As a therapist trying to grow your private practice, you’re probably beginning to realize establishing an online presence is a key component of attracting potential clients. You may have a Facebook page, Twitter profile, blog, or website already. But anyone can create a social media page or post a few blog articles. Simply having a website doesn’t mean it will show up when people in your area search for a therapist.
To succeed as a business owner in the digital age, you’ll not only need to have a website; you’ll need to use SEO practices to help it rank higher in search results, so people looking for a therapist find you.
A Therapist's Guide to SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the practice of building your website so it provides the type of content people are searching for online, in a way that search engines recognize. In basic terms, if your site directly answers a question people ask, search engines such as Google will recognize this and rank your site higher. A higher rank increases your chance of appearing on the first page of search results. This, in turn, makes it more likely potential clients will find you.
If you don’t yet have a website, consider creating one today. Even if you don’t know much (or anything) about web design, GoodTherapy’s partner, TherapyWebsiteBuilder, can help you build a functional, attractive website with your GoodTherapy profile information.
6 Surefire SEO Tips for Therapists
If you’re new to SEO, you might wonder how to start developing your online presence and increasing traffic to your site. We’ll go over a few helpful tips that may have a positive impact on your search results.
1. List in an online directory.
Listing in a moderated, well-known directory like GoodTherapy may help boost your site’s SEO. By listing your therapy website in a therapist directory, you’ll help search engines recognize the legitimacy of your business. Including a link to your directory profile on your own site can help you benefit from the directory’s high rank. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll make it easier for potential clients to find you. Learn more about GoodTherapy Membership.
2. Determine your niche.
Finding your niche as a therapist can help your private practice enjoy greater success. Mentioning the type of therapy you provide in your site’s description can also help improve your rank in search engine results.
You might worry defining a niche for yourself may limit potential clients. But by listing yourself as simply a therapist, you’ll have to contend for traffic with all of the other therapists in your area. If you list yourself as a therapist who specializes in treating anxiety and OCD in children and adults, you’ll be attracting clients who know exactly what kind of help they’re looking for. If you’re one of the few (or only) counselor of this type in your area, people searching for a therapist may find you first.
3. Location, Location, Location
You’ll want to consider how local SEO impacts your search result rankings. To make sure people searching for “OCD therapist near me” are finding you, include keywords about the types of therapy you provide, along with your name, phone number, and email address on the landing pages of your website. Make sure you include your phone number, email address, and physical address on the top or bottom of each page of your site. You’ll also want to claim your Google My Business ranking (you can find out more about this process with a quick Google search).
Local SEO ties into niche. If you haven’t found your niche, do a few searches for therapists in your area. Are there any gaps in service? You could also try networking with other professionals. If there’s a need for service you can fill, your chances of drawing new clients may increase.
4. Consider mobile.
Today, many people use mobile devices to access the web and search for services. In fact, 2019 statistics indicate more than half of all searches are made with a mobile device. With this in mind, you may find it helpful to go mobile. It may take some time, and possibly the help of a web design professional, but optimizing your site for mobile is well worth the effort. A potential client who can’t navigate your site with their phone may move on to the next therapist on their list rather than go to a computer to look you up.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your site loads quickly on both desktop and mobile. Research suggests low page speeds may lower your Google ranking, and potential clients may, again, move on to a different page if your site doesn’t load quickly enough. Your site should take no longer than 3 seconds to load on mobile or desktop.
5. Create content.
Certainly, potential clients might visit your site with the primary goal of booking an appointment. But if your site offers other helpful information about finding a therapist, mental health issues, or therapy in general, they might stay on your site longer. Include keywords, since quality content that includes keywords search engines can recognize can help boost your site’s SEO. A variety of content formats—articles, podcasts, or videos—can also boost your site’s reputation and may earn you backlinks (a link back to your site) from visitors or other mental health professionals.
Just make sure any text you include is original. Duplicate content can earn you severe penalties from Google. If you submit a blog article to The GoodTherapy Blog, for example, you shouldn’t publish that same article on your own blog.
6. Keep track of what works for you.
As you begin experimenting with SEO tools, pay attention to which ones seem to help increase your site traffic and which have less of an effect. If videos seem to pay off more than articles, you might consider focusing your future efforts on making more quality videos. Tools like Google Analytics can help you track things like site traffic, conversions (people who call or email after visiting your site), backlinks, and keyword rankings.
Once you’ve optimized your site, you’ll need to stay on top of SEO best practices. Google updates their algorithm periodically, and SEO trends can change from time to time. Familiarize yourself with SEO news, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Some strategies may not increase traffic to your site, but others could be extremely successful.
- Hardwick, J. (2018, July 13). Local SEO: A simple (but complete) guide. Retrieved from https://ahrefs.com/blog/local-seo
- Kindness, J. (2018, October 18). 11 critical SEO metrics your agency needs to track. Retrieved from https://agencyanalytics.com/blog/seo-metrics
- Mobile search–statistics and facts. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/topics/2479/mobile-search
- Page speed. (n.d.). Moz. Retrieved from https://moz.com/learn/seo/page-speed
- The beginner’s guide to SEO. (n.d.). Moz. Retrieved from https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo
- Web guide: Marketing for therapists. (n.d.). The Wellness Institute. Retrieved from https://www.wellness-institute.org/marketing-for-therapists
- Wendler, D. (n.d.). SEO guide for therapists. Retrieved from https://marketingfortherapists.org/therapist-seo-guide