Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Medical Website

By Chris Roberts


Category: Medical Practitioner SEO

Your online presence starts with your website, and that’s most of the time where internet users come to find out more about your medical practice. Your website needs more visitors, so more people learn about your services and receive the treatment they need. Nowadays, most people start looking for a doctor online by typing words and phrases related to their medical issues in the leading search engine: Google. Google organizes pages in search results based on hundreds of ranking factors. Relevance is among the primary factors when sorting pages, so searchers receive the information they intend to find. Someone typing “critical care” into a search engine to find intensive-care medicine won”t be satisfied to see James Spader portraying a medical resident in a 1997 film named Critical Care. In the same way, someone searching for the film Critical Care won”t be happy with an open-access journal featuring publications related to critical care. Google’s primary goal is to understand the intention behind users’ search queries and the context of the content on web pages so that it can supply internet users with relevant information.

SEO starts with keywords and phrases users type into Google, as they help generate more traffic and bring the right people to your site who need your medical services. Your primary goal in your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to increase your website visibility on Google and bring more users to your site. More website visitors increase your patient census and help your medical business grow.

Keyword Research for Your Medical Website

Keywords in your content help Google understand the context of the page, so it performs better in relevant search queries. Choosing the right keywords to target on your site needs research, so you know how your target audience – your potential patients – is looking for your services online. If your clinic offers pediatric clinical care, targeting “pediatric clinical care” won”t be enough to appear in those parents’ search queries who need to find medical information or require urgent assistance. Users may type phrases such as “my child has pain on the lower side of the abdomen” or “is it necessary to remove the appendix in children.” Most of the time, searchers will not be using medical terms, but will instead write symptoms of different illnesses of their children in a search engine to find you. Usually, internet users try to fix issues with the available information online until they can’t, and that’s when they decide to contact you.

Coming Up with Keyword Ideas for Your Medical Site

The first step in your research is to identify who your patients are and what phrases they might use to find you. If your target audience is parents looking for information about pediatric care, some of the keywords you may want to target are: “urgent pediatric care,” “infants,” “children,” “online pediatric,” ‘sore throat in children,” “how to treat common cold in children,” etc. By looking at the medical services you provide, you need to put yourself in your potential patients’ shoes and come up with a list of words they will type on Google to find the services you offer.

Generate More Keyword Ideas Using One of the Keyword Tools

Creating a list of the phrases your potential patients (or their parents) may use to find you will help you generate more keywords using one of the free keyword tools such as Wordtracker. Type in your seed keyword which is a primary keyword related to your services – for instance, “pediatric care” – and you will see the list with related keywords so you can add more keyword ideas to your list.

Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords

There are two types of keywords in terms of length you can target on your medical site. Short-tail keywords consist of 1-2 words. For instance, “appendicitis” is a short-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords consist of more than 3 words, and “is it necessary to remove the appendix in children” is a long-tail keyword. Short-tail keywords are more generic, and although there may usually be more traffic for short-tail keywords, it’s more difficult to target them. Besides, it’s challenging even for Google to understand what users are trying to find. Someone typing “Critical Care” in an engine may want to find the definition for the term, find a film with that name, or read an online medical magazine – who knows? Even if you succeed to have top positions for generic keywords, a lot of users typing the keyword will have no intention of using your or any other medical services. There is no simple answer to many concerns in choosing keywords to target, and it all depends on your goal, the audience, your services, etc. Ideally, you want to find long-tail keywords that bring traffic and help you get more patients to your doors. Someone searching for “how to treat scalp infection” is more likely to use your dermatologist services than someone looking for such generic keywords as “acne.” Users typing long-tail keywords usually have a more specific purpose, and Google understands their intention much better, so the results are usually much more relevant.

Long-Tail Keywords Help to Rank for Featured Snippets

Users who ask questions similar to “how to treat psoriasis” get answers to their questions even without clicking any page in results, and that’s called featured snippets. Your medical website will benefit from targeting featured snippets, as it will increase the visibility of your site and bring more potential patients to your site. One of the ways to increase your website’s chances of appearing as a featured snippet in a query is to target long-tail keywords. Ahrefs studied 2 million featured snippets and discovered that the vast majority of Featured Snippets show up when people search for long-tail keywords.

Determine the topics or the questions related to your services that you can write about on your website – on your blog or maybe even the FAQ page. “Getting rid of oily skin,” “what is acne,” and “how to wash oily scalp,” all have featured snippets. For more ideas, look at the section “People also ask” on Google.

Metrics You Need to Consider When Choosing the Right Keywords to Target

Using Wordtracker, you can see how each keyword on your list can bring traffic over time and how difficult it is to appear in that particular keyword-related query. Targeting keywords that don’t generate traffic is pointless, as you need more users on your site so you can grow your business. Keyword Volume indicates the average searches per month for a keyword. Usually, short-tail keywords generate more traffic, but it’s also more challenging to target. Keyword difficulty is a metric measuring the competition for each keyword, and usually, the higher the volume, the higher the competition. However, “pediatric urgent care” brings 15x more traffic than “pediatric care,” but it’s less difficult to target. By looking at the keyword Volume and Difficulty, you should determine which words will be beneficial for your SEO and bring traffic to your site.

Check What Your Competitors Are Targeting

Medical practices that provide the same medical services as you do are your competition, some of whom have been utilizing online marketing tools for years. Websites with the most traffic know how people are searching for their services online, so if you find what they are targeting, you know how people are going to find you. Checking your competitor’s keywords isn’t against any SEO laws and will only benefit your keyword research. A great tool to use to check what your competitors are targeting is SEMrush. Copy and paste your competitor’s domain address, and you will see the list of the Top Organic Keywords the site is targeting. Next to each keyword, you can see metrics such as the keyword Volume and the Difficulty.

Some of your competitors’ keywords may be extremely tough to target. For instance, “coronavirus symptoms” may bring 7,5 million users to a site, but the difficulty is 92.58/100 which means it will take such a long time to appear as a top result in a query, that by the time you manage to do so, probably and hopefully, the pandemic will be over.

On the other hand, if you choose to target “psoriasis,” although it will take a lot of time to achieve desired results, you know that the disease isn’t going to go extinct by the time you manage to appear in the query.

Include Local Keywords on Your Website

Unless you operate solely online, you need patients coming to your clinic to use your medical services. Featuring local keywords on your website content will help you appear in location-related queries. To rank for local queries such as “dermatologist in Charleston,” you need to include location-related keywords in your content. Local keywords can be the name of the city, which in this case would be “Charleston,” or even the name of the districts. To include such keywords on your site, you’ll need local content, which can be local guides, a list of best local attractions, or even medical events in Charleston.

Target Conversational Keywords to Bring Voice Searchers to Your Site

Not all of your prospects type, but some decide to speak into their voice devices. Voice search is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and by targeting conversational keywords voice searchers use, you have more chances to bring more potential clients to your site and your door. According to Google, 70% of the voice queries Google Assistant receives consist of natural language, which means most searchers speak to their voice device the same way they speak to another person. For instance, a user may type “treating psoriasis fast” in the search engine but ask a voice device “how can I get rid of psoriasis fast?” Although user intention is the same, to treat psoriasis, keywords in the typed search and the voice search differ. Targeting more conversational keywords on your site will help you convert more voice searchers to your patients.

We hope the tactics above will help you choose the right keywords to target on your medical website, so you can have a winning SEO strategy and keep your medical business growing.

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