Each page of your site has the potential for search ranking. While your overall domain will carry its own authority and relevance to particular keyword terms, it’s your individual pages that do most of the heavy lifting.
You use your individual pages to target specific keyword phrases, and build up their page authority to earn higher rankings for those pages—but how can you tell if you’re maximizing the effectiveness of your efforts?
Where Keyword Mapping Fits In
Ordinarily, keyword research and content creation are treated as somewhat independent strategies. Keyword research gives you information about potential keyword opportunities, and content gives you a platform to explore those opportunities.
The trouble is, if you treat these strategies as separate for long enough, you’ll start to notice problems with your approach. For example, you may target keyword phrases redundantly, using multiple pages to target the same keyword; this crowds space in SERPs and prevents you from earning new territory elsewhere.
Keyword mapping forces you to evaluate which keyword phrases are sending traffic to which pages of your site. As the name suggests, it’s a way of laying out your site pages and pinpointing the key targets of each page.
Getting The Information
Unfortunately, the keyword mapping process can be a bit tricky. As MediaOne points out, Google gives keyword information (such as search volume) far more ambiguously and less consistently than it has before. The motivation behind this move is to prevent black-hat techniques like keyword stuffing, but it definitely makes life difficult for the average marketer.
Fortunately, there are many third-party tools that can help you fill in the gaps. Companies like Ahrefs and SEMRush offer research tools that allow you to learn more about the keywords you’re targeting, how your pages are ranking in search engines, and potential routes for future development. Use this information, including keyword-based search volume, to map keywords to various pages of your site and understand where your traffic is coming from.
Four Main Goals
What can you hope to achieve from this process? There are four main goals:
1. Target More Specifics
Moz describes a situation known as a “Frankenpage.”
Like Frankenstein’s monster is cobbled together from parts of various dead bodies, a page of your site can be cobbled together to target various different keywords simultaneously.
f you notice one page of your site targeting multiple ambiguous queries, tighten things up by zeroing in on one key target phrase.
2. Update Old Posts
You may also notice that your site targets one of your most important keyword phrases, but only with content that’s outdated. For example, you may see a keyword term present in a blog post from 2009, but nowhere else on your site. This situation doesn’t demand the creation of new content, per se, but you should at least update your older content with new information.
3. Eliminate Redundancy
As SEO Brothers explain, “while it is possible to have multiple rankings in the search engines for a specific search term, your effort is better spent by optimizing the different pages on your website for completely unique keyword groups.” During the keyword mapping process, you may notice that you have two or three pages ranking for one keyword phrase; since users likely aren’t going to click more than one result, it’s in your best interest to take the two lower-ranking pages and update them to target different keywords altogether. Otherwise, it could remain wasted potential.
4. Enter New Territory
Finally, you’ll likely discover new opportunities to explore with altogether new content. You’ll want to target keywords and phrases that offer high potential search volume but low competition, and keywords complementary to the ones you’re already targeting. You can explore these new opportunities by revising some of your redundant content (see previous goal), or by creating new pages on your site entirely.
If you’re new to keyword mapping, it may seem a bit intimidating, but the fundamentals are quite simple. Your job is to properly identify which pages of your site target which keywords, and make adjustments so you earn more traffic and cover more ground.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a relatively easy way to analyze and improve the efficiency of your campaign.
* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com