Whenever we speak to a prospective SEO client, the only thing they tell us is that they want to make a lot of money and they don’t want to lose any money. Ha! Very rarely do we speak to a client who has actually done any SEO keyword research to make it easier for us to do this for them ?.
In this article I’m going to show you how to do exactly that. Do you even have an SEO opportunity in your niche? Sometimes you’ll see that it actually makes sense not to do an SEO campaign. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Again, I am going to say we’re covering the basics. This is not an advanced article therefore I’m going to assume you’ve never done any keyword research before and you’re just looking to start paddling in the long sea of Google algorithm changes.
Perhaps further down the line we can go over paid SEO keyword research tools, determining proper search volume, figuring out the difficulty to rank for a keyword and more. But again, we’re here to cover basics.
If you’d like to learn just how SEO can help grow a private practice, then see our SEO for Doctors article before reading this keyword research guide.
Without further ado, let’s get started on some SEO keyword research.
What is a Keyword?
A keyword is a word that describes the content on your page best. For example, a page about testosterone replacement therapy will have that as its main keyword.
Great SEO should result in your practice getting the right customers – aka qualified patients through pages that answer their questions. To do that you need to plan ahead of time and not “just blog”.
Why? Because potential patients are always going on search engines to get health information and you might think you know what they want, but you’d be surprised. Identifying the keywords that will attract ideal patients is key. That’s why you should always do research first before creating content.
Why is Targeting Keywords Important?
Google analyzes the content on your page as part of its ranking process. While keywords aren’t as important as they used to be for ranking content, they’re still counted as signals. Using the right niche keywords – keywords that are being searched for by potential patients – is key to creating rank-able content.
How to Start Researching the Right Keywords
To help give you an edge and some creative ideas, you should study the right competitors, create the ideal patient and keep brainstorming more keywords over time as needed.
To keep it simple I only want you to identify these 4 things, which should take you no longer than 90 minutes to complete total.
- Spend 30 minutes or less creating a profile of your ideal patient/client
- Spend 30 minutes or less finding the top 10 competitors you have online
- Spend 30 minutes or less finding your top 10 keywords you’d like to rank for
- Double check your work. Rinse and repeat as time goes on
- You can’t be perfect here, but a little effort goes a long way.
Each of these steps builds on the previous. Without writing out your ideal patient, finding your competitors is going to be harder. Without listing out your top 10 competitors, your top 10 keywords will be harder to find as well. So don’t skip ahead!
Remember the most important thing is that you start, you can always go back and do more research – business is a marathon anyways. Lastly, your ideal patient may change over time, since you should always be trying to duplicate your best patients and get rid of the worst ones feel free to scrap old ideas. Very rarely do businesses get all the right answers on the first go. Even if you’re a hormone doctor.
Creating Profile of an Ideal Patient for Better Keyword Research
Before we get into the nitty gritty of keyword research, make sure you ask:
“Whose questions is my content geared for?”.
If you don’t have a person you’re writing content for then you’ll get random traffic and your business will be built on obscurity. So below we’ll ask questions you should answer to find your ideal patient and research them.
As an example, for my agency our ideal clients are hormone doctors. I’m not saying that if anyone else wants SEO help we won’t help them, but this is where we specialize and are looking to build a huge competitive advantage.
In the same way, your medical practice may cater to a variety of patient illnesses and conditions. But there must be one treatment it particularly excels at. A treatment that is highly profitable for the practice. Patients who receive this treatment might be your ideal patients.
To find your ideal patient, think about the following
- To date, who is your most profitable patient and why?
- Who do you enjoy working with the most and why?
- Which clients has your practice made the most impact on and why?
When asking these 3 questions for Logic Inbound (my agency), we learned that out of all of our successful clients, a hormone doctor was our favorite. Watch me answer these 3 questions below for our marketing agency and you should do this at the same time for more benefit!
Who Is Your Most Profitable Client and Why?
A hormone doctor is one of our most profitable clients because she saw our previous success in the healthcare niche with other similar clients. This built enough confidence in her to let us have full control over her SEO campaign and not impede our progress.
With the level of freedom we were given, her campaign soared and she required very little customer management. Her retention as a result has been great.
Who Do You Enjoy Working with the Most and Why?
We enjoy working with a lot of our clients, but the ones we enjoy working with the most require little management and give us enough capital to succeed.
Hormone doctors make a good profit margin and also understand that they aren’t experts in marketing, so they give us space to control the campaign. Doctors understand specialization, so being experts at just lead generation builds trust with them vs some other types of clients.
We don’t have to be computer gurus for them and they go to other sources for areas we don’t excel at, just as they recommend to their patients.
The last benefit of working with hormone doctors is they’re truly helping people so when we help them we’re helping their patients as well which helps us feel good. Your values should also match up to your ideal client. So you make money and feel good too. Not bad huh? ?
What Clients Has Your Business Made the Most Impact on and Why?
Here I can list a lot of our clients. We’ve had a wedding planner that was listed on the first page of Google. We helped our junk removal client rank both of their sites on the first page as well. The same goes for a CPR certification company.
However, our hormone doctor client has the most inspiring story. She went from a shared office with other doctors to owning her own office with nurses working under her. Today she’s white listing patients and increasing prices since her practice is so in demand! ?
As you can see hormone doctors make a lot of sense to focus on for our agency. We didn’t always know this so in the early days we were all over the place even with our own SEO.
If your business hasn’t been around for a year or two I’d suggest doing this process backwards and going to competitors first, list 10 reasons you can be better than them and get to work!
As a doctor you can still pick what kind of patients you want. Are they going to be upscale clients? Or everyday folks? Will they be from certain regions? Male or female? The more custom built you can make your services the more value they’ll provide. Don’t be afraid to really niche down!
The more descriptive you can be with an ideal client the more custom tailored and comfortable you will be when doing keyword research and they will be when buying from you.
Remember the first thing people ask before doing business with you is how can I trust you? What do you even know about me? Now that we have an ideal customer/patient, we can create a list of keywords we think they’re searching for.
If you’re a new business then you’ll have to play pretend, that’s how we all started anyway so no worries.
Identify Your Top Competitors to Get Better Keywords, Fast
Here’s a rundown of what we’re going to do in this section:
- Write down competitors or industry leaders you admire off the top of your head
- Use Google and research the top 5 companies in your niche
- Use Spyfu to estimate their traffic budgets and find other competitors
Write Down Any Big Competitors in Your Space Off the Top of Your Head
This question is made for you to analyze the brand leaders and to figure out what kind of company you’d like to be. This research can take much more than 10 minutes. We don’t need to be perfect since we’re brainstorming.
We’ll assume the role of a men’s health clinic that specializes in testosterone replacement therapy.
Now, we’ll write down 5 or more local competitors that are doing a great job online in this niche.
Here are 5 I know of:
- Universal Mens Health Clinic
- Innovative Mens Clinic
- Virginia Mason (I know they do sexual health)
- Seattle Mens Clinic
- Mens Health Center at UW
Hmmmm I can’t think of more ? Time to move along. Remember something is better better nothing. If you get stuck feel free to email me
Use Google and Search for the Top 5 Companies in Your Niche
Let’s take a look on Google at the top 5 companies that rank for the term ‘testosterone replacement therapy’. These companies should be your main competitors in terms of SEO.
Uh oh, seems like the top results for that term aren’t really useful. That’s because Google is searching for the best websites that provide information on the topic ‘testosterone replacement therapy’.
The top website for this is WebMD, which really can’t be considered a competitor to a medical practice offering testosterone replacement therapy. We can however use it as a great link source in the future.
To get the right results, we have to get a little more specific with our search terms.
Let’s try ‘testosterone replacement therapy Seattle’..
The top results from medical practices are:
These are all great competitors that are getting relevant traffic.
Studying these competitors’ content will help a practice that specializes in testosterone replacement therapy. Since they rank high on Google for a really specific term like ‘testosterone replacement therapy Seattle’, we can guess they did their research.
Use Spyfu to Get Top Keywords from Competitor Sites
Revivelowtclinic.com is a respectable website that has some of the traffic we’d like. By using Spyfu (free but will charge you after multiple uses) we can see exactly which terms they bid online for and approximately how much traffic they get from it:
This is all very useful information to spy on your competitors, but not really what we’re looking for.
Scroll down to the Top Keywords section:
Here we can see the top organic keywords that Revive Low T Clinic ranks for. Since they’re in a similar niche, these are keywords that our medical practice should target as well.
Bingo, we’ve now come across some great competitors and now just need to list them all out and follow our final step!
Combined with our ideal client and a little more research we can create a top 10 keyword list.
How to Find Great SEO Keywords Using LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great source for finding high-value ‘secret’ keywords that you can’t find anywhere else. To do this, we can use the information we gathered in our previous step of finding top competitors.
The only modification we’ll be making is going to individual doctor profiles on LinkedIn from those competitor websites, and analyzing them for keywords.
As an example, let’s open the LinkedIn profile of a hormone doctor.
Scroll down and you can look at anyone’s Industry Knowledge section for keyword ideas.
Obviously bio-identical hormone replacement is more useful than Microsoft Office, so use your judgement here.
Going back to keywords, we can use these industry topics and combine them with keywords such as ‘services’ or ‘in [City Name]’ for some great SEO keywords.
- Hormone replacement in Seattle
- Functional medicine in Seattle
- Mens health in Seattle
- Primary health care in Seattle
- Surgery in Seattle
You get the idea. And the great thing is, this is just one profile. You can go to a profile’s “People Also Viewed” section to find similar doctors and scour their industry knowledge section for even more keywords!
Research can be endless!
Bonus tip: You can send LinkedIn friend requests to them and best of all engaging in conversations can give us even more information.