Last time we look at basic keyword research for ecommerce. We covered the various keyword buckets and why it’s best to divide and conquer. One thing we didn’t cover is keyword mapping for ecommerce.
If you don’t have a keyword map document, you’re probably not as effective as you could be. Without this structure in place, it’s tricky to collect the data that will help you track progress, find gaps in your strategy, and create a logical plan.
While this article is a superb introduction to the topic, I have released a keyword mapping course, which covers the subject in much more depth and comes with various free resources. So, it’s worth investing in that.
With my pitch out of the way, let’s explore the basics of keyword mapping for ecommerce and why you need this structure in place.
Keyword Research Is Step 1
When I was just getting into SEO, I’d find a new keyword using my SEO tools and start writing a blog post. I lacked a system that made sense and would help compound my efforts.
Having a list of keywords for future blog posts or products is step one. Next, you need the correct structure to ensure you don’t create two identical pages, which allows you to track keyword positions, find holes, and know what pages need improving.
The best place to store and track your keywords is a keyword mapping document. A spreadsheet is an ideal vehicle. If you don’t have a spreadsheet program, use Google Sheets, It’s free!
The good news is it doesn’t have to be complex as it’s a working document that’s constantly being updated, changed, and growing with your business.
Ecommerce Keyword Buckets
With a list of keywords, it’s worth organizing them into buckets. In case you didn’t read the last article, here’s a quick recap of the keyword buckets we typically have with an ecommerce website:
- General pages
- Transactional pages
- Product category pages
- Branded category pages
- Product pages
- Blog posts
- Blog category.
The idea of dividing keywords into buckets is to simplify the SEO process. If you have a website with hundreds of pages, looking at a spreadsheet with hundreds of rows will drive you nuts. You’ll want to give up before you start!
By dividing keywords into buckets and giving each type its own tab, you can work through your existing pages and plan future pages. The task will seem less daunting.
There is some good news. Some buckets don’t require keywords as they won’t drive traffic or conversions. None of your visitors will be searching Google to find your cart page before they’ve added a product to it!
If a bucket doesn’t require keywords, that tab can be simply a list of URLs and why those pages are required. It doesn’t need to be fancy.
Structure And Processes
I know this doesn’t sound sexy, but having the right structure and documenting processes will help you scale faster, stress less, and make more money!
By this point, you’ll have a blank spreadsheet with 7 tabs. You’ll also want to add another 3, named:
- Product drafts
- Blog drafts
Both product drafts and blog drafts create a tab for you to think about what’s coming up without messing up your active pages and posts. Having a notes tab is highly useful as you can dump things in there and keep the rest of the document clean.
With keyword mapping for ecommerce, each tab (bar the notes one, which is best left empty) needs columns for:
- Page title
- Meta description
- Category (blog or product)
- Publish date
- keyword data
- Keyword position
- Index status
- Last update
If this sounds like a lot of work to fill each tab in, don’t worry. Take time to create process documents for how to fill a row.
From there, it becomes a tick-box exercise you can break down into pieces. You could start page titles on day 1. The next day, you could write in the category, etc.
Mapping Current Pages
If you already have a store and are trying to improve your SEO, you might wonder where’s the best starting place. You might not have keywords for all of your existing pages or even know how many pages are live.
Let’s start with finding out how many pages are live. You need to find your sitemap as this document contains all of a website’s live URLs. Usually, it is located at: www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml.
A sitemap is just a long list of URLs. Sometime, URLs will be grouped by type. There will be separate sitemaps for pages, products, blog posts, and misc.
Start by copying the URL lists into your spreadsheet. If you can, dump each list of URLs directly into the right tab. Copy the data in the product category sitemap gets transferred to the product category tab, and so on.
If your sitemap isn’t well organized, you’ll need to sort the list of URLs and place each URL in the right tab. You might want to grab some chocolate for motivation. It could take a while!
From there, you can start filling in the other columns, such as the page title, meta description, etc.
If you have a keyword, great add that in and run a position report to check where your ranking. Otherwise, you’ll need to do some keyword research!
My best advice when adding existing pages to a keyword mapping document is to focus on one element and break down the task into hour blocks. Otherwise, you’ll end up trying (and failing) to do everything at once.
You can’t eat an elephant whole, but you can eat it one bite at a time. Building a keyword map is the same deal.
Planning Future Pages And Posts
There’s a good reason why I suggest both in the course and to clients why they should start by adding existing pages into their keyword map and temporarily pause creating new posts and pages.
You have to tame the chaos before moving on.
It’s really that simple! Well, easy to say. Hard to do.
Once all of your existing pages are organized into your keyword mapping document, you’re ready to move on.
What you’ll publish in the future depends on a myriad of elements, such as if you’ll launch new products or discontinue current ones, and how many blog posts and pages you’ll add.
There’s one major difference. You now have a solid structure in place and understand the basics of keyword mapping for ecommerce! You’ll notice you’re much faster at planning new pages and updating the document.
Customizing The Keyword Map Document
Many ecommerce marketers wrongly assume they need to build their keyword mapping document once, and it’s all done. Not so fast! It’s a working document, so is always in the process of being used, updated, and adapted.
If you’re not looking at your keyword map at least weekly, you’ll be missing opportunities and not keeping track of a vital element of your business’s SEO.
By frequently looking at the document, you’ll see ways to improve your processes and how you record actions. That’s great. As a working document, you can change it to best match your business.
Over time, this could mean tearing part of it up and starting again or adding a few additional columns. It’s important to review how you use the document every month and consider any changes you’d like to make.
Don’t let your keyword map reflect someone else’s ecommerce business or your store from a year ago. Keep it current and super easy to use. That’s one of the secrets of effective keyword mapping for ecommerce!
With a solid structure in place, finding gaps is far easier. It could be that you haven’t remembered to add a new color variation or missed a blog post that makes up a sequence of them.
Plus, if you record when you last updated each page, you can easily see which ones need some attention. So it’s worth building all of this out as it can help you scale faster.
Excelling At Keyword Mapping For Ecommerce
You now have a basic road map when it comes to keyword mapping for ecommerce stores. Remember to start by creating the basic structure. Next, tame your current chaos by adding every page on your website to the document. From there, start adding new pages.
As a working document, you should be using your keyword map regularly and updating often. It’s worth reviewing it monthly and making tweaks you feel are necessary.
Don’t let your keyword mapping document get stale or give in to the chaos of your webstore. Instead, keep on top of your ecommerce store’s SEO and use the time you save to keep scaling your business!
If you’ve enjoyed this post on keyword mapping for ecommerce, you’ll love my keyword mapping course!
Last month Izabela saw her search traffic from Google increase by 400% using 3 SEO tips we taught her.
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