A keyword map aligns phrases people are searching (your keywords) with the content and structure of your website.
You’ve heard people say “how you build your website affects your SEO” – well this is mainly what they’re referring to. If you want to make your site SEO-friendly then your keywords should be driving the content and how it’s structured. Not your designer or copywriter.
Unfortunately we often find ourselves thinking about keywords and SEO after the site is already developed. That’s OK. You can still learn how to create a keyword map then go back and make changes to your content, permalink structure, and things of that nature.
Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Create a Keyword List
- A full product list
- A full list of your services
- Buzz words used in your industry
- Keywords used by your well-informed audience
- Keywords used by your not well-informed audience
- Cities you’re targeting
- Blog category topics
- Blog article topics (eg. how-to’s and FAQs)
Or anything else that comes to mind that your audience might be searching. Take your time and make your keyword list as long as it needs to be. A good keyword map starts with a good list of keywords. Organize it however you want.
Here’s a brief example:
Step 2: Learn What Keywords People Are Actually Searching
Take each keyword and learn the exact phrase(s) people are using to find it. If you’re not familiar with keyword research, I recommend learning how to find keywords people search in Google. These are the tools I use:
- Google Autocomplete (get keyword suggestions)
- Semify Web Grader (see competitor keywords)
- Google Keyword Planner (see # of searches each keyword has)
Once you know what people are searching, organize your list by creating a spreadsheet. I use Google Sheets. Start entering your keywords and the information in each column.
- Run each keyword through Keyword Planner to see how many monthly searches it has
- This keyword list targets Chicago but yours obviously doesn’t have to
- Use the service/product column to better organize your list
- Assign your own priority (high/medium/low) to each keyword
- You can have multiple keywords for a product/service, which I encourage you do
- Most keywords should be long-tail keywords (keywords with 3+ individual words) since these are more specific, have higher conversion rates, and are less competitive
Step 3: Expand Your Keyword List Based Off Your Research
While using those tools to do some research, you probably came across keywords you didn’t have in your original list. Now is the time to add those to your keyword list.
Step 4: Group Related Keywords
If two keywords have the same meaning (eg. they’re synonyms, plurals, or have different word ordering), group them together in your keyword list (see photo below). Then add the two keyword’s monthly searches together. These are called LSI keywords and since they have the same meaning, they can be targeted on the same page.
Step 5: Create a Keyword Map
I use WriteMaps to create my keyword map (it’s free and very easy to use).
Different Types Of Keyword Maps
Now you know what pages need to be on your site to target the keywords! Don’t forget, your homepage can target a keyword too. This might get you thinking about what your permalink structure will look like, which is the next step to good WordPress SEO.
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