If you have a GP website, you've probably heard reference being made to the term 'keywords'.
Keywords are vitally important components of your online content. They are the very thing that enables your website or any other online platform to be found in a search.
Keywords are what the search engines latch onto; they are what they use to 'index' your website. In basic terms, when someone searching through Google or any other search engine types something in that they'd like to find, if your GP website content contains enough of the key-words they have included, then it should be returned in the search results. The better job you do with your keywords, the more enhanced chance you have of appearing higher up in the search rankings.
Strategically including targeted keywords in your content can mean the difference between a website that gets lost amongst numerous others, and one that commands good search engine positions.
Right Keywords = Increased Quality Web Traffic
The right keywords will increase quality traffic to your website and, providing they are well researched, these keywords should deliver on your objectives, which could be to attract new patients from your catchment area and to inform patients on medical and healthcare related issues.
The importance of using the right keywords therefore cannot be over-emphasised. But the question is, how do you know the right keywords to include in your GP website content?
The answer to that is, by conducting keyword research.
Keyword research is one of the most important search engine optimisation techniques. Its aim is to identify the typical search terms that people type in to find information for a particular topic.
There are numerous methods you can use for keyword research, the most popular of which we are going to look at in this guide.
How to Perform Keyword Research for your GP Website
Here are some of the most commonly used and straightforward methods of performing keyword research:
1. Use Google Search
Go to Google and type in 'GP practice'. Scroll down to the bottom of the first page of results to the section headed, 'Searches related to GP practice'. There you will find listed a selection of results. These will provide an excellent indication of what people are actively searching for. For example, you might see:
- Find a GP near me
- Register with GP
- How to register with a GP for the first time
- Nearest GP to me
- GP surgery near me
These are all strong but generic key phrases for a GP website. Your next step is to introduce your location.
Because you are offering GP services within a set catchment area, you will need to include reference to the area or areas you cover.
You should be fairly specific, so for example you wouldn't just use London or South London, as they are way too wide an area. Instead, you are better advised to use, for example, Forest Hill, or London SE23. Always think about what patients would type in, after all they are the ones who are searching for GP practices close to where they live.
This exercise will get you a core set of keywords that you can then elaborate upon and further research using the next technique.
2. Use Google Tools
Google very helpfully provides a comprehensive set of tools to help with your keyword research.
For your main GP website, autocomplete is an excellent research tool. Simply start typing your search topic into the engine then take a look at the suggestions that pop up based on what people are actively searching for.
You can also use the Google AdWords keyword planner. This is a powerful tool and you should not be put off by its name: it is not reserved only for the online advertiser. As long as you have a Google account you'll be able to access the planner. It's easy to use and all you need to do is follow the prompts, type or paste in the core keywords you came up with in step 1, and in front of your eyes will appear a whole batch of useful insights, including monthly search volume for each keyword, as well as the level of competition you are up against in your quest to rank highly for the best ones.
Keyword Research for Your GP Blog
If you are running a GP website blog as we suggested in our last post, you'll want to ensure you include keywords and phrases that are on trend, rather than location based as with your main GP website.
Again Google comes up trumps with a useful tool called Google Trends. This offers helpful insight into Google's own search database. You can filter it by category and region and choose a single keyword or compare multiple phrases.
Social media is also a very valuable tool for researching keywords for blogs. Any social platform will allow you to search for pretty much anything your audience may be discussing. Facebook Search for example lets you see 'what the world is saying right now about the topics that matter to you'. Twitter lists currently trending topics tailored to who you follow and where you are based, and there is also a trending page on Google+ that works in the same vain. If you can make yourself aware of what your audience is talking about then you will have a better chance of choosing the right keywords, as well as the best, most relevant topics for your blogs.
Need Assistance with Keywords, or a New GP Website?
Hopefully this guide will assist you in discovering the keywords you should be using to get your GP website found online, but if you would like some tailored advice or assistance with your content then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Tree View Designs team. We also specialise in NHS website design, so if you need a new website for your practice, give us a call and we can talk you through how it all works.