While there are many layers to developing a solid SEO strategy, well-researched keyword mapping is the foundation from which you should build your strategy. The keyword mapping process gives your SEO strategy a framework for optimizing your on-page content.
There is a multitude of ways you can go about setting up your keyword map. Because of this, it is hard to know where to start. The information below will guide you through the various parts and pieces of keyword mapping so you can create a solid SEO strategy that gets you the ranking and conversions you need.
What is Keyword Mapping?
Keyword mapping involves matching well-researched keywords to specific pages on your site based on the intent of your target audience. This process involves creating new pages or new content to support the chosen keywords for your site. Additionally, you may have pages on your site that are not targeting any specific keywords. Having all of this information laid out in front of you can help you optimize and prioritize your on-page content.
Keywords are what your target audience types into a search engine. Choosing the correct keywords to reach your audience requires research. If you forgo the research, you risk blindly creating content and hurting your page’s ranking.
Though there are some great free or low-cost keyword research tools out there, an easy way to fill up your list of relevant keywords is to head over to Google.com. Type in a keyword you know you want to target and scroll to the bottom of the page. Google generates a list of searches that relate to your original search.
Be sure to look into what keywords your competition is using and make use of tools like Google Trends to compare how different keywords stack up against each other.
You may find that it takes very little time for your list of keywords and keyword phrases to become too long. It may be hard to decipher which keyword you want to focus on and how to relate it back to the main intent of your website. This is where a concept map, or mind map, can really help you stay on track.
Concept → Keyword Mapping
A concept map is a visual planning tool that depicts the relationship between two things. In SEO, this means putting your main keyword at the center of the map and having the related ideas as offshoots to the main keyword. Visually, it would look something like this:
Using a concept map will help keep your keyword mapping relevant, concise, and organized. This way, you aren’t building superfluous pages and mucking up your site’s message.
You may have noticed that “best hotels in Bermuda” isn’t a word; it’s a phrase! Well, if you want to be sure you are creating content relevant to your audience, you have to come up with some keyword phrases, also known as long-tail keywords.
It isn’t enough to just compile a list of words related to what you think your audience wants to read. You need to understand the intent of the user doing the search. That’s where keyword phrases help you reach your target audience and increase the likelihood that they will convert. You get a much better idea of the intent behind a phrase like “how to build a log cabin” than you do from just “cabin.” By focusing on keyword phrases, you are more likely to create relevant content. According to Marketing Sherpa, that can lead to a 40% boost in revenue.
Long Tail Keywords vs. Short Tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are keywords that only use one or two words. The single-word keywords mentioned above are considered short tail as are two-word searches like “adopting dogs” or “house cleaning.” Because of their simplicity, the competition for them is high. Short tail keywords may also show that a page’s content isn’t concise, which search engines frown upon.
Long-tail keywords are phrases that contain anything above two words. These phrases are more specific and appeal to a more niche audience. So instead of targeting a generic keyword like “pizza,” which can be searched some 50,000 times a day, you could target the keyword “best new haven pizza.” and get a lot more conversions from your audience.
What Does A Keyword Map Look Like?
It’s time to build your keyword map and create some solid content. There are a few free keyword mapping templates out there, like this one from HubSpot. Still, the best way to create a keyword map is by using Excel or Google Sheets.
A keyword mapping spreadsheet should be set up so that each row represents a different page on your site and each column is a relevant segment of the optimization process. That may be hard to picture, so here is an example:
You might prefer to include much more information than what is listed above. Some columns you could consider including are:
- Content Grade
- Internal Limits
Using the Map
Now that you have all this data in an easily digestible format, what do you do with it? This map assists you in quite a few critical on-page optimization processes.
- Easily find keywords that do not have any supporting content. This lets you know which pages you still need to build.
- Locate any pages that are missing deliberately targeted keywords. This helps you know what content still needs a direction.
- Pinpointing areas for improvement. Your page may rank really well on desktop, but your loading time on mobile platforms is pretty slow. Keyword mapping helps you focus on these specific areas.
- Keep your priorities in check. Concept to keyword mapping helps keep you on track.
Wrap-Up: Why is Keyword Mapping Important?
Keyword mapping gives your site an intentional structure and direction. It can help you assess your site’s standing in your market and pinpoint areas where you could expand or improve. In the end, concept to keyword mapping tracks the performance of your pages and helps you keep them relevant to your targeted audience.