Why Is Keyword Research Important in the Healthcare Industry?

With all of the different online platforms and marketing techniques available, you might be wondering why keyword research is so important. However, researching keywords is an integral aspect of any healthcare search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategy. Using marketing tools to determine which phrases people are searching for and how often is the key to understanding your target audience and publishing content that they want to see. 

From an SEO standpoint, doing thorough keyword research is how you identify and evaluate the most popular healthcare keywords to optimize your website pages for. It can also provide you with ideas of what anchor text to use when launching a link building campaign. PPC campaigns, on the other hand, require keyword research to determine which words and/or phrases you should target with your paid ads. When you understand the most popular keywords in your industry, you not only better understand your consumer, but you place yourself in a position to be found on search engines.

Different Types of Keywords

Keywords may contain a single word, a couple of words, or multiple words that make up a keyword phrase. These words or phrases should be spread out throughout your content to indicate to search engines what your content is about. Moreover, these words or phrases are being used by prospective and current patients in search engine queries when they are looking for health information. There are two basic types of keywords: broad and long tail keywords.

Broad Healthcare Keywords

In general, broad keywords consist of only one or two words. Being so broad, these keywords have the most traffic and the most competition. As a result, broad keywords have the opportunity to bring your website a lot of traffic if you rank well for them, but they don’t always convert as well as more specific, long-tail keywords. 

When people search for a specific type of doctor, healthcare service, or medical product such as “therapist,” “primary care physician,” “drug rehab,” “contacts,” “dentist,” “laser hair removal,” or “CBD oil,” they are using broad keywords. More examples of broad healthcare keywords are:

  • Urgent care center
  • Emergency room
  • Cardiologist
  • Orthopedic surgeon
  • Botox and fillers
  • PTSD therapy
  • Eye exam

As you can see, broad keywords are words that are used to describe which type of healthcare provider you are, which services you offer, or common types of treatments. Since Google knows that the majority of these searches are coming from people looking or a local healthcare provider, the search results for broad healthcare keywords typically show Google’s local map 3-pack. For example, when we search “urgent care center,” Google automatically shows us their Google My Business (GMB) map results for urgent care centers in the area. 

However, other broad healthcare keywords, such as those containing a specific medical condition or type of treatment, show national results. For example, when searching for “diabetes treatment” Google shows us information about the medical condition rather than local medical providers who treat diabetes.

When determining the best healthcare keywords for your website, it is important to keep these things in mind so you can optimize your content accordingly and have a better chance of reaching your target audience.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are specific search terms containing three or more words. Sometimes, long-tail keywords consist of a broad keyword and a local search term, such as “counselor in Boca Raton” or “physical therapist near me.” Since long-tail keywords are more specific than broad ones, these phrases typically have some level of search intent – which means the user is searching for information he or she needs to schedule an appointment or make a purchase.

Being highly specific, long-tail keywords have less search traffic than broad keywords do. However, since they are so specific, they usually have a higher conversion rate than broad keywords. Some examples of long-tail keywords include:

  • Teeth whitening services near me
  • Substance abuse counseling for teens
  • Physical therapy for adolescents
  • Botox and fillers in Dallas
  • Best dermatologist for laser hair removal

There are a lot of opportunities when it comes to healthcare companies and long-tail keywords. First, ranking for long-tail keywords can help your website gain more traffic by dominating niche markets that larger institutions may not have tackled yet. 

For example, according to data from SEMRush, the search term “physical therapy near me” has a search volume of 201,000 and a keyword difficulty of 74.66.

Although this keyword has a high search volume, it also has a lot of competition, so earning a first-page ranking could prove difficult. However, the search term “physical therapy for sciatica” has a search volume of 2,400 and a keyword difficulty of 64.36. 

Even though the latter term has a lower search volume, you have a better chance of ranking a brand new page for those search terms. If you can identify the best long-tail healthcare keywords, you can begin generating more revenue off of niche markets and from users with unique needs who are more likely to convert into paying customers.

Moreover, since long-tail keywords often contain a broad keyword, targeting long-tail keywords also targets the broad keyword that the phrase contains, allowing for a precise keyword strategy.

How to Pick The Best Healthcare Keywords: Step By Step

Before you can begin creating content for your website, you must conduct keyword research. In doing so, you will identify the right keywords pertaining to your services, brand, and industry. By compiling a long list of keywords that you want to target, you take the first step in increasing your online presence.

Pick a Keyword Research Tool

It’s impossible to know how valuable a keyword is simply by looking at search results. Instead, choosing the right healthcare keywords comes down to finding a keyword research tool and learning how to use it correctly. There are several digital marketing tools that make keyword research quick and easy. Some popular options include:

  • Google Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner is a free Google AdWords tool. After setting up an AdWords account, you can use Keyword Planner to input a keyword or website address. The tool will then generate a list of keywords related to the terms you entered in addition to the metrics and statistics on how each keyword performs. 
  • SEMrush – SEMrush is a subscription-based, competitive marketing research tool that lets you track your website’s performance, keep an eye on your competitors, and find keyword opportunities that can turn into a top spot on the SERPs. You can compare a number of different competitor domains against your own to evaluate your common keywords as well as the keywords you are missing out on. SEMrush features a Keyword Magic Tool that will generate everything you need to know about the most popular healthcare keywords.
  • Ahrefs – Ahrefs is another subscription-based, multi-dimensional marketing tool. In addition to a content explorer and rank tracker, Ahrefs also has a Keyword Explorer and Keyword Generator that can help you choose the best keywords for your healthcare practice.
  • Moz – Yet another subscription-based marketing tool, Moz features a Keyword Difficulty tool that helps analyze how competitive a keyword is and how much search volume it has. Moz will also allow you to see who else is ranking for your targeted keywords and provide you with suggestions on how to out-rank them.

Once you have decided on a digital marketing tool, it’s time to dive into researching your competitors and your keywords.

Check Out Your Competitors

One of the best places to start with healthcare keyword research is by checking out your competition. First, identify your competitors, look at their websites, and figure out which keywords they are ranking for and which pages of theirs earn the most organic search traffic. 

Which of these keywords is bringing your competitors the most traffic? Which keywords are the most searched terms in your industry? Who are your other competitors for those specific terms or phrases? These all are questions to ask yourself when analyzing your competitor’s website traffic against your potential marketing strategy. 

Then, it’s time to research these keywords, determine which ones fit your practice or brand, and compile a list of possible topics to target.

Determine the Volume and Value of the Keywords

Now that you have a list of possible keywords and blog topics, it’s time to decide whether or not those keywords are worth it. Some metrics that you will want to consider include:

  • How many people search for the keyword each month?
  • What is the keyword difficulty/level of competition?
  • What local opportunities are available with that keyword?

As a general rule of thumb, the lower the keyword difficulty and the higher the search volume – the better. For example, let’s say you’re a licensed mental health therapist in Columbus, Ohio. “Therapist in Columbus, Ohio” has a high search volume, but it also has a relatively high keyword difficulty. “Anxiety therapist in Columbus, Ohio,” on the other hand, has a lower search volume, but it also has a much lower keyword difficulty. As a more specific search term, this is typical. However, you may be able to rank in a higher position for “anxiety therapist in Columbus, Ohio,” which will ultimately convert better than a lower ranking for a more broad term like “therapist in Columbus, Ohio.”

While conducting your keyword research, it’s important to keep in mind who your target audience is and what they will be searching for. Although keyword research tools provide valuable information, the reporting of these keywords isn’t perfect. The actual keywords you may find when doing your research might be different than the actual queries people are searching for. To explain, the actual terms people may use to search for something may contain a slight variation in the keyword phrase – which is why your content and your keywords should be diverse, keeping in mind the intent of your prospective patients.

Optimizing Original Content for Your Healthcare Keywords

Once you have compiled a list of the best healthcare keywords for your practice, it is time to develop a content strategy. It’s likely that you have a long list of topics to work with and all of these words can’t go on just a handful of pages. In fact, SEO experts recommend that you only use a few keywords or keyphrases on each of your pages. Depending on your content length, you should use your broad keywords and longtail keywords one to three times each. 

Optimizing content is a delicate task as it is easy to over-optimize. If too much of your content is made up of your keywords, this is considered “keyword stuffing.” If your keyword, or a variation of that keyword or phrase, is used in nearly every, or every other sentence, of your content, you’re keyword stuffing and are less likely to rank for your designated keyword. 

Instead, you should integrate your target keywords and phrases naturally throughout the content. Rather than changing your language to force the keywords into your content, use informative sub-headings, detailed descriptions, and useful information that educates the reader about the topic you are writing about. If placing your keyword in a sentence makes it sound awkward or disrupts the flow, it’s safe to say you need to use a new phrase.

The key to optimizing content is to keep it simple and natural. Don’t try to force a search engine to pick up your page – they will pick it up – but not in the way you want them to. Keywords are important to Google, so crafting your content strategy around your target keywords should be of utmost importance to you, too.

Leave Your Keyword Strategy to the Best in Healthcare Marketing

In the competitive healthcare industry, choosing the best keywords isn’t always easy. Not only that but curating informative and useful content that boosts conversions is the key to any effective digital marketing strategy. Your content is what provides your website with value, and optimizing this content using the most popular and appropriate healthcare keywords is how you make sure your practice gets found online. 

Although it may be tempting to develop your own keyword strategy, SEO is rarely a do-it-yourself task. Instead, relying on a team of trusted healthcare marketing experts is the best way to ensure an effective keyword strategy.

At Stodzy Internet Marketing, our team of SEO experts is qualified to do the work for you. Whether you have an existing website that simply isn’t keeping up with the competition or are brand new to the world of online real estate, give us a call today to learn how we can revolutionize your digital marketing campaign. 

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    Tim Stoddart

    Tim Stoddart is the CEO of Stodzy Internet Marketing. He lives in Nashville with his wife and hit adorable pitbull, Alice. Tim loves to write about digital marketing and personal growth. You can learn more at TimStodz.com

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