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SEO Medical Knowledge Center

Finding Keywords That Yield Conversions is Central Component to Medical SEO

Keywords or keyword phrases more accurately, are one of the main pillars of a successful medical SEO effort. They’re the first step to dominating search engine rankings for your medical practice’s market area.

So what are these “keywords” I would use to market my medical practice online?

The term keyword is actually a little misleading – consumers rarely search for something online using a singular term like “doctor”, “physician”, or even “heart surgeon”. Entering these terms into a Google search yields a massive number of results that is difficult to navigate and digest. Phrases like these are highly competitive and it’s doubtful you could achieve high rankings by relying on them.

Unique keyword phrase is a more accurate description which is terms your target audience uses to search for you online. Top ranking medical websites primarily focus on building a great site with great content using the right keyword phrases.

So how do I find the right keywords to market my medical practice online?

The first step in finding the right keywords to market your medical practice online is writing down a list of phrases your customers would use to find you on the Internet. Chances are you will come up with a list of 20 or 30 terms to work with.

One thing that’s important to know is the type of searches people conduct online – academic information, product/service research and buyers that already know what they want. The third type of search is the only one that yields sales conversions.

Next, harness the following tips and tools to help you further development your raw keyword list.

1.Use specific keyword phrases

As we mentioned above, singular words like “doctor” or “chiropractor” are highly competitive. Singular words like these can apply to a wide variety of products and services so you don’t want to waste time trying to lure people to your site that are likely NOT looking for what you’re offering.

But remember, some keywords can be too specific so you want to have ones that are in the mainstream. You don’t want to optimize your medical website with keywords no one uses.

Below is a table illustrating the different levels of keywords, their competiveness and the prospects each have for sales conversions.

Keyword Value Table

Keyword Category Keyword Value Examples
Generic keyword or phrase Highly competitive, poor sales conversions, low value Doctors, chiropractors, surgeons
Category Slightly easier to gain high search engine rankings, slightly higher value Florida doctors, Texas chiropractors, California surgeons
Sub category High value, greater chance of sales conversions Atlanta doctors, Orlando chiropractors, Boston surgeons
Specific topic Highest value, keywords that easily achieve high rankings and garner sales conversions Atlanta general practitioners, Orlando back pain specialists, Boston heart surgeons

2.Consider keywords from your target audience’s perspective

Don’t assume you know what keywords your prospective customers use to find your medical services. Ask several different people to sit down at a computer and search for products and services in your market niche.

Ordinary people do not know the jargon medical industry insiders use. Learn how your customers speak about medical services and use those terms instead of those only insiders know about.

3.Gather keywords from your web site’s referral logs

An often overlooked way of finding keywords is your web site’s referral logs. Referrals from search engines will include the keyword phrase the searcher used to find your site. People sometimes use terms you or your competition would never think of.

4.Look at competitor web sites

Go to Google and enter your target keyword phrases and look at what comes up. These sites are your competition and scouring their pages can help you find keywords you may have overlooked.

You can also see what keywords they use by viewing their source code. For Internet Explorer users, click “View” then “Page Source” in your browser’s menu. And for Firefox, hit “Ctrl U” to view the source code. Web pages generally place their best keywords in the title so look for text sandwiched between the <title>…. </title> tags.

5.Consider keyword variations

Identify plurals and synonyms of your initial keyword list and add them. Search engines don’t see clinic and clinics as the same word and rarely return the same search results so you should optimize your site’s copy for both.

Also consider misspellings as it is possible a misspelled word may be more popular than the correct spelling. Remember, your potential patients are always correct so you have to adjust your site’s copy to this reality. For example, children’s doctor may be grammatically correct but many people may enter childrens doctor in a search so your site’s copy should include both.

6.Be descriptive and use action words

After you have your primary list and have identified any variations add descriptive phrases and action words for more keywords. Words like dependable, affordable, low cost and the like can go in front of many terms on your keyword list.

Action words like find, locate or guarantee are verbs you can include at the beginning of keyword phrases you already have on your list.

Many searchers also phrase their queries as a question like “where can I find a general practitioner doctor in Atlanta” for instance. These actually receive a fair amount of traffic so consider working phrases like that into your site’s copy.

7.Target localities

Medical practices are located and serve specific communities. Be sure you mention the location of your practice as much as you can in your site’s copy. And be aware of local slang terms searchers may use to find you like Philly vs. Philadelphia, Big Apple vs. New York and So Cal vs. Southern California to name a few.

8.Use keyword research tools to determine search volume

After you have assembled your keyword list, use one of many keyword research tools to find out the search volume for terms on your list. This gives you an opportunity to find out which terms are more popular. For example, is Orlando chiropractor more popular than Orlando back pain doctor?

Free keyword research tools that not only provide search volume data but also search trends for different keywords include:

Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Google Search-based Keyword Tool
Google Trends
Google Insights for Search
Microsoft adCenter Labs

Locating good keywords to include in your copy is the first step in optimizing your medical website for the search engines. Taking these steps to develop a strong keyword list will go a long way toward successfully marketing your medical practice online.

But simply having a list and peppering your copy indiscriminately with keyword phrases will not produce lasting results. Check back with the SEO medical knowledge center at soon for tips on places on your site where keywords have the most impact in terms of your search engine rankings.


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