How to find the best keywords for a website is undoubtedly one of the biggest concerns facing businesses when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO). Over recent years, Google has removed a lot of the keyword data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console in a drive to shift the focus away from slavishly writing around keywords and on to providing great content that’s relevant to a website’s audience.
Generally speaking, it does hold true that if you write with your target audience in mind, your ideal keywords are likely to appear naturally in the copy. Google is also sophisticated enough to understand many of the nuances of language and can find content that means the same as the keywords a person uses to search.
That being said, keyword competition is stiff so, for organic SEO purposes, it’s still important to be aware of your keywords to ensure that all of your meta data, on-page heading tags, and alt tags, for example, reflect the unique focus of each page. Keywords are also integral to PPC advertising.
Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner is a great starting point for your keyword research, although it’s important to recognise that the data comes from Google AdWords rather than organic searches.
You will need a Google AdWords account to be able to access this free tool but, don’t worry, you don’t have to run an ad to be able to use it.
In the main screen of the Google Keyword Planner, you will see that you can search for keyword ideas in three ways:
- Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category
With this option, you can search for your product or service, such as ‘teeth whitening’ or ‘wrinkle reducing injections’ for keyword ideas, or enter your web address and/or category, such as ‘oral care’ or ‘anti-ageing’ to see what Google suggests as keywords to target.
Once you run a search, Google will give you a list of keyword suggestions with data about the search volumes and competition from other businesses.
- Get search volume data and trends
This is where you can enter a list of keywords that you think your patients might use, and access data about the search volumes and competitions for those terms. You can run a broad search or narrow down the results by listing negative keywords, i.e. keywords that you don’t want data/to rank for, or only targeting specific geographical locations.
- Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords
With this option, you can add two keyword lists and then Google will multiply them to find different combinations. This is particularly useful if you want to look for keyword options that relate to both your services and your location. For example, you could have a list of keywords about ‘teeth straightening’, ‘straighter teeth’, ‘adult braces’, ‘adult orthodontics’, etc. and then a second list that relates to towns and villages in your local area. Google will then give you all the potential keyword combinations.
With each of these three options, you can export all of the keyword data to begin to build up a picture of which keywords might work well for your website.
Google has drastically cut the amount of keyword data that you can find in Google Analytics but it’s still worth checking regularly. Once you’re logged into Google Analytics, go to Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels and click on the Organic Search option. This should give you a list of some keyword searches that have brought people to your website with the number of sessions connected to each phrase.
- Are there any phrases with high volumes?
- Are there any words that you hadn’t realised people would use to search for your clinic?
You can also find helpful keyword data by going to Acquisition>Search Console>Queries in the left-hand menu of Google Analytics.
Speaking of Google Search Console, you may find more helpful keyword data there. Log in and choose Search Traffic>Search Analytics from the left-hand menu.
As you can see from the screenshot above, you can click on the ‘Clicks’, ‘Impressions’, ‘CTR’ and ‘Position’ options to see data about each of the listed keywords and phrases.
- Are there any keywords that appear a lot in searches (impressions)?
- Which keywords have the highest clickthrough rates (i.e. percentage of clicks to impressions)?
- Which keywords attract the most clicks?
- Which keywords rank most highly in Google?
You can also click on a keyword/phrase and tick the ‘Pages’ option in the menu shown above to see which page that keyword takes people through to.
Is it the page you expect to rank for that keyword?
You’ll see keywords here for which you’re already ranking – how many are part of your current SEO strategy and how many are surprises?
While you’re thinking about your keyword strategy, you might want to consider what long-tail keywords you can target on your website.
If you’re not sure what they are, long-tail keywords are phrases that typically contain three or more words. Using long-tailed keywords can be an excellent strategy for attracting highly targeted, relevant organic search traffic.
Here’s an example. Imagine a Nottingham-based dentist wants to use ‘teeth whitening’ as a focus keyword for their web page about teeth whitening options. A quick search in Google for ‘teeth whitening’ brings up 18,300,000 results – that’s a lot of competition for a page one ranking. Not only that, but the results relate to clinics all over the country, as well as over-the-counter treatments. Even if you could achieve a high ranking, you may find that very few impressions actually convert to bookings.
The same clinic could use a long-tail keyword such as ‘Teeth whitening Nottingham city centre’ and immediately the search results drop to 23,700, narrowing the competition substantially. With a long-tail keyword like this, the person carrying out the search is likely to be local and much more likely to book a treatment.
Finding long-tail keywords
A really easy method for finding potential long-tail keywords is to start typing your initial keyword into Google and see what auto-fill suggestions come up in the list underneath. Not only can this give you new and alternative keyword ideas, but also some potential blog topics.
You might want to try clearing your search history or carrying out these searches in an Incognito window in Chrome so that Google doesn’t give you auto-fill suggestions based on your past searches.
Check out your competitors
Another way to find keywords is to check out which words and phrases your competitors are using. There are several ways to do this.
- Add a competitor’s URL to Google keyword planner and see what suggestions Google comes up with for the site
- Install an extension like the Moz Toolbar that shows you all the SEO elements on any web page you visit
- Right click on a web page to view the page source and look for meta properties such as the page title and meta descriptions
Get professional advice
Developing an effective keyword strategy can be time-consuming. It is also easy to generate a large list of potential standard and long-tail keywords and not know which ones to spend time on and which ones to ignore.
If you’re developing a new website from the ground up, it’s essential to build the right SEO strategy into it from the outset, but SEO can and should evolve over time too. Here at Cosmetic Digital, we combine the design skills needed to create stunning-looking websites with years of SEO experience and insights into the cosmetic medical industries.
Need help with how to find the best keywords for your clinic website? Give us a call at Cosmetic Digital on 0115 9140 640 for advice specific to your needs.