I am often asked how you best organized your keyword lists. I answer that it depends on how you do business. Or more specific I ask:

What are you main focus: SEO, SEM, Social media or other channels?
Do you have a well develop Adwords account or similar?
How do you organized your landing pages?
Which kind of limitation does your organization impose?
Which kind of projects are you working with?
Where do you want to go in the future?

Depending on the answers I usually recommend one of the following ways to start organize your keyword lists:

1. One general keyword list
2. More than one general keyword list
3. Use your landing page structure to make a keyword list for every landing page
4. Use your Adwords account structure

After you expanded the number of keywords you probably want to split keywords into more target groups or in some case join them together.

I know this information isn’t very specific, but you have to consider many aspects to make an optimal organization of your keyword groups.

In some cases it is easier to give a strait answer. So let’s get the strait answers out there.

Case one:
You are starting from scratch and are targeting one subject.

Keyword organization:
Make one general keyword list and thereafter split into more target keyword lists.

Case two:
You have an Adwords account with tens of thousand keywords in target ad-groups perfect fitted to your landing page, website and your organization.

Keyword organization:
Use your Adwords keyword organization to organize your keywords. At our keyword tool you can import all your keywords from Adwords into the keyword tool.

Case three:
You are starting from scratch and are targeting two or more subjects.

Keyword organization:
Make a general keyword list for every subject, before split them into more target keyword lists within each subject.

These cases are pretty simple and therefore have a simple solution. In real life problems are more complicated. If in doubt I like to make a general keyword list for every subject and then split it up after the general keyword list are finish.

Here are the pro and cons of starting making a general keyword list first:

The benefits of making one general keyword list are:

– You don’t have to worry about where the keyword might point to in your site before late in the process
– You can reuse the list of bad and negative keywords to all later keyword groups
– By looking at the finish keyword list, you can get an overview and organize the keywords into groups that make sense for you.

The drawbacks are:

– It is time consuming and takes a high concentrations level to split keywords into subgroups
– It is difficult to split into more than four keyword groups at one go
– If there isn’t a clear general subject, then it is easier to make more than one keyword list.
– If you already have some keyword groups ex. in Adwords and they are working for you, when you need to consider pro and cons of keeping the structure or start and make a general keyword list.

There are many benefits and drawbacks so it is almost impossible to make any good general advice. I always try to adapt my keyword groups to how existing websites are grouped and how searchers would be naturally grouped.

How have you started your keyword list?