Two kittens looking at a laptop, with one of them pointing toward the screen

SEO for Veterinary Practices: Where and How to Use Keywords

In recent posts, you’ve learned all about where to find keywords for your veterinary practice website…


So, this month let’s talk about how and where to use those keywords to boost your SEO!


As a reminder, SEO (search engine optimization) is important, because it helps your practice appear higher in the online search results — and that makes it easier for potential clients to find you and bring their pets in to see you.


Think of it as a way to find new clients, often without the big price tag of paid advertising.


If you’re just starting out, you might want to go back to my blog page and scroll down to the posts about starting with SEO and where to find keywords.


And I should note, today’s post might be a lot of information all at once… but, don’t feel like you have to try everything right of the bat! Just look into one of these tips at a time, and stick with basic keywords (like “veterinarian,” “dog,” and “cat”) if you need to.


You can do more research over time… but you can never go wrong with the keywords that tell your clients exactly who you are, what you do, and which animals you see!


So without further ado, here are some of the places on your website where you’ll want to use those keywords you researched…


1. Top of the page


Think about your website as if it were a newspaper on a newsstand, rather than images and text on a digital screen…


You’re going to focus on the area “above the fold.” What this means is, the area of the site you see on the screen when you first open it up, BEFORE you scroll down the page at all.


It’s similar to the headlines of a newspaper you would see, if that newspaper were folded up on a newsstand. And, it serves a similar purpose — to grab your prospects’ attention, and tell them why they’ll want to keep reading.


As far as your practice site is concerned, the area “above the fold” is very important — and that’s not only true for SEO, but also for catching a client’s attention right away (before they move on to check out a competitor’s site).


Of course, how much they see may vary depending on the size of their screen, and whether it’s a computer or mobile device. But, to keep it simple, focus on the header area of your home page. This is a spot at the top of your page where you’ll have a nice picture, the name of your hospital, and some sort of welcome message.


It’s the first thing visitors to your website will see.


Use your business name and location


Here, you don’t have to overcomplicate things and try to stuff in a lot of keywords. But, be sure to include the basics, such as “veterinary clinic” or “animal hospital,” along with your location (remember, you’re primarily interested in local clients, so city/state is key information to include!).


How to write an effective welcome message


When discussing SEO with other copywriters, there’s a common saying, which is that “Welcome!” is a waste of valuable real estate!


So instead of using words such as “Welcome to our clinic!” try saying something like “We’ll provide the best veterinary care, and treat your pets like family,” or “Experienced veterinarians to give your pet the care they deserve.”


You can experiment until it sounds natural, and the wording is a good fit for your practice culture and clientele. But, the idea is, say something that will tell potential clients why they should choose you… and, also includes a keyword or two (in this case, “pets” and “veterinarians/veterinary”).


2. Subheadings


Another great place for keywords (which gives you SEO “extra credit” from Google) is subheadings.


What I mean by this is, the section headings, that tell your clients what each section of the website is about.


For example, many veterinary practices will have subheadings on their home page such as “Services,” “Your first visit,” or “Meet our veterinarians.”


Some of these subheadings will be a great place for keywords (notice “veterinarians” was included in the examples I listed). But, only use it if it’s a natural fit.


Another great place to really use specific subheadings is on blog posts, if your practice has a blog.


3. Bolded text


Sometimes, for extra emphasis, you might want to bold certain text on your website.


For example…


“Boarding and Grooming


We offer boarding and grooming at our hospital. But, your dog or cat must be up to date on their vaccines in order to schedule an appointment. If you’re unsure what your pet needs, give us a call, and we’ll help you!”


Notice here, “Boarding and Grooming” works well as a subheading, and might be something your potential clients are searching for. I’ve also bolded the keywords “dog,” “cat,” and “vaccines.”


The primary purpose of bolding that text was so that clients would be sure to notice it (and not show up angry because they didn’t know their pet needed vaccines prior to the appointment!)


But, it had the secondary benefit of bolded keywords — for extra SEO points!


4. Hyperlinked text


For example, if you have a service page for “emergency veterinary services,” use the words “emergency veterinary services” as your anchor text to that service page. (Anchor text means the words someone would click on to be taken to that page.)


It’s a natural keyword fit, and it helps Google find those important keywords.


The next step…


Go ahead and take your time with these tips. Don’t feel like you need to be an expert overnight! Take it as a fun puzzle, and don’t feel like you don’t know enough to start. Remember, there’s no one right answer… SEO is an art as much as it is a science, so be brave and give it a try!


Please post any questions in the comments below. If you feel like you need additional help, you can contact me for a consult.


Next month, I’ll show you how to use FAQ pages to your advantage. Until then, good luck, and have fun with it!