Keyword Mapping - How To Avoid Keyword Cannibalization

min read

What is keyword cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization means having multiple pages targeting the same keywords. This can cause problems for your rankings because Google is unable to decide which page to rank for your targeted keyword. We're able to avoid this with keyword mapping.

What is keyword mapping?

Keyword mapping is the process of assigning keywords to the best fitting page on a website.

Keyword mapping usually is done at the same time or just after keyword research.

It could be classified as one of the most important elements of a successful SEO campaign!

Any SEO campaign without proper keyword mapping is like guesswork. Putting in energy and money into boosting pages with improper keywords is a huge time waste! Your guest posts will also not have a big impact on your rankings.

On the other hand, proper keyword mapping could be the fundamental element of a successful campaign.

Benefits of Keyword Mapping

  • Helps SEOs avoid duplicate content
  • Streamlines the content development process
  • Allows you to target more specifics
  • Easy way to identify expansion topics
  • Can be adjustable and presented it to your client
  • Avoids keyword cannibalization

What does a keyword mapping plan look like?

Usually, keyword mapping is done in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. In order to make your keyword map as detailed as possible, you will need to utilize the advanced filtering and formatting that these two tools offer. Of course, any tool of your choice can also be useful.

How can I create a successful keyword map?

In order to create a successful keyword map, plan your spreadsheet to track the following:

  • Page Title
  • URL of the page
  • Page Status – Live, to be created, to be optimized, to be redirected
  • Keywords & Monthly Volume per keyword
  • Potential Content Topics – This will be useful when you are creating/outsourcing your content

The template on the screenshot above helps to track these elements.

Keyword Relevancy Check

The idea of keyword mapping is not to assign keywords to pages that we want to rank for, but instead, to identify the best relevant pages for the keywords. This exercise will help us:

  • Group together keywords that are similar
  • Assign keywords to pages that are relevant
  • Create new pages for keywords that we don’t have relevant pages for

How to perform a keyword Relevancy Check

Before you assign a keyword, you need to perform a search on Google, just as your audience would. This is important to see what the search engine gives you as a possible solution when assigning your keywords.

If the two results are aligned, then you’re on the right track. If not, then stick with the keyword that you assume your audience will use as the most relevant one.

For example, let’s take our website SERPchampion. If I was going to map the keyword “Guest Post Service,” I would navigate through the website and try to find a relevant page.

In this case, the most relevant page is -

The next step would be to search the relevancy by performing a google search with an advanced search modifier of my domain and my keyword.

As you can see, this result confirms that my initial decision was correct. Therefore, I am going to map this keyword to the specific cluster.

What is the best Keyword mapping template?

There are many ways that a keyword map can be presented. The main thing you need to ensure is to keep your keywords and pages organized.

You need to be sure you’re utilizing a tool that will help track your progress, help create your content, and track your website’s content.

The most common ways of crafting a keyword map are:

Row-based presentation of data

Column Based Presentation of data

We prefer to use the column-based approach, as we feel it is more organized than the row-based approach. However, you cannot go wrong with either.

The best thing to do before starting your keyword mapping is to ensure your organization and commit to updating the spreadsheet!

If you stay on top of your updates and refresh your pages with fresh content, you’re sure to boost up your ranks for the goal keywords. If you don't want to mess with keyword mapping, be sure to check out our on-page SEO service.

Patrick Babakhanian


Patrick Babakhanian is a serial entrepreneur with an extensive background in search engine optimization, website development and domain names.

A few years ago he started his first SEO business SERPchampion, providing monthly links to companies that were looking for a traffic boost.

This venture turned out to be successful, leading to an even bigger team and two offices (Netherlands & United States) as well as worldwide reach.

The company has been featured on Social Media Today, Lion Zeal SEO, Neil Patel and YouTube.