10 Steps to Choosing the Best Keywords for SEO

October 25, 2017

The best way to improve your online presence, get new patients, and achieve top rankings on Google is to find the right keywords to optimize for. Follow these ten steps to help you select the best keywords for your medical practice.

1. Choose your topic

Each page on your website should have a different topic and rank for different keywords to maximize your ranking potential. For example, if you’re an ENT doctor, your home page might rank for “ent doctor”- and “otolaryngologist”-related keywords, and you might have a sinusitis page which ranks for “sinusitis treatment”-related keywords.

2. Choose a keyword research tool

You can use keyword research tools to help you brainstorm new keywords and discover search volumes. Google Adwords Keyword Planner is great for doctors and other local businesses because you can search for the top keywords in your service area(s). First, begin by entering your service area (for example, New York state) and enter a broad keyword to begin your research. For example, if you’re an ENT doctor, you can enter “ENT,” “ear nose and throat,” or “otolaryngology.”

3. Choose keywords with high relevance

Always select keywords that are highly relevant to your service offerings. You could choose to rank for something broad, like “doctor” or something unrelated, like “cucumber,” but the visitors you receive from these keywords will be unlikely to schedule an appointment. Therefore, it’s crucial that you focus on specific keywords that are relevant to your practice. Long-tail keywords are even better – for example, instead of “teeth whitening,” which encompasses teeth whitening strips and teeth whitening toothpaste, “professional laser teeth whitening” is a better choice.

4. Choose keywords with commercial intent, not informational keywords

You want to choose keywords that reflect a searcher’s intent to buy or, in a doctor’s case, schedule an appointment. Keywords with “treatment”, “doctor”, “specialist”, etc. generally indicate that the searcher is looking to book an appointment, whereas keywords with “symptoms”, “causes”, and question words such as “what” and “why” generally indicate that the searcher is just looking for information.

5. Choose keywords that are less competitive

If you have a new website with no backlinks, it may be hard to compete for rankings against established sites. It is especially difficult to achieve high rankings for competitive, high volume keywords in saturated locations, such as “plastic surgeon” in LA. Perform a quick Google search of your keyword to see the websites you’re up against. You can always start by ranking for less competitive keywords and working your way up as you optimize your site and build backlinks.

6. Choose keywords with high search volume

If you have similar keywords, such as “nyc dentist” and “dentist in nyc,” but one has a higher search volume than the other, in most cases you should choose the keyword with the higher search volume. As long as the keyword meets the other criteria above, the higher the search volume the better.

7. Don’t forget to include local keywords

As a doctor or medical practice, location keywords are crucial since patients will be searching for doctors near them. For example, along with “ent doctor,” check the search volume for “ent doctor near me,” “ent doctor nyc,” etc.

8. Don’t forget to include superlatives

Patients often search for the best doctors in the area. That means that there may be high search volume for keywords such as “best ent doctor near me” and “top ent doctor in nyc.”

9. Check the Google SERP

Enter your keywords into Google. If the results are mostly other medical practices, it’s probably a good keyword. If the results are entirely medical information websites such as webmd.com and mayoclinic.org, it’s probably a bad keyword.

10. Refine your keyword list

In general, each page should only focus on 5-10 keywords. If you try to optimize for too many different keywords, you won’t achieve high rankings for any.

That’s it! If you want to learn more about marketing for doctors, check out our ultimate guide here. To enlist the help of our expert designers, content writers, programmers, and SEO specialists, request a free practice assessment below. docero is a full-service digital marketing agency, focused exclusively on connecting health care providers with prospective patients in their communities.

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