5 Steps to Mapping SEO Keywords for Content Optimization


The search engine optimization (SEO) process doesn’t stop with keyword research. An important next step in SEO strategy is to create a keyword map in which you will choose relevant keywords for the most critical pages on your website. Keyword mapping will be the main tool you use to determine which keywords you will optimize the content of each page for.

Follow these five steps to quickly start mapping keywords on every page of your site.

1. Gather all the URLs from the Collection and Products pages

Depending on the size of your website, there are two ways to compile a list of your URLs. For larger sites with thousands of pages, you can crawl your website with a crawler like Howling frog to extract all category or collection URLs to begin with. Ultimately, you’ll want to optimize the product pages as well. If it’s a smaller website, you can use site navigation to retrieve the URLs for your categories and product pages.

On ecommerce sites, category pages tend to be more likely to rank than a specific product page. The reason is that the user may land on a product page which may be close to what they are looking for, but the product on the page is not of interest to them. In this case, they will bounce back right away. Search engines see this pogo-stick behavior as a failure and will start to lower its ranking over time.

On the other hand, if the searcher lands on a category page with all of the products in that collection listed, they can find exactly what they are looking for and ultimately purchase the product or service that you are selling.

2. Create a keyword map in an Excel spreadsheet

Use Excel to create an organized keyword map. The goal is to identify three relevant keywords in the same theme for each page, so include these nine key headers in your keyword map worksheet:

  • Page
  • Url
  • Total number of searches
  • Main keyword
  • Searches / Month
  • Secondary keyword
  • Searches / Month
  • Tertiary keyword
  • Searches / Month

3. Match relevant keywords to every url on your website

Open the keyword research you have already performed to identify relevant keywords that describe each page accurately. When trying to associate a primary, secondary, and tertiary keyword with each individual URL, you’ll want to open each page to see what’s on those URLs and determine which three keywords work best.

The keywords you choose are the phrases you will optimize each page for in order to rank them in search results. Remember, keywords are where you meet searchers, so using that data you previously collected from the Google Keyword Planner tool is essential.

In the example above, we are using a feminine perfume e-commerce site. Start by filtering the keyword search for concepts relevant to a specific page, and decide what makes sense as a logical keyword theme for that page. You’ll want to pay close attention to the keywords and column with the average monthly searches. Make sure this column stays filtered from largest to smallest so you can know at a glance which keywords are getting the most searches.

Start filling in the data for your keyword card, as shown in the example above.

  • Page – Label the pages as you see fit while accurately describing what they are.
  • Url – Copy any URLs you plan to map from navigation or crawl in the keyword map.
  • Total number of searches – Summarize the total primary, secondary and tertiary searches per month in the total searches column for each page of your site in the keyword map.
  • Main keyword – The main keyword will be the most relevant keyword for that page with the highest average monthly search value from the Google Keyword Planner. Err on the side of relevance, however. Don’t just pick the keyword with the highest searches per month. If the keyword is more relevant, it should be the main keyword, even if it has fewer searches.
  • Searches / Month – You will find this column three times – after each of the three keywords. This is where you will enter the average monthly searches for your primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords from the keyword research. To make it easier, use a VLOOKUP formula to automatically retrieve monthly searches for you.
  • Secondary and tertiary keywords – These keywords fall into two camps: A) they are just as relevant as the main keyword but have fewer searches per month, or B) they are slightly less relevant but still more relevant to this page than to any other page of the site.

Remember, keyword mapping is all about using logic to match what’s on each page with a keyword research to find out the language searchers use to find the products and services that your site is selling. Since each page is about something different, the keywords on each page assigned in the Keyword Map should also be unique. Do not assign the same keywords to multiple pages. The only exception is the home page as it should represent everything on your ecommerce site. Each other page should have its own specific keywords.

4. Determine the pages with the highest potential value for SEO

Once the keyword mapping process is complete and all of your pages are associated with relevant keywords, filter the Total Searches column from largest to smallest. This will tell you the order of pages to optimize first based on potential organic search value.

5. Use the completed keyword map to start the SEO content strategy

Now that you have a completed SEO keyword map, start optimizing your pages, starting with the most interesting pages. Often times, the homepage has the highest potential organic search volume because you’ve chosen keywords here that encompass the whole site, but not always.

Now with this rich and data-filled keyword map, you can start your SEO content optimization. The keyword theme you created for each page – primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords – will be used to optimize the title tag, meta description, H1 header, and body text.

Keep this keyword card handy at all times, and you’ll never have to guess which keywords are the focus of your optimization efforts.


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