The search terms that you choose for your website can have a massive impact on the overall success of your website. Having the correct keywords targeting the ideal page greatly lower your bounce-rate and subsequently raise your conversion rate, meaning greater success for your online business.
Having a properly mapped out keyword map allows you to target the right search traffic for the right page of the site and allows you to put the right page in front of the right audience and also allows that page to broadcast the best possible message to make that page as appealing as possible for browsers to click.
An effective keyword map which is built properly also stops major site issues such as meta title and meta description duplications from occurring which can massively harm your sites ranking positions.
A keyword map can also open your site up to new audiences and traffic which has previously been missed out on. It does this by suggesting search terms and phrasing which you previously may not have thought of as possibilities.
The guide below will take you through the full process for creating a keyword map that is effective and will help drive targeted traffic which is ready to convert to your site.
Toolkits, Resources and Download
Keyword Map Template Spreadsheet
Gathering Your Current Situation
The first task to perform is to see what the current keyword map of your site looks like as this will help indicate the gaps that need to be filled and the potential keywords and search traffic that your site can be losing out on. There is a fantastic tool called Screaming Frog SEO Spider which can help with this.
Once you have downloaded the tool (there is a free version that will crawl up to 5000 URL’s and a licence version that can be set to crawl an unlimited amount). You then enter your top level URL in the box shown below then press the start button:
This will then set the crawl off for you and you can monitor the progress of the crawl via the progress bar to the right of the screen.
The page titles tab is the screen we are going to use.
The screen will then display the following information in a table format:
The main fields of interest for us in this table are Address (which displays the URL of every page of your site), Title 1 (which shows the current Meta Title set for each page of your site) and Occurrences (which shows if your site has any URL duplication issues).
You can then download this table using the export button located at the left hand side of the screen.
To the left of the button there are also various filter options which can be used. For now we will leave the filter set to all and press the export button. This is allow you to save a CSV file to your computer.
Once this is done open the CSV file to show the table from Screaming Frog. You can then delete the following rows from the spreadsheet, Occurrences, Title 1 Length and Title 1 Pixel Width, leaving you with only the Address and Title 1 rows.
Their is a template document it the resources section titled ‘Keyword Map Template Spreadsheet’
If you want to create your own then you will want to open a second spreadsheet (this will be the keyword research sheet). Once you have opened the second sheet copy the Address row from the first sheet into the second. (This is so we can tell which URL each part of the keyword research is referring too.) Now in the second sheet in row B column 1 call this row “Suggested Keyword” and in Row C column 1 call this row “Average Traffic”.
In the first spreadsheet in row C column 1 call this row “New Meta Title” and in row D column 1 call this row “New Meta Description”.
Their is a template document it the resources section titled ‘Keyword Map Template Spreadsheet’
Researching The Best Keyword Options For Your Pages
Now we have the spreadsheets set up we can begin the keyword research. One of the best free tools to use is Google’s Keyword Planner. The keyword planner gives you traffic estimates for paid search but is also a good indicator of organic traffic as the numbers tend to correlate and represent both traffic types quite accurately.
To begin with this you will need to either sign in to your google account or create a google account. This is a fairly straightforward process and you can use the same account as you previously have used for webmaster and analytic access.
Once you are signed in to your google account there are two ways to access the keyword planner. The first is, type keyword planner into Google, surprisingly the keyword planner tool appears as the number one search result, clicking on the link will take you through to the page.
The second is via the adwords homepage. In the top menu there are five options:
If you click on the tools option you will be presented with a drop down box.
We need the keyword planner option. Wh0ich will then bring you to the following page:
We are going to use the ‘search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’ option which brings up this box:
Your product or service – For your homepage enter the main product or service for your business. For other pages i.e. category and product pages enter the product or service which best reflects that page.
Your Landing Page – Enter the URL of the page
Your Product Category – Choose the category that best matches your product or service. If there is more than one option then repeat the process selecting each option to see if any variations appear in the traffic numbers or the keywords suggested.
Targeting – This is used if your product or service is to be targeted at either, a certain geographical audience or a specific language.
Customise Your Search – You can further customise your search using keyword filters, keyword options and keywords to include.
Using the keyword filters option will allow you to set values to be displayed for Average Monthly Searches, Suggested Bid, Ad Impression Share and Competition. For the purpose of what we are using the software for only Average Monthly Searches and Competition apply. For the first keyword map you create for your site we would suggest that these are left blank but they can be useful tools as you become more experienced with the process.
Again the keyword options section is for more advanced users for your first keyword map we would recommend leaving all the settings as off.
The keywords to include option can be used if you know for certain that a particular word or phrase needs to be included for that page. This will mean you will only see suggestions and variations which include the keywords entered. This option should be used with caution as it can lead to tunnel vision for keywords and ultimately lead to missing out traffic that should have been targeted on pages.
Once the form is filled in press get ideas and then the following page will appear:
The first page presents ad group ideas, we are interested in the second tab, the keyword ideas tab.
The keyword ideas tab displays the following:
The top box displays the main term you entered in the ‘your product or service’ box earlier and displays the average monthly searches, competition rating and other metrics used more in adwords research than keyword map research. The suggested bid column can be a useful indicator on competition also as the higher the suggested bid number is normally means there is a lot of competition for that keyword.
The section below this displays suggested keywords that can be used, the software automatically ranks the suggestions by relevance so a lot of the time you will find the keywords at the top of the page are the best for the page.
It is still useful to explore the first two page of results (if the results go that far) as it can open up potential phrases for your products and services that you may have never thought of.
Now you have this information it is time to start placing the information into the spreadsheet we made earlier. In the keyword research tab of the spreadsheet fill in the first section as shown below:
Select the five highest scoring suggested keywords from the list presented, whilst making sure that the selected keywords all tie in to the products or services offered on the page in question.
Continue to work through the spreadsheet adding each individual URL and upto 5 suggested keywords for each until you have completed the sheet.
Some keywords will appear in the suggested list for more than one keyword, you must decide which page is best to target for that keyword. There are a number of factors in this decision such as, the function of the page i.e. Landing page, Product page, Information page, Category page etc. So deciding which page will benefit the user searching that keyword to land to is a key part of deciding where your most common and popular keywords need to be assigned.
Creating Your New Meta Titles & Descriptions
Once the keyword research sheet is created and fully filled in, we can now begin to build your keyword map from this research. We will be creating your new meta titles and meta descriptions in the fields with their corresponding titles which we created earlier.
You can now work through the keyword map sheet assigning the most relevant and most searched keywords from the keyword research sheet to each URL.
Start by creating the meta title as this is the most important part of this process and getting this right can have a huge impact on the website as the meta title is widely considered the biggest key element in on-page SEO.
There are a few mistakes that often occur when creating meta titles for pages, most commonly the home page and head category pages. People will try to cram as many keywords as possible into the meta title thinking that this will mean the page will rank for a high number of terms. This is commonly lead to falsely representing the page within the search engines leading to a lower conversion rate as visitors are unclear on what they will be presented with when they reach the page. Another issue is the maximum meta title length is 60 characters at which point anything after this is cut off from the search engines and will not appear. Do not worry about making each title reach the 60 character limit if your meta title does what it needs to without being 60 characters in length then there is no need to force words and phasing in where they are not needed.
Having your meta title as a readable sentence is a great way to write the titles and ensure that you are not overloading your meta title with keywords and are clearly defining the keywords that this page is to target.
If there are two or three keywords which are all very similar these can be placed into a meta title without being repeated. For example the meta title Strategic Search and Content Marketing Campaigns covers all of the following keywords:
- Strategic Search and Content Marketing Campaigns
- Strategic Search Marketing Campaigns
- Strategic Marketing Campaigns
- Strategic Search Campaigns
- Strategic Content Marketing Campaigns
- Strategic Marketing Campaigns
- Search and Content Marketing Campaigns
- Search Marketing Campaigns
- Content Marketing Campaigns
See how in just 48 characters we have managed to target 9 traffic driving search terms for just one page of the site. Search engines do read meta titles from left to right so your main term for the page should start from the left of the title. In the example above our main search term for the page is ‘Strategic Search Marketing Campaigns’ which is picked up as the main title when read. (Other on-page SEO factors also play a huge part in helping to identify the main search term for a page and these factors are covered in our module guides).
If a main search term is also covered as a secondary search term in another meta title this is fine as you will see from the example above this is sometimes unavoidable, issues only occur when a primary search term is being targeted on more than one page.
Having a term feature as a primary search term on one page and as a secondary search term on another page can also in certain circumstances lead to your site being featured more than once in the search engine results. (This typically occurs with less competitive search terms due to a lack of competition and other factors).
Once your meta titles are written your focus can now shift to creating perfect meta descriptions to support your newly formed meta titles. There are two main purposes of a meta description, the first is it is an opportunity to sell your page to prospective traffic from search engines and social media platforms. Your meta description is a small piece of hook content which can help to convince browsing search traffic that your page will provide the answers they need.
The second is to reinforce the search terms targeted in the meta title.
The maximum length of a meta description is 160 characters and again uniqueness is key to a great meta description. To make sure that the search terms in the meta title are being reinforced we would advise you to have your meta title as the start of your meta description.
After doing this you will be left with at least 100 characters in which to sell your page to search browsers so mention anything that you can think of that will make your page stand out from the competition for your keywords. This can be special offers, the cost of your product or service, a higher level or more personal customer service than your competition. Just try to base it around how your page is different from your competitors and why they should be clicking through to you and not them
Meta descriptions can also be pulled through when people share your page on social media. (Ideally the description pulled through is set using meta data programmed exclusively for each social platform which we have covered in an advanced module). So have this in mind when writing the meta descriptions for pages which you expect to receive high social sharing figures as the descriptions may need to be altered for a wider, more general audience and not more specific audience your meta descriptions will encounter in the search engines.
Once you have completed both the meta title and meta description columns you have now created your first keyword map for your site.
Checking Your Keyword Map
Now you have your very first keyword map, the time has come to check for any mistakes or duplication’s within it. Human error is something that we are all guilty of so do not worry if mistakes have occurred within the keyword map as this happens to us all and the larger the keyword map you have created the more likely errors are to occur.
The first tool that can be run is the spell check tool. (This can be found in the Review tab on Microsoft Excel and within the Tools tab of Google Drive’s Spreadsheets).
The find tool is another great tool to use. This tool will help you to spot any duplication’s which may have occurred. Search for the most occurring keywords with your keyword research using the find tool as these are likely to be the keywords that you may have duplicated.
Apart from the tools mentioned above the check is mainly a manual process of going back through your keyword map to notice if anything needs changing. Another great tactic to employ is to ask someone else to read through the map to see if they can spot any errors and offer their opinions on the keywords chosen and also the descriptions written. (having someone with knowledge of your business is a better option as they will already have an understanding of the products and services which you offer).
Once the keyword map is uploaded there is a section of Google Webmaster Tools which can also be used as an error checker. This is covered in more detail in our Identify & Fix Important Technical SEO Issues Google Webmaster Tools Setup module. To access the relevant information go to the Search Appearance sub-menu then to the HTML improvements section. Here it will tell you the overall number of short, missing and duplicate meta titles and descriptions that your site has.
Clicking into each section will display a list of the pages with each issue.
As you can see from the example above, webmasters tools is displaying 16 pages with duplicate meta descriptions and 34 pages with short meta descriptions. It has also found 18 duplicate title tags.
Implementing Your New Keyword Map Into Your Site
Every CMS (Content Management System) will allow the implementation of both meta titles and meta descriptions. Some will require an additional plugin or module to be installed. Custom built CMS’s should include this function but if not ask the developers of the platform to implement this for you as it should not be a difficult task.
If you site does not use a CMS then the metadata will need to be entered into the core html code for each page.
If you are unsure of how to enter metadata into your site then please ask your web developer how this can be done on your website.
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