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inboundMed Blog

The best keyword tools for healthcare marketing: Google Correlate

Oct 11, 2016 5:30:00 AM / by inboundMed

correlation_word_cloud_for_google_correlate_discussion.jpgIn our previous discussion about using keywords in healthcare marketing, we mentioned a number of keyword tools you can use to find the right keywords to serve the content development and search engine optimization (SEO) needs of your medical practice blog.

Over the next few weeks, we'll feature how the best of these work to help you understand the variety and functionality of these different tools for narrowing down keywords. 

Google Correlate

It makes sense to start with Google products, since Google is still the most commonly used (and most widely integrated) search engine out there.

Google offers a number of products to help you determine your keyword strategy. By experimenting with these tools, you'll also gain some insight into how search engine optimization works.

And you'll rest easy knowing you're using a product designed by the very utility you seek to master with your SEO!

Google Correlate is a word searching utility that's related to the trend-spotting tool Google Trends.

reverse_engineering_or_pouring_juice_into_the_orangeWhat does Google Correlate do? It "finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends."

In a sense, it is like a reverse keyword search tool. 

Rather than enter search terms so that you can identify a target, you enter the target as a query to retrieve a list of possible search terms.

While Google Trends shows data on trending stories, Google Correlate isolates the keywords connected to these trending stories which have relevance to time and place.

In an industry like healthcare, where location and season can be strong predictors of healthcare needs, it makes sense that a quick "reverse engineering" using this free tool can be informing of your efforts to generate fresh, relevant, and well-optimized content.

Putting Google Correlate to work

For our purposes, we'll make these assumptions: 

  1. Your healthcare business is a primary care practice with multiple physicians
  2. It's the fall (the onset of cold and flu season)
  3. Your goal is to increase your distribution of flu shots (and attract new patients through a first-time visit inspired by the new patients' needs for flu shots). 

Let's see what happens when we use the search term "flu vaccine" to seek out keywords in Google Correlate.

Note: We limited our experiment to an outcome of 20 words per specialized search, but you could drill down even further.

Using the "Compare US States" correlates

us_map_in_orangeGoogle breaks these down into state-by-state analysis to identify regionality. Some search terms are more popular in some states than in others. This is useful for you if you are focusing on a strong local search position in your inbound marketing strategy.

Simply add the search terms most common to your practice (in our case, "flu vaccine) to find how these terms correlate across the US or even between states. 

  • "Flu vaccine" used in the "Compare US States" mode produced this list (listed in GC's search results order at the time of this post):
    • flu vaccines
    • atypical
    • jimmy crack corn (!)
    • off label use
    • adverse
    • kitchen floor
    • antipsychotics
    • small kitchen
    • colonoscopy
    • misdiagnosis
    • worsening
    • vaccine
    • small bathrooms
    • undiagnosed
    • small bathroom
    • vaccine side effects
    • cancer diagnosis
    • tamoxifen
    • colorectal cancer
    • psychiatric disorders

Using the "Compare time series" correlates

orange_calendar_iconSome search terms fluctuate in popularity depending on the season as well as trends in current events. It's not surprising to report that Google created their famous "Flu Trends" aggregator using this method. Google breaks these search trends down by week and month, with an aim to be predictive.

  • In our example, when doing the same search in "Weekly Time Series," the results are different (listed in GC's search results order at the time of this post):

    • flu vaccination
    • flu vaccinations
    • flu vac
    • flu vaccine nasal
    • flumist vaccine
    • flu vaccine availability
    • flu vaccine mercury
    • flu immunization
    • flu vaccine cdc
    • flu vaccine children
    • maine flu
    • flu vaccine pregnant
    • flu vaccine nasal spray
    • flu nasal mist
    • flu shots available
    • vaccine mercury
    • flu nasal spray
    • flu vaccine for children
    • vaccine
  • orange_search_word_iconHowever, the results when using the "Monthly Time Series" search are similar, though not identical (listed in GC's search results order at the time of this post):
    • flu vaccines 
    • flu vac
    • flu vaccinations
    • flu vaccination
    • flu vaccine nasal
    • flu vaccine pregnant
    • flumist vaccine
    • flu vaccine nasal spray
    • flu shots available
    • flu vaccine children
    • flu vaccine mercury
    • flu vaccine availability
    • flu immunization
    • where to get the flu shot
    • maine flu
    • flu vaccine cdc
    • flu vaccine locations
    • flu vaccine clinics
    • flu nasal mist
    • flu vaccine conspiracy

If you combine all three lists, then redorange_check_list_iconuce it to a list of only those words which appear at least twice, you get this reduced list (in alphabetical order): 

  • flu immunization
  • flu nasal mist
  • flu nasal spray
  • flu shots available
  • flu vac
  • flu vaccination
  • flu vaccinations
  • flu vaccine availability
  • flu vaccine cdc
  • flu vaccine children
  • flu vaccine for children
  • flu vaccine mercury
  • flu vaccine nasal
  • flu vaccine nasal spray
  • flu vaccine pregnant
  • flu vaccines
  • flumist vaccine
  • maine flu
  • vaccine

You may wish to add other terms from the first location-based list (such as adverse, vaccine side effects) even if they don't appear in the next two time-based lists because of their relevance, to achieve a complete starter list of keywords.

Using theorange_benefits_speech_bubble results in Google Correlate

At quick glance, this is not a bad list to start with; in fact, it does a number of solid things to the benefit of your healthcare marketing strategy: 

  • It gives you at-the-moment and predictive insight into the concerns of regional families searching on the term "flu vaccine" at this moment in time and from where they are at

  • It highlights at least 8 blog post ideas you could shape around the search term, such as:
    1. Dispelling myths about toxic mercury in flu vaccines
    2. Should you get a flu shot if you're pregnant?
    3. Insights into the loss of the FluMist vaccine this season
    4. Why this year's early flu season in Maine might affect us in [Michigan][Florida][Utah] (etc.)
    5. What is your clinic's current availability of this year's flu shots?
    6. How to prepare young children for flu vaccinations
    7. This year's statistics and predictions on the flu from the CDC 
    8. What are some of the most common adverse effects of flu immunizations?
  • It gives you multiple versions of the same word "idea" to play with in a blog post (i.e. flu immunization, flu vaccine, flu vaccination, vaccine) to help improve SEO

  • It costs you nothing but your time 

You can also use the map feature in the "Compare US States" search, which charts United States Web Search activity for flu vaccine and flu vaccines in both a colored map and a scatter plot to see how these words correlate with current data Google has recently gleaned on the topic.

Google Correlate includes a simple tutorial in the left-hand column to help you with the process; it explains in much greater detail how to interpret the results and how to do further analysis between states and time periods.

From a healthcare marketing orange_flu_shots_signstandpoint, you may not need to dig deeper with this tool.

It may be simply useful enough to run a quick correlation of subjects you're interested in (such as flu shots) to get an at-a-glance assessment for the purposes of nailing down best keywords and identifying trends among healthcare consumers. 

Give Google Correlate a try here.


 

Still looking for ideas for blog posts?
Check out this great advice for nailing
down those first five best topics by
clicking the image below.

How to choose your first blog topics

Topics: keywords

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