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What to say on your website: Counseling, Therapy or Psychotherapy

Which word should I use, and does it even matter?

This is a question that runs through my head on an almost daily basis. Searching for the best keywords for mental health practices can be challenging at first. When it comes to these three terms, I often find myself using them interchangeably. However, I know practitioners can have a preference over one or the other, and have a good reason behind it.

The super-short answer is, yes, it does indeed matter. However, understanding WHY choosing the right keyword matters is another important part of the process. Today, I’m going to be covering how to tell which specific word will give you the most bang for your SEO buck. So, let’s get into it!

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What Are People Searching For?

When it comes to what specific terms people search for on Google, we’ve found that it’s kind of all over the place. You could rank really well for a simple phrase like “couples counseling” in your city, but the same search for “couples therapy” could be getting zero results. This is because people of different regions, cities, or even counties will be searching for one of these words, but probably not both. While there can be some similarities in what people search based on geographic location, it can be hard to guess which word to go with.

Soda vs. Pop: Why one-word matters

I like to compare the difference in search patterns to the age-old question of “Do you call it soda, or pop?” While the two different terms generally refer to the same thing, some people in one part of the country might be more likely to use the word “soda” instead of “pop.” This also rings true for what I call The Big Three.

The three words that private practice owners use most often, and what the title of this blog happens to be, are “counseling”, “therapy” “, and “psychotherapy”. While it’s great to know that these are the three words people like to choose between, it’s also super important to know how to tell which word is being searched the most in your area.

Photo of a masculine hand touching a keyboard on a laptop and the word "Keywords." Represents how this article discusses how small business owners can optimize a website with a focus on keyword placement.

Should I center around counseling keywords, therapy keywords, or psychotherapy?

Since search trends are different for just about every city in the US, it can be worth it to use a keyword search tool. These allow you to type in the keyword of your choice and will give you the stats on how many people are searching for it. They can also show you how difficult it is to rank for the word, current trends, and other really helpful features! Some free ones are Google Trends, Ubersuggest, and Goole Search Console. However, if you’d like a paid service, I recommend something like or SEMRush. There are numerous alternatives that have their own set of features, so it may take some time to find the one you like best.

But, no matter what tool you use, the most important thing is having the ability to hone in on the specific locations you’re wanting to rank for. By seeing how much search traffic the term is generating, you’ll be able to know which term is most popular in your area. With this info in mind, you can make better-informed decisions on what the best keywords are to focus on for your site.

So, keyword research tools will give me the best keywords for mental health

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The super-short answer to this question is no, you are! While knowing which keywords are most searched for in your area is important, going with language that stays true to your desired brand is always a top priority. While something may look good when looking solely at the numbers, it may not go well with your brand, and we here at Simplified SEO Consulting get that. That’s why our team of SEO specialists always tries to keep clients informed on the decisions we make on websites.

Closing Thoughts

While understanding the best keywords for mental health services is important, knowing where these terms are most popular is the other half the battle. I could go on about the ways we like to do keyword research at Simplified, but that is another topic for another time. For this topic, know that choosing which keyword to use does matter in terms of SEO. However, it is up to you to decide what you think is best for you and your brand! Optimization can be tricky at times, but having a site you love is most important!

Begin Working With an SEO Specialist

I hope this was informative enough to get you started on some of your keyword research. But, if you don’t have the time or interest, our SEO specialists would love to take this off your plate. At Simplified SEO Consulting, we offer a variety of services to help boost your SEO. We offer Done For You services as well as a 12-week training option. If you’d like to learn more, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us. 

Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting

Simplified SEO Consulting is passionate about providing SEO services for helping professionals and private practice owners. Our comprehensive SEO services are included in our Done for You SEO Service packages.  We also offer alumni packages and al la carte SEO services. Our team provides several learning opportunities with our SEO training packages including our “Top of Google” online course and 12 weeks of online video training and SEO Strategy package if you’re interested in learning how to optimize your website on your own.

Contact Simplified SEO to ask further questions, or book a free SEO Consultation to decide which option is best for your business. We look forward to talking with you.

About The Author

Photo of man looking at camera | Mental Health SEO Specialist | Columbia, MO

Sterling Humburg-Cage is a member of the 2020 graduating class from the University of Missouri. He is intent on using his B.A. in Psychology to help provide the best results as an SEO specialist.




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