max”.

To successfully optimize for search intent, it’s essential to examine the content types that are ranking on Page One. The search results will give you a clearer understanding of what searchers are looking for and what Google considers relevant for that specific query.

Aligning Keywords with User Intent

When choosing a primary keyword for a page, make sure it matches the content type and format.

An informational keyword should go with an in-depth blog post or guide, while a transactional keyword needs a product page or landing page.

You can also use keyword modifiers to better match intent.

For example, keywords that include “buy”, “discount”, “deal”, or specific product names tend to be transactional.

Question-based keywords or phrases with “how to”, “what is”, or “best” are usually informational.

Once you’ve aligned your primary keyword with the right page type, make sure the content itself fulfills the intent.

If searchers want a step-by-step tutorial, don’t just give them a high-level overview.

If they want to compare different products, include a robust comparison table that helps them make an informed decision.

Creating Content That Matches Search Intent

When creating content, remember that substance always trumps style. Provide thorough, well-researched resources that cater to the unique needs of your audience.

Look at the pages that are currently ranking on Page One for your target keyword. Analyze the type of content, the format, the length, and the angle they’re taking.

Pro tip: you can find these juicy details by running a topic report inside Content at Scale. Here’s an example:

Now ask yourself how you can do better. Can you be more in-depth, more actionable, and more engaging?

Your goal should be to create 10X content — something that’s significantly better than anything else out there.

When you nail search intent with high-quality, user-focused content, you’ll see your rankings and organic traffic soar.

As you craft intent-focused content, there are a few key tips to keep in mind.

  • Consider structuring your writing to revolve around the underlying purpose of your piece — the intent. Ask yourself what your audience will gain from reading your content, and tailor your writing accordingly.
  • Cover the topic comprehensively. If you’re targeting a broad informational keyword, address every possible subtopic and answer every related question.
  • Include the content types searchers want, whether that’s images, videos, tools, or downloads.
  • Format for readability, with plenty of headings, bullet points, and white space. Make it easy to scan and find specific information.
  • Prioritize actionability. Give searchers clear next steps, whether that’s how to bake an apple pie, buy a car, or sign up for a service.

Avoiding Keyword Cannibalization with Keyword Mapping

When multiple pages on your website are targeting the same keywords, it creates a mess that search engines can’t make sense of. This is called keyword cannibalization and it can seriously hurt your rankings.

The key to avoiding it is to stick to the one-keyword-per-page rule in your keyword mapping. If you absolutely must have similar pages, use canonical tags to tell Google which one to prioritize.

Get the most out of your content clusters by smartly linking related pages. By connecting the dots between relevant topics, you’ll build a strong foundation that signals to search engines which pages matter most. This strategic approach will boost your core pages’ online visibility.

Of course, the only way to spot potential keyword cannibalization is to conduct regular site audits. Make it a habit to review your keyword map and look for any pages that are competing with each other. Trust me, this extra effort will pay off big time in your SEO results.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Keyword Map

To determine if your keyword map is actually working, you need to track and analyze the data.

Track Your Keyword Rankings

I always keep a close eye on my keyword rankings to see how my mapped pages are performing in search. Tools like Google Search Console make it easy to track my rankings over time and spot any pages that are slipping. Using a reliable rank tracker is essential for monitoring your SEO progress.

If I see a page starting to drop, I dive in to figure out why. Maybe the content needs a refresh or I need to build some new links. The key is to catch these issues early before they snowball into bigger problems.

Analyze Traffic and Conversions

I focus on one crucial metric above all else: the quality of traffic and conversions my pages drive. Using Google Analytics, I track key performance indicators like organic traffic, bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rate for each of my mapped pages, keeping a close eye on what’s working and what’s not.

If a page is ranking well but not getting much traffic or conversions, that’s a red flag. It could mean the keyword doesn’t match search intent or my page isn’t compelling enough to keep people engaged.

On the other hand, pages with high traffic and conversions are ripe for optimization — I’ll often double down on these topics to boost their search volume even more.

The insights I glean from tracking rankings and analytics help me continuously fine-tune my keyword map and overall SEO strategy.

I’m always asking myself: Which relevant keywords are performing best? Where are there gaps or opportunities to drive more traffic? How can I better align my pages with search intent?

With each evolving keyword insight, I make adjustments to my content and SEO approach, honing my online presence and strengthening my chances of ranking higher on Google search results.

Best Practices for Maintaining Your Keyword Map

Tired of seeing your keyword mapping efforts fall flat? Take a cue from my experience — constant refinement is the key. Investing time in optimizing my approach has paid huge dividends in my quest for keyword domination.

Regularly Update Your Keyword Map

I treat my keyword map as a living document, not something I create once and then let collect dust. I’m in there at least once a quarter, if not monthly, refreshing my keyword targets and remapping pages as needed.

Think about it – digital marketing and search trends move fast. The keywords I mapped six months ago may not be as relevant or lucrative now.

Or I may have published new content that changes the game.

By revisiting my keyword map regularly, I ensure it always reflects my latest priorities and insights.

Collaborate with Your Team

While I’m the point person for our SEO, keyword mapping is truly a team sport. I work closely with our content creators, SEO consultants, and technical SEO folks to get input and buy-in on our keyword strategy.

We sit down together to dive into our trusty keyword map, nestled within Google Sheets. As we debate the keywords to prioritize and optimize each page, these collaborative sessions yield not only better decisions but also a united front behind our marketing strategy — with all roles clearly defined and synced up.

Leverage SEO Tools

Digital marketing success relies heavily on a solid understanding of keyword research. With tools like Google Keyword Planner, I’m able to pinpoint lucrative long-tail keywords, uncover competitor strategies, and stay ahead of the competition.

But I don’t just use these tools for research — I also use them to automate a lot of the tedious aspects of keyword mapping and tracking.

For example, I set up regular site crawls and reports to alert me to any technical SEO issues or keyword cannibalization risks. This frees me up to focus on the strategic side of content planning and content creation.

FAQs: How to Do Keyword Mapping

How do you do keyword mapping?

Start by identifying your seed keywords and then brainstorming related terms.

Next, group and prioritize them using tools like Google Sheets or keyword planners.

Finally, create a map by categorizing and organizing your keywords.

What is keyword URL mapping?

Keyword URL mapping is a strategic process in SEO where specific keywords are assigned to relevant pages on a website to enhance search engine visibility and user experience. This technique involves matching targeted keywords with the most appropriate URLs, ensuring that each keyword directs users to a page that provides the best content related to their search query.

What are the 3 steps to keyword searching?

Step 1: Brainstorm seed keywords and secondary keywords using keyword research tools.

Step 2: Analyze and filter your list, looking for relevance, search volume, and ranking difficulty.

Step 3: Refine your list, prioritize high-intent keywords, and group them into topics.

How to do keyword tracking?

Start by identifying the keywords you want to track, then input these keywords into your chosen tracking tool. These tools will provide data on where your website ranks for these keywords, how these rankings change over time, and insights into keyword performance metrics like search volume, competition, and click-through rates.

Regularly reviewing this data helps in adjusting your SEO strategy, identifying opportunities for improvement, and measuring the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns.

Conclusion

In a world where everyone is vying for attention online, knowing how to do keyword mapping can be the difference between success and failure.

By taking the time to research, organize, and optimize your keywords, you can create a website that not only ranks well but also provides value to your audience.

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Written by Justin McGill

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