May 27, 2021

Leveraging Keyword Research for Healthcare

How to Get Your Healthcare Company Found Online Using SEO

The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. With rapid growth comes rapidly growing competition, especially when it comes to being found online. But how do companies get found online? Well, the single largest source of website traffic is organic search.

The most important factor when it comes to organic search is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Specifically, implementing a solid keyword and content strategy grounded in keyword research is one of the best ways to compete for website traffic from organic search.

SEO and Keyword Research Basics

Before we dive too deeply into the “How It’s Done” of keyword research, we should first get some of the basics out of the way. To start, what exactly is SEO? According to Google, search engine optimization is “the process of making your site better for search engines.” This means optimizing your website and online content in a way that helps search engines understand what the content is about so they can present it to the right audience. Search engines are meant to answer people’s questions. Answering the questions your target audience is asking online, in a way that search engines understand, goes a long way in increasing your organic search traffic.

SEO and keyword research go hand in hand and should be a living, breathing, ongoing part of all your online content. Search patterns and algorithms change all the time, so you have to change with them.

Today we’re going to focus on keyword research, which is one of the top ranking factors for SEO.

According to HubSpot, “Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines.”  Shorter terms, consisting of one or two words, are more general and typically more difficult to rank for. Longer terms, or long-tail keywords, consisting of three to five words, are typically easier to rank for and lead more qualified visitors to your site.

Analyzing these terms, or keywords, gives you insight into what your target audience is looking for online. Aligning your keywords and content with what your target audience is searching online helps search engines present your audience with your content. 

Of course, simply adding keywords into content isn’t enough, you have to use this insight to provide valuable content for your audience. Content marketing is king when it comes to getting found online.

How It’s Done

So, how is it done?

First, we suggest creating a list of terms, abbreviations, topics and phrases that are relevant to your industry. This will give you a starting point for building your keyword list. For example, if you were operating in the mental health industry, your list of terms could include:

  1. Mental Health
  2. Mental Health Services
  3. Mental Healthcare
  4. Mental Health Counselor
  5. Mental Health Disorders
  6. Eating Disorders
  7. Support Groups
  8. Therapist
  9. Psychiatrist
  10. Psychologist

Once you have your list ready, you can begin using a keyword research tool to find other terms your audience is searching for online. Although there are some free tools and trials out there, most tools will require a monthly subscription. We really like UberSuggest from Neil Patel, which allows you three free keywords to research per day and is incredibly user friendly. SemRush and Moz are best-in-class keyword research tools as well and offer a 30-day free trial. Once you choose a tool,you can begin entering the terms from your list into the tool to find monthly search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, cost per click and other keyword ideas.

The two most important metrics for organic search when conducting keyword research are: monthly search volume and SEO difficulty. Monthly search volume tells you the average number of monthly searches for that keyword within the last 12 months. SEO or keyword difficulty tells you how difficult it will be to rank for that particular keyword. The higher the number, the more difficult it will be for your audience to find you using that term. Ideally, you’re looking for a keyword that has a high search volume and low difficulty.

Keyword ideas, variations or similar keywords give you other terms your audience often uses related to your original term. By analyzing these terms and their monthly search volume and difficulty, you can begin adding terms to your overall keyword list. Once you have analyzed and chosen the rest of your keywords, you can begin creating or adjusting your content.

When evaluating the content on your site, we suggest first looking at the language you’re using on each of your pages, including titles, metadata and on-page content. If you find that you aren’t using any of the keywords on your list within this content, this is the time to review and rewrite that content to more closely align with what your target audience is searching for online. (Fire Tip: You can also use UberSuggest or SemRush to analyze your site and content)

After ensuring your site content is up to par, you can begin creating great, keyword-rich blog content by setting up an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar helps you plan out your content, make sure it aligns with your SEO terms or topics and stay on track with your publishing schedule. To save you time, we’ve created a downloadable editorial calendar template

This template allows you to block off periods of time where your content will be focused on broad topics ( eating disorders, for example, if you’re focused on mental health) and then break that down into specific blog titles, like “The Long-Term Physical Effects of Anorexia Nervosa.”  If you need some inspiration, AnswerThePublic.com is a great tool that helps you come up with content ideas based on keywords. You can then also plan out the keywords you would like to use within that blog, the title and subtitle, who will be producing the blog and when it will be published. 

A general rule of thumb is to use a keyword between three and five times within a piece of content, only where it makes sense and flows naturally. If you simply stuff keywords into pieces of content, search engines will pick up on it, and it will negatively affect your rankings.

SEO and Keyword Myths

Now that we’ve covered “How It’s Done”, let’s talk about a few common SEO and keyword myths. We hear A LOT of them in our line of work, so we’d love to clear this up for everyone.

  1. SEO is too difficult or only for companies with HUGE amounts of traffic
    Absolutely not! Granted, there are many aspects to SEO but starting off with something as simple as keyword research and content marketing will make a significant difference in your organic search traffic. The real key is just creating great content that people want or need. Answer your audience’s questions and you’re halfway there!
  2. Focusing on ranking at the top for one popular keyword is enough
    Nope, nope, nope. Focusing all of your energy on trying to rank at the top of a very popular and very difficult keyword like “healthcare” will get you nowhere. Especially when you are starting out, you need to focus on ranking for the longer search terms your audience is using. These may not have hundreds of thousands of searches per month, but they will be easier to rank for and will bring more qualified leads to your site.
  3. Just stuffing keywords into random content is good enough
    “Keyword Stuffing” has actually been proven to kill your search engine rankings. Not only does it create a terrible user experience but search engines are also now smart enough to spot it fairly quickly and push your page down in rankings.
  4. Keyword research is a one time thing
    No. SEO and keyword research go hand-in-hand with all of your online content. Whenever you create a new blog you should be researching and creating a list of keywords to use within that blog. Whenever you add a new page to your website you should update your keyword list to what is most relevant at the time. Even when you create social media content, you should have a handful of keywords in mind because even social platforms operate a lot like search engines now.
  5. Keywords are only important in blogs
    Keywords are relevant to anything that can be found using a search engine. This includes social media content, video content, pay per click ads (we’ll dive deeper into those later), event listings, online shop listings and anything else you can think of!

Keyword Strategies to Implement Today

We recognize that this can all seem a little bit intimidating, so we came up with a few keyword strategies you can implement within your healthcare marketing strategy today to help you start off on the right foot.

  1. Create your initial search term list. Remember, this is just a list of any and all possible terms your target audience could use to find your content. Aim for at least 10 terms, if you can get even more than that, great!
  2. Use UberSuggest to do some research on your top three terms. UberSuggest only allows three searches per day so this is a good place to start. To select your top three terms, choose what you think is most relevant or specific to your content but is still likely to have a fairly high search volume. When conducting this research you can take a look at similar keywords or keyword variations to add onto your list. We suggest taking note of each term’s search volume and difficulty so you can sort them later. To get you started, we created this downloadable keyword list template!
  3. Set up your editorial calendar to get you on the right track with your content marketing and help you drive organic search traffic to your site.

Interested in learning more about SEO and Keyword Research? Subscribe to our YouTube show and podcast, How It’s Done, where we will be bringing you even more healthcare marketing tips and tricks!

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