The Sesame Search team provides search engine optimization for Sesame members with our Performance Search Engine Optimization Service. When talking to our members, the term “keyword” comes up a lot when discussing search strategies. But what is a “keyword”? Is it a word you enter in your website? Is it a word you send to the search engines? How do you use these words to help your dental or orthodontic practice show up in searches? Unfortunately, the term can actually mean completely different things depending on its context. This can lead to a bit of confusion when talking about your online search strategy.
A keyword typically refers to one of three things in search:
In PPC (pay per click) campaigns, like our Sesame Elite Search Premium service, a keyword is the actual word or phrase you bid on to target in your campaigns. For example, a keyword could be “dentist” as well as “manhattan cosmetic dentist.” 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 alongside the search results.
In SEO (search engine optimization), it gets a bit more confusing. 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 of the Internet, this was a list that the webmaster would write in the page’s header, invisible to the people browsing. This list was used by Yahoo! and other earlier search engines as their method of determining the relevancy of a website. This method 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 a way to use the content of a website to determine relevancy. In 2009, Google and Bing both announced that their algorithms completely ignore this element.
Despite the element no longer being used, the term is still typically used to describe the list of terms your website is targeting. Generally, a keyword should refer to a general idea of what you’re targeting in your website. It should be a broad list of terms and phrases that you have in mind, describing your location, dental or orthodontic services, and terms that you want to show up for in searches. In this case, keywords are targeted by simply using them in the content of your website. The way to target a keyword is simply by using it naturally by mentioning your services and location in a way that makes sense.
Sesame’s Web Design and Search Teams are both well versed with this strategy, laying out the content to make it clear to the search engines, but still convincing from a patient’s perspective. This is in line with the search engine’s end goal; presenting relevant and useful search results.
In the end, a keyword basically just refers to the phrase you want to show up for when searched. Depending on your strategy, this can be a specific term used to display your sponsored ad or it may be set of terms used in your website’s content. You should just think of the “keywords” as a list of services and areas that prospective patient might enter into Google. This is the one usage everyone can understand.