Simple Strategic Keyword Hierarchy 

May 4, 2015

By  Jeff J Hunter

Keyword hierarchy is a method of organizing keyword phrases that have a connection with each other. Basically, you want a flow of keywords that makes sense.

Too often, content for websites is just created without considering the strategy first. The most important thing to remember is that your website is a tool that is used to do something for your benefit.

For example, you want people to come to your website searching for information about your products, services, or industry. Keywords and proper SEO helps with generating traffic. Once you have the traffic, you need to direct them to do something like this:

  • Buy Your Product
  • Sign Up For A News Letter
  • Check Out Pricing
  • Like You On Facebook
  • Write To Your Congressman
  • Or Whatever Compels The Reader To Do Something

Do not waste this valuable time!!! What usually happens is a disconnect between the creation of the content and the purpose of the same content on your site. This is why we are constructing this series to help you make these connections easier with hierarchy strategies.

Keyword Hierarchy Techniques

When Google maps out the contents on your site, you want Google to find the most material possible. The way to do this is to have every page or post link to some other page or post on your website.

This takes a lot of time to accomplish without a strategy. What is the purpose of doing the online SEO to your site if there is going to be a lot of time wasted on inter-linking after the fact? There is no reason for this!

At this point, you should have your keyword research finished and have at least 40 keywords that have a LOW competition and HIGH search volume. If you do not have this keyword research accomplished, do it now!

For this study, let’s focus on the topic of outsourcing. Here is a list of keywords to get us started:

outsourcing definition
outsourcing companies
outsourcing jobs
advantages of outsourcing
benefits of outsourcing
outsourcing it
offshore outsourcing
offshoring vs outsourcing
strategic outsourcing services
capital outsourcing
capacity outsourcing
it outsourcing companies
outsourcing examples
data entry outsourcing
business outsourcing
strategic outsourcing
span outsourcing
fair collections and outsourcing
human resource outsourcing
types of out sourcing
examples of outsourcing
reasons for outsourcing
insourcing vs outsourcing
what is business process outsourcing
outsourcing management
outsourcing marketing
outsourcing payroll
outsourcing sales
history of outsourcing
outsourcing contract
effects of outsourcing
outsourcing trends
outsourcing articles
document outsourcing
outsourcing websites
domestic outsourcing
outsourcing logistics
outsourcing problems
outsourcing employees
examples of outsourcing companies

Choosing Your General

The Latin root for general and generic is the same: genus. You need to look at your list of keywords and pick out the term that is the most generic. This keyword will be named:”The General”.

After looking at all of these keywrods, the most generic term is “outsourcing it”. “Outsourcing it” is “The General” from here on out. That means “outsourcing it” cannot be used again for this exercise.

Selecting Your Captains

The next stage is to select your Captains. I usually choose three to four keywords that have a high-level connection to the General.

Strategically, you want at least one captain to be focused on basic information and another captain focused on your sales funnel at a minimum. The other captain(s) is used for filler to make the connect from basic information to your sales funnel.

So, here are my choices for Captains:
Captain 1 – what is business process outsourcing
Captain 2 – offshore outsourcing
Captain 3 – business outsourcing
Captain 4 – outsourcing employees

Before going any further, you need to write down what each of the Captains have in common with the General.

For example, “outsourcing it” relates to “what is business process outsourcing” because a lot of business processes involve industrial technology (also know as IT).

Another example, “outsourcing it” relates to “offshore outsourcing” because companies are looking for ways to decrease payroll output – even if it means going offshore.

Continue this until all Captains have been related to the General.

Ranking Your Soldiers

Now, you should have the General and Captains removed from your list of choices. Now, we are going to build the rank and file for each Captain. We will refer to these rank and file keywords as “The Soldiers”.

Using the same process as before, we are going to find keywords that fit for each Captain. I usually choose 3 to 4 keywords per Captain, but it really depends on the keyword results. How you choose your keywords really affects your onsite SEO strategy.

Captain 1 – what is business process outsourcing
Soldier 1.1 – outsourcing definition
Soldier 1.2 – insourcing vs outsourcing
Soldier 1.3 – reason for outsourcing
Soldier 1.4 – examples of outsourcing

Captain 2 – offshore outsourcing
Soldier 2.1 – offshoring vs outsourcing
Soldier 2.2 – outsourcing companies
Soldier 2.3 – advantages of outsourcing
Soldier 2.4 – effects of outsourcing

Captain 3 – business outsourcing
Soldier 3.1 – outsourcing trends
Soldier 3.2 – strategic outsourcing
Soldier 3.3 – outsourcing examples
Soldier 3.4 – outsourcing contract

Captain 4 – outsourcing employees
Soldier 4.1 – outsourcing marketing
Soldier 4.2 – outsourcing payroll
Soldier 4.3 – outsourcing sales
Soldier 4.4 – outsourcing logistics

Okay, now that the Soldiers have been named, make sure to remove these keywords from your list. Do not discard your list as you still need these keywords for “secondary keywords” later.

Keyword Squad Formation

Right now, you are a huge step forward of doing the proper keyword strategy that works by using keywords in a thoughtful manner. This is the first step of your keyword battle plans.

In order to keep everything straight, a Captain plus his/her Soldiers will be referred to as a “Squad”. In this case, we have 4 Squads. If you have gotten this far, then you should stop and give yourself a break. The next stage of this process is going to get more intense because we will be linking phrases.

If this were your project, how would you select the General, Captains, and Soldiers for this keyword hierarchy? Please comment below.


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Digital Marketing Strategist with background in Information Technology, Project Management, and Business Process Outsourcing. An expert in content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and dependent on Virtual Assistants to survive.

As the founder of VA Staffer, he has built a company with over 150+ virtual assistants, specializing in executive assistants and remote teams. Jeff's a master at leveraging AI and human capital to build things fast (and smart). He's a contributor to top business publications such as Entrepreneur and Forbes, and he has been featured on major news networks including ABC and CBS.

Jeff J Hunter

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