Great content drives today's healthcare digital marketing strategy — from your web pages to your newsletters to your social posts. But what good is that great content if nobody sees it?

When drafting your content, be sure to craft it to include natural, but specific keyword touches. Search engines use keywords as an important factor to determine the order in which result should appear. Those search engines, in turn, will direct people looking for the healthcare services you offer to your content. Here are some tips for selecting and placing keywords throughout your digital copy to increase the likelihood of the right people finding you online.

Two types of keywords
A keyword is a word or phrase that is significant within your content. It's what your content is about. Prospective and current patients use keywords in search engine queries to identify and seek out information on their condition or medical need.

There are two different types of keywords: broad and long-tail. Broad keywords are short words or phrases that can apply to many (or all) healthcare facilities and organizations. Long-tail keywords, meanwhile, are longer words or phrases more specific to your organization or locations.

For example:

  • A broad keyword could be: “joint replacement" or “cardiologist."
  • A long-tail keyword would be: “Austin women's health specialist" or “experienced Manhattan heart surgeon."

The result of using longer keyword phrases is that you’ll be able to speak directly to the needs of your best prospective patients, while finding natural touches of keyword nuances. What's more, you'll show up (or rank) higher on the search results page for those people looking for those specific keywords. Long-tail keywords allow you to also target both the broad keyword and long-tail keyword, making for a complete SEO keyword strategy.

For example, if someone is searching for a women's health clinic in Austin, chances are, when including long-tail keywords within your web content like “our Austin-based women’s health clinic, staffed by experienced gynecologists” - your women's health content will be more likely to come up higher in the rankings than your competition.

Picking your keywords
The best way to do keyword research is to survey what your competitors are doing. Check out their website and identify the keywords and topics that are ranking for them. Then, make an exhaustive list of possible keywords for your site – we suggest focusing small to ensure each page is effectively targeting the broad and long-tail keywords related to your page content. Online tools can also help you discover the best keywords. For example, Google's Adwords Keyword Planner is free but not quite as powerful as some other tools available.

Put the words you're considering into the online keyword tool to analyze:

  • How many people are searching for your keywords?
  • What's your level of competition?
  • What local markets have the highest search volume for your keywords?

The higher the number of searches and the lower your competition, the better, obviously. But finding keywords that match that characteristic can be difficult. In that case, scroll through the list of results to find words/phrases that are contextually relevant and a balance between number of searches and lower competition. And don’t forget about your two keyword type – broad and long-tail. It’s important to choose a number of each type for a single page to ensure strong coverage on organic search results. For example, focus first on broad-type keywords and look for keywords that are searched 10,000 to 100,000 times a month with medium competition rather than one searched 100,000 to 1 million times a month with high competition. And for long-tail keywords, focus on ones searched 10 to 100 times a month with low competition.

In our example above, the keyword with the most searches per month is simply "OBGYN," which has 100,000 to 1 million searches per month. And it has low competition. But that word is so general, which makes for a great addition to our broad-type keyword list, but it won't be particularly effective in bringing all the right prospects to your Austin women's health center.

So, find the right keywords for your specific services, words/phrases that people are commonly searching, but that also encompass a focus on broad and long-tail keywords to help widen your net in reaching prospective patient looking for your services.

Season your content
Once you've discovered the best keywords, it's time to decide where to put them in your text.

Generally, experts suggest no more than a handful of keywords (or keyword phrases) be used in each of your content pages. In general, repeat two or three broad keywords with the entire page one to three times, and then use two to four long-tail keywords one to two times.

If you devote too much more of your content than that to keywords, you risk "keyword stuffing" your content — which is the term for when you've overloaded your content with the same keywords again and again. Search engines punish content they see as "keyword stuffing."

Weave your keywords naturally into the content - don't contort linguistically to include them, but rather use sub-headings, dedicated content widgets (i.e. speak about your OBGYN experience within a page widget that displays your related provider profiles) and other common content elements to have multiple, natural touches of those keywords identified in your keywords research. Take those keywords and focus on producing that great copy we mentioned at the top of this post.

Great keywords + great content = more viewers
In today's marketplace, compelling copy is the key to great marketing. Your service line landing pages, provider profiles, and more are what illustrate your organization's value. But your digital marketing efforts must include a dedication to finding the best keywords, or that great copy simply won't be as effective as it can be.

Want to learn more about winning in search beyond keywords? Read our guide, The Quest to be Found. A Local Search Best Practices eBook.