Have you ever wondered how potential clients can find your therapy practice online amid the vast sea of information? The secret lies in mastering SEO for therapists.
SEO can help you rank at the top of Google search results when someone searches for a therapist in your geographical area. This high ranking is sure to get you tons of leads and appointments for your private practice.
In this comprehensive guide on search engine optimization for therapists, I’ll help you explore the ins and outs of therapist SEO, helping you build trust and credibility; and attract more clients to your practice. Ready to embark on this exciting journey of optimizing your online presence? Let’s dive in!
Search engine optimization is essential to digital marketing. It enables your mental health counseling practice to become visible when someone searches for keywords related to it, such as therapy services, therapist near me, symptoms, etc. As a therapist, SEO is crucial because it assists in establishing trust and credibility online, setting yourself apart from competitors, and drawing in more ideal clients.
Over 90% of healthcare providers have a website (Source: 2019 Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends Report), but the majority of these websites are not optimized for search engines. Every new business in the healthcare industry wants new patients, from primary care doctors to multi-speciality hospitals; and dental clinics to laboratories. The best way to get there is via healthcare SEO. Apart from attracting more patients, SEO for healthcare professionals has many other benefits. Let’s understand what these might be.
How do people search for therapists?
More than 76% of patients search Google to find a healthcare professional nearby or to check a medical practitioner’s reviews. This also applies to therapists.
You might be thinking that your ideal client searches for keywords like therapist near me. Well, that is true, but what you don’t know is that people even search for keywords like:
- Therapist near me
- Stress doctor near me
- Doctor for stress and anxiety
- Therapist New York
- Anxiety treatment
If you want to dig deep into keywords, we have an in-depth article on SEO keywords for therapists
How does Google show results?
The search landscape for therapists mainly consists of 4 types of results:
- Sponsored ads.
- Local map results.
- Directory sites.
- Personal therapy sites.
If you want to dig deep into keywords, we have an in-depth article on SEO keywords for therapists
Sponsored results appear at the very top of search results. However, these results appear only if someone is running a Google Ads campaign for that particular keyword. Our search for “Therapist New York” showed sponsored results, while “Therapist San Antonio” did not show any sponsored results.
Your keyword and geographical location are 2 factors that define whether there will be any sponsored results on the top or not.
When someone searches for a therapist, Google also shows a map result. Only 3 businesses are featured in the map results, and there is a button to access more places. Businesses that appear in the 3-pack results of the map get 80% more calls and visits as compared to other businesses.
Below the map result are 7 to 10 website results for therapists. These websites appear on the 1st page because they have been optimized for the searched keyword.
What can therapists do to get found on search engines?
To be in the top results among therapists (organic as well as maps), you just need to do one thing: search engine optimization. My experience tells me that top rankings for therapists are directly proportional to leads, calls, and revenue.
Here’s a list of things you need to do to bring your therapy business among the top results on Google and other search engines. I’ll explain each of these steps in different sections below.
- Local SEO
- Optimize Content on Your Website.
- Google My Business Profile Optimization
- Create Backlinks for Authority & Credibility
Before we dig into actual actionable SEO for therapists, it is essential to understand the numerous benefits it can provide.
By now, you should be convinced that following SEO practices for your therapy business will surely give you more leads and conversions. But wait! There’s more.
Apart from new clients, SEO will help you become a personal brand. It can give you a competitive advantage over other therapists in your area. More traffic on your website will mean more client conversions. And all this comes at zero ad spend. In fact, doing SEO for your therapy business will result in long-term, sustainable success.
With that being said, let’s jump to the actual actionable points that comprise SEO for therapists.
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You might have heard the saying that SEO is easier said than done. It is true to some extent and completely false at the same time. Confused? Let me clear it up.
Great SEO needs a great strategy. The strategy defines the success of an SEO campaign and gives a profitable return on investment. Let’s discuss the 4 actionable steps for Therapist SEO.
SEO starts with keyword research. While amateurs find keywords by guessing, experts use a keyword research tool to find what people search for when trying to find a therapist.
Researching the keywords is just one part of the puzzle. What comes next is matching these keywords with the intent of a user. Once the intent is clear, an expert needs to integrate these keywords into the website content.
Well, talking about keyword research, it is also essential to understand primary, secondary, and variations to identify keywords. A nice example of keyword usage of all these types of keywords has been given in our blog – SEO keywords for therapists.
Optimizing Website Content (On Page SEO)
Over 60% of therapists have a website (Source: American Psychological Association). Further, I believe that only 50% of them put in the extra effort to optimise the content and rank higher. If you fall in the category of people who want their therapy private practice website to rank higher, here are a few points for you to consider for on-page SEO.
- Title tag: This is the title of a web page. Make sure every page on your website has a unique title, and these title tags have your keyword. Keep the title tags short. They should be about 50 to 55 characters.
- Meta description: Meta descriptions are used to tell search engines what a web page is about. They also act as a sales copy that entices a user to click on a result from the SERP. For a therapy website, I recommend each page have a unique meta description that clearly tells a reader what the page is about. Using your location in the meta description is a small hack to get ranked in local results.
- Keywords in the content: As a rule of thumb, your keyword should appear in the content you want to rank on Google. Do not over-optimize by using the same keyword again and again. This is where keyword variations and Google NLP terms come to your rescue.
- Image alt text: Adding images to web pages is again a recommendation to make it look better. I have found that the therapists who opt for their own pictures on certain pages reflect more trust and credibility among readers. Every image should have an alt text describing the image while having the keyword.
If you are a therapist who is just starting out in SEO, this section (as the name suggests) might be a bit technical for you. I’ll try to break things down for better understanding.
For a website to appear on Google, crawlers need to crawl your website. It is the website owner’s responsibility to let Google know that your website exists. The practice of introducing your website to web crawlers is technical SEO. Some factors that you as a therapist should know in this section include:
- Robots.txt: The robots.txt file is a text file placed on a website’s server to communicate with web crawlers or spiders. As a therapist, understanding the robots.txt file can help you control which parts of your website are accessible to search engine crawlers.
The robots.txt file contains specific instructions for web crawlers, informing them about which pages or directories they should or shouldn’t crawl. It acts as a guide for search engines, helping them understand the structure and content of your website.
- Page load speed: Page load speed refers to the time it takes for a web page to fully load and appear on a user’s screen after they click on a link. The time it takes to load a page impacts SEO and is a ranking factor. Websites that open up faster have a high chance of being on the top of search results compared to slow websites.
- URL structure: Technical SEO also includes optimizing the URL structure of your website. If you already have a blog section, this is where I see a lot of opportunities to optimise the URL structure. The URL of each web page should be short and concise. It should be in small case letters and have single hyphens between words.
In case you wish to change the URL of any old web page on your website, a proper 302 redirect must be applied.
Pro Tip: One important factor for this section is that your URLs should contain the keyword.
Building Authority & Citations
Have you ever got a new client from someone’s reference? I’m sure you must have. This is exactly how backlinks work to increase your website’s authority and help you create a personal brand.
In this high-competition field, being on top of your game is necessary. A patient will always choose a therapist that seems to be trustworthy, authoritative, and confident. If you have these traits to your name or your therapy business name, I’m sure nothing can stop you from succeeding.
When an SEO professional (someone like me) thinks about local SEO strategy for therapists, there are various things that need attention beyond Google My Business profile.
Ranking in the top 3 results on Maps (called the 3-pack) is not easy. It takes time, effort and a lot of brain energy. I would focus on local SEO for a therapy practice. At least that’s where I would like to start. Still, I would also like to take your attention towards other aspects of therapy SEO that are connected and help in SEO efforts.
Components of Local SEO for Therapists
- Google My Business Profile: Your profile should be filled out completely. It should include your business name, address, phone number, website, and other relevant information. Do not forget to add your timings, days of the week when you work and other information.
- Google Reviews: Take reviews from your patients. It would be better if they could even post a picture of you or your clinic. As a business owner, you should always reply to such reviews from your GMB owner account. In case you get a negative review, instead of frowning, try adding a positive comment as a reply.
- Website link: This one is a common way to enhance website views and build trust in front of potential clients. As per a stat from Search Engine Journal, 52% of people visit the website of service providers from GMB to know more about their services.
- NAP: Consistency of Name, Address, and Phone across the web should match your GMB. This includes all online directories, listings, and your own website too. This consistency helps search engines associate your business with a specific location.
- Local citations: Get listed in local directories like Yelp. Make sure you add all relevant information, including your website. This, again, helps boost your rankings and is a critical part of local SEO for therapists.
- Local Keyword Optimization: What I have observed is that a lot of therapists miss out on is optimizing their website for local keywords. If you are based out of New York and serve the Brooklyn area, mention these keywords on your website pages.
- Location-specific landing pages: One way to integrate local keywords into your website and rank higher on such terms is to create location-specific landing pages. One example here can be “therapists in Brooklyn”.
- Mobile optimization: Users use their mobile to search for local therapist businesses. You need to make sure that your therapy website is optimized for mobile devices.
- Local link building: When it comes to local SEO for therapists, building links from healthcare niche websites or ones that serve your local audience goes a long way and is highly beneficial.
If a therapy center takes care of all of these components, it will surely rank in the top 3 results of Google Maps for intended keywords.
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While over 200 ranking factors define whether a website will be successful, medical sites like that of therapists have 2 additional ranking factors – the most important ones. These are EEAT and Google YMYL. I have explained both these in the context of SEO for therapists below:
EEAT in SEO stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It was just EAT earlier, but in December 2022, Google came up with an additional E to its ranking framework.
For a therapy website to rank among the top results on Google, it is essential that the content on the site should satisfy all these 4 factors.
Experience refers to the author’s or creator’s firsthand knowledge or experience with the topic of the content.
Expertise refers to the author’s or creator’s knowledge and skills in a particular area. This can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience.
Authoritativeness refers to the website’s or author’s reputation and credibility. This can be demonstrated through factors such as backlinks, social media engagement, and positive reviews.
Trustworthiness refers to the website’s or author’s ability to be trusted to provide accurate and reliable information. This can be demonstrated through factors such as transparency and accuracy.
The second important factor for medical sites is Google YMYL. It stands for ‘Your Money or Your Life’. As a therapist, it is essential to understand the meaning. Google wants to be extra cautious when showing users finance-related or health-related content.
This is a great opportunity for you as a therapist to write SEO content on topics in your industry. It will help you build trust and rank higher for counseling and therapy-related search terms.
I’m sure you might have heard about ChatGPT. If not, I’ll have to assume that you live in an area that is inaccessible and out of internet bounds. Anyway, in this era of artificial intelligence, one important question for you is – how can you leverage AI for therapist SEO?
In this section of this guide on SEO for therapists, I’ll be giving you some ideas, tips and strategies to help you generate content and use AI as your assistant.
Let me list down a few things for you. Here’s how you can leverage ChatGPT in your therapy business:
- Create topics to write for the blog section of your website.
- Write social media posts for your social channels.
- Get ideas to write GMB posts.
- Reply to comments on GMB and social media.
- Search for relevant keywords for your therapy practice.
- Ask AI about various Therapist SEO terms and enhance your knowledge. (I bet AI cannot explain a term better than me. Try it out!).
Types of Therapists across the World
- Speech therapist
- Mental health professionals
- Occupational Therapists
Drive More Clients to Your Practice with SEO for Therapists!
Tailored SEO Strategies to establish yourself as the trusted therapist in your area.
Ah, so by now, you understand SEO a bit better. Assuming that you implement some of the strategies mentioned in this article – how are you going to know if your rankings improved or not? Well, we have tools to check your SEO performance. Free ones that are easy to use.
I’ll not go in-depth to explain each tool and how it works, but I’ll surely cover the basics for you. Some tools that can be used:
Check Keyword Rankings on Google: This is the easiest way to see where you rank. However, I recommend you open an incognito browser window and search your keyword.
Google Analytics: This is a free tool by Google. If you have analytics installed on your website, you should be able to see the traffic on your website daily, weekly and monthly.
GMB Analytics: Google sends periodic emails to inform you how your Google Business profile performs online. You always have the option to check these analytics anytime from the performance tab inside your profile.
Here’s all you can track:
- Website Clicks
Therapy SEO is not complicated. However, you might still want to hire a professional SEO company to optimise your website and help you be on top of search results.
Hiring a professional team to do SEO for your therapy business makes more sense when you focus on serving your clients while having an extended team acting as your marketing engine. This will save you from a lot of hit-and-try methods and provide you with excellent results right from the word go.
At Authority Ventures, my team and I are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to serve therapists and other mental health professionals and counselors like you. We have got the right mindset, the right skills and the right work attitude – which I’m sure you’ll like.
I can give you a bunch of reasons to choose Authority Ventures as your therapist SEO agency. I’ll proudly take care of your SEO while you take care of people’s stress, anxiety and other problems to make this world a happy place.
- Want to know more about our Therapy SEO services?
- Curious to know what we charge?
- Do we offer a monthly retainer or a one-time fee?
All answers here:
I hope I was able to guide you on SEO for therapists and suggest ways to implement some best practices to rank higher. If you have any questions, you can reach out to me at email@example.com. I’ll be glad to help you out.
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