Looking for help with keyword research as an SLP? As a speech therapist in private practice, keyword research is a vital aspect of your SEO strategy. Proper keyword research ensures that your website and content are found by your target audience, leading to more traffic, higher conversions, and better ROI. Here are some tips on how to conduct effective keyword research for your speech therapy practice.
Understand Your Target Audience
Before you start researching keywords, it is essential to understand your target audience. Who are your ideal clients? What are their needs and pain points? What are their goals and motivations? Knowing your target audience will help you identify the right keywords to use in your marketing efforts.
Brainstorm Relevant Topics for Keyword Research
Once you have a clear idea of your target audience, brainstorm topics that are relevant to your practice. For example, if you specialize in pediatric speech therapy, relevant topics might include language development in children, speech delays, or phonological disorders. These topics will help guide your keyword research.
Use Online Keyword Research Tools
There are many online tools available to help you with keyword research. Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs are all popular options. These tools provide valuable information such as search volume, competition, and related keywords. Use these tools to identify high-volume, low-competition keywords that are relevant to your practice.
My personal favorite keyword research tool is Mangool’s KWFinder. I like that I can choose to look at a specific area. I usually look state wide at keyword data even if I’m targeting a more specific part of the state. Occasionally, I’ll use another tool and I’ve tried out tons of other tools. My second favorite is probably SEMRush, but it’s honestly a lot steeper learning curve to get to where you really use that one effectively.
Understand the competition
Analyzing the top-performing websites in your niche will give you an idea of the kind of content they are ranking for, the keywords they are using, and the level of competition. Use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz to get detailed information about your competitors’ strategies. Mangools also has some helpful tools for this competitor research such as their SERP Checker & Link Miner.
Analyze and evaluate your keywords
Keyword research isn’t a one-time activity. Keep evaluating the performance of your keywords, and keep an eye on how your website is ranking for them. Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to measure your website’s traffic and monitor your keyword rankings.
One really important thing to keep in mind is the user intent of specific keywords. Sometimes, you may find that lots of people are searching for a keyword related to your topic. However, you may realize that they aren’t very likely looking for your services if that’s the keyword they’re using. So, use common sense. And when you identify a keyword to target ask yourself what the person who searches for that is most likely really looking for.
Optimize your website for long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are phrases that contain three or more words and are highly specific. They have lower search volume than short-tail keywords, but they also have lower competition. Use long-tail keywords in your website content to target a more specific audience and improve your chances of ranking for those keywords.
Long tail keywords are essentially golden opportunities. These lower volume but easier to rank for keywords are often your perfect next client. Why? Because they know what they’re looking for. Their language is more specific in their query. These clients are more often really ready to get started.
Use location-specific keywords
If you’re targeting a local audience, use location-specific keywords in your website content. Include the name of your city or region in your keyword research to improve your chances of ranking for location-based searches.
Local SEO is becoming more and more important for private practices. If you’re anything like me, you may have searched a number of times recently for a keyword and a specific location. For example, I asked Siri this evening for the 10 day forecast in Barcelona, Spain because I’m planning a trip and wanted to know the weather in that specific place. And over the weekend, I asked Siri for the best restaurants in the Topeka, KS area when I was going to be traveling through.
This isn’t uncommon for your potential new clients either. So, read some of our blog posts about local SEO and find ways to target location-specific keywords as well.
Use keyword variations
People use different variations of keywords to search for information online. Use keyword variations in your website content to capture a broader audience. You can also use keyword variations to optimize your website for voice search.
Using keyword variations involves using synonyms, related words, and long-tail keywords, which are phrases containing three or more words. For instance, instead of just “speech therapy,” you can use long-tail variations such as “speech therapy exercises for children,” “speech therapy for adults with autism,” or “speech therapy for stroke patients.” By using different keyword variations, you increase your chances of appearing in voice search results and attract more potential clients to your private practice.
Create quality content
No matter how much keyword research you do, it won’t matter if your content isn’t high quality. Focus on creating informative, engaging, and unique content that resonates with your target audience. Make sure your content is easy to read, well-structured, and free of spelling and grammatical errors. This means having service pages that clearly lay out your services and any specialties you may have. And, it generally means blogging regularly as well.
Use keywords naturally
When incorporating keywords, write for your audience, not just for search engines. Use variations throughout your content. Consider the user’s intent when optimizing your page for a particular keyword. Do not stuff your content with keywords, or it may be penalized. Ensure your content is high-quality, relevant, and engaging. Utilize related terms and synonyms to support the primary keyword instead of saying the same word over and over again.
Keep track of your progress
Monitor your website’s ranking and traffic regularly to see the impact of your keyword research efforts. Keep tweaking and adjusting your strategy based on the results you see.
I can’t emphasize this enough. So, so often I see private practice owners tell me they’re working so hard and not seeing any SEO results. They’ve been reading our blog posts and my emails and trying to follow along but are frustrated it’s not working. Then, I ask about how they’re currently ranking and how they’re tracking their rankings. Quickly they sheepishly say that they aren’t tracking their rankings.
Tracking your rankings is SO important. It’s the first sign SEO is working. Often, you’ll rank for a term for weeks before enough people start landing on the website that you have a noticeable increase in calls. Without tracking your progress, you could get discouraged that it’s “not working.” In fact, it is working and you are ranking. OR you can see that you’re moving up and what you’re doing is working but you’re still on that annoying page 2 or 3. So, you know to keep it up until you get to that page 1 spot.
Don’t Overlook Keyword Research…But Don’t Obsess Either
Keyword research is an essential part of SEO, and it’s very helpful for speech therapists in private practice to use it to their advantage. By understanding your target audience, analyzing your competition, and optimizing your website content, you can improve your website’s visibility and attract more clients to your practice.
However, keep in mind that keyword research is an ongoing process. It requires constant monitoring and adjustment to stay relevant. And, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. As helpful as I think Keyword Research is when you’re doing super intense optimization, if you find it overwhelming then start with just writing really great, client-focused content. You’ll naturally use some keywords. Or just pick one keyword you *think* people are using even if it’s not perfect.
Imperfect action is certainly better than no action when it comes to SEO!
Your Next Steps Optimizing Your Private Practice Website
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