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Keyword research is the cornerstone of any content strategy and must begin on the right foot. Having no strategy means no direction, and you will be shooting darts blindly.

Keyword mapping is an integral component of this research that will help you build a complete map of how you will execute your content strategy.

So, if you are new to content strategy and creation, you have come to the right place.

We will discuss everything, from keyword mapping to the different tools you can utilize for a winning strategy. Keep reading to find out more.

What is Keyword Mapping?

A definition post explaining what keyword mapping isAssigning a keyword to each page on your website is known as keyword mapping. You can begin your keyword research and arrange them into clusters to create a flawless site structure.

Keyword mapping is used because Google ranks pages on specific URLs. So, you will have to optimize the URL with the target keyword to help with ranking.

Your keyword cluster for mapping must include your focus keyword, supporting keywords, and variations that will help you rank for the query.

Importance of Keyword Mapping in SEO

An infographic on the importance of keyword mappingKeyword mapping helps marketers to organize the content and market it effectively. However, there are many other reasons why keyword mapping in SEO matters.

Let’s review some of the top reasons why keyword mapping is important:

1. Aids Google’s Understanding of the URL

You are not just writing content for your visitors but also for search engines such as Google. The search engine needs to understand how relevant the URL is for the search query you are trying to rank for.

If you don’t map your keywords accurately, it will become even more challenging for Google to understand the relevance of your content.

So, if you want to please the algorithm gods, we recommend you map the keywords properly throughout your URLs for your content marketing strategy.

2. Helps with Internal Linking Strategy

Maintaining an internal linking strategy is paramount to keyword success. You want your pages to have contextual links from one to another.

Maintaining an organized internal linking strategy helps Google crawlers index your pages while helping visitors find what they need.

The idea is to bring related content together and improve user experience and site structure. All of this will help you rank higher on Google.

An infographic explaining good vs bad site architectureIn the image above, you can see the difference between good and bad site structure for your content strategy.

You can also add a backlinking strategy for the keywords you want to target. You can learn how to get top backlinks for your website here.

3. Discover Opportunities for Content

You will fall behind in Google rankings if you don’t choose the right strategy to map your keywords. You have to ensure that the strategy covers all important keywords.

When you opt for keyword mapping, you will easily find any missing keywords and target them with the relevant pages. However, when you map the keywords like this, you will also find opportunities to create new content.

4. Prevents Keyword Overlapping

Having a keyword map will guarantee you have all the keywords you are targeting in one place. In the long run, this will avoid any keyword overlapping your content may have had without a mapping strategy.

On the other hand, having similar keywords on various pages might lead to duplication issues for your content. So, if you want to effectively assign keywords and avoid issues, we recommend you opt for keyword mapping.

When to do Keyword Mapping: Top 3 Situations

An infographic on when to do keyword mappingIf you want to strengthen your organic SEO strategy, then keyword mapping can help you. However, it may not be necessary for all situations.

Here are the top circumstances where you would need to do keyword mapping for the best results:

Situation 1: When Onboarding a New SEO Client

As a marketer, you onboard many clients and create new websites from scratch. When you begin work on a new SEO client, you can assume they might not have done this before.

In that case, you will have the opportunity to create a detailed and accurate map for the pages. This will help you showcase your skills and optimize the website with the right keywords that will help its rankings.

Situation 2: Identifying New Content Opportunities

Content is everywhere, but quality content isn’t. If you are in the content ideation process, you need to establish each page’s purpose and target related keywords using content pillars, clusters, and more.

We recommend you conduct keyword mapping before content creation to ensure that there is no content overlap. It will also help you identify potential gaps you can fill with the content strategy.

On the other hand, if there is already a page on your site that overlaps with another, it is best to avoid that topic.

The digital world is already competitive, so keeping the content strategy flawless is important.

Situation 3: Before a Website Migration or Redesign

SEO can be a challenge for a website migration or redesign. You can guarantee a temporary dip in traffic as the search engine recrawls your website.

The bots will be confused during this time, and you must ensure this process is seamless. One way you can do that is through keyword mapping.

An accurate keyword map for the new migration or redesign will allow you to track the keywords and content corresponding to a specific URL on the website.

Doing this will allow a more accurate keyword-tracking process. So, ensure you conduct comprehensive keyword mapping for a site redesign or migration.

How to do Keyword Mapping: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have a basic idea of keyword mapping, you might wonder how to begin this process for your website. The good thing is that you can follow specific steps to have an ideal keyword map.

Our SEO experts have created a step-by-step guide for you to learn how to do keyword mapping the right way:

1. Begin with one Keyword or Query

It is best not to overcomplicate things as you begin with the keyword mapping process. We recommend you start with one query or keyword to begin this journey.

Let’s explain this with an example. Say you run a women’s clothing shop in Toronto.

You can begin your search by typing “Women’s clothing Toronto” on Google and find the following results:

Googles related searches result of women's clothing Toronto

On the other hand, if you have an SEO tool like Ahrefs, you can enter the same query and find these related keywords:

Results of Ahrefs search on women's clothing Toronto

As you have your list, you can decide which keywords will be useful to your business and what you want to rank for. If you use Google, you can search various sections, such as People Also Ask, Related Searches, and Google Autocomplete.

2. Find Related Searches of the Keywords

As you broaden your search and queries, you will have a list of potential keywords you can use for your business. Tools like Ahrefs have various related searches, as you can check the questions people are asking related to the search.

In the same way, Google also has a related search section for any keyword you enter in the search bar. Remember that this step will help you guarantee that you don’t have various pages on your site addressing the same topic.

We recommend you group these searches based on the search intent of the query. This will help you create clusters, which brings us to our next step.

3. Create Clusters of Keywords

Keyword clusters are groups with similar keywords that have the same search intent. For example, “women’s clothing Toronto” and “clothing for women Toronto” will yield similar results on Google:

Google search results of clothing for women in Toronto

This means that both of these keywords will fall under the same search intent. When you conduct keyword mapping in SEO, we recommend you assign URLs to different keyword clusters.

This is much more beneficial than assigning keywords to individual pages because of the following reasons:

  • It identifies a complete understanding of the search potential for each topic
  • Decreases the risk of having duplicate content issues in your pages
  • Guarantees that you can optimize your content for a variety of keywords

You can find various long-tail and short-tail keywords by incorporating different methods to conduct keyword research.

Once you have the research, we recommend you manually create clusters to have control over the process.

You can also sort the clusters based on the following categories:

  • Keyword Difficulty: How competitive the keyword is on SERPs
  • Search Intent: The search intent that the keyword cluster satisfies
  • Search Volume: The average number of monthly searches of that keyword on Google
  • Number of Keywords: This is the number of keywords present in one cluster

Such sorting will help you review the keyword mapping strategy and identify keywords based on the categories you have sorted them in.

4. Add a Target URL to each Keyword Cluster

After you have a list of keywords and sorted them into clusters, it is time to assign a target URL to each cluster.

The idea behind assigning a target URL is that it represents the page on your website you want to rank for that specific keyword cluster.

We recommend you review each cluster and then identify the page on your website that will satisfy the search intent of the cluster.

After that, you can assign a target URL to each one to optimize the content later. Remember that when you do this, you might find that you don’t have a page satisfying a certain search intent.

What this means is that you have a content gap in your strategy you need to fill. Consider this an opportunity to expand your website with new but relevant pages.

5. Prioritize the Keyword Clusters you Will Target

Now that you have all the relevant information for keyword mapping, it is time to decide how you will prioritize each keyword cluster for targeting.

A good question to ask yourself during this process is: “What is the value of the keyword I have selected in this keyword cluster?”

The answer to this will let you know if the cluster is relevant to your business objectives. We recommend you prioritize keywords that have a:

  • High search volume
  • Low competition
  • Matching search intent to drive organic traffic to your website

So, be sure to prioritize the keyword cluster based on these various factors. Once you do, you will have an effective strategy that will benefit your SEO efforts for a long time.

6. Build your Keyword Map

It is time to build your keyword map to document the strategy. There are many keyword mapping templates online you can easily find.

On the other hand, you can also build a custom keyword map for your brand.

Here is the process you can follow to create a map without needing a keyword mapping template:

  • Outline the hierarchy of your website in a logical manner
  • Create a subdirectory of your website that lists individual pages (you can create a spreadsheet for this with various columns to organize the material)
  • Add the primary keyword and create columns for meta title, description, header tags, and other elements that will include this keyword
  • Make other columns to list the secondary and tertiary keywords
  • You can also include a column for existing tags and titles if you are optimizing pages already there on the site
  • Add columns for images, word count, body copy, etc. (optional)

Create a spreadsheet using these columns to guarantee your keyword map is building accurately. It will also help you to keep going back to your findings and optimize your content.

7. Optimize the Existing On-Page Content

Now that you have your target keywords, it is time to begin keyword mapping by optimizing your on-page content. Make sure you collect all the existing pages on your site and begin the optimization process.

Optimization is much quicker than creating new content for your website. It also gives you a strong foundation to begin working on your site optimization through SEO.

Here are some practices you can use to optimize your existing on-page content:

  • Optimize the meta title based on the new keywords and findings
  • Write a new meta description to help search engines
  • Optimize the H1 tag
  • Write new body content with proper keywords

You can use primary keywords and secondary keywords throughout the on-page content. Once you do, you will optimize the content in an effective manner.

8. Keep Doing Keyword Mapping Over Time

Keyword mapping is not just a one-time strategy for you to implement in your SEO efforts. Instead, you will have to keep updating the map and do it over time for the best results as you master SEO.

With time, your website will keep growing, and the digital landscape will keep changing. This means you must update the map with the latest content.

You want to avoid duplicate content, which can have hazardous effects on your SEO efforts.

Let’s review some of the top ways you can do keyword mapping over time and stay on top of your strategy:

  • Keep an eye on your Google rankings to check whether your strategy is working
  • Every time you publish a new page or optimize an existing one, you must update your keyword map
  • Conduct keyword research every quarter to determine new opportunities for your content efforts
  • Check your map before you create new pages to avoid duplicate content or keyword overlapping
  • If you have new target clusters, be sure to add it to your map
  • Keep updating your keyword map with new findings

Set aside time every few months to revisit your keyword mapping efforts. Doing this will enable you to stay up-to-date and create stellar website content.

Keyword Cannibalization: How to Avoid During Keyword Mapping

A definition post explaining what is keyword cannibalizationKeyword cannibalization is an SEO issue that occurs when multiple pages on your website target the same keywords with the same purpose. When you do this, you are harming your search engine rankings in the long run.

When you cannibalize keywords in this way, search engines will also become confused about the most relevant page on your website for that specific query.

Keyword cannibalization can take place when you:

  • Optimize various pages for the same keyword
  • Publish similar content pieces over time
  • Don’t optimize the subcategory pages
  • Publish new versions of pages without redirecting old ones

Now that you know what keyword cannibalization is, here are some ways you can avoid this mistake during the keyword mapping process:

1. Follow the One Unique Topic Rule

If you want to prevent keyword cannibalization, we recommend sticking to the one unique topic rule when keyword mapping.

This is why sorting your keywords based on search intent in your keyword map is crucial. It will help you avoid using similar keywords for one topic.

Create keywords into groups of topics, and then decide which ones will best suit the search intent and your strategy.

2. Audit your Content Frequently

Keyword mapping means keeping an eye on your content and auditing it frequently. It is crucial to track the performance of your keyword map to make changes when necessary without cannibalizing the same keywords.

Some questions you can ask during an SEO content audit to avoid keyword cannibalization include the following:

  • Are the keywords and topics still relevant?
  • Are the keywords more or less the same for various topics?
  • Am I prioritizing the right keywords from the map?
  • Which keywords and topics from the map meet the marketing objectives?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can check your keyword map to ensure no issues occur.

3. Delete Posts if Keyword Cannibalization Becomes an Issue

Finally, if you still have keyword cannibalization issues, we recommend you delete some posts. At this point, content optimization from your keyword map will not be effective.

We recommend deleting overlapping content from your website to ensure that your search engine rankings don’t take a dip. Please note that it is not a good practice to do this if those similar posts are generating organic traffic and bringing in leads.

In that case, it is good to keep everything in mind and then decide what you will do regarding your keyword strategy.

Keyword Mapping Tools to Use

Keyword mapping doesn’t just happen overnight. You need a content team and the right tools at your disposal to make this happen.

Let’s review some of the top keyword mapping tools you can add to your arsenal to guarantee you begin the mapping journey on the right foot:

Tool 1: SEMRush – Best for Keyword Research

Semrush keyword overview toolA keyword research tool is incredibly important when you begin your journey. SEMRush is great for keyword research, as it will help you find the best keywords that will drive your content strategy.

The data is based on various factors, such as:

  • Search volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Search intent
  • Competition level
  • SERP features
  • CPC
  • And much more

So, if you want to conduct extensive research and find the right keywords for your map, then we recommend you opt for this tool.

Tool 2: Ahrefs – Best for Keyword Clustering

Once you have a few keywords for your map, it is time to begin finding their parent topics and clusters with Ahrefs. The tool clusters the search queries based on Parent Topics and Terms.

The example below shows how Ahrefs has clustered the parent topic of digital marketing.

Keyword clusters by parent topic on Ahrefs dashboard

Here is another example of how Ahrefs has clustered the same topic of digital marketing based on terms.

Keyword clusters by terms on Ahrefs dashboard

You can choose any option to begin clustering your queries for effective keyword mapping.

On the other hand, it is also a great tool to use to add your competitor’s URL to their Site Explorer option and check what keywords they are using and ranking for.

All of this data will help you build a solid keyword map for your brand.

Tool 3: Google Search Console – Best for Tracking Content Performance

Google search console showing content metrics Finally, it is important you have a tool that can give you insights into your content performance. Google Search Console is one of the top options that will help you track various metrics regarding your content, which include the following:

  • Average click-through rate
  • Impressions
  • Average position on Google
  • Clicks on a specific piece of content
  • Search queries people are using to find your content
  • And much more

This is a free tool, and it will also go well with Google Analytics, which will help you identify gaps in your content and find new opportunities. We recommend adding this to your arsenal to benefit from keyword mapping in the best way possible.

Keyword Mapping Template

We have created a keyword mapping template for you to save and fill in as you please. Be sure to download this image and begin mapping your keywords:

A keyword mapping template for marketersFAQs

What is keyword mapping?

Keyword mapping is when you assign a keyword to each page on your website. You can cluster these pages based on the parent topic, terms, or search intent. In the long run, this helps you create a flawless site architecture.

What is the benefit of keyword mapping?

Keyword mapping provides insights into your website’s state and SEO strategy. You can then utilize this data to make relevant changes to your SEO campaigns. The map will help you tweak your strategy for the best outcomes.

What is URL mapping in SEO?

In SEO, URL mapping is when you match the keywords to target URLs on your website to ensure you use the right pages to rank for a specific keyword. Doing this helps avoid overlapping or duplicate content in your SEO efforts.

How do I create a keyword map for my website?

You can create a keyword map by following this process:

  1. Begin with a keyword or topic search
  2. Find related searches
  3. Create topic clusters
  4. Assign a URL to each cluster
  5. Prioritize the clusters to target
  6. Build the keyword map
  7. Optimize existing on-page content
  8. Keep conducting keyword mapping

Final Thoughts

That was your complete guide on how to do keyword mapping for your business. The process takes time, and you will have to keep reviewing your strategy to make relevant changes over time.

However, if you want to outsource this process, then be sure to connect with our experts at The Dreams Agency. SEO is one of our top services that will allow you to rank high on Google with the right content tactics.