How to Effectively Utilize Keywords for Healthcare SEO

Close-up of a medical worker typing on laptop

When a new client signs on with Salt Lake City’s WebTek Interactive, one of the first things the WebTek team does is conduct comprehensive keyword research. They do so because they know that keywords are still the main resource that search engines rely on for indexing and ranking pages. Without keywords, you have no basis for an SEO campaign.

Another key component of WebTek’s SEO service is tailoring keyword research to the client’s industry. For example, keyword research for a healthcare organization will reveal two types of keywords that organization should focus on: generic keywords that may overlap with other industries and specific keywords that apply only to healthcare.

The logical conclusion of keyword research is to choose the right keywords and then effectively utilize them to improve page rankings and drive traffic. This is easier said than done. To succeed, SEO providers need to have a firm grasp of the chosen keywords, the industry they pertain to, and how web users are likely to search them.

Below are tips for effectively utilizing keywords, specifically in the healthcare sector:

  1. 1. Put Yourself in the Patient’s Shoes

A comprehensive SEO campaign that pulls out all the stops includes creating what is known as customer personas. These are fictional customers that help marketers understand to whom they are marketing. However, for the purpose of this post we can dispense with them and simply say this: put yourself in the patient’s shoes.

If you were a patient concerned about a particular disease or ailment, what words would you use to search for it online? Imagine what the average consumer, without any medical knowledge at all, would want to know about that particular condition. This will help you narrow down a long list of keywords to a more manageable list.

  1. 2. Ask Questions

People are more likely than ever before to use their phones to search the internet. This is especially true when looking for local healthcare services. To take advantage of that, ask questions as though you were the patient your campaign is designed to target. Why? Because people who search on the phone are more likely to do so with their voices than their fingers. And when they search with their voices, they ask questions.

Here’s an example: “Where can I find a rheumatologist near me?”

Just this one question opens the door to numerous keywords related to rheumatology and a clinic’s geographic location. Building content around those keywords improves local search results.

  1. 3. Use Simple English

It is not uncommon for healthcare websites to struggle in the SEO arena because their content is rife with terminology the average person does not use. For example, a potential user worried about having a heart attack is not going to search the term ‘myocardial infarction’. He is going to search ‘heart attack’.

More than most other industries, healthcare SEO needs to be pursued from a foundation of simple English. Avoid keywords that only appeal to clinicians. Avoid search terms that only doctors or nurses would understand. Keep it simple for better rankings.

  1. 4. Incorporate Keywords with Ad Campaigns

Finally, do not limit the results of keyword research to on-site content only. There is a whole off-site world out there. In the healthcare arena, keywords can mean the difference in successful ad campaigns. The right keywords can boost an ad campaign tremendously.

In this regard, keywords should be very specific according to the campaign in question. As an example, imagine a family doctor’s office looking to promote telehealth as a new option for patients. An ad campaign targeting local consumers with telehealth-specific keywords can generate buzz. Enough buzz can lead to a slew of new patients.

Keyword research is the foundation of solid SEO. There is no getting around it. Until Google finds some other way to index and quantify pages, keywords have to be at the forefront. But in addition to research, SEO providers have to know how to utilize the keywords they come up with.

In healthcare SEO, it is all about meeting patients where they are. The most successful SEO providers put themselves in the patient’s shoes, ask a lot of questions, use simple English, and target specific groups with effective ad campaigns. That is how you win healthcare SEO.