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JULY 19, 2018 //     

How to use a keyword map for SEO

By Jess Docherty

There’s no doubt that a keyword map can help focus your content creation and help you rank better on the SERP. So, if you’d like to clean up your keyword strategy and improve your ranking, this is the blog for you. Let’s start with the basics.

What is a keyword map?

A keyword map brings together your keyword research, content strategy and competition for your key topics and interests. It is best to gather all this information into a single spreadsheet. On there you should include data that shows how difficult it might be to try to rank for each keyword or phrase. The end result is a clear map. It tells you where to make improvements to existing content and offers a space to track the rise (and sometimes fall) of your target keywords and topics. By keeping a close eye on this you can improve the visibility of your site to customers at their point of need.

Why bother using a keyword map?

Google serves millions of search results in less than a second. Not ten seconds. Not even two. All because we don’t wait around that long for answers. Therefore, asking your target audience to patiently scroll to the 20th, 13th or even 6th position just isn’t realistic.

Human beings are pretty lazy. So, we don’t like to scroll and we trust search engines to provide us with the best information for our query without much relative thought. This becomes even clearer when you consider the Google Click Through Rates (CTR) by position:

1 – 41.91%

2 – 16.35%

3 – 10.06%

4 – 6.66%

5 – 4.76%

6 – 3.56%

7 – 2.68%

8 – 2.14%

9 – 1.67%

10 – 1.46%

[Data from Advanced Web Ranking’s CTR Study – International Desktop Search in June 2018]

On the first page alone, the first five organic results account for 79.74% of all the clicks. So when people go looking for answers, how do you make sure you’re first in line? A keyword map is a good place to start. It can help you not only assess the quality of your existing content but also identify gaps in your strategy and track your progress.

How to use a keyword map

It’s not enough to say ‘I want to rank number one’ for any given keyword. Similarly to most big goals in life and business, it’s best to break down this down into achievable steps. That’s where your keyword map comes in. It is the backbone of your digital strategy. In my mind, there are a few key pieces of information that any good keyword map should offer you. So, let’s go through them now:

One, it should be easy to identify any pages that do not have a unique keyword allocated to them.

There is nothing worse than spending time creating awesome content for no-one to see it. In the first place, make sure that each new page you create (and those already on your site) is optimised for a unique keyword or phrase.

Two, it should give you the details of which content currently ranks for your chosen keyword.

This gives you a great place to start pulling ahead of the competition. By reviewing your competitors’ strategy and content you can identify changes you need to make to your content to help get the edge.

Three, it should show you the gaps in your strategy.

Your keyword map should open up new areas and topics for consideration where the difficulty is low and potential reward is high, so don’t forget to track this.

Four, it should prove its own worth.

A great keyword map should give clear metrics and focus to your content strategy. Correspondingly, with each new piece of content you add or edit you make your keyword map should make it clear and simple to see what’s driving more traffic and hopefully sales!

Once you’ve mastered your keyword map you can start to set your sights on the holy grail: SERP features. 

If you need help building your own keyword map, we’d love to hear from you.

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