Search terms are the keywords or phrases that are used when people use a search engine such as Google. These search terms can be categorised into 3 types, with different user intent behind them:
Navigational search terms are used by searchers when they are looking for a specific website or brand. These searchers already know what they are looking for and are likely to already be a patient, or have decided they want to join the practice after research or a word of mouth recommendation. For example, they might search your practice name or website URL.
These search queries are difficult to target unless you are the practice they are looking for. So, focus on gaining as much visibility for your brand name as possible. Ideally, your website should take up the entire top section of the site for navigational searches, making it easy for these searchers to find your practice.
If you are in a competitive area, targeting your brand name and associated keywords through Google Ads is also worthwhile. Having your branded keyword visible at the top of the SERPs will drive traffic and potential new patients to your website.
These searches cover a large topic and are searchers looking for general information about a topic. These searchers could be patients that are interested in implants and are carrying out research on the treatment by searching the broad keyword ‘Implants’, for example. These searches will bring up hundreds of relevant results that will be difficult to compete with, for example, the NHS and other medical information sites.
These search terms tend to be highly competitive and are not going to generate leads as quickly as Navigational and Transactional searches. However, you can nurture future leads by providing quality content that targets this kind of search terms. To do this, write informational blog posts that provide tips on the subject, create a quality step-by-step guide or video, or design useful images that explain the treatment process. By doing this, you can build trust with potential patients as well as improve your positions within Google.
Users who search with transactional queries are searchers that are ready to make a purchase. They are looking for a dental practice online so they can register as a patient, or enquire about a treatment. For dental practices, these searches are likely to be ‘local terms’, for example, ‘dental implants Bournemouth’. These terms are also known as ‘vertical search terms’ and are the most likely to produce a new patient.
Transactional terms are very important to target via SEO. Ranking well organically for ‘Dental Practice Bournemouth’ and ‘Dental Implants Bournemouth’, for example, will drive patients who are ready to commit to treatment to your website. They are also the most effective terms to target with a paid campaign, as users are much more likely to convert when searching with transactional search terms.
You can read more about the types of search terms here.