Identifying keywords that will help your medical practice perform better in search results is key to attracting new patients.
In the increasingly hyper-competitive medical field, it is becoming more important to build a robust online presence to attract the attention of potential patients.
One way to build up that presence: Identify and utilize high performing keywords to build website content, organically drive traffic to your website, and build an online advertising strategy.
Step 1: Start building a keyword list by jotting down common topics discussed between your providers and patients. This list should also include key services that your practice provides. For an OB/GYN practice, keywords may include:
Step 2: Narrow down which keywords are worth spending time and money pursuing by going to Google Keyword Planner (you will need to log in if you have not done so previously), and clicking on “search for new keyword and ad group ideas.”
Fill in your list of keywords, your landing page, and product category (the type of medical care you provide). Lastly, in the targeting column, identify the location of your target audience. For example, if your practice is located in Michigan, you should select the state of Michigan or specific zip codes. Lastly, click “Get Ideas.”
On the following screen, users can view a graph of how their keywords have performed over the course of a month. You will also see a list of ad group ideas and how many monthly searches occur for that ad group.
In my example, my top performing ad group was gynecologists. When I click on that link, I can see all of the keywords that appear in this group.
Step 3: Another option is to click on the "Keyword Ideas" tab. While doing this search, I found that pregnancy and menopause are the two highest performing search terms.
After completing this process, I narrowed down my list to the highest performing keywords for my search:
There are a few different ways that keywords can be used to reach your target audience. Strategies include building meaningful content on your website, SEO (search engine optimization), and advertising.
1. Creating content
Great content helps a practice develop a positive connection with patients before they even step through the door. However, not all content is created equal. Great content informs people, provides valuable advice, and provides new resources or tools.
Content can appear in the form of:
• Visual content. Patients love images, and it is one of the most popular forms of social sharing.
• Infographics. This is a great way to communicate complicated information in a way that is visually appealing and easy to understand.
• Video content. Videos allow physicians to connect with patients in a unique and personal way. Videos are also great content for social sharing and appeal to audio learners.
• Written content. Word-based content helps websites get picked up by search engines.
After identifying your highest-performing keywords, you should have a solid idea of the type of information people are seeking online. Use your final keyword list, along with common topics or questions you get in the office, to help you generate topic ideas.
If you are still stumped on content ideas, go to Yahoo! Answers and type in one of your keywords. You'll receive a list of the most frequently asked questions online related to this keyword. While some results will not be relevant, others will provide a great starting point for creating materials that patients will find useful.
2. Search engine optimization
In a content management system, such as Wordpress or Dotnetnuke, there is a place to input keywords, categories, or tags. These tools help categorize website content and provide search engines a summarized idea of what the site contains.
When someone performs a search, the tags, categories, and keywords that are built into your website will help your practice appear higher on search results. Administrators can easily input this information on any page or article.
Tags should relate to the topic of the article or post, but always incorporate keywords as much as possible. If your website is hard coded, you will need assistance from a developer.
3. Keyword advertising
According to Pew Internet Research, 8 in 10 online health inquiries start at a search engine. This reinforces the need for practices to be picked up by Google, Yahoo, and other search engines. Google provides an excellent, easy to use advertising service called Google Adwords.
To create a campaign in Google Adwords, set a daily budget, the location of your target audience, keywords, and bid. To set your bid, refer to Google Keyword Search for a suggested bid. Finally, create your text ad.
Once you launch your Adword campaign, the Adwords dashboard allows you to easily track performance. Evaluating your campaign’s success on a weekly basis will help you determine exactly how beneficial Google Adwords is to building your practice's online presence.
Identifying keywords is the first step to understanding how to best serve a population and attract new patients. Utilizing keywords to create quality content, build a strong SEO plan, and advertise online are business development methods that every practice should consider.