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Why SLPs Should Target Long-Tail Keywords for Better SEO

Search engine optimization is a critical component of running a successful private speech therapy practice these days. So many people are looking for services online. And, even when they receive a specific recommendation from their PT or OT or physician they’ll still likely look you up online. SEO helps you improve your visibility in search engine results and drive traffic to your website. One of the most effective ways to optimize for search engines is by targeting long-tail keywords. And that starts with doing some keyword research. In this blog post, we’ll dive into what long-tail keywords are, why they’re important, and how you can use them to improve your SEO and attract more clients.

What are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are phrases that are highly specific and usually longer than two words. They are more specific queries that are less frequently searched for, but highly relevant to a user’s search intent. The competition for these keywords is lower than for broader search terms. For example, “speech therapy for children with autism” is a long-tail keyword, whereas “speech therapy” is a broad search term.

Why are Long-Tail Keywords Important for SLP SEO?

Targeting long-tail keywords can help you stand out from competitors and increase your chances of appearing in search engine results for relevant queries. Because these keywords are more specific, they can help you attract people who are actively searching for your services. Long-tail keywords also tend to have a higher conversion rate, meaning that people who are searching for these terms are more likely to make a booking or purchase.

Examples of Long-Tail Keywords:

Here are some examples of long-tail keywords that might be relevant to SLPs:

  • Speech therapy for children with apraxia
  • Pediatric speech therapy in [city name]
  • Articulation therapy in [city name]
  • Speech therapy for stuttering in adults
  • Accent reduction therapy for professionals

Should I do keyword research for short or long-tail keywords first?

Most businesses ultimately hope to rank well for some short tail keywords. For instance you might want to rank for “Speech therapy near me.” However, it’s generally much easier to rank for longer tail keywords like, “Can speech therapy help someone who has a TBI” or “Why did the doctor talk recommend a speech therapist for my infant?”

Since those long tail keywords are easier to rank for, I always suggest going after some of those first. Then, the more long-tail keywords you rank for the more Google will trust you. Now, you can start trying to land those “bigger fish” in the form of those shorter phrases.

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords:

One of the best ways to find long-tail keywords is through keyword research tools. Honestly, my favorite keyword research tool (KWFinder from Mangools), is good for long-tail keyword but when specifically looking for long tail keywords I often look other places as well. Google Ads’ Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest and SEMRush are popular options that can help you uncover relevant long-tail keywords. These tools have similar results/limitations to KWFinder.

There are plenty of other options to help you  identify long-tail keywords that can be really helpful. One is to look at the frequently asked questions related to speech therapy on social media platforms and forums, and then create content that addresses those queries. Additionally, you can look at your website’s analytics to see what queries people are already using to find your site. Answerthepublic can be a good tool as well-you just enter a 2-3 word “short tail” keyword phrase and then it tells you tons of questions people are asking about that topic. Lastly, I like to simply look at client’s intake paperwork. What do your clients or their caregivers give as the reason they’re coming into speech therapy? A friend of mine told me she finds herself answering the same questions over and over again and started writing blog posts for each of those common questions. Those questions themselves then acting as the long-tail keywords.

Why are Long-Tail Keywords Relevant to Speech Therapy?

Speech therapy is a highly specialized field. Therefore, patients are likely to use specific phrases while searching for relevant services online. So, long-tail keywords are very important for creating content that is targeted to your specific audience. For example, you can use long-tail keywords like “speech therapy for children with autism” or “speech exercises for adults with aphasia” to create content that is specific to that condition. This type of specificity can help you rank higher in search results, which can have a positive impact on the traffic you receive.

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

There are various ways to find relevant long-tail keywords for your speech therapy practice. First, you can use tools such as Ubersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, or Ahrefs to find popular search terms relevant to your field. These tools will help you analyze your potential keywords in terms of search volume, competition, and relevance. Secondly, you can conduct surveys or polls to find out the specific phrases that your audience searches for. You can leverage social media channels or email campaigns to gather this important information.

Long-Tail Keywords are much easier to rank for

This is the most obvious benefit to using long-tail keywords. Because these phrases are more specific, they will have lower search volume and therefore less competition. This makes them easier to rank for compared to more general keywords which can be very competitive. Even though the individual search volumes of long-tail keywords may be low, over time the total amount of traffic you receive from all your targeted keywords adds up and can make a significant impact on your website’s visibility.

Long-tail keywords are especially important when you’re first optimizing your website and building Google’s trust, as it can be difficult to rank for more general and competitive terms. Ultimately, using long-tail keywords is an effective way to help you stand out from your competitors and attract the right people to your website who are looking for your services. With a little bit of research and planning, you can find relevant long-tail keywords that will help bring more traffic to your site and increase conversions.

Clients searching for long tail keywords are more likely to be your ideal client

Because the keywords are more specific that you are providing information about, you are more likely to attract clients who are looking for exactly what you can offer. This can help to ensure that your leads are high quality and from people who need the services that you provide. Knowing this, it’s worth taking the time to research relevant long-tail keywords for your practice so that you can reach the right people and maximize conversions.

Benefits of Long-Tail Keywords for SLPs: Featured Snippets

One of the key benefits of targeting long-tail keywords for your speech therapy practice is the potential to rank for featured snippets. Featured snippets are blocks of content that appear at the top of the search engine results page, even ahead of the top-ranked result. Featured snippets are the boxes that often appear at the top of search results, providing quick answers to search queries. If you structure your content to match long-tail keyword queries, you are more likely to secure a featured snippet, which can help your content to appear even more prominently in search results and drive more traffic to your site.

For example, if someone searches for “speech exercises for preschoolers,” your content may be featured in a paragraph at the top of the search engine page. Perhaps you wrote a blog where you gave simple exercises parents can do at home to help their preschoolers reach their speech goals more quickly. Somewhere in that blog you had a simple list of all the exercises you are describing. It was probably just the list that showed up as the featured snippet, but there would be a link to your entire blog post below people could click on to get more details.

Featured snippets provide you with higher visibility and credibility to potential patients, driving more traffic to your website. Additionally, when users click on the link to your website from featured snippets, they are likely to have higher quality traffic because their query was very specific and targeted. This means that visitors are more likely to engage with your content or even contact you for services.

Long-tail keywords help you reach more potential patients

In conclusion, targeting long-tail keywords is a smart strategy for SLPs who want to improve the SEO for their private practice. These specific queries have high conversion rates, are less competitive than broad search terms, and are more likely to lead to quality leads. Follow the practical tips we’ve discussed in this article to find relevant long-tail keywords and ensure your content is structured and optimized effectively to attain featured snippets in search results. By doing so, you can attract more clients, increase bookings, and ultimately grow your private speech therapy practice.

Help Improving Your Private Practice SEOGraphic demonstrating the positive impact of marketing SEO for SLPS - enhance your reputation and build trust with potential clients

Looking to take your private practice to the next level? Simplified SEO Consulting is here to help! Our team offers a range of SEO services specifically designed for speech therapists and other helping professionals. From small group training to one-on-one sessions, we have everything you need to optimize your website and reach more clients. Our popular “done for you” SEO service takes the stress out of SEO so you can focus on what you do best: helping your clients. Plus, with affordable DIY courses and even an upcoming SEO training cruise in July 2023, there’s something for everyone!

Next Steps Toward Better SEO

Here are a few specific next steps you can take toward improving the SEO for your private practice:

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you increase your visibility online and grow your practice. Get started with us and start seeing results!

About the Author

Jessica Tappana, MSW, LCSW, is the founder and owner of Simplified SEO Consulting. She may not be an SLP, but she appreciates the incredible impact that speech therapists have on their clients. She’s passionate about helping SLPs grow their private practices through effective SEO strategies. And, she has gathered a team of professionals who share that passion.

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