Even with the constant changes in Google’s search engine algorithms, keywords remain as one of the main focal points to building a successful SEO campaign. Targeting the right keywords is what allows your website to be found by the right prospects. It helps your business show up for searches that are relevant to the problems, needs, and wants of your target audience.
But choosing the right keywords isn’t as easy as it seems. You need to have a good amount of experience to really understand what kind of keyword phrases you should be targeting for your SEO campaign. The terms you choose also play into your marketing strategy. For example, a landing page for keywords where prospects are looking for specific information should be different from a landing page for keywords where prospects are ready to make a purchase.
Keywords will also determine how you move forward with your SEO campaign. You need to have a strong idea of what keywords to prioritize and how to utilize your limited resources between the list of keywords you’re targeting. This is one of the things that separate businesses that see huge growth from SEO and businesses that struggle for meager results.
Not All Keywords Are Created Equal
If you’re an orthodontist and conducting research for your SEO campaign, you’ll be faced with a large list of keyword phrases you can target. This is where it’s important to understand that some keywords are better than others.
For example, the keywords “braces” and “orthodontist” with local search terms are the keywords that will generate the best results for your practice. These are the kind of “money” keywords that convert leads to patients.
In contrast, keyword searches like “does getting braces hurt?” and “do I really need braces?” are related to what you do, but they probably won’t convert into patients. These are searches made by people that are early in research phase and aren’t specifically looking for an orthodontist. Even if some of these keywords are easier to rank for, you’ll find that it’s a waste of resources to target them due to the lack of patient conversions.
Is It Important to Rank for Your Own Name?
Many orthodontists think that it’s critical to rank for their own names. In most cases, ranking for your own name is not important. There are several reasons for this. First, searches for names usually receive very small search volumes which basically translates to little to no traffic. In addition, most doctors tend to rank naturally for their own names if they’ve done some SEO. In even in the rare cases they don’t, the ranking wouldn’t really help all that much.
Second, if a patient is looking for your specific name in your city, they’ll eventually find you. This is because sites like Zocdocs, Healthgrades, and other medical listing sites occupy many of the top results for these name based searches. Once the patient lands on these sites, it’s very easy for them to clarify their search and find you through your name and specialty.
It’s more important to focus on keywords that will bring in new patients into your practice. Ranking in the top results of the search engines for keywords that don’t bring in patients are a waste of time, money and resources. The only instance when ranking for your name might be important is if there’s another competing orthodontist with the exact same name and is located in the exact same city as you.
Should You Go for the Most Competitive Keywords?
Another thing you have to consider with your keyword strategy is to figure out which keywords to go for early in your campaign.
As you know, the “money” orthodontist keyword phrases that generate the bulk of traffic volume will be very competitive. As a result, it can take quite a long time to rank for these keyword searches. This is not ideal if you are looking to generate clients quickly from your SEO campaign.
That’s why it’s a good idea to start by going after long-tail keywords first. These are keywords that tend to be longer (as their name suggests) and less competitive than the most competitive searches. An example keyword would be “orthodontists in Austin that offer free consultations.” Even if these keywords tend to receive a lot less searches than the shorter “money” keywords, they are lazer targeted and tend to convert very well. In fact, securing top rankings for multiple long-tail keywords can generate a lot of revenue for your practice.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should abandon the most competitive keywords. The idea here is to secure the top rankings for less competitive keywords first and then slowly move your way up towards the competitive terms. This approach will help you generate revenue more quickly from your SEO campaign. It will also help you cover the costs of your campaign early on so that you can reinvest the profits back into growing your SEO campaign.
And once you start ranking for these long tail keywords, it becomes easier to rank for the most competitive keywords. The reason for this is because you are building domain authority, page rank, link value that you can pass to your other pages, and some search reputation which can be leveraged to generate more incoming links.
Focus on Keyword Intent When Evaluating Keywords
Overall, the most important thing you have to focus on when evaluating keyword phrases is to look at intent. Ask yourself: What is going on in the mind of the people who are entering this search phrase in Google? If the intent is to eventually find a trustworthy orthodontist in their area, then you want to target it. If the intent is to conduct research that most likely won’t lead to an appointment, you want to dismiss it.
If you need help with your keyword strategy or need an experienced team of professionals to overlook your entire SEO campaign, give us a call. Blend Local Search Marketing has been helping leading orthodontists build winning SEO campaigns for over a decade with targeted search for their office locations.
Not All Keywords Are Created Equal