Keying Into Keyword Research

by Hannah Stuart, Copywriter - 04/25/16

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Every good content planning process has a clear first step.

Have you ever sat down to brainstorm copy for your next campaign and found yourself stumped, concerned that your ideas are unoriginal? Make sure your message hits the mark by performing keyword research.

Effective content campaigns begin with keyword research, because it can help you pinpoint ways your content can answer questions your readers already have. The key, however, is identifying keywords that will keep people coming back to your website. This helps you avoid the dreaded scenario of your content being shared through social channels for a couple of days and then falling into Internet obscurity.

What is ‘Good’ Keyword Research?

Without a targeted focus, your article can be as brilliant as they come and still no one will find it. To find the bull’s-eye, start by choosing your tool. Google’s Keyword Planner is free, and there are other options online as well, both free and paid.

Put your main keyword or keyword phrase into the keyword research tool of your choice—for this example, we’ll use the keyword phrase “heart disease,” as that’s a topic that tends to have the same five or six pieces of content written over and over.

Related keyword searches that show up include:

• heart disease statistics

• heart disease prevention

• heart disease diet

• heart disease and stroke statistics

• heart disease risk factors

• heart disease and exercise

• heart disease and depression

Typically, along with keyword searches, keyword research tools will give you indicators of the popularity of each keyword search. This allows you to check the competition on each search. Believe it or not, you want to target low-competition searches, as it makes it easier for your content to become highly ranked in searches.

Once you’ve segmented your patient population, it’s time to take a step back. Get a bigger picture idea of who this group is, and try to understand how they currently use medical care, any economic issues that might impact their access to care, and environmental or cultural factors that impact health risks. Look into the community and see if programs or services already exist that you can partner with, and determine which services are missing for this population group.

Using Keywords to Drive Content

Once you’ve run your keyword research, you can dig into the results and use them to create original content. Keyword searches—particularly longer ones with less competition—can help you develop content ideas that target your audience proactively, instead of waiting for them to come to you. A surefire way to make your content successful is to answer questions your audience hasn’t asked yet, so that when they do your answer is there waiting for them.

Using keywords in writing online content has changed quite a bit over the years. While keyword stuffing—a technique involving including your keyword in as many places in the article as possible—might’ve worked way back when, something Google no longer uses it when ranking sites, and it could actually hurt you. It also tends to make your page look more like spam than inviting, useful content.

Using keyword research can help you craft quality, unique content that not only attracts an audience, but helps answer their questions or solve their problems. Whether it’s ditching heart disease risk factors and instead writing content about managing heart disease risk with lifestyle adjustments, or using a list of topics found in your research to create an entire post series, keyword research tools can help boost the quality of your content and the number of people who see it.

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Topics: Content Strategy, Search Engine Optimization

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