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Going Beyond Guesswork for Keyword Searches

How do you determine the keywords you use in your Google SEO program? Do you make assumptions about what you think people use to find you, and use those keywords? Maybe you look at what competitors are doing and copy that. Or, do you actually take the time to research what potential patients are using when looking for a dentist or orthodontist?

If you’re not researching, you might be missing out on the keywords patients are actually using. Dr. Peter J. Meyers of Moz.com believes this research is the most important and valuable activity that happens in the search marketing world. He says “Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website“. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.”

When it comes to good SEO, we know it’s not enough to drive traffic to your site, but to ensure that traffic is made up of the right people, who will then become your patients. Keyword research can help you with conversions.

What is a keyword?
What is the value of a keyword? When determining if a specific keyword is right for your practice, consider the following:

  1. Is it relevant to my practice and services we offer?
  2. If a searcher uses this keyword and lands on my site, will he or she find information they want and that is of use?
  3. Will this keyword generate traffic that result in conversions?

Before settling on keywords, it’s important to know how a keyword will impact your business. Just because a keyword is related to you, and ranks well on Google, doesn’t mean it is right for you.

We should also note that today’s Google users rarely use a single word when searching, but instead use key phrases. Think about it this way – if you are a pediatric dentist, and you simply use the work “pediatric” as a keyword, chances are users will find something different than what you’d like them to find, which is your practice. Instead, use the term “pediatric dentist” plus your city.

The best are actually phrases of about two to four words that accurately describe you and serves you provide. Think about the language your patients use, and use that for keywords.

For example, if you’re an orthodontist, you may not want to focus too heavily on the keyword malocclusion, even when paired with your city. Most Google users probably aren’t using the term malocclusion in their searches, but rather something like “crooked teeth” or “bad bite” or something similar.

Utilize Google’s keyword planner when determining what keyword phrases will work best for you. You can put in your market, then type in different keywords to determine how competitive they are and what their average search volume is. For instance, you could see that for the search term “pediatric dentist” in the Atlanta area, the average number of monthly searches is 720 and Google ranks it as a low competition search term.


Common mistakes to avoid
Avoid these common mistakes in your Google SEO tactics:

  1. Using only single-word terms because it narrows your reach. They are typically too broad, too competitive, and rarely result in what the user is actually looking for.
  2. Terms that are too broad, or not focused on your services or product. You may find a keyword that can broadly relate to you, but it’s important to remember that you don’t just want traffic – you want traffic that will convert into patients. So think about the services you offer, and use those as keyword phrases.
  3. Getting too specific. Just as you can be too broad, you can also become so specific that you narrow your audience too much. As the competition of a search term goes down, so does its popularity. Don’t just look for words that you can rank high with, look for words that will generate traffic that will in turn lead to new patients.

The first step in creating a healthy search engine optimization program is developing a list of effective keywords. Determining the best keywords to use is a continuing and ongoing part of SEO because the way people search is constantly changing. And that means the way your business reaches them has to continue to evolve, as well.

So, where do you start?

Let’s start at the very beginning
Start by brainstorming – who are you, what services do you offer? Start with a basic list of services, and then dig deeper.

Are you a pediatric dentist in San Francisco? Don’t stop at just using the obvious term “San Francisco pediatric dentist.” What are the services you provide that parents might be looking for?

Take it even further by including keywords that include phrases such as “cost of,” “recovery time of,” “before and after” and you might just see your conversions increasing even more. This is a great tactic for orthodontists and dentists to use. Parents may be wondering about the cost of braces, so by using “cost of braces” in your search term, you can answer those questions and be earn front of mind recognition.

If you are in a large and highly competitive market, don’t forget to use suburbs in your search terms. It might take a while to rank at the top with the phrase

In highly competitive markets, you can also reach more people by including suburbs of the city you are in. If you’re in San Diego, target cities such as Carlsbad, Del Mar, Escondido, etc., and widen the net of potential patients you reach.

Sample keywords that can be effective in driving potential customers to your site include:

  • (your city) cost of braces
  • (your city) cost of Invisalign
  • (your city) cosmetic dentist
  • (your city) dental implants
  • (your city) smile makeover

Potential patients don’t just want to know about procedures and services, they want to see photos, learn about cost, and much more. If you aren’t providing this valuable information, chances are potential patients are looking to a competitor.

Research, research, research…and more research
Determining which keywords will be the best for you doesn’t have to be hit or miss. Using a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner can help you determine what users are actually searching for.

You can take your phrases and, looking in your area, check to see variations on that search term that searchers are using. This list may even generate words you hadn’t thought of, and ideas for strategically optimized blogs.

Research might just bring up an idea for a new opportunity for your SEO program to seize.

Get to work
Once you’ve created your list of keywords, what next? It’s time to put them to work and convert traffic into patients.

Organize your keywords into manageable groups that can then be used for targeted optimization. Use these keywords throughout your site, from page titles, to the body of text, to URLs and even meta tags on file names.

Most SEO programs begin after a site is already up and running. You’ve probably had a website for a while, but want to go back and work in keywords to help your position on Google. This can work, but you’ll need to be careful to avoid keyword stuffing, and trying to cram too many keywords onto just a few pages.

In a perfect world, your SEO will fit in with your website design from the very beginning. You’d create your list of keywords, then craft the content of your site with that in mind. At Millionairium, we help clients redesign their websites, taking into account all that goes into SEO. By crafting content around these keywords, you can create relevant and engaging content that ensures potential patients find exactly what they need.

Millionairium has been at the forefront of the SEO world for more than a decade by combining sophisticated conversion rate monitoring with best practices in website design and development. We use our knowledge to help clients dominate their markets. If you’re ready to see what a comprehensive and highly effective SEO strategy can do for your practice, call Millionairium today, (310) 299-2799.

Going Beyond Guesswork for Keyword Searches was last modified: December 30th, 2018 by Millionairium
  • This is a comprehensive and well-researched article. Thank you, Becky. I agree that keyword research should be done first before you start implementing the phrases into your content. Keyword stuffing is a no-no. This should be required reading for anyone looking to rank highly for their audience.