When keyword research is done and you get a feel for what the market and the competition are like, the next step is to work out a mapping strategy and associate your targeted keywords with the right pages. This process is fundamentally important for optimisation and if coordinated correctly, it will be the basis on which success is built. On the other hand, careless or incomplete research and keyword mapping or association will slow your SEO efforts down and generally compromise optimisation of your site(s). You might still get some results, but they won’t reflect the ambition of your investment of time and money.
There are a few factors to take into consideration when it comes to keyword mapping, which is the process of associating targeted keywords with specific pages following research and optimisation strategy. The most common mistake I have come across is not having an organised link building plan of action, which leads to keywords being randomly associated with existing pages on sites. As an example, if the same keyword – ‘chords’ for instance – ranks with the main page – guitar.com – as well as guitar.com/chords, that probably means both pages loose positions in SERPS, unless this set up is meant strategically and the site is strong enough to rank with different pages for the same keyword, and rank well – at least on the first two pages. The right thing to do would be to direct links towards the page you are trying to rank for the chosen keyword – so for ‘chords’, if we choose guitar.com/chords (which is by the way randomly given as an example – not sure if it actually exists or ranks for anything), this should be the page that is optimised and promoted in SERPS, both through onsite and offsite optimisation.
To avoid ‘careless’ link building, it is a good idea to have a clear map of keywords, pages they are mapped to and the resulting html that is used for link building. This is particularly useful when delegating specific tasks and building coherent link profiles. Of course some internet properties have strong enough profiles to rank #1 and #2 or in any other productive combination, and rankings also depend on the competition for the chosen phrase, but it is rare to optimise and map the same keyword to more than one page.
Another thing to bear in mind is the way links are semantically indexed. If you optimise for ‘casino’ and ‘casino online’, it is definitely worth mapping them to the same page, since the anchor text for ‘casino online’ also optimises for ‘casino’. At the same time, if you could separate ‘casino online’ from ‘online casino’ and map them to different pages, that would make a lot of sense in terms of you keyword targeting strategy. Needless to mention, any offsite optimisation has to be syncronised with the way things are structured onsite.
Overall, in the near future SEO will only become more competitive, and because of that having separate landing pages per keyword or a maximum of 2-3 keywords for not so competitive niches is a good way to stay ahead of the competition.