Posted by Kenny Martin

When keyword targeting is approached separately from a content creation strategy, the concocted results can often leave us scratching our heads and pointing fingers at the malformed "Frankenpages." By fostering a more cohesive relationship between these traditionally detached endeavors, we can greatly enhance our results and deliver considerable value to our audience.

This week Rand shows us how we can move past conventional keyword targeting practices and generate web pages that won't leave us "running for the hills."

Video Transcription

Howdy SEOmoz fans! Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Thrilled to have you with us. Today we're talking about mapping keywords to content for maximum impact.

Now the problem is that a lot of folks think about the world of keyword research and keyword targeting separately from the worlds of content creation. This can happen a lot of the times because the SEO person is not always involved in the design of the content strategy or what's going to go on the website. They're brought in after the fact, maybe in an internal role or in an external consulting role. That can be super frustrating. Let me show you, give you an example of, sort of the traditional keyword targeting process and why this is so bad.

So here's Mr. Biz Owner, and he would like to rank well for oven mitts. A perfectly reasonable request, want to rank for oven mitts. Great. All right. So the SEO person is brought in, and the SEO person goes, "Well, you know, I want to be able to make some changes. I need to add some content to your website." The business owner is like, "No, no, no, no, no. I already have a page. I just want it to rank for oven mitts." Well, okay. Let's chose the best page you've got for oven mitts and we'll try to make that one rank better. The business owner is like, "All right. All right. Good job. Good job. I appreciate that. You did good work. Now I want to rank well for heat retardant oven mitts." The SEO is like, "Well, okay. You know what? We can modify that page again and target that particular phrase."

But this cycle goes on and on and on. Soon enough you'll have Frakenpage, ooh, super scary. He's trying to target ridiculous terms like "advanced kid- friendly oven mitts for hardcore baked lentils." You're like, "How did this happen? How did this Frakenpage get here?"

Well, it got there because of this process, this broken process of the SEO not being the person with the authority or the influence to be able to choose what content needs to be existing on the website and what content needs to be targeting which keywords. This happens all over the Web. You can click on tons of search results in all sorts of verticals and sort of be like, "What were they thinking when they made this page?" It's not that the website is all that bad or they have done something terrible in SEO. It's just that it is not strategic. It is a very tactical approach to SEO, and that tends to lose out over time to pages that are built specifically for users searching for those things that deliver everything they want in the content.

So, let's talk about a strategy to do exactly that. Over here we have a better process. No Frakenpages.

Step one: Establish the full list of keywords. Rather than going sort of one by one and saying, oh, we want to target this, we want to target that, it's nice to be able to start with that full list of keywords. As you refine, if you need to refine that keyword list, beginning again with this process and making sure that the new keywords that you need to be targeting work into the process in this way. We've got our full list of keywords to target. Hopefully, we've figured out how valuable and important they are so we have our spreadsheet. We say, "Well, these are the top converting keywords. These are the ones that send the most traffic, and these are the ones with the lowest difficulty. So based on those three factors, this is how we want to target them." Then we'll map the keywords to existing content based on their relevance. So this means does the page's content actually serve the needs of a keyword phrase that they are targeting? So, if you have a heat-retardant oven mitts page, does that actually contain heat-retardant oven mitts? Is that a full category page? Is it a subcategory page? Is it a single item that happens to be the most heat- retardant oven mitts? Is it a brand page? What is it? We make sure that it is relevant.

Second, we're going to target user intent. This means not just thinking about whether the page is relevant for the keyword, but thinking about, "What does the user want when he gets to this page?" If I am searching for heat-retardant oven mitts, I probably want a bunch of information about why it's heat retardant, what it's made from, explaining to me what kind of temperatures it can handle. I want to know information about where I can buy these magical oven mitts, what the sources are, what the different brands are. I'd like to be able to filter on that data. Maybe I even want tutorials and demos on like, oh, well, this is the kinds of things that you could cook with them. Cool.

Then you can think about yourself, about conversion goals. So you make them happy and they'll make you happy. The conversion goal can be we want them to sign up for an email, we want them to click on a button, we want them to add this to their cart, we want them to convert out of the store. Great. Whatever that is, fine, super.

Then we have step two and a half, which is sort of an interim here. The reason we've got it is because a lot of the times when you're mapping keywords to content, it is not a 1:1 ratio. This again can make for Frakenpages unless you're careful. So, you want to be selecting is this a multiple or a singular keyword page focus. Meaning for the oven mitts, for just that broad keyword phrase, I might suggest, in fact, I'd probably be very strongly suggesting to a business owner who has a website about oven mitts, that that should be one page in and of itself. We should not try to make this a multiple keyword targeting page because we don't know what the user intent is. Someone who has that broad of a phrase is going to need to do a lot of research and discover whether they want heat retardant ones or they want ones for grills or pit fires, or they're looking for a certain material, they want it to withstand certain temperatures, they're looking for kid-friendly gloves, they want gloves for certain sizes, they want gloves with fingers on them or gloves that are just the classic mitt form. Whatever that is, we need to be providing them with a ton of different sorts of data. So, this page is going to have all sorts of selections and things. That has to map to A, B, and C here, or we're going to lose out and that's why I wouldn't try to get a bunch of different phrases ranking for this.

You could conceivably, maybe it's possible that you would have a page for oven mitts and oven gloves and target both on the same one. So oven mitts and gloves could be a page title, could be the target. But I don't know. I think gloves specifies fingers and mitts specifies just like this, and then they're the hybrid ones that has the one finger. I don't know where those go. Kitchen people will figure that out. Don't worry.

Then you have things like, oh, well, this page, oven mitts for kids, that can target lots of keywords like child-friendly oven mitts or kid-friendly oven mitts or children's sizes, oven mitts in children's sizes. So you take the user intent and the relevance of the keyword and you add those onto the page and then you can figure out what are all the pages that the kid- friendly one should target. We'll make the most important ones in the title. We'll put maybe the secondary ones in the body content. We'll try and make that page work for that combination because we don't want to build one that's child friendly and one that's kid friendly when they are exactly the same page just to be able to target different keywords. That generally makes no sense, because again, the link equity gets split up and Google does a lot of things with topic modeling anyway to figure out that those two are probably really similar. So that doesn't make good sense. We can do this. So I'll draw a tiny little oven glove right there. Oh adorable, for kids.

Then you have high-temperature oven mitts. These are, oh, they're big and strong. They can handle a bunch of high temperatures. Oh, look at all that heat they can take. The high-temperature oven mitts could be ones that include phrases like heat resistant, heat retardant, for advanced chefs, for foodies, whatever it is. Those high-temperature oven gloves, they can target a bunch of phrases as well, but we have to go back to relevance and user intent for those.

Then finally, maybe we'll have something in the longer tail, like pit fire mitts or pit fire gloves, and those for people who need to dig around in coals or who are doing the fancy smoking in a backyard barbecue. Whatever it is. Professional grade stuff. Fine. Cool. I don't know. I'll put a hammer there to indicate they're, like, hardcore professionals. I'm not sure why.

Once you have done this process, you can then take the map of keywords that you created to content and actually go build that content to make searchers happy. This works so much better than the Frakenpage approach. I can't even describe to you how well this will work. It doesn't have to be right from the start. You can take an existing site right now, run through this process, and have just a huge win both in terms of your ability to target searches and rank for those keywords as well as your ability to better convert those visitors because of how you've targeted the relevance and the user intent.

I hope you've enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We'll see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com