If you’ve been reading any of our blog posts about digital marketing for veterinary practices, you’ll no doubt have heard us banging on about the importance of good keywords.

So it’s probably a bit frustrating to find that the key to finding good keywords isn’t easy. There’s no one way to do it, for starters, and you’ll find plenty that don’t result in hits for every one you find that works for your practice. But there are some things you can do to increase the chance you will find great keywords, and we’re going to go over them here.

What makes a good veterinary keyword?

Arguably, a good keyword is one that’s good for your business, and it’s not likely to be the same for everybody. But how can you easily sort through the keyword options you find to find ones that are more likely to perform well for you? Well, good keywords:

  • Are relevant to your business (there’s no point in using a keyword about doughnuts in Florida if you have a veterinary practice in Hull!)
  • Are not too competitive (if everyone is competing for the same keyword, it’s a lot harder for you to rank for it)
  • Are being searched frequently enough (you could have a completely unique keyword, but if it’s only going to be searched once per year there’s no point focussing all your energies on it)

We’ll go into a little more detail about what makes a good keyword for a vet clinic below.

Keywords need to be relevant to your veterinary practice

It’s important that you use keywords that are relevant to your business. Whenever you find a keyword possibility, consider user intent. Could the user typing that keyword into Google need your services, either now or in the future? No? Then it’s not relevant to your business. That’s not to say you absolutely can’t try to rank for it – you can – but it’s probably not worth wasting your energy on.

Keywords need to be low-competition (or match your ability to compete)

Most keyword finders will give you a competitiveness score, which is a measure of how hard it will be to rank for that keyword. The higher the score, the harder it’s going to be. Not only will your content have to be spot-on, but there are other things Google uses to see how high a result should rank – like your E-E-A-T, or your domain authority. You can check your domain authority by going to Moz.com and typing in your domain (it’s free!). The higher the score, the better – and it will roughly match up to keyword competitiveness. So if your score is 5, and your keyword competitiveness is 60, it’s not a good choice for you right now. If there’s a keyword permutation with a lower score, you might be better off aiming for that one instead.

A good keyword is searched often (enough)

The more people searching for your keyword, the higher the chance you’ll get your website in front of a potential customer. But increased search volume often means other vet practice websites will be competing for the keyword, so it’s a balancing act. The problem with veterinary keywords is that – on the scale of the internet – they just aren’t being searched often enough. Content marketing using your blog is a good way to get some high-frequency keywords in alongside the more niche ones.

Understanding long tail keywords vs short tail keywords

Before we leap into the actual methods for finding veterinary keywords, it’s worth understanding a little about the types of keywords you’ll encounter. A short-tail keyword is usually one or two words. It’s usually high-frequency, high-competition. For example – vets in London. You can see how this would be very competitive, but also how because it’s less specific it might be less relevant. Some of these searchers won’t be looking for nearby veterinary clinics, they might be looking for a mobile vet, a locum vet to work for them, or even a veteran!

Long-tail keywords are longer, and are searched less frequently, but usually have a lower competition. An example would be ‘vets in London that treat bearded dragons’. In this case, user intent is clear and you’re more likely to get relevant results.

Most veterinary clinics will want a combination of these two, so it’s important not to ignore the long-tail keywords. They may seem overly specific but they’re often high-converting.

How to find good veterinary keywords

So now we know some of the things you need to look out for, and you’ve got some ways to sort the wheat from the chaff, it’s time to look at ways to find keywords for your veterinary practice.

1.Explore your Google Search Console account

If you haven’t already signed up, you should register for a free Google Search Console account. It will give you access to information like what search terms people are using when they land on your page, but also which search terms you appear in results for but weren’t clicked on. Filtering your view to ‘position’ and ‘impressions’ works well – the impressions shows you how many people could have seen your website, then the ‘position’ shows you where you ranked. If you have a high position (lower number) and impressions but no clicks, they think you aren’t relevant to their search. But if you have impressions but a low position (higher number) then you’re potentially just too far down the results page – and that means you’ve got an opportunity to improve.

2. Brainstorm

There’s nothing quite like the good old fashioned brainstorm for coming up with new veterinary keywords. Think about what people who need your services might be typing into their search engine. Once you’ve got a list of possibles, you can match them against the later steps to see if they’re worth persuing.

3. People Also Asked results

The ‘People Also Asked’ (PAA) section of Google is a great place to look for related long-tail keywords. Simply type a keyword relevant to your practice into Google, then scroll down the results page until you find the PAA results. If you expand relevant ones, Google will add a few more – hunt around in there for a bit to look for FAQs and long-tail keywords for your veterinary practice.

4. SEMRush

A free SEMRush account can do all sorts of things, including showing how many keywords you share with your competitors, and showing a list of keyword ideas. It’s a powerful piece of software and there’s a lot to learn, which can take a while as your free account will only let you do a certain number of tasks a day. Still, once you’ve learned your way around it’s a great tool!


AHREFS is another free keyword tool you can try. You’ll need to type in a keyword from your previous research, but it will then give you loads of similar ideas. It has some drawbacks though – it will only give you ideas with the exact word order you’ve used as your seed keyword (so ‘vet near me’ will bring up ’emergency vet near me’ but not ‘vet nearby’ or ‘veterinarian near me’) so you often need to type in several to get some ideas. You’ll notice AHREFS gives a competition score, too.

What should I do with my keywords?

Once you’ve got your list of potential keywords for your vet practice, you’ll need to head off and use them. Assign one per page and use it naturally throughout. Once you’re out of pages, move to your blog (and if you haven’t got a vet practice blog – it’s time to start one!) and start working on that. Once you’ve exhausted your pages and posts, it’s time to get creating content – we recommend posting twice a month as a minimum, with one keyword per post. We cover a bit more about using your keywords to improve your vet practice SEO here.


Finding good veterinary keywords for your clinic is essential if you’re going to leverage SEO and get results. Once you’ve got your keyword list together, start using them throughout your website and start getting organic visitors to your webpage.

Joanna Woodnutt

Joanna Woodnutt

Dr Joanna Woodnutt MRCVS is a qualified vet, freelance writer, and editor at The Veterinary Content Company. She lives in the Channel Islands with her husband and daughter, as well as their naughty but loveable terrier, Pixie.