Last Updated on September 9, 2020
Riding An SEO Wave
There are multiple ways to approach White Hat SEO for a website. Keyword mapping is a powerful way to identify and leverage search terms that are getting your site organically visible. In this post, I’ll explain what it is, who needs it and where to mine for this powerful SEO data.Ready to Talk?
For Brand New Websites
One approach to White Hat SEO is to figure out the search terms most popular with your target audience and then apply those keywords strategically to a website. That makes total sense for a new web presence when you don’t have historical data as a reference. In this instance, I recommend that you:
- Install Google Analytics and connect Google Search Console in order to collect insightful data. You’ll need to add code to your website which can be tricky depending upon your content management system (CMS).
- Be prepared for some hard work, as you’ll be competing with other websites with a longer track record with search engines. Organic SEO is a long-term strategy.
- Budget for keyword research with a White Hat SEO firm. Here are some questions to ask when interviewing agencies as competency, pricing, and ethics can vary widely. If you want to do-it-your-self, get familiar with keyword research tools (like AdWords Keyword Tool) and Google trends to identify search phrases that will benefit your site.
Existing Sites with Historical Data
When we begin working with many of our clients, keyword research wasn’t done before launching their website. They guessed at search terms or did some cursory research to include in their web content. Web traffic may increase, but they’re unhappy with the quantity or quality of online leads. In this instance, they haven’t optimized their website to attract the right traffic or they haven’t zeroed in on terms that can bring in more qualified leads.
Keyword Mapping Using Insights within Search Console
There’s a treasure trove of information waiting for you in Search Console. Keyword mapping is simply organizing the information available in Search Console into a way you can discern and leverage what’s already working and fix what’s wiping you out in organic search.
In Search Queries (within Google Search Console), you’ll see all the search queries associated with your website. Here are ingredients you need for keyword mapping.
- Search term (query)
- Average Position
- Pages associated with the search term
Organizing Your Keyword Map
We use Excel to download the Search Console tables and build a keyword map. Warning: it’s a laborious and repetitive task, especially if your website has a lot of content.
Keyword mapping takes time, patience and attention to detail. You’ll be organizing the data by each web page. Your spreadsheet will have these columns:
Using The Map
By mapping the data this way, you’ll better understand how Google has indexed your website pages. Most likely you’ll see that more than one keyword is associated with a page. Ideally, you have one keyword per web page. Why? You want to have one page that best answers the search query. For example, the best page for your brand name is probably the home page. If Google thinks that multiple pages answer that question, it’s confusing. You want to give a clear signal as to what a page is about and what question you’re answering.
When it’s finished, you’ll see what Google thinks are keywords for each of your pages. If you’ve done keyword research — collecting data about terms that will attract the most qualified website traffic — you can compare and contrast those keywords.
Finding the Right Path
As you work through your keyword map, ask this question: is this the best keyword for the page? If so, great. If not, you have re-optimization to do. Have you mapped out your keyword data?