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Keyword research is not just for determining what you would like your website to rank for. Keyword mapping decides which URL shows up in the search results for certain keywords.

Once upon a time, individuals read newspapers. If you wanted the latest sports news, you picked up the paper and found the sports page. What if you went to the sports page and found movie reviews? This would be frustrating. You would most likely find a different newspaper.

The same is true for web pages. If you search for “Atlanta Hawks” wanting to see if they won last night’s game, you would be rather disappointed if the first link in the results was on the history of the team in the 1960s.

Just like the newspaper, you would leave that web page and look elsewhere. Then why are keywords mapped to certain URLs? Keyword mapping guides people to the pages that contain the information they want. Google tracks bounce rates because the goal is to provide the most relevant search results.

Writing content that people want to read is as important for websites as it is for newspapers. To have keywords mapped to URLs for the search engine results pages, the content must be what people want. Creating this unique content is vital for keeping visitors on your site.

How do we map keywords to URLs on a web page? The process isn’t as easy as you might think.

Let’s assume you’ve used the Google keyword tool ( check out this post for instructions). You’ll have a large list of keywords gathered from brainstorming, looking at competitors, analytics and targeted pay per click. There are many resources to help you perform killer keyword research.

For example, let’s use the keywords modest wedding dresses, modest prom dresses and modest bridesmaid dresses. The location is Atlanta, Ga. Evaluate the words and organize a list based on search volume including localized terms.

Once my keyword list is complete, I narrow it down using the following:

1) Is the keyword related to the site’s services?

I’m targeting modest wedding dresses and should avoid terms like dresses. Understanding the products helps you understand which keywords the client wants to target. There are many tools to help you understand your target audience.

Each product should have its own page on the site. The individual page targets the appropriate keyword. The wedding dress keyword should be mapped to the wedding dress page not the homecoming dress page.

Putting the keyword in quotes helps gauge the competition on Google and identifies how many pages have that exact string of text linked to that keyword.

Indexed search results for modest wedding dress

To strategize and improve clients’ rankings with certain terms, you must research your competition. Always consider the competition when making final decisions.

Modest wedding dress search results

On the SERP above, eight out of 10 results are mapped to home pages. Also consider this when mapping keywords.

2) After compiling your list, check the website’s URLs for the keywords. If a URL doesn’t exist for the keywords related to your site, then one should be created.

If the URL isn’t ranking, one thing to help the on-page optimization is to change the URL to include the keywords with search volume and 301 redirect the old URL to the new URL. If the URL is ranking, then it’s a judgment call whether or not to change the URL. It depends on how well the URL is ranking and whether changing it would help on-page optimization.

3) Once the targeted keywords list is complete and you have ideas of what URLs to map to, find iterations of these keywords to target.

The modest wedding dress page should also target terms such as modest wedding dresses, modest wedding dresses with sleeves, beautiful modest wedding dresses and modest wedding dresses with long sleeves. After doing this for each of the different URLs that have products/services, you can map the home page.

4) The home page has keywords that define the products/services of the site.

The keywords mapped to the home page could be modest wedding dress, modest prom dress, modest homecoming dress and wedding dress Atlanta. Since I’ve chosen my keywords, I know what the title of this page should be. Title for home page: Modest Wedding, Prom & Homecoming Dresses Atlanta. Through my keywords research, the term wedding dress in Atlanta didn’t have any search volume. However, wedding dress Atlanta had 140 global monthly searches.

The wrong words could become the focus if keyword research isn’t optimized. Huge mistake. Remember the newspaper and misplaced sports page? We don’t want visitors leaving the site and going elsewhere. Make sure you help keywords find their long lost URLs.

What tips do you have for finding long lost URLs? Please leave your comments below.