Wow has your business ever had to pivot this year! You went from providing most of your services in person to most of them online. Now, it's session after session of Zoom calls. The benefit? You can now work with people who couldn't see you before because your office was too far away. The challenge? You're not sure how to market to this new, more spread out audience.
SEO can be a great way for online therapists to market their services. At Simplified SEO Consulting, we've been helping psychologists, counselors and therapists optimize their online counseling sites through SEO for a couple of years now. In fact, I worked with one of my amazing SEO Specialists, Cory, to write a blog post with some basic tips for marketing telehealth services back in November 2019 when a global pandemic was just something in Sci-Fi novels or movies.
We're helping more online therapists than ever before....
But now, we're seeing more and more therapists using online services. Think about it. We're now consuming all kinds of services online that used to be in person! I've been attending personal training online, my mom's participated in virtual physical therapy and even our local psychiatrists are meeting via phone or Zoom with patients.
As a group psychotherapy practice owner myself, I now know what it's like to run a mostly online practice. In fact, my group practice transitioned online pretty much over a weekend. And even we had to pivot our marketing strategy and update our SEO a bit. What a world.
So...this is the updated guide to ranking well on Google for your online therapy services.
The Big Picture: How to tell Google You're an Online Counseling Practice
When you want to rank well on Google for online therapy services, you have to make sure Google clearly understands that you are a source of knowledge about online therapy AND understands what geographic areas you serve. Therefore, most of the strategies I'm going to describe are what we call content strategy. In other words, I'm going to encourage you to strategically create content on your website that will communicate to Google both the type of services you provide and all of the areas your potential clients might be located.
Online Therapy SEO Tip #1: Include the areas you serve on the footer of your site
Basically, you want Google to know all of the areas that you serve. So, my private practice now has a small statement on the footer that reads, "Our counseling office is physically located in Columbia, MO but we are able to see clients anywhere in Missouri with our online therapy services." Another private practice that has clinicians licensed in multiple states and is 100% online might have a statement that reads "Providing online counseling services in North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia."
Online Therapy SEO Tip #2: Create Specialty Pages
I know I talk about the importance of creating specialty pages on your website frequently. That is because it's one of the most valuable things you can do for SEO. Yet, most therapy websites I look at have a single "individual therapy" page and a single "couples counseling" page. So, this truly is the starting place when you're working on SEO. Create separate pages for each of your favorite counseling services. If you're in a solo practice, I recommend around 3-4 specialty pages. For example, "Anxiety Counseling, Therapy for Depression & Grief Counseling." If you are in a group practice, you may need more specialty pages as you'll want each person's niche represented.
On each of these pages, I recommend you write at least 500 words. And, when you are marketing online services in particular there is an extra step you can take. Essentially, think "bonus points" if you are able to do this. That is to make mentions of the areas you serve on your service page. For example, if I was to share photos of landmarks throughout the state of Missouri on my service pages, I could reference various areas of Missouri in the captions of the photos.
Online Therapy SEO Tip #3: Create an Online Therapy Page
Next, you want to create an online therapy page. This is a page that explicitly describes your online services. A few things to consider including on this online therapy page:
- Mention several areas of the state on the page.
- Include links to your specialty pages.
- Describe the benefits of online counseling services
- Include a call to action that prompts them to contact your practice
- Write at least 500 words...but closer to 1,000 is better, especially if you're in a really competitive state
What if I'm licensed in more than one state?
If you or one of the clinicians in your practice are licensed in more than one state, you may consider creating a page specifically for each state you are licensed. This is especially useful if you have a group practice. For example, I might have a practice based out of Arizona and have therapists who specialize in Anxiety, Depression, Grief & Trauma. However, I have one therapist who is licensed in Minnesota and they specialize in Anxiety & Trauma specifically. Therefore, I might create an online therapy page for Arizona that links to all of our specialty page and states that all of our therapists are currently licensed in Arizona. Next, I would create a separate page about "Online Therapy in Minnesota" and on that page specifically state that anxiety treatment and trauma therapy are offered online to anyone in Minnesota and linking only to those two service pages.
Online Therapy SEO Tip #4: Blog About Online Therapy
I recommend starting with a 3 part blogging series that really highlight your online services. Here are couple ideas for blog series you could write depending on your niche:
- Reasons Teens do Well with Online Counseling (1 post about the flexibility of scheduling, 1 about how they’re use to building relationships online, etc)
- Your Top Questions About Online Therapy Answered (1 post answering each of 3 common questions)
- Why Our Therapists Love Online Counseling (each therapist writes a post highlighting what they like about telehealth)
SEO Services for Online Therapists
Are you ready to get serious about optimizing your website? Our SEO Specialists can help you really implement all of these suggestions and then fully optimize your content. Our focus is always on getting you in front of the right clients. So, if you're tired of taking on clients who exhaust you because you're not sure when the next call will come in, please consider scheduling a free consultation with one of our team members and let's talk about how we can improve your SEO! We've helped dozens of online practices increase their presence on Google and would love to help you next.