Keyword Research: Using Mind Maps

best ways to do keyword research for your sem campaign

When users perform a search online, they instantly receive the results they’re looking for. While this is ultimately what website owners want, experts are often frustrated by how easy it all seems. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

You see, when it comes to executing the perfect SEO strategy, it often takes months of planning and implementation. In fact, people often have to come up with their own way of ensuring that things run effectively. Some people use to-do lists while others use sticky notes. Some people prefer notebooks while others prefer simple reminders.

However, over time all of this can become quite tedious. Not only that, but these things can also get in the way of creativity and productivity. So what’s the ideal solution? Mind mapping.

What is Mind Mapping?

It’s easy to come up with a big group of great ideas. But how easy is it to keep track of all of them? Let’s face it, some of our best ideas are never used because of how easily we forget them. But thanks to visualisation methods like mind mapping, we can commit all of them to memory.

Mind mapping is the process of creating a physical map of all your thoughts. It is a visual representation of everything that is going on inside your head. Though no two mind maps look exactly the same, all of them share the same underlying principle: write down your main thought, draw a circle around it and then create other thought “nodes” and connect them to the main thought. Each idea can even be colour coded. The end result is a bird’s eye view of your brain. And it makes everything easier to understand and sort out.

mindmapping for keyword research


How Does Mind Mapping Help With SEO?

Are your notebooks becoming cluttered with random messages and things you need to do for your current SEO project? Well mind mapping eliminates this problem. Instead of searching through scraps of paper for your latest idea, you will be able to instantly recall your plans.  

Keyword research

Believe it or not, you can plan your keyword research with mind mapping. Just start with the main topic. For example, let’s say that your main topic is ‘cakes’. In this cases, you would place ‘cakes’ at the center and then create several other nodes connected to it such as ‘cakes for weddings’, ‘cakes for birthdays’, ‘cakes for graduations’ and so on.

You could then go on to define your long-tail keywords. For instance, ‘gluten-free cakes’ and ‘how to make cakes’ would be a great start. You can create as many sub “nodes” as you would like. In fact, the more you break these thoughts into smaller pieces, the more easily they will come to you.

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This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do your homework when choosing the best keywords. You should still take into account the monthly search volume of each keyword you choose. However, it will make the process a lot less messy.  

Getting Ideas For Content

Most bloggers will agree that one of the most difficult parts of blogging is coming up with fresh ideas. Even if you’re just posting once per week, it can be a struggle. But that’s the beauty of mind mapping. It takes away the struggle from brainstorming altogether. You may even come up with more ideas than you originally needed.

Use the name of your website as the main thought. Create other nodes with the topics you are interested in covering. From there, you can create nodes that contain post ideas from each of those topics. You could even start with a blog topic as the main idea and then create a list of things you can do based on that topic. Here’s an example:

nodes in mindmapping for keyword research


Create Visual Content

The reason visual images are so popular online is because they’re engaging. People tend to spend more time on your article when you have images. So what better way to give your content marketing a boost than to illustrate your point than with images of mind maps? This is especially helpful if your topic is not very exciting or particularly complex. For instance, here’s a great mind map for a mind mapping blog post:

example of keyword research using mind maps


Note-taking During Meetings

Perhaps one of the most valuable roles mind maps can play is during an SEO agency business meeting. Let’s be honest, SEO is not always a straight forward process. And this is why note-taking and note-keeping can be rather difficult at times.

The good news is there are two ways in which you can make mind maps work for you during SEO service meetings. The first is when showing a client what you plan to do for them. While a spreadsheet or powerpoint could be perceived as dull or complicated, mind mapping can make different concepts interesting and easy to explain the different digital marketing concepts.

You could also use mind mapping to better understand your client. Use the subject of the meeting as the main thought. Create different nodes that contain the various topics you discussed as well as the promises you made. You can also jot down a few of the most important comments made by others.

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note taking during a digital marketing meetingCredit:    

Client Reports

There is nothing more satisfying than giving your client a successful progress report on their digital marketing agency campaign. This is time in which you share the improvements that have taken place in bounce rates, number of visitors and time on page.

Sure, you could demonstrate these changes in charts and graphs. But why not use a mind map to showcase these statistics? Illustrate nodes which include their most popular content and the details of their performance.

mind mapping for seo campaigns


Website Planning

Another useful way to use mind mapping is when planning for a website. There are several things to think about when creating a great site. Not only are there a lot of different elements to consider but quite a few people as well, such as copywriters, designers and SEO specialists. With all of these details, it’s easy to forget a few things here and there.

So mind mapping can be a great way to brainstorm website ideas. Start with the name of the website and then create nodes which represent each element of the page and who’s responsible for them. It may look similar to this one:

using mindmaps to design a website


Mind mapping tools

If you’re interested in creating mind maps but don’t know where to start, you could always use mind mapping software. And luckily, there are several available online. Below are four of the best so far, though you could always use old fashioned pen and paper.


Would you like to work with a mind map that is visually pleasing? Well, look no further than SimpleMind. This software works well on every platform.

Mind Node

Are you a big fan of Mac? Mind Node is available only on Mac and iOS. It has easy navigation and is very similar to Numbers or Pages.

Mind Map Free

If you want to get started right away, then Mind Map Free is for you. Its website immediately takes you right to the software where you can begin instantly.


Mind maps give you the ability to keep things simple, but still be creative. Of course they should not be your only digital marketing resource, but they are certainly more interesting than traditional note-taking and presentations. They can also make planning and implementation much easier.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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