Trends in the United States for Counseling Keywords
As an SEO Consultant, I get to spend a lot of time doing keyword research for therapists around the world (primarily the US, Canada & UK). I personally use several different keyword research tools, including at least one (from time to time I’ll subscribe to a second for awhile) paid keyword research tool. Using these tools, I look at which counseling keywords are most common and easiest to rank for in my client’s local area.
Every geographic area is a little bit different, and it’s important to target the search phrases most likely to be used by ideal clients in your particular area. However, there are some general trends I’ve noticed as to which counseling related search terms usually have the highest search volume. Thus…I thought it might be fun to share some information with you about those numbers.
Therapy vs. Counseling: Which Keyword Ranks Better for a Mental Health Website?
Therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, mental health treatment…I’ve noticed that most therapists have one term they prefer. But what we’re really interested in is which term do we optimize our website for to get the most visitors, right? The simple answer is that I usually recommend using both therapy and counseling on a psychotherapy private practice website and throwing the words “psychotherapy” and “mental health” in at least once or twice as well.
The word “counseling” is, in general, the most common Google Search term to describe our services with about 154,455 searches per month in the United States. For comparison, the term “therapy” is searched for approximately 90,545. Similarly, “mental health” comes in around 90,000 searches a month. “Psychotherapy” is a measly 40,483 per month.
If you don’t have time or a paid SEO research tool to do in depth local keyword research, I would recommend targeting the term counseling. There are certainly exceptions and I’ve worked with several SEO clients who we found lived in an area where the term “therapy” had a much higher search volume. In those cases, we used “therapy” more frequently than “counseling” for their sites.
It’s also worth noting that when you as a mental health professional target the term “therapy” you might be competing with other types of therapists such as occupational therapists.
Keywords for a Trauma Therapy Page
As a trauma therapist myself this is an area near and dear to my heart. Here are a few search phrases you might want to optimize your Trauma/PTSD service page to include with the average number of searches for that term per month in parentheses:
- PTSD Treatment (22,200)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment (1,000)
- Trauma therapy (3,575)
- PTSD Therapy (1,963)
- PTSD Help (1,065)
- Trauma Counseling (975)
- Trauma Treatment (587)
- PTSD Counseling (477)
Keywords for an Anxiety Treatment Page
I’ve heard several times that anxiety is the most common pain point people are looking to overcome when they search for a therapist. Again, I’ll list some of the keyword phrases you might want to target on your website below. I’ll also include the average number of searches for each phrase per month.
- Anxiety Treatment (18,164)
- Anxiety Attack (110,000)
- Counseling for Anxiety (1,267)
- Anxiety Symptoms (134,899)
- Anxiety Disorder (60,606)
- Panic Attack (135,750)
- Anxiety Medication (110,455)
Keywords for a Couples & Marriage Counseling Page
I don’t personally do couples counseling so my private practice website doesn’t have a couples page. However, I’ve worked with several therapists now who do specialize in couples counseling and I’ve had fun helping them optimize their website.
- Couples Counseling (18,128)
- Marriage Counseling (60,545)
- Couples Therapy (27,082)
- Relationship Counseling (7,941)
- Marriage Therapy (2,383)
- Premarital Counseling (8,067)
Remember these numbers are the average search volume for the United States. I was actually a little surprised by this research, because several of my clients live in areas where couples counseling is the most common.
Reminder: Know Your Local Market
I want to be clear that reading this post does not replace good, quality keyword research. I know, you’d like for it to, because doing all that research to choose the perfect keywords that will help your counseling website rank better on Google takes time. But the truth is that markets can vary greatly.
I go into every single new SEO job trying not to make assumptions. This is because I’ve learned how different various parts of the country can be. I mentioned above a couple of those things. For instance, for some of my clients we focus more on optimizing for “counseling” and others the focus is a little heavier on “therapy.”
Remember, the goal of SEO isn’t just to rank well on Google for the terms you target. The goal is to actually convert people to paying clients. To do that, it’s important to know what your clients are actually searching for. If you rank really well for “couples therapy” but everyone in your area is searching for “marriage counseling,” it’s not going to do you much good. You rank well, but your ideal clients are calling your competitor down the street who ranks better for the right search term.
Search Volume of a Keyword Isn’t Everything
Ok, this might sound a little contradictory to what I said above, BUT search volume doesn’t tell the whole story. Sometimes I target search terms hardly anyone’s searching for. Why? Because the few people looking for that term are my ideal client.
As an example….I love working with survivors of sexual assault. So, I target “counseling for rape survivors.” This is a term very few people probably search for, but if they do I want to show up at the top of their results. I’ve had several sexual assault survivors call my practice saying they found us on Google. I’ve helped another client target “Veterans with PTSD” in their area. Again, not a high volume search term. But if 10 people in their area search for that term every month, I want my client to show up at the top.
So…it’s a balancing act. Pay attention to search volume, but pay even more attention to what search terms really match the clients you want to hear from.
Where to put keywords on your website
Once you’ve identified which keywords you want to target, it’s important to figure out where to place them on your website. Many small business owners don’t place keywords frequently enough on their websites. However, a few people will put them TOO often on their website and it feels cheesy or can even get triggered by Google as being too “stuffed” with keywords. Here’s another blog post I wrote on where/how to use keywords on your website.
SEO Services to Help You Rank for Your Counseling Keywords
Are you ready to get the website for your counseling practice ranking better on Google? If so, our team would love to help! At Simplified SEO Consulting we help private practice owners (and those in related fields) get their mental health website ranking well on search engines. As a mental health professional myself, I am passionate about helping connect people with quality counseling services and that means helping potential mental health consumers around the country find the right therapists through SEO.
At Simplified SEO Consulting, we offer Done For You monthly SEO packages if you’re a busy practice owner wanting to outsource. These SEO services mean we worry about your SEO for you while you sit back and focus on what you do best: counseling & running your business. On the other hand, if you’re the DIY type we offer SEO Training services so you can learn to optimize your own private practice website.
Are you ready to get your counseling practice to the first page of Google and in front of more potential clients? If so, you can schedule your free 30 minute pre SEO consulting call. Let’s get your site ranking!