Maybe you’re interested in optimizing your website because you are trying to grow a group practice.

That’s actually how I first got interested in SEO. I’d filled my solo practice pretty quickly with referrals from former colleagues and friends. However, when I started bringing on 1099s, everyone calling wanted to talk to me. After all, they’d heard about what a great clinician I was.  The problem? I was full and I really wanted to fill up my 1099s so they’d be able to make a living and stick with my new group practice!

Enter: SEO.  As I optimized my group practice, people began finding Aspire Counseling online. Thus, they began calling Aspire Counseling not Jessica Tappana.  Now, it was much easier to point them in the direction of the therapist who best met their needs (specialty area, open appointment times, etc).

If you find yourself in the place where you are trying to fill a group practice, I want to give you some specific suggestions on how to structure your team page, create specific pages for each therapist, and add pages for any new specialties.

“About” Pages for Therapists

Group of therapist sitting in a counseling office discussing their private practice | SEO for therapists | SEO Consulting | Simplified SEO Consulting

I recommend every group practice has an “our team” type page. On this page, include a photo of every practitioner in your group as well as a paragraph or two about that person. I usually write this for my therapists. On this page, I do my best to capture who they are as a therapist and their personality.

I also consider keywords when describing each therapist’s specialty. Basically, you want to give a quick summary of the clinician and what they treat but also try to help the page rank for their specialty. For instance, “Diana is a very active therapist, who gives you very specific skills you can use. She regularly works with the following: military members, military families, trauma survivors, clients with PTSD, depression and clients seeking DBT.” One note about this part, if you notice that a lot of your clients are coming in seeking a specific type of treatment here is the place to list it. I find that a lot of people will come in looking for DBT and EMDR.  I don’t mention a lot of treatment modalities by name on this page, but DBT and EMDR are the two I’ll directly mention since we have so many people searching for those.

 

The founders of the group practice should not be at the top of the drop-down list of providers

As a founder of a private practice, our instinct is to put ourselves at the top of the list. I see this with a lot of group practice websites I look at. However, it’s the opposite of what I generally recommend. You want to have the clinicians who are looking to fill their caseload at the top. The people at the top tend to get more calls because people looking for services tend to go down the list and stop when they find someone who sounds like the might be a good fit. And as a group practice owner, not only are you likely full already, but you’re wanting to fill up your other clinicians caseloads so you can generate a passive income source for yourself.  So, I recommend stalling your ego for a minute and putting your name at the bottom of the list instead of the top.
 

Create individual pages for each therapist in your group practice 

On the team page, I add a button that allows visitors to click and see each therapist’s personal page. I have my therapists write these but I do give them some specific guidelines to follow.

Here’s what I ask my clinicians to have on their page:

  • At least 500 words
  • They include some keywords and topics that I suggest. I base my suggestions on what people in our area are searching for.
  • 3 photos – We often include one more professional headshot, one more casual photo of the clinician and one photo of something important to them. Many of my clinicians choose a picture of a pet for the third picture, though some have also included their own artwork or a picture of a favorite saying.

Should I pay to have individual therapist pages optimized on my group practice website?

Frequently we have clients ask if they should pay Simplified to optimize these individual pages. I go back and forth on this. I do optimize my own therapists’ pages to some extent. Especially if they have a specialty that you don’t yet rank for. Then, I can optimize the page to include alt text, subheadings, and a meta description that will be keyword heavy and help you rank better for this new specialty. However, if I had to choose, I would prioritize optimizing your service pages over these individual therapist pages. I would also prefer to optimize your home page and blogs before these pages.  Basically, if I teach you to optimize your own website at an SEO training I’ll tell you to optimize these pages last. If you’re paying us for Done for You services, you may just want to pay us to do the alt text and the meta description on the individual pages versus doing comprehensive optimization.
 

Have all your new clinicians identify their niche and create service pages

Diverse group of therapists discussing their private practice and website | SEO for private practice owners | SEO Consulting | SEO for therapists | Simplified SEO Consulting

Even if a therapist thinks that they are a “generalist,” they still should be able to describe a few specialties that they are very effective in treating. Once they do this, you can identify what types of specialty pages you need on your site.

Let’s use my own counseling website as an example. I started by creating specialty pages for the main types of counseling I enjoy doing. Then, as I added clinicians, I added on specific service pages for their specialties. Most recently, I hired a new therapist in December. She has very different specialties than anyone else at our practice. She sees clients going through life transitions, clients who have chronic illness, caregivers, and mothers. Prior to hiring her, I did zero marketing for her specific specialties. So, we worked together to create a specific service page about her niche with the goal of getting her more clients. Then, I heavily optimized these pages.  A month later, we rank #1 (above Psychology Today!) for her specialty and are getting calls to fill her caseload.

Won’t I eventually have too many service pages?

 
If it looks like you’re getting too many service pages, I have a simple suggestion. The first is to create subpages. For example, I have a PTSD tab on my website. And when you hover over it three additional subpages pop up: sexual violence, EMDR, and our PTSD E-Course. This keeps my drop-down menu from being overwhelming.
 

Strongly encourage your therapists to write blog posts that will help you rank for their specialties and increase inquiries

I get it. Getting your employees to write blog posts is sometimes like pulling teeth. But, blog posts that have been optimized and are full of keywords pertaining to their specialties will boost your website’s SEO and get more clients for your therapists. In my experience, if a therapist writes a lot of blogs, it is easier for my VA to get clients to schedule with them. She will say things like “based on the services you are looking for I think you would be a good fit for Christi because this is her specialty. In fact, she has written several blog posts on this issue. May I send them to you?” Another great example, one of my therapists wrote an awesome blog post about her fear of escalators and how exposure therapy helped. Then, I optimized it and added keywords. Now, we’ve been getting a ton of calls with people wanting to see her because they found that post.
 

Internal Links from Service PagesTherapists creating their group practice website | Group practice SEO | SEO for private practice | SEO for therapists | SEO consulting | Simplified SEO consulting

In the past, I had links from my service pages to the pages for the therapist that provides that service. However, I don’t do
that anymore. I learned this lesson the hard way! What I learned is that 
when a therapist leaves, I then have to go and unlink a bunch of pages, or I have accidentally forgotten to update it.
Instead,  I now link all of my service pages back to the “Our Team” page. From there, a visitor can read through each clinician’s specialties and find the person who works for them.
This is the easiest way to add necessary internal links while keeping it simple to add or remove therapists from your group practice website as they come and go. It also becomes very, very clear to Google that the our team type page is about a bunch of therapists, because so many pages on your site are linking the words “our therapists” or “the counselors at…” back to that team page.

The one time I link to an individual therapist’s page

The one exception is blog posts. And, if they’ve written a blog post I will include an about the author section. From there I will add links to the therapist’s personal page and to the relevant service page(s).

Begin optimizing your website with Simplified SEO Consulting

Ranking well as a group practice doesn’t have to be complicated. We love working with group practice owners!  As a group practice owner myself, I have a real soft spot for working with everyone from therapists just expanding into the group practice arena to owners of large, multi-site practices. If you are ready for your private practice to get to the top of Google, we would love to help!  To use any of our SEO services, please follow the simple steps below to get started:

  1. Book a free 15-minute consultation,
  2. Speak to one of our SEO specialists to find what service or package is the best fit for your private practice,
  3. Start ranking better on Google and get more clients!

Other SEO Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting

Simplified SEO Consulting is pleased to offer you a variety of SEO services designed to meet your needs as a private practice owner. If you’re too busy and don’t have time to optimize your website, we offer the popular Done for You SEO Services. With this package, our team of SEO specialists will optimize your page for you. If you are the do-it-yourself type, we can help you too. We have SEO training packages designed to teach you the skills you need to get your website ranking well. A great place to start is with our “Top of Google” online course! In 2020, we’re excited to begin offering “Top of Google” 2.5 Day SEO Workshops. These intensive trainings are held in various parts of the country.  Contact us with specific questions, or book a free SEO Consultation to decide which service is best for your practice.

photo of Jessica Tappana SEO specialist and founder of Simplified SEO Consulting

About the author:

Jessica Tappana is a therapist, group practice owner & an SEO expert.  Jessica is passionate about helping therapists and their ideal clients find one another. She believes quality mental health care can change the world.  Her group practice has grown primarily through great SEO. It now has seven clinicians and one virtual assistant and she still sees around 10 individual therapy clients a week herself. However, most of her focus has shifted to helping other therapists around the world rank better on Google.

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