I'm going to share a SEO tool that I personally use to help identify the ideal page to work on to improve ranking for specific keywords.
After you've completed keyword research and uncovered the top words and phrases that you want more organic visibility for the next step is to determine the best pages to optimize for those keywords aka keyword mapping. I've found that the best way to do this is to check with Google.
Naturally the page that Google sees as the most relevant for the keyword will be the easiest page to rank for that given keyword. So all we have to do is find which page Google already sees as the most relevant for each keyword.
The long way to find that page is to do a search and see which page Google ranks the highest. The short way is to use Google's site: search feature. (For more SEO search operators, click here)
How To Use Google Site Search (Site:)
It's simple. Just type site:www.yourwebsite.com "keyword" into the Google search bar. Replace www.yourwebsite.com with your URL, make sure there are no spaces between the site: and the URL and replace "keyword" with your keyword. The page that ranks the highest will be the page that Google finds the most relevant for the keyword.
Google sees https://www.searchenginepeople.com/search-engine-optimization/on-page as the most relevant page on searchenginepeople.com for a search for "On Page SEO". Google will likely rank this page the highest for "On Page SEO"; therefore, if we want to improve rankings for that specific search that URL would be a good best place to start.
Does This Work On Newer Sites?
Content is key. Many sites won't be optimized very well before doing SEO but Google site search is still very good at finding the best page to start working on as long as there is relevant content to match up with the search.
This speaks to a very simple principle of SEO: if you don't mention the words you want to rank for within the text content of your site it is very difficult if not impossible to rank in search engines.
What If You Get No Results?
Opportunity! If Google can't find a relevant page on your site it is an excellent opportunity to add new content for keywords that you have already identified as important to your business. This will give your site a chance to rank for more keywords and increase organic traffic from new searches.
Add a page filled with great unique content that speaks expertly about the topic the target keywords refer to, optimize it for search and watch the new traffic start to roll in.
Never Forget Common Sense
This tool isn't the end all be all when it comes to keyword mapping. Be sure the page ranking #1 in Google site search is actually the best for your goals. Sometimes there are business reasons to target a different page or maybe Google is telling you that every keyword should be mapped to the homepage.
You don't always have to pick the top result if it doesn't make business sense or there are already too many keywords mapped to the suggested page.
In some cases you will need to choose another page or create a new page if the one Google recommends is only vaguely relevant.
When selecting an existing page it should almost always be within the top few results of the Google site search results otherwise you will always be fighting an uphill battle to rank a page that Google doesn't naturally find relevant.
Google site: Search is a very simple way to help determine which page should be optimized for a specific keyword. It works well because it is quick, easy and tells you which page Google already prefers for a given keyword.
Is There A Better Way? Please Share Your Opinion
How do you map keywords for on-page SEO? What techniques or tools are you using ? Does this look better or worse than what you are currently doing?
* Leader image adapted from a bill
13 thoughts on “How To Choose The Best Page To Optimize For Your Keyword”
Great article – I’m using this method for a project I’m working on right now. I would love to see more about keyword mapping and will be following the comments for new suggestions!
Great tip. I think this is one of the most underutilized site:search functions.
Great post Craig, and it truly is the best way to see which terms Google thinks each page is most relevant for.
Fantastic tip Craig. It’s also a great way to identify keyword cannibalization that may be occurring within your site where multiple pages are competing for the same keywords.
Exactly, Thanks Nathan! It is a way to identify opportunities to further diversify the language you use on your site to gain more visibility for more keywords.
In my opinion common sense is best tool to recognize the page for keyword optimization. I found many times wrong resultsfrom this query.
I agree common sense is best, but its a not a scalable tool. When you combine common sense with this tool it makes you more efficient by helping to point you in the right direction. Its especially helpful with big sites with allot of similar content. By optimizing the pages that Google already sees as relevant you will have a much better chance of ranking in shorter period of time.
So when i tried googling our main keyword with the site search, our homepage ranked first. However in the SERP for just the keyword it is ranking one of our categories (the second result in the site operator search) – this has just left me more confused.
That can happen, its rare but it happens. The good thing here is that Google sees both those pages as relevant for your main keyword. And if its your main keyword I like the idea of it being optimized on your homepage and its category page. Remember this tool is a great guide but it doesn’t have all the answers. To quote Bruce Lee “Its like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory…” 🙂
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