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 http://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