Long-tail Medical Keywords

The WebFX Blog shared a fact-filled infographic on their blog with embed code allowing us to share it with you.  We’re glad they did, because they have quite a bit of data supporting an important point: you should be using long-tail medical keywords at your medical website.

Before we get into those details, let’s make sure we know the basics.

What’s a keyword?

A keyword is, quite simply, the words people type into the search box at a search engine like Google when they want to find information. If you’re a physical therapist, people looking for your services might type in words like “back pain,” “knee pain,” “arthritis,” or “sciatica.” You could choose to use these terms on your website, because people who need a physical therapist might use those words to search for help.

But look at the results you get when you search for a very simple keyword like that.

  1. The answer box — an immediate answer designed to keep you from having to click through.
  2. A group of common questions with quick answers.
  3. A result from the Mayo Clinic. It could easily be the Centers for Disease Control or WebMD, too. The top result is probably not a good page from a local physical therapist.
  4.  Videos, mostly from YouTube.
  5. A Google Health Card.

No physical therapist shows above the fold. Google is allowing the searcher to get a quick, simple answer to “What is sciatica” before they get into a detailed search.

This is why a keyword like “sciatica” may not be the best choice for your website.

What’s a long-tail keyword?

Google tells us that people searching for medical help make 10 to 12 searches before they take action. Once someone who is wondering about sciatica is clear on what they word means, he or she will move on to more specific searches:

  • Does sciatica cause groin pain?
  • Does sciatica go away by itself?
  • What kind of doctor treats sciatica?
  • Sciatica stretches
  • Exercise to treat sciatica

These are long-tail medical keywords.

Why “long-tail”? Imagine that you have a graph showing all the keywords that bring people to your website. Let’s imagine that you have 100 visits so far today. 10 of those came by looking for “physical therapist near me.” 7 came looking for “physical therapy.” 5 came by searching for “back pain.” These are your strongest keywords.

But if you add together all the keywords that brought just one person, they bring you more visits than your strongest keywords put together.

longtail keywords

Those popular keywords are taller than the keywords that just brought one or two visits, but those less popular keywords put together create a long tail.

Quality content

Even with excellent content, your PT office might find it hard to compete with the Mayo Clinic for “sciatica.” Google’s search page layout is full of other things, too, when it comes to one-word medical keyword searches. No individual physical therapist’s office has room above the fold. 

Long-tail medical keyword searches are another story.

Especially when you provide information that’s relevant to your local patients, you can show up for long-tail searches more easily than for one-word keywords. Information about sciatica that includes a sport that’s popular in your region, or specific weather conditions in your area, can be an answer that is more locally relevant.

You still need excellent content. It can be tough to rank for long-tail keywords, too. Choose long-tail keywords that relate to your specialties, or about which you have lots of information. Check out your competitors’ pages on the subject and make sure yours are better.

Well-chosen, well-used long-tail keywords can help get you in front of potential patients.







One response to “Long-tail Medical Keywords”

  1. Ton Scott Avatar

    I agree with your point. Patients do make 10-12 searches before landing on their relevant search. Targeting the right users with the right keywords is really important . Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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