4 Ways to Use SEO on a Psychotherapy Website

Many people will try to convince you that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a complicated science and that you have to be a tech guru to understand how to use SEO to improve your private practice website. However, this isn’t ALL true.

Fact #1: SEO does take time to learn and apply to a mental health professional website.

Yes, there are literally hundreds of things impacting the SEO on your psychotherapy website and yes, there are multiple courses offered by Google to learn not only what they are looking for, but even how to analyze whether or not your SEO strategy is working.

Fact #2: There are multiple ways you can improve your SEO by doing only one thing- simply thinking like a client.

As a mental health professional, you know the type of clients who are coming to see you. You understand what keeps them awake at night, what they long for, and what makes them feel comfortable. The simplest way to improve your SEO (and the likelihood that someone visiting your website will call you) is to consider these things and make sure you address them on your website!

But here’s what most counselors and therapists do on their website instead- they think like a therapist.

And when you think like a therapist instead of thinking like a client, you miss tremendous opportunities for 1) connecting with clients who visit your website and 2) boosting your website’s SEO.

Let’s review some very commonly missed opportunities that you might be able to use and improve the SEO on your psychotherapy website.

Are you a therapist of color?

Here’s a shot of what happened when I Googled “marriage counseling indianapolis”...

 
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And here’s a shot of what happened when I Googled “marriage and family therapist indianapolis”...

 
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And if we dig even deeper and look at the suggested terms after that, we see that many other cities also have a need, but people are using different terms based on the location. 

That is something to pay attention to! This means that a lot of the people looking for a marriage counselor in Indianapolis are actually hoping for an African-American Marriage Counselor.

In fact, I would say this is a HUGE need in that area because only 3 of the websites that showed up when I clicked on that term actually had African-American therapists working in the practice!

Others were showing up for the term because of things like having the last name “Black” or having a picture of someone who is African-American in a stock photo on the website.

So hear this African-American therapists in Indianapolis- you NEED that info on your website! Let the public know you have exactly what they are looking for.

Are you highlighting your specialties?

I know, I know, you’ve probably heard that you need to “niche down” about a hundred times already this month! The truth is, you don’t have to pick just one niche, but you should pick just one niche per web page.

There are certain things that people tend to type in when they are looking for specific services. I’ll use myself as an example. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, thanks to a wonderful couples therapist. But after realizing this, I wanted individual support for ADHD and of course, I went to Google to find out more.

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I recreated this search today to show you how things went:

 
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My first search reminded me that many people who specialize in ADHD are actually specializing in children, so then I used Google’s suggestions to search again:

 

Now it feels like I have options as a client searching for a therapist who specializes in ADHD for adults!

Remember, these are all terms that show up because Google sees there are other people typing in that term (or clicking on that term when they see it in a list). THIS is the language your potential clients are using when they search for counseling services online.

But how do you include this information on your private practice website? Doing just a few things can help. 

#1) Include the information in your web page description.

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For example, your “About” page doesn’t have to be called “About” to Google. You tell Google what to call it in your page description. In SquareSpace, you can change the page title here:

Changing your description to something like “Nina Doe, African-American Therapist in Indianapolis” will help Google see that is a focus of this web page.

 

#2) Include descriptions for images.

Did you know that all of your images are actually read, not seen, by bots that crawl on your website? So it’s important you always change file names and/or add alt text to describe any photo on your psychotherapy website and make sure it is fully optmized. For example, if our therapist above, Nina Doe, has a head shot on her About page then she would want to make sure the text associated with that image also said something like “Nina Doe, LMFT, African-American Therapist.”

#3) Include relevant information in your bio.

For example, one of the websites I saw from the “african american marriage counseling indianapolis” search didn’t even do the things above. But the therapist listed being a member of the Indiana Association of Black Psychologists in their bio. Great idea!

Make sure to add things like your specializations, services offered, and any identifying characteristics in your bio.

#4) Add your practice to Google My Business.

Here is what happened when I typed “list of black psychologists near me” and used my own location of Huntington Beach, California:

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These businesses at the top have added their private practice to Google My Business, so Google puts them first and creates this nice listing so I can see who is closest to my location. The only problem? Only one of these therapists was actually an African-American therapist near me.

The rest were NOT African-American therapists or psychologists! And many of them weren’t very close at all (remember, this is Southern California and traffic is bad so I don’t want to drive 20 miles to see someone once a week because that’s a good hour of traffic each way).

So, even though I’m supposedly in a “saturated area” for therapists, there is still plenty of opportunity if you’re willing to do a little bit of research and then adjust things on your website accordingly.

This is why it’s critical that you’re not only thinking like your potential clients, but also searching for a therapist like they would.

This is also why it’s important to personalize your bio, your About page, your Services pages, and as much as you can on your website.

 
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Tell Google what is unique about you so the people who want that unique thing can find you.
 

Now, I do get that while this may be a little easier than learning all about SEO for mental health professionals, it is still a time-consuming task. And it still may feel overwhelming, especially with everything you else you need to do in order to keep a private practice running.

That’s why we offer an SEO for Therapists service. You may not need a new website, but you might want to optimize your current website, and we’d love to help you do that! The strategies I provided above are just the tip of the iceberg for improving your SEO, so imagine the possibilities available to you.