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No matter your level of SEO knowledge, you’re probably familiar with the term ‘keywords.’ If not, they’re a pretty basic concept to understand. Still, there are many reasons why you should be using them and how they provide a selection of fantastic SEO benefits.
Keywords have been the foundation of medical SEO since the early days of search engines. While SEO has come a long way since the mad dash in its earliest days with packing irrelevant keywords onto a page and hiding them as the same color as your background – they’re still critical.
What Are SEO Keywords?
Essentially, keywords are words or phrases that define your content. They are the queries that your target audience is searching online most often to find the products and services you offer.
Different Types of Keywords
Long Tail vs. Short Tail Keywords
There are two common keywords referenced in your hunt for keyword information – long tail and short tail.
Short tail keywords are short and broad terms that often have high search volume and are the first thing that comes to mind when a person thinks about your brand or business. If you're a dental practice, an example of a short tail keyword could be as simple as “dentists near me.”
Alternatively, long-tail keywords gain less traffic but enable you to rank for more specific and targeted search terms. Using the dentist example again, “best teeth whitening dentist in Southern California” could be an example of a long-tail keyword.
Do you see the difference?
Benefits of Keyword Research
SEO keyword research is the practice of discovering the phrases that you should be optimizing your content.
1. Understand What Users Are Searching For
The core purpose of keyword research is to understand your target audience and their search topics. Tools such as Semrush and Ahrefs allow you to enter any keyword into their search engines and present a list of broad match terms and crucial data such as search volume and ranking difficulty.
By analyzing this information, you can compile a list of keywords that are the most appropriate for your business so that you can start optimizing for them.
2. Competitor Ranking Analysis & Comparison
One of our top keyword research tips is to conduct a competitor analysis. This process lets you highlight search terms where your competitors are outperforming you. Then, you can decide whether to also optimize for those keywords or not. Often, marketers can discover high-volume keywords their initial research hadn’t picked up on.
This thorough guide to keyword research is a great tool to master the art of finding the best terms for your website.
Why Are Keywords Important for SEO?
1. Tell Search Engines What a Web Page Is About
First and foremost, without targeted keywords, your pages won’t appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) for terms most relevant to your business. When crawling your website, keywords tell search engines the topic of your website. As they index your website, they can pick up on the key themes and terminology you use to assess and appropriately rank your website.
2. Refine Your Target Audience
Another fantastic benefit of keywords is refining your target audience, whether by demographics or geographic location. Nearly half of all searches are looking for information based on location. Additionally, organic SEO is becoming even more critical with advancements in data protection. The average person’s understanding of cookies and personal data tracking has improved, meaning businesses need to start optimizing local SEO via keywords.
3. Communicate Better With Users
Once you know what users are searching for, you can communicate with them in a language they find engaging using the same terms they have explored. Speaking directly to users and engaging on a level they resonate with empowers you to build solid connections and relationships with them. Additionally, you push them to feel strongly about your brand and drive them towards conversion on your website.
4. Drive Website Traffic & Improve Ranking
The most apparent benefit of keyword research is that it helps you climb the rankings and drive more relevant traffic to your website. The critical message to pick up on is that you’re looking to acquire traffic seeking what your business offers. Too often, companies attempt to target loosely relevant keywords in the hope of coming out on top of their competitors or generating a spike in traffic.
While traffic is an important metric, it’s not the most important – which we’ll come onto next.
5. Reduce Bounce Rate & Increase Conversions
As you've done all the hard work of finding terms that your users are looking for and optimizing your content, you can expect a reduction in bounce rate and a rise in conversions. But, on the other hand, suppose you've been thorough and effective in your actions. Therefore, people find what they're looking for, are less likely to leave immediately, and will engage with the content.
Secondly, you should see a rise in organic conversions. Again, you target impactful and highly specific keywords that give users the information they need.
Keywords are still one of the most crucial elements of any SEO strategy. Understanding what your target audience searches for and how your efforts stack up against your competitors can present many new opportunities for your company.
SEO is all about the battle for the top organic spots in SERPs, and without targeted keywords, you’re fighting a losing battle. Search engines are incredibly more sophisticated than they used to be. They can detect what keywords are relevant to your content and add you to its listings. However, you're not going to outperform a website that targets them specifically.
If you’re looking to increase traffic, raise conversions, generate more patients, and better serve existing clients, keyword research should be high on your list of marketing priorities. Nowadays, most people will be looking for medical and healthcare services online – and as they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it. But unfortunately, no optimization equals little to no organic conversions.