When it comes to marketing your practice in the digital world, Google is a must-use, heavy-hitting promotional tool. If you want local patients to find your website (or even your practice) you have to play by the search engine’s rules. That means optimizing your My Business page and website in a way that will bring you more digital foot traffic—and ultimately, more new patients. One way to shore up your digital presence and drive more website clicks (free of charge, no less!) is ramping up your use of relevant keywords. Not sure what that means—or how to do it? No worries. We’ll walk you through the basics and then list out some keyword ideas for you to use in your practice.
What are keywords—and how do I use them?
Keywords are the specific words and phrases that Google users type into the search bar when looking for resources online. So, if you wanted to find Google reviews for popular EMR systems, you might type “PT EMR reviews.” That phrase right there? That’s your keyword. If a patient wanted to find a PT clinic in their city and typed “physical therapy near me”—that’s their keyword.
By using relevant keywords (or keyphrases, if you’d rather) on your website, you’re signaling to Google that it should direct the people who search for those keywords directly to your site. It’s as simple as that! Just be sure to follow some of these best practices to bump up your keyword game.
Place keywords where they fit naturally.
Knowing how keywords work, it may be tempting to stuff as many as you can onto your website to capture as much traffic as possible. Don’t do that! Google’s algorithm has become increasingly sophisticated over the years, and its singular goal is to send users to a place that gives them exactly what they’re looking for. So, if you use irrelevant keywords on your site—or repeatedly jam-pack your site content with the same keywords—that will raise a red flag to the almighty Google, and it will direct fewer people to your website.
Instead, simply use keywords where they fit naturally. List your services on your service page, and answer keyword questions in different blog articles or on a dedicated FAQ page (more on that below). As long as you use keywords where they make sense, you’ll be in the clear.
Flesh out your website.
If you’re struggling to find the right place for your most valuable keywords, then you probably need to flesh out your site a little bit. Not only should you have a blog, but you should also have specific pages that, at the very least, list or describe information such as:
- Your contact information (name, address, and phone number),
- The conditions you treat,
- The services you provide,
- The insurance carriers you’re contracted with, and
- Information about your team.
The more content you add to your site (by publishing new blog posts, for example), the easier it is to use relevant keywords naturally and thus, capture more search volume. Just be sure to consistently update your website. Google likes active websites and is more likely to direct traffic your way if your website looks like it’s getting frequent updates. So rather than publishing five blog posts at once—and then going several months without adding any new content—space them out over multiple weeks or months.
Conduct your own keyword research.
Do you know what your patients are searching for? If not, you may need to conduct your own keyword research. Start by putting yourself in your patients’ shoes. What might they be searching for? Examples might include:
- Back pain,
- Physical therapy, or
- Pain relief.
Then take those keywords and plug ’em into a research tool—like Google Keyword Planner. These tools can help you find other related keywords that you can add to your website. But in the meantime, try using some of the tried-and-true physical therapy keywords below:
1. Local Keywords
By honing in on local keywords (i.e., keywords that include your town or general locality), Google is more likely to drive searches that originate in your general geographic area to you. (Remember, Google is a big fan of geolocation.)
Now, if you want Google to correctly geotag your clinic (and send you local patients), it’s crucial to have your NAP on lock—and I’m not talking about catching some afternoon Z’s. NAP is an acronym that stands for name, address, and phone number. It is mission critical that your NAP is updated and accurate not only on your own website, but also across all other web properties where this information is listed—including your Google My Business page, social media profiles, and any online directories (e.g., Yelp, Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, etc.).
Don’t have time to trawl the Internet for NAP inconsistencies? Try enlisting the help of a software that manages your online presence for you—in addition to helping you stay on top of customer reviews and keyword opportunities.
2. Keywords Specific to Your Practice
By using keywords that are specific to your practice, you’re more likely to attract patients who are interested specifically in the services you provide. For example, if you provide pediatric therapy, be sure to use that keyword—and if you don’t provide that service type, try to avoid mentioning it at all. Below are a few more examples of practice-specific keywords.
3. Keywords That Answer Questions
Many Google users conduct searches by typing in full questions (e.g., “What is PT?”). If your site answers those questions, you can capture that inquisitive traffic. There are a couple ways to do this. You can either:
- create a dedicated FAQ page that lists a variety of common patient questions along with answers, or
- answer one question at a time in individual blog posts.
Both options are great for bolstering the content on your website—but if you have the resources to invest in blogging, I’d highly recommend that route. After all, as I mentioned before, consistently updating your site with new blog content gives you an edge with Google. Either way, be sure to pick questions that are relevant to your clinic. See below for a few examples.
Capturing digital foot traffic can be tricky—but hopefully this crash course on keywords will help you better navigate the world of Google ranking. Got any remaining questions? Feel free to drop ’em below, and our team will do its best to answer them.