In many ways, keywords are the currency of search. And by search, I mean both organic search and pay per click advertising. It’s critical to know the keywords that will best attract your ideal clients to your practice.
What is a keyword (or keyword phrase)? It’s simply the word or words that a searcher types into a search engine in order to find something they are looking for: in our case, the searcher is probably someone living or working in your neighbourhood who is searching for a nearby dentist or a dentist who offers particular dental services.
Many keywords are obvious. Most dentists will want their practice to show up in a search for the word “dentist” plus their location. It’s important that your practice also shows up prominently for it’s name, and for the names of all practitioners working in it. Many practices then target dental services: ‘cosmetic dentistry’, ‘cosmetic dentist’, ‘teeth whitening’, ‘dental veneers’ are all popular choices.
Your perfect keyword list will probably be quite similar to those of nearby practices, however there will be differences, depending on what you’re trying to achieve from your online marketing. A new practice, a practice that is very slow, a mature and busy practice that wants to focus on delivering a particular range of dental services, a practice who is looking to establish authority: all will be pursuing different keywords in their online marketing.
When thinking about keywords, it is important to think about what terminology local (non-dental) people are most likely to be using. For example, while we as dentists will use the term “occlusal splint” and some people will research “nightguard” (because they have learned the term from a dentist or friend/family member), most non-dental people who are unfamiliar with the existence of occlusal splints will clearly be using very different words.
They will probably search for variations of ‘teeth grinding’ or ‘how to stop cracking my teeth/fillings’: the PROBLEM they are experiencing, rather than the (as-yet-unknown) solution. Or they may even guess that some sort of appliance will be the answer, and use a term like ‘plate to stop my teeth grinding’.
Ongoing keyword research and careful review of keyword analytics programs will provide great insights into the typical ‘non-dental’ language local people are using to seek dentists and dental services.
You must also think about what you DON’T want to attract to your business. Searches for ‘cheap dentistry’, ‘cheapest dental care’, ‘budget dentistry’ and ‘dental deals’ are usually done by “Dental Shoppers”: people who will shop on price and who seldom become loyal, long-term clients. I always recommend that clients don’t pursue such keywords, unless they are a budget dental practice.
Keyword research is likely to be an ongoing part of your online marketing. It’s fascinating stuff, and another important part of your online success.