The keywords you choose for your Specialties are the ultimate determination as to whether or not your site connects with potential clients. But, lately, we’ve been hearing a question about keywords:
“Why would I want to use a keyword with such a high search volume?”
The thinking goes… if everyone is trying to rank for the same high search volume keyword, how is my practice going to stand out? “Shouldn’t I go and optimize for some other keyword, even if the volume is lower?”
The answer is, “No.” But to understand why we need to detail how keywords work, how rankings work, and just how optimized for SEO any single website can be.
The Keywords Potential Clients Search
When people go on Google (or any search engine for that matter), they use particular keywords to find what they’re looking for. And, people being people, they tend to use particular keywords that are dependent on where they live.
Let’s use an oversimplified example.
Imagine the number one keyword in your area for an anxiety Specialty page is, “anxiety therapy”. Every month there are 100 searches for “anxiety therapy”.
Imagine the second most searched keyword in your area is “anxiety counseling”. Every month there are 50 searches for “anxiety counseling”.
You may be tempted to conclude that you should pursue the second most searched term because there will be less competition. The reasoning goes, you’ll scoop up all 50 of those searches, because it will be easier to rank. Right?
The Way Keyword Rankings Work
If you choose to pursue the second most searched keyword, you won’t scoop up all the potential clients searching that keyword.
Instead, practices that pursue the most searched keyword automatically rank for the second most searched keyword (if their site is set up properly), and so on.
To return to our example above… that means orienting a Specialty Page for “anxiety therapy” automatically ranks the same page well for “anxiety counseling”.
The point being… you cannot try and undercut the competition by pursuing the second most searched keyword. For better or worse that’s just now how search works.
The practice that optimizes for the most searched keyword ranks for the most searched keyword and the secondary keyword, and they stand far above the practice solely pursuing the secondary keyword (or tertiary, etc.).
In other words....
Keywords don’t exist in isolation. They work together.
Larger volume keywords scoop up their lower volume synonyms. But low volume keywords don’t effectively rank for their high volume synonyms—sometimes not at all.
So… pursuing lower volume keywords means your traffic will also be lower volume. Your website won’t be setup to connect you with potential clients.
Nobody Has An Optimized Website
Let’s imagine, for the sake of argument, that everyone in your area is pursuing rankings for the same keyword, e.g. “anxiety therapy”. (This basically never happens, but we’re using our imaginations.) And then let’s say there’s over 100 private practices.
That’s a lot of competition. So, how are you going to stand out?
Unless every single website is exactly the same (I mean this literally: theme, content, etc.), rankings are going to fluctuate. In other words, it is impossible to be perfectly optimized for any single keyword.
There are best practices. But often, given a few months, most websites fall out of best practices. What do I mean by best practices?
Well, rankings are determined by a number of factors:
- Specialty Pages (and interlinking)
- Site Theme (and site speed)
- Active Blogging
- Google Business Profile
- (And then about 100 more factors)
And all of those factors work together to determine rankings. The better any one website is at all of them the more highly they rank. But those factors are in constant flux.
- Blogs stop being created and interlinked with Specialty Pages, so the site no longer looks active to Google and starts dropping in rankings.
- A plugin on the backend causes an error which drops site speed, hurting rankings.
- Google Business Profile isn’t updated, signaling a loss in local rankings.
And the biggest factor? A Google algorithm update (which is happening all the time) that causes a shuffling of rankings across the board.
The point is… nobody does every aspect of their website perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. (In all my years of working with websites, I have never seen a website that couldn’t be improved.) And any site that does seem perfect one day, quickly becomes imperfect the following day, or week, month, etc.
So, even if everyone in your area is pursuing the same high-volume keyword for their Specialty Pages, only the practice that consistently uses best practices will stand out and connect with potential clients. And that practice could very well be you.