Search Engine Keywords Explained


What is a keyword? Sure, you’ve heard the term before and know that it has something to do with making your website show up more in search engines, but how exactly do keywords work?

When speaking with our members, the term “keyword” comes up a lot when discussing search strategies.

A keyword typically refers to one of three things in search:

In PPC (pay per click) campaigns, like our ​Sesame Premium SEM service​​, a keyword is the actual word or phrase you bid on to target in your campaigns. For example, a keyword could be “orthodontist” as well as “phoenix orthodontist.” This is the most consistent use of the word, since it is used uniformly across the industry. In this case, the “keywords” are an actual list of specific phrases or terms that, when searched, will display your dental or orthodontic practice’s sponsored ad above and alongside the search results.

In search engine optimization, or ​SEO​​, it gets a bit tricky. In the past, keywords referred to an actual line of code that was commonly used in websites, known as the Meta Keyword element. In the early days the web, this was a list that the webmaster would write in the page’s header, invisible to other people browsing. This list was used by search engines as their method of determining the relevancy of a website. This method, however, was quickly exploited, with websites listing hundreds of “keywords” to show up for various searches and, because of this, was eventually abandoned when Google developed an alternative way to rank websites: relevancy, authority and popularity. Google and Bing both announced their algorithms completely disregard this element in 2009.

The term is still used to describe the list of terms we use to track the ranking of your website in the search engine results. A keyword should refer to a general idea of what you’re targeting in your practice and should be a broad list of terms and phrases you have in mind, describing your office location, services you provide, and dental and ortho-related terms, like “dentist seattle wa.” Sesame’s Web Design and Search Teams both strive to laying out the content to make it easy for the search engines to read, but still convincing from a patient’s perspective. This falls in line with the search engine’s end goal: presenting relevant and useful search results.

If there is one thing you should take away, it’s that keywords refer to the phrase you want to show up for in searches. Depending on your strategy, they can be a specific term used to display your sponsored ad or they may be set of terms used in your website’s content. Think of “keywords” as a list of services and areas that prospective patient might type into a search bar.

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Sesame is an industry leader in integrated, cloud-based marketing and patient-engagement solution designed exclusively for your practice. We know that effective patient communication is vital to the success of your practice and the efficiency of your team. With Sesame, you can take your practice to the next level, allowing you to concentrate on what’s really important – your patients!