In this blog, I want to talk about how to get your online counseling pages ranking well on Google. Chances are that if your ideal client is looking for online counseling, then they are probably looking for a therapist on a search engine. We know that in general a lot of people these days are turning to the internet when they are looking for a counselor. Why? Because it makes sense. It is convenient and can be done anytime and anywhere. So as a counselor who provides online services, you’re probably interested in search engine optimization (SEO).
It’s fairly difficult to get an online counseling page ranking well.
Unfortunately, you are often competing with larger companies that provide online counseling services. These companies invest a lot of time and money into their website and marketing efforts. If they’re able to be in a whole lot of different states, or every state, then they likely have done a lot of very targeted SEO work. It is important to know that your average client doesn’t know they need to look for an online therapist that is licensed in the state they live in. They’re going to search for online counseling. If you are in the United States, you need to have a license in the state the client resides in. Therefore, we have to do everything we can to tell Google two things: 1. You offer online mental health services, 2. You offer them where the client is located. The client doesn’t tell Google that they’re looking for services where they are located, so you have to. And it is a lot more work.
There are some local SEO techniques that we use when we are working with a brick and motor counseling office. For instance, putting the address on every single page. These things are nearly impossible or more difficult to do for an online counseling page. So our approach has to be different. It may take a bit longer for you to see the return on your investment. But with a little more time and effort, you can see your page rank better on Google.
Our top 3 tips to boost the SEO results for your online therapy pages
First, do some keyword research related to online counseling services.
In another blog post we talked about keyword research for therapists and shared the general trends (in the United States) for keywords related to telehealth or online counseling. However, it’s important to know that people use very different terms depending on where they live. If you’re licensed in New Jersey, you may target a different keyword for your online services than if you’re licensed in California and may need different terms yet if you are located in England, Australia or Canada. And if your private practice has clinicians licensed in multiple states, you’ll want to do some keyword research in each state you are marketing your online therapy services. You may find that you need to use different keywords on each state’s landing page (see below).
So, where do you find out which keywords to target for online therapy in your area specifically? There are a LOT of different keyword research tools out there you can use, but you’ll specifically be looking for one where you can choose the specific area you are researching. You can read about our favorite keyword research tools here, but there are a lot of different ones out there that may work.
Next, create a landing page for each geographic area you want to target.
Consider where you are able or want to pull potential clients from. For instance, if you are only offering online counseling in Texas, you may have a general page on your website called “online counseling in Texas.” Texas is a large state, and you would have some competition for online counseling in Texas. Therefore, you may also create separate pages on your site for online counseling in major cities or areas you want to target. For example, you may have an Online Counseling in Dallas page or Online Counseling in Houston page. I recommend creating several pages for different areas in the state you provide services in.
Make sure you are using original content.
You may be tempted to copy the page five times and change a few words on the page. Unfortunately, Google sees this as what’s called “duplicate content.” So, you are better off changing a lot of the content of your page. Try to make as many local references as possible. Therefore, if a potential client is searching in Dallas, TX, Google will know that you provide services there because you’ve written a wonderful page where you reference the city of Dallas and local places in that city. The pictures on your page should also reference the page you are writing.
For each of the landing pages, I recommend having at least 500 words to show Google that you offer services in that area. If I have a page on my website that mentions Dallas one time, Google will assume I offer services there. But, if I have a whole page dedicated to online counseling in Dallas, then they are going to put that page higher in search results.
If you are going to do one thing to boost your SEO, this is what you should do!
Second, create a series of blog posts all about telehealth or online counseling.
Here you can try to work in some of the references to your location. But the most important part of the blog posts is to tell
Google that you have a really robust site with helpful information about online counseling. Basically, you’re telling Google that you know a lot about online counseling. You might create a blog series that answers the most common questions people ask about online counseling.
For example, you might write a blog “Does Online Counseling Work?” Then the next blog may be “Three Benefits of Online Counseling,” and so on. Within the blog post, you might give examples of references to the state you are targeting. For example, “if you live in the Dallas area and have a long commute, you might not have time to come into counseling every week.” Then in the next paragraph, I would use an example from somewhere else in the state you are targeting.
Write blog posts that truly help your online counseling clients
Aim for writing really useful content. Think about common questions your clients ask about online mental health services. What information can you include in your blogs that will make new clients more comfortable with your telehealth services? Perhaps you can write a blog post on your experience as a mental health professional highlighting how you’ve still developed great therapeutic relationships online. Or write a trouble shooting guide. We’ve had practice owners write really helpful blog posts with screen shots introducing clients to their online platform. If you do this, you can send new clients a link to this blog post before their first appointment.
At Simplified SEO Consulting, we’re big believers that blog posts should be for more than just SEO. Therefore, I encourage you to think about how you can write blog posts about your online services that will really support your SEO strategy AND will be truly useful. There’s no doubt that good, helpful content is much more valuable than content thrown up just for the purpose of SEO!
Get started working on your SEO for online counseling
These are just a few SEO tips, but if you are ready to get serious about your SEO, there are a lot of other things that you can do! Specifically, if you are watching this and want to know more, please reach out to me and my team of SEO specialists at Simplified SEO Consulting. You can do this by following these easy steps:
My name is Jessica Tappana and I am the founder of Simplified SEO Consulting. My team and I help therapists online or in-person get to the top of search engines. I also own my own group counseling practice in Columbia, MO. In the past couple years, I’ve worked with a lot of therapists who offer some or all their counseling services on the computer (even pre-Covid). My team and I have worked on a lot of online counseling pages. Along the way, we have learned quite a few lessons, and I want to share a couple of those with you.