How to Choose Keywords for Your Website?

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Choosing the right keywords for your website is more than a simple task—it’s a crucial step in crafting an effective SEO strategy. This guide walks you through the foundational steps of keyword research, helping you to understand what potential customers are searching for and how you can stand out in a crowded digital landscape.

Whether you’re new to SEO or looking to refine your approach, you’ll learn how to select keywords that are not only relevant but also positioned to drive your business goals forward. Dive into the basics, understand the significance of keyword research, and start optimizing your website to reach the right audience efficiently.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding keyword research: identifying the popular terms used in searches is crucial as it helps align your content with the audience’s needs, enhancing visibility and relevance.
  • Significance of search intent: matching content to the user’s intent—whether informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial—can significantly increase engagement and conversions.
  • Expanding keyword list: utilize tools and strategies, such as competitor analysis and related search terms, to broaden your keyword scope and uncover additional relevant phrases.
  • Evaluating and prioritizing: assess keywords based on metrics like search volume and difficulty. Opt for those with a good balance between traffic potential and competitiveness.
  • Integrating keywords: incorporate chosen keywords naturally into various aspects of your site, such as content, titles, and meta descriptions, to optimize search engine visibility.

Introduction to Keyword Research

Keyword Research Tutorial: From Start to Finish

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the first step in SEO that involves identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines. This process is crucial for understanding the demand for certain terms and how competitive they are to rank for.

Think of it as the SEO world’s market research. It helps you discover the language your potential customers are using to search for your products, services, or content. By identifying these keywords, you can tailor your content to meet the needs and interests of your audience, ensuring your website speaks their language.

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is vital because it gives insight into the queries that your target audience is searching for on Google. The knowledge gained from this research informs content strategies, guides your topics, and helps you understand your audience’s needs and interests.

By using keyword research to create focused content, you can attract visitors who are more likely to be interested in your products, services, or content.

Marketing Trend Insight

Understanding the latest marketing trends through keyword research allows you to adapt your content strategy to what’s currently in demand. This insight is invaluable for staying ahead in a competitive market. It tells you what topics are trending, what questions your audience has, and how their search behaviors are evolving.

By keeping your finger on the pulse of these changes, you can create content that is not only relevant but also timely and sought-after.

Traffic Growth

The right keywords can significantly increase traffic to your website. By targeting keywords with high search volumes and relevance to your niche, you can improve your visibility on search engine results pages. This increased visibility means more clicks and more clicks mean more traffic.

Customer Acquisition

Keyword research is a powerful tool for customer acquisition. By understanding and targeting the keywords your potential customers are using, you can create content that directly addresses their needs, questions, and pain points. This relevance not only attracts them to your site but also builds trust and credibility, making them more likely to convert into customers.

Effective keyword research ensures that your website attracts visitors who are in the right stage of their buying journey, increasing the chances of converting them into paying customers.

Preparing for Keyword Research

Patient Query IntentCommon KeywordsSearch Volume (Monthly)Competition LevelSuggested Content Type
Informational“Teeth whitening”22,000HighBlog post on methods
Navigational“Dentist near me”50,000HighLocation page
Transactional“Invisalign cost”5,000MediumService detail page
Common Dental Search Queries

Understanding Keywords vs. Topics

Before diving into keyword research, it’s crucial to distinguish between keywords and topics. Keywords are specific phrases or terms people use in search engines. They can be as simple as a single word or as complex as a whole sentence. Topics, on the other hand, are broader and encompass an entire subject area.

Understanding the difference is essential because while keywords are what you’ll optimize for, topics are what you’ll build your content around. This approach ensures your content is structured in a way that satisfies both search engines and your audience’s needs, leading to better SEO performance and user engagement.

The Role of Search Intent in Keyword Selection

Search intent, or user intent, is the reason behind a search query. Why is someone searching for a particular term? Are they looking to buy, to learn, or just to find a specific website? Understanding the intent behind keywords is crucial for selecting the right ones for your content. It ensures that the content you create meets the needs of the searcher, which is a key factor in improving search rankings and user satisfaction.

There are typically four types of search intent: informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial investigation. By aligning your content with the correct search intent, you greatly increase the likelihood of attracting qualified traffic that is more likely to convert.

Step 1: Generating Keyword Ideas

Local KeywordSearch VolumeRank in Local SearchConversion RateNotes
Dentist in [City]1,50035%High local relevance
[City] Teeth Cleaning80054%Include in blog topics
Local SEO Keywords Table

Make a List of Relevant Topics Based on Your Business

The first step in generating keyword ideas is to brainstorm a list of topics relevant to your business. Think about the broad subjects that your potential customers might search for. For instance, if you run an online bakery, your topics could include “gluten-free desserts,” “custom birthday cakes,” or “artisan bread.” These topics should reflect the core aspects of your business and the interests of your target audience.

By starting with topics, you create a framework for your keyword research, making it easier to pinpoint specific keywords that fall under each category. This approach not only helps in organizing your SEO strategy but also ensures comprehensive coverage of your business’s key areas.

Find Relevant Keyword Ideas

Once you have a list of topics, the next step is to find specific keyword ideas within those topics. This involves digging deeper to uncover the exact phrases your target audience might use when searching for your products or services. There are several strategies to expand your initial topic list into a robust keyword list:

Finding Your Competitors’ Keywords

One effective method is to analyze your competitors’ websites to see which keywords they are targeting. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz can help you identify the keywords driving traffic to their sites. This can give you insights into effective keywords in your industry and highlight opportunities to target gaps in your competitors’ strategies.

Using a Seed Keyword

Start with a seed keyword that represents a core topic of your business and use keyword research tools to generate related keywords. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest can suggest variations and related terms based on your seed keyword. This can help you discover long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific phrases that are easier to rank for and often have higher conversion rates.

Keywords You Already Rank For

It’s also beneficial to identify the keywords your website already ranks for. Tools like Google Search Console provide data on your current rankings and performance in search results. This information can help you understand your website’s strengths and identify areas for improvement.

Developing a diverse list of keyword ideas from various sources ensures a well-rounded SEO strategy that captures a wide range of search intents and opportunities to connect with your target audience.

Step 2: Expanding Your Keyword List

KeywordCountryDifficultyVolumeCPC
orthodontistus771830006
root canalus801620001.6
dentist near meus741340006
veneersus69940001.7
dentistus21880004.5
wisdom teeth removalus64760002.5
cavityus81620001
gum diseaseus84540000.6
toothacheus76520001.1
dental bridgeus66330001.4
teeth whitening near meus8320002
dental crownus63300002.5
tooth extractionus69290002.5
best dentist near meus71210003.5
dental implant costus28210008
partial denturesus29190001.7
dentist officeus60180005
dentist office near meus75150006
periodontist near meus31130002.5
family dentistus24130003
dentistry for childrenus6120002.5
chipped toothus24120001.8
cavity fillingus45110000.8
sedation dentistryus37110002
holistic dentistus43110001.7
teeth cleaningus71110002
sensitive teethus61100000.8
cheap dentist near meus1299002
emergency dentist near meus099002.5
main street dentalus2795003
pediatric dentist near meus3490004
affordable denturesus1281002
dentist appointmentus4881006
tooth crownus6281002
dental cleaningus5972003
grinding teethus7671000.45
smile dentalus2169003.5
emergency dental careus3453002.5
kids dentist near meus3651004
dental officeus537005
permanent denturesus535001.9
laser teeth whiteningus2233001.4
emergency tooth extractionus633003
dental clinic near meus6731003.5
cost of dental implantsus3631001.4
24 hour dentistus1430002
tooth fillingus5222000.9
cheap dentistus3822003
teeth whitening dentistus2820001.5
general dentistryus4520003.5
childrens dentist near meus2618003.5
family dental careus2717002.5
dental professionalsus3316003.5
kids dentalus715003.5
advanced dentalus3114003
laser dentistryus111001.7
teeth whitening treatmentus4910001.8
oral sedation dentistryus3510002.5
kids dentistus2510003.5
family cosmetic dentistryus1610002.5
dental orthodonticsus149004.5
cosmetic teeth whiteningus449001.6
modern dentistryus288004
endodontist near meus248003
urgent dental careus16003
walk in dentistus176003
cosmetic dental bondingus385001.9
cosmetic dentistry veneersus695002
family dental servicesus365001.4
teeth whitening systemus624501.8
invisible bracesus674006
cosmetic dental treatmentus643503
cosmetic dental careus463004
emergency dental treatmentus372503
children dental careus422508
general and cosmetic dentistryus202502.5
cosmetic dental clinicus422503.5
family and cosmetic dentistryus62502.5
dental makeoverus52003
dental implant clinicus915011
dental care centerus221502.5
general dental careus361504
urgent care dental clinicus161502.5
dental care clinicus81003
cosmetic dentistry teeth whiteningus121001.6
cosmetic dentistry whiteningus27701.5
teeth alignment treatmentus22303
Basic keywords for dental websites

Use Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research tools are invaluable in this process, offering deep insights into not just search volumes and competition, but also variations and long-tail keywords you might not have considered. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest allow you to input your initial keywords and discover a plethora of related terms. These tools can show you data on how often terms are searched, how those search volumes change over time, and how difficult it might be to rank for those terms.

They can suggest keywords based on questions, prepositions, and comparisons, broadening your list with queries you hadn’t thought of but that are incredibly relevant to your audience.

Another vital strategy for expanding your keyword list is to research related search terms. This can be done by looking at the “Searches related to” section at the bottom of Google search results pages for your initial keywords. These are terms that Google has identified as closely related to the searcher’s query, offering insights into other phrases and questions your audience is searching for.

Paying attention to the autocomplete suggestions in Google’s search bar as you type in your keywords can reveal common searches and variations of your keywords that you might not have considered. This method helps you understand the language and nuances of how your target audience searches for information, products, or services similar to yours.

Step 3: Evaluating and Prioritizing Keywords

KeywordStarting RankCurrent RankChangeNotes
Emergency Dentist457+38Added blog on dental emergencies
Pediatric Dentistry3015+15Updated service page content
Keyword Performance Analysis

Evaluate Keyword Metrics

Once you’ve expanded your keyword list, the next crucial step is to evaluate and understand the metrics behind each keyword. This evaluation is key to selecting the most effective keywords for your SEO strategy.

Search Volume

Search volume represents the number of searches for a specific keyword over a given period, typically per month. High search volume indicates that a keyword is popular, but it can also mean high competition. While it’s tempting to target these high-volume keywords, it’s essential to balance popularity with the likelihood of ranking. Keywords with moderate search volumes can often offer valuable opportunities, attracting targeted traffic with less competition.

Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a metric that estimates how hard it would be to rank for a specific keyword. This metric takes into account the strength of the current ranking websites in terms of their domain authority, backlinks, and other SEO factors. A higher KD score means it will be more challenging to compete. When starting out or working on a limited budget, focusing on keywords with lower difficulty can be a more effective strategy.

Prioritize Low-Hanging Fruit

“Low-hanging fruit” keywords are those that present the best opportunities for your website. These are typically characterized by a good balance of search volume and low to moderate keyword difficulty. They might also be keywords for which your site already ranks in positions 11-20, just outside the first page of search results. Prioritizing these keywords can often lead to quick wins, boosting your traffic and visibility with relatively little effort compared to more competitive terms.

Factor in SERP Features

Search Engine results pages have evolved to include various features beyond the traditional text links. Understanding and targeting these features can provide additional visibility opportunities.

Image Packs

If your website is rich in high-quality, relevant images, targeting keywords that trigger image packs in SERPs can drive additional traffic. Keywords related to visual content, products, or how-to instructions often benefit from this feature.

Paragraph Snippets

Featured snippets, particularly paragraph snippets, provide a great opportunity to be positioned above the first organic search result. Targeting question-based keywords and providing clear, concise answers in your content can increase your chances of capturing these coveted spots.

List Snippets

List snippets appear for searches that imply a list format, such as “top 10” lists or step-by-step guides. Structuring your content to clearly answer these queries can help your page get featured in these snippets, driving more traffic and attention to your site.

Video Snippets

For content that is best explained visually, targeting keywords that can trigger video snippets is a smart move. Creating quality video content that matches these search queries can lead to your videos being featured directly in SERPs, attracting clicks and engagement.

Step 4: Analyzing Search Intent and Competition

Your PracticeCompetitor ACompetitor BInsights Gained
Kids’ Dental CarePediatric DentistChildren’s DentalConsider adding blog series on pediatric care
Dental Implants CostDental Implants PriceUse more cost-related keywords
Competitor Keyword Strategy Comparison

Identify Search Intent

Understanding the search intent behind a keyword is crucial for creating content that meets the needs of your audience. Search intent refers to the reason why someone conducts a specific search. Is the user looking to buy something (transactional intent), find a particular website (navigational intent), gather information (informational intent), or compare products (commercial investigation intent)?

Identifying the intent allows you to tailor your content to answer the user’s question or provide the information they seek, which can significantly improve your page’s relevance and performance in search results. For instance, if the intent is informational, creating detailed blog posts or guides can be the best approach. For transactional searches, focusing on product pages or service offerings might yield better results.

Analyze Competition for the Keyword

Look at the top-ranking pages for the keyword you’re targeting. Assess the quality of their content, their domain authority, backlink profile, and other SEO factors. This analysis can help you understand what it will take to outrank them.

If the top results are dominated by high-authority sites, it might be challenging to compete directly. However, finding a unique angle or focusing on more specific, long-tail keywords can provide a way to capture traffic from the same topic area with less competition.

Check How Competitors are Ranking

Going beyond a general competition analysis, specifically, check how your direct competitors are ranking for the keywords you’re targeting. Use tools to see where they rank, the type of content they’re using (such as blog posts, videos, product pages), and how they structure their information. This can reveal gaps in their strategies that you can exploit.

For example, if none of your competitors are using video content for a keyword with informational intent, creating a high-quality explanatory video could be your ticket to the top of the SERPs. Additionally, analyzing the backlinks of competitors’ pages that rank well can give you insights into how they’ve built their authority and how you might adopt similar strategies to improve your website rankings.

Step 5: Finalizing Your Keyword List

Select Primary Keywords

After thorough research and analysis, the next step is selecting your primary keywords. These are the keywords that are most relevant to your business, have a favorable balance of search volume and competition, and align with the search intent of your target audience.

Primary keywords should represent the core themes of your website and content, serving as the foundation of your SEO strategy. These terms will be the focus of your most important pages, such as your homepage and key product or service pages. When selecting these keywords, consider the ones that not only draw in traffic but also have the potential to convert visitors into customers. Your goal is to choose keywords that effectively balance visibility and relevance to your business goals.

Check for a Mix of Head Terms and Long-Tail Keywords

A well-rounded keyword strategy includes a mix of head terms (broad, highly competitive keywords) and long-tail keywords (more specific, less competitive phrases). Head terms often have high search volumes but are very competitive and might not convert as well due to their broad nature. Long-tail keywords, while attracting less traffic, can lead to higher conversion rates as they are more specific to user intent.

For example, a site selling handcrafted jewelry might target a head term like “handmade earrings” but also focus on long-tail keywords such as “handmade sterling silver hoop earrings.” Incorporating both types of keywords into your strategy ensures you capture a wide audience while also targeting specific niches.

Use Google Keyword Planner for Final Refinements

Google Keyword Planner is a powerful tool for making final refinements to your keyword list. It can help you fine-tune your selections by providing detailed insights into search volumes, competition levels, and seasonal trends for your keywords. This tool is particularly useful for identifying variations of your primary keywords that you might not have considered, allowing you to expand your reach within your target market.

Keyword Planner can suggest bid estimates for each keyword, useful information if you plan to use Google Ads alongside your organic search strategy. By leveraging the data from Google Keyword Planner, you can ensure your final keyword list is optimized for both search visibility and advertising potential, setting the stage for a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

Implementing Your Keywords

SEO MetricBaseline1 Month3 Months6 MonthsNotes
Organic Traffic2090220350Steady increase
Keyword Rankings5102550Broader visibility
Conversion Rate2%2.5%3%4%More appointments
SEO Progress Report Table

How to Use SEO Keywords You’ve Chosen

With your final keyword list in hand, it’s time to implement these keywords across your website to improve your SEO and visibility on search engines. The most effective way to use your chosen keywords is by incorporating them into your website’s content, titles, meta descriptions, headers, and URLs. However, it’s crucial to use them naturally and contextually. Forcing keywords where they don’t fit can harm your SEO rather than help it.

Start with your primary keywords, ensuring they’re prominently featured on your homepage and key landing pages. Then, use related keywords and long-tail phrases in blog posts, articles, product descriptions, and other content. This not only helps search engines understand what your site is about but also ensures that you’re capturing a wide range of search queries related to your business.

Best Practices for Keyword Integration

  • Natural use in content: keywords should fit seamlessly into your content, making it readable and engaging for users while also signaling to search engines what the page is about.
  • Title tags and meta descriptions: These are crucial for SEO and click-through rates from search engine results pages. Include primary keywords in your title tags and meta descriptions to improve visibility and relevance.
  • H1-H6 headers: use headers (H1, H2, H3) to structure your content for both readability and SEO. Including keywords in headers helps search engines grasp the main topics of your content.
  • Alt text for images: incorporating keywords into the alt text of images can boost your website’s visibility in image searches and help with overall SEO.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing: overusing keywords can lead to penalties from search engines. Aim for a natural, user-friendly approach to keyword integration.
  • Long-form content: comprehensive content provides more opportunities to include keywords naturally throughout the text and can be seen as more authoritative by search engines.
  • Update regularly: search engines favor fresh content. Regularly updating your site with new, keyword-rich content can improve your rankings.
  • Use synonyms and related phrases: This helps avoid redundancy and captures a broader range of search intents.

Dental Keyword Research FAQs

What should a dental website include?

A dental website should include essential information like services offered, dentist credentials, office hours, location, and contact details. An easy-to-navigate interface with sections for patient testimonials, a frequently asked questions page, and online appointment booking enhances the user experience. Incorporating a blog with informative dental care articles can also be beneficial. High-quality images of the clinic and staff, clear calls to action, and mobile optimization are crucial for a professional and accessible website.

How do I identify my keywords?

To identify your keywords, start by thinking about the terms potential patients might use when searching for dental services. Consider the services you offer (e.g., teeth whitening, braces, dental implants), location-based terms (e.g., [Your City] dentist), and common dental concerns (e.g., toothache, dental check-up). Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to research keyword volume and competition.

How do I choose the right keywords?

Choose the right keywords by considering relevance, search volume, and competition. Keywords should be closely related to your dental services and what potential patients might search for. High search volume indicates popularity, but also consider long-tail keywords with lower competition for more targeted traffic. Balancing broad terms (like “dentist”) with specific ones (like “pediatric dentist in [Your City]”) can be effective.

How do I optimize my dental website for SEO?

To optimize your dental website for SEO, ensure your content includes relevant keywords, especially in titles, headers, and meta descriptions. Optimize your site for local search by including local keywords and registering with Google Business. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and has fast loading speeds. Regularly update your site with quality content, like blog posts, and ensure it has a user-friendly design. Building backlinks from reputable sites also improves SEO.

How do I start a dental blog?

To start a dental blog, first identify topics that would interest your patients, such as dental hygiene tips, explanations of common procedures, or updates in dental technology. Create a content calendar to maintain a consistent posting schedule. Use an easy-to-use blogging platform integrated into your website. Ensure each blog post is informative, engaging, and includes relevant keywords for SEO. Promote your blog through your social media channels and email newsletters.

What are the 3 main factors that go into choosing a keyword?

The three main factors in choosing a keyword are relevance, search volume, and competition. Relevance means the keyword must accurately reflect the content and services offered. Search volume indicates how often the keyword is searched for, suggesting potential traffic. Competition assesses how many other websites are targeting the same keyword, with lower competition often offering better opportunities for ranking.

What are the three steps to choosing keywords?

1. Research: start by brainstorming potential keywords related to your services and use keyword research tools to find related terms.

2. Analysis: evaluate the search volume and competition for these keywords. Look for a balance between high enough volume to drive traffic and low enough competition to realistically rank.

3. Selection: choose keywords that best match your services and goals. Include a mix of broad and long-tail keywords, and consider the intent behind the keywords to align with your audience’s needs.

Keyword Research Tools

  • These tools are essential for identifying the best keywords for your dental practice’s website.
  • They provide insights into search terms, trends, and performance metrics.
  1. Google Keyword Planner (link):
    • Free to use with a Google Ads account.
    • Good for finding search volumes and understanding keyword competition.
  2. SEMrush (link):
    • Offers comprehensive keyword data, including trend analysis and organic search statistics.
    • Provides a feature to see which keywords competitors are ranking for.
  3. Ahrefs (link):
    • Known for its detailed backlink analysis, which is helpful for SEO.
    • Includes a keyword explorer that gives keyword suggestions and search volumes.
  4. Other SEO tools:
    • Tools like Moz, Ubersuggest, and Yoast can also help identify and manage keywords.
    • Each tool has unique features that can contribute to a well-rounded keyword strategy.

Author: Ihor Lavrenenko

Ihor Lavrenenko dental SEO expert

For the last 10 years, I’ve worked for two online marketing agencies (as an SEO specialist and an SEO team lead). It was a great experience in optimizing local dental websites and big programmatic SEO healthcare projects for the US local market. In this blog, I’ll be happy to share my experience with dentists who want to promote their website and my SEO colleagues too.