Skip to content

Keyword mapping: What Is It And How To Do It In 2023


You’ll find the video transcript at the end of the post. Now on with the original post.

You can optimize a page for more than one keywords but you shouldn’t spend too much time optimizing multiple pages for the same keyword.

I remember an old mentor telling me this years ago. While it is possible to have multiple rankings in the search engines for a specific search term, your effort is better spent by optimizing the different pages on your website for completely unique keyword groups.

Let’s explore how to setup your keyword mapping for success:

Many SEOs speed through this process without really planning or properly mapping keywords. Once they complete the keyword research process they simply dive into on-page and off-page seo. The typical result is that the homepage gets the focus for most of the keywords which can result in an over-optimization of the homepage both in terms of on-page and link building.

It’s important to take the time and do this process and planning right.

What Is Keyword Mapping

Keyword mapping is the process of assigning or mapping keywords to specific pages on a website based on keyword research. Based on your mapping process you are able to then make specific on page seo recommendations to help make the page more relevant to the mapped keywords.

This is a huge part of what involved within the initial search engine optimization for a new website and is the foundation of what gets delivered to the client for on-page SEO projects.

How To Do Keyword Mapping

Keyword mapping, once you understand the process, is quite simple. Personally, I like to take two steps before mapping keywords.

Keyword Research

You need to know what keywords you’re going to be working with and mapping to the website. Proper keyword research is very important here. Uncovering both head and long tail keywords will help you create a well planned mapping document. Don’t get caught up in having to rank for every good keyword that you find. You’ll work with the client to set expectations, during the keyword research phase you are simply finding opportunities and understanding the industry.

Once you have a solid list of keywords within the industry and potentially geo-graphical location, you’ll want to move into mapping them to the most appropriate pages.

Current Relevancy Check

The idea of keyword mapping is that we’re going to be assigning these keywords to the pages that we want to rank for them. To do this, we’ll need to ask the question, what page is the most relevant to this particular keywords?, for every keyword that we’ve identified.

There are usually groupings of similar keywords – variations of positions, plurals, synonyms, etc – that get mapped to the same page so it should cut your time down a little bit.

The first step to assigning the keywords to to figure out which pages are the most relevant in terms of both you as a human being and Google as a search engine. Hopefully these two are aligned, but if they aren’t I always go for me as a human being.

Lets use this website, SEO Brothers as an example:

If I wanted to map the keyword link building to the most relevant page, as a human being I would likely pick the link building post here as I think it matches the searcher intent and topic the best out of all the content on the website. However, we’ll need to confirm that Google agrees by checking it with a site: modifier.

keyword mapping relevance check

As you can see when we search Google for a link building (replacing the keyword and website with your own) we find that Google returns the same link building page as the first result. This confirms our thoughts about it being the most relevant page.

It is safe to map that head keyword (and likely some long-tail keywords to that particular page).

Preparing a Keyword Mapping Document

To help keep things organized and to best deliver an on-page optimization document to your client you will want to prepare a keyword mapping document. This can sometimes be called an on-page optimization document or an SEO change document. Different companies and agencies may refer to it as something different but it should do the same thing.

A keyword mapping document is usually spreadsheet-based where each row is a specific page on the website and each column is a crucial element for the on-page optimization process.

Here’s a picture to give you an idea of what we mean:

keyword mapping

I like to pull the existing page data and then make a recommendation on what the new page data should be. I feel this adds a bit more value to the client because they can see what you did in terms of work to get things aligned better with the keywords.

Also, what you don’t see there is some notes for each page – they can include body content recommendations, word count recommendations, image alt tagging recommendations, etc.

While the mapping process is really only assigning the keywords into the mapped keyword column, this is the foundation on which you will create the recommended page data for each page and ultimately what you will deliver to the client.

An existing website vs a redesign

There are some slight differences in both the document and how you would map the keywords in each scenario. With a new website, chances are you will have some sort of sitemap to work from (or have already put that together yourself). You can use each of the pages from the sitemap for the document and work from there.

In the case of a redesign, you’ll likely have a set of pages and URLs from the old site. Be sure to use the updated URLs as they will appear on the new site (if you’ve prepared a 301 redirect document, use the final destination URLs). With a redesign it’s also possible that you may need to create pages yourself, if you have an excess of keywords that do not fit well with the proposed sitemap. In this case, just add an extra map into the spreadsheet and mark it as new.

Assigning the keywords to each page is also a little different for a redesign, because you’ll want to take into account what pages are currently ranking the best for your keyword list. If your homepage is ranking in the second page for a few keywords that you wanted to map to your services page, it might make more sense to map them to the homepage instead – chances are it will take less effort to rank them higher than trying to rank the different page.

This should be a case-by-case basis though, because sometimes you’ll see higher rankings on the new page once it’s properly optimized to target that keyword.

How To Do Keyword Mapping Video Transcript:

Hey everyone, Adam here from SEO Brothers. In today’s video we’re going to wrap up our keyword theme of the month with a video on Keyword Mapping.

Specifically we’re going to look at why and how to map keywords effectively to your website structure.

So what is keyword mapping?

Keyword mapping is the process of assigning keywords – discovered during your keyword research – to specific pages on a website based on their searcher intent.

Based on your mapping process you are able to then make specific on-page optimizations or recommendations to help make the page become more relevant to the mapped keywords.

What does a keyword mapping document typically look like?

I can’t speak on what everyone uses, but typically a mapping and optimization document is a spreadsheet where the rows indicate pages on the website and the columns contain the values of different meta-data, for example, column one might be URL slug, then mapped keywords, they optimized page title and so on.

Why should you go through the keyword mapping process at all?

I like to break this down into two reasons.

#1 – Everyone has visibility on what keywords are a priority for any given page.

This is particularly important if you’re doing on-going content creation or content marketing where you have a lot of opportunity to internally link and reference other content. These mapped keywords on your core service pages or even other blog posts can guide what anchors to use when linking internally.

#2 – It avoids duplicate content

Again, if you’re consistently publishing content, it’s easy to forget what was published a year ago, or even a couple months ago and decide to write something very similar to what was already created.

In this case, if you have a similar idea it’s possible that it might be better to refresh an existing post that talks about the same topic – making it more of an authority on that subject matter.

Now that we’ve covered the why and understand what a keyword mapping document looks like, I want talk about three considerations to take when doing the actual mapping of the keywords, or in other words, how do we map keywords to our website.

#1 – the first consideration is to look at keywords based on their searcher intent.

It used to be common practice to see very similar keywords mapped to different pages. For example, you may have seen a keyword like Cleveland home builder mapped to a website’s homepage, but then the keyword home builder in Cleveland might have been mapped to a separate service or about page.

While this used to be common practice, it just doesn’t cut it anymore and ends up leading to duplicate content, thin content, or just content that focuses on the search engine and not the user.

Today, we want to group our keywords based on the intent of the searcher searching for them. So it’s safe to assume that someone looking for Cleveland home builders and home builders in Cleveland has the same intent behind each of those searches – they are looking for a company that builds homes in Cleveland.

#2 – the next consideration is what Google is already returning in the search engine.

We talked about this last week so I won’t get into too much detail, but I like to do just a quick Google search for each of the keyword groups I’m targeting and see what they are currently returning in the top results.

If the page that I want to map these keywords to doesn’t look or feel like anything Google’s returning in the top results, I either need to change where I’m mapping them, or revisit the content of the page.

#3 – the third and final consideration to take is to look at the type of keyword.

We talked about keyword types in the first video this month, but you’ll likely want to have similar keyword types mapped together.

For example, a category page on an e-commerce website might target transactional keywords, whereas a blog post might target informational keywords.

I think I’ll wrap things up here for now, as a parting piece of advice and something I heard from my first mentor in this space – multiple keywords can be mapped to a single page, but a single keyword shouldn’t be mapped to multiple pages.

Join The SEO Brothers Agencies Family

Our email content is full of value, void of hype, tailored to your interest whenever possible, never pushy, and always free. Join hundreds of other agency owners trying to improve their businesses, work less, and make more.

Adam Bate

Adam is the older brothers here at SEO Brothers. While he is not deep diving into optimizing websites, he's hanging out with his wife and three children in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada.


  1. Anvar on November 20, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Good article!

    • adam on April 5, 2017 at 1:08 am

      Thank you, Anvar! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      • kamal Bhatt on January 27, 2020 at 3:23 am

        Its a really nice article.
        I have a query, if someone did wrong keyword mapping then?
        How to resolve without loosing rank?

    • mel on December 24, 2017 at 6:38 am

      Great article, a must read for the beginners. Loaded with tons of knowledge which SEOs can use in their strategy 🙂

  2. Vishal on December 26, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. The document structure will really simplify a whole mapping process.

    • adam on April 5, 2017 at 1:14 am

      Thanks, Vishal. I’m glad the document treated you well!

  3. Talia on January 13, 2017 at 2:36 am

    Thank you! This is very useful! Much appreciated!

    • adam on April 5, 2017 at 1:15 am

      You’re welcome, Talia! I’m glad you found it useful.

  4. Narendra Wetkoli on January 14, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Informative post, but can we use internal links mapping at home page bottom section with an hypertag?

    • adam on April 5, 2017 at 1:16 am

      Hi Narendra, I’m not quite certain I follow. The mapping process described above gives an overview of how to properly map keywords to main landing pages during an on-page optimization process.

  5. Howard Thompson on February 11, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Shoot…You let the cat out-of-the-bag! Being a small time SEO expert (hahahahh)…

    I always wondered how these big corporate SEO firms, didn’t know these simple and powerful basics for optimization?!

    Keep up the good work!

    • adam on April 5, 2017 at 1:17 am

      Thanks, Howard! I’ll agree – you see a lot of major brands and businesses that lack a proper thought out process and solid foundation of on-page optimization.

  6. Katherine on July 28, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Would love to have your spreadsheet as a downloadable resource!

    • admin on September 7, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Katherine, Sorry for the delay – the resources are downloadable now!

      • Steve on June 9, 2020 at 5:00 am

        Hi, great guise and thorough explanation thank you!

        Am I the only one that can’t seem to find the downloadable resource anywhere? Can you point me to the link? I must’ve reas through your post five times to find it. Thanks!

  7. Subhasish Rath on September 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I was aware about SEO Mapping but after reading this blog my approach has changed . I will incorporate on my company websites ( and (

    • admin on October 11, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Hi Subhasish – I’m glad you found it useful. Let me know if you have any questions.

  8. Abdul Sami SEO on September 20, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Simply defined it and made clear everything for me. You are really my SEO brothers. I do have a question. Is this process also apply to eCommerce websites?

    • admin on October 11, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Abdul,

      Definitely. I am working with an international eCommerce website currently and while the mapping document is a lot more robust than the above, the principles and process still applies.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  9. deovrat on November 18, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    should we perform keyword mapping before starting the development of a website or we can do this after we have developed the wesbite.

    • admin on November 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Keyword mapping is definitely an important process throughout a redesign. It really depends on the scope of the project and what’s changing.

      If you don’t have a good handle on what’s mapped where on the old site, you might want to understand that first and then you can best migrate that to the new structure assuming things are changing.

      I think it needs to happen at the same time for best results. We have a post about redesign SEO that might be able to shed some light.

  10. Lucy Carter on January 8, 2018 at 6:34 am

    Thank you very much for sharing the useful information with brief explanation

  11. Shailendra on March 6, 2018 at 11:13 am

    This should be the very first step to start on page optimization. Great article, have the clear-cut overview.

  12. Nicklas Johansson on March 26, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Hello Adam, Thanks for the article i just found out about this and i am struggling little bit to understand all of it with keywords, mapping and cannibalisation. But Learning. So you don’t want pages to fight about keywords. But how is it when you have a page in two or more languages? Like my site has /sv & /en

    Thanks for answer


  13. Naval on March 28, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Should this work on old blog posts? This seems to be useful!

  14. Asad on April 2, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Will you please explain the term broken links and link building?

  15. infotechAus on May 9, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Nice. I am also using this method.

  16. David Maxx on October 15, 2019 at 6:57 am

    I just start a startup and I wasn’t aware of this method. Now i can use it on my own website to get better ranking.

  17. Dilip Gupta on October 15, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Thanq so much today I am learning new topics about keyword mapping and thanks to well explain all of the points so thank you so much again and again.

  18. Jason Noel on October 15, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks for the outline on mapping a keyword to a specific URL. On top of having a singular row per url and a field with numerous keywords in it, is there a way to separate out the keywords so it isn’t so much of a cluster? I know that you shouldn’t target a TON of keywords per page, but I can’t seem to find a simple way to include a full list of keywords and semantic uses and more. Thoughts?

    • Adam Bate on October 27, 2019 at 10:45 pm

      Hey Jason,

      We’ve done this in the past with multiple rows that are merged into one for most columns except for keywords and volume.

      Depending on the size of the project Air Table is another option if you want to add keywords and keyword data separately from pages and link them together in a relationship that way – it’s a bit overkill for many use cases but is also an option.


  19. Supriya Balaiya on October 23, 2019 at 9:10 am

    I really enjoyed this post on keyword mapping.

  20. Kaushal on December 18, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Hello Adam,

    Great Post on Keyword Mapping.

    I was looking for a keyword mapping strategy and find out your website link in Google. I read your post and found some good tricks on how to map keywords with URLs easily. It can be easy if you have shared the template for the URL mapping, however. 🙂


  21. Vipin Kumar on January 21, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Nice Article,I read your post and found some good tricks .

  22. Paula on March 9, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Great article! Thanks for sharing. I was definitely inspired to use similar Word table for my On-Page SEO work.

  23. Prayas on May 1, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for this awesome keyword mapping guide.

  24. Startup Settings on August 10, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Adam,

    Really a unique and helpful article. Thanks for sharing this with us. Nice keyword mapping guide. Amazing !!

    Thanks again.

  25. Smith on August 13, 2020 at 11:11 am

    This makes lots of sense! Thank you for the clarification 🙂

  26. Valerie Turner on August 14, 2020 at 7:34 am

    Hi, Adam! Thanks for writing such an in-depth guide about keyword mapping. Reading this article allowed me to learn more about the benefits of keywords in terms of visibility on the web. I’m actually planning on reviving my old website since I have a lot of free time during this pandemic. I’ll definitely follow your guide in creating a keyword map to ensure success, especially cutting out on duplicate content. Would love to read more articles from you in the future. Cheers!

  27. Cassixcom on September 22, 2020 at 5:40 am

    Its really nice and simple process, and now i got the clarity on Keyword Mapping. Thanks a lot for information.

  28. Esme-Rose Hart on November 5, 2020 at 10:49 am

    “Looks nice! Love this img.”

  29. Codeaxia Digital Solutions on December 29, 2020 at 9:38 am

    article is really helpful for me Thank you …

  30. Vedavyasa Huli on January 5, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Keyword plays a vital role for any PPC Campaign. Providing proper keyword with match types is crucial. This blog on Keyword mapping is very interesting and will help a lot for those who are working in Digital Marketing industry. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.

  31. DSOM Dehradun on February 11, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Hi, Adam! Thanks for writing such an in-depth guide about keyword mapping. Reading this article allowed me to learn more about the benefits of keywords in terms of visibility on the web. I’m actually planning on reviving my old website since I have a lot of free time during this pandemic. I’ll definitely follow your guide in creating a keyword map to ensure success, especially cutting out on duplicate content. Would love to read more articles from you in the future. Cheers!

  32. Alicia on March 26, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Hi Adam,
    Thanks for the great article! I was wondering if you could clarify keyword mapping with content pieces for me.
    Let’s say I want my home page to rank for ‘portable phone chargers’. I write and publish blog articles on my website with this keyword focus and add internal links for this anchor text back to my homepage.
    However when i review my keyword position tracker, i see that the blog page now ranks for portable phone chargers, instead of my home page. How can I drive that SEO juice to the homepage instead?
    Cheers, Alicia

  33. Vikash Sharma on April 5, 2021 at 6:04 am

    A great blog on Keyword Mapping, article is really very helpful for me. I was looking for a keyword mapping strategy and find out your website link in Google. I read your post and found some good tricks on how to map keywords with URLs easily.

  34. Shivam SEO on February 11, 2022 at 9:23 am

    Thanks For Sharing!

  35. digiexpert on March 25, 2022 at 4:45 am

    Hi Adam,
    It is a very useful guide about keyword mapping.
    I’ll definitely follow your guide in creating a keyword map to ensure success, as it is very simple and easy process.
    thank you for clarity on keyword mapping.

  36. kiantc on March 29, 2022 at 10:30 am

    that’s graet. Is it possible to share the sample Excel file?

  37. Joan BBQ on April 19, 2022 at 6:05 am

    This is indeed worth reading.

    I don’t know if this is related, but, I’d like to ask: which is better? Niche or authority website?

  38. Shanit on June 7, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    very nice article on keywords update.

  39. Sachin on June 16, 2022 at 7:36 am

    Great post Adam,

    Keyword mapping is really crucial. I like to revisit my website landing pages monthly and rewrite them where it is necessary.

    Thanks for providing the best guide on keyword mapping!

  40. Lee Creative on August 18, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    This post was definitely useful for me. It goes several years back but has been updated and is current for 2022. I was looking for some tips and suggestions for a new keyword map project and found most of the answers here..

    Thanks for putting this out and keeping it current!

  41. Hashtag Academy on November 14, 2022 at 5:05 am

    Hey, Adam
    Thank you for this article it is very helpful for me. It is easy to understand without any confusion and informative also.

  42. sherry on November 15, 2022 at 10:31 am

    Really very informative and helpful article. thanks adam.

  43. subham on May 2, 2023 at 3:24 am

    Thanks Adam for this detailed information.

Leave a Comment


Growth-focused agency owner? Offer a better organic search engine optimization service with our help.