Your clients are searching for an online therapist now more than ever before. Why? Because online therapy offers neurotic entrepreneurs like me the convenience of making that ugly cry face at home instead of in public. Yay! An online practice also offers licensed professionals the opportunity to accept patients who might not seek in-person counseling. This is a huge new market, and its emergence means SEO for online therapists is a critical marketing component for mental healthcare providers. 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in mental health concerns and disruptions in mental health services around the world. Therapists were forced to move online to help people, but this shift is likely to continue long after the pandemic.

To stay relevant, you’ll need to add an understanding of SEO marketing to your ever-expanding skillset. Don’t worry! We’re here to help you master SEO for online therapists so all of your potential clients can find you. Let’s get started…

Identify Keywords for Online Therapist Marketing

What do people search for when they look online for your online therapy practice? They might use general terms like “online therapist” but they will likely also type in the specific type of mental health concerns you treat. Think “online therapy for addiction” or “online therapy for grief”. These descriptive words or phrases are called keywords, and you’ll use them strategically in your content to help Google find your website and suggest it to potential patients.

There are free SEO tools you can use to find relevant keywords, or you can invest in a professional SEO audit (shameless plug, but we ROCK at SEO!) to learn the best keywords, which phrases your direct competitors are successfully using, and the content you should publish to improve Google rankings and beat the competition. SEO is not something you want to guess about. 

Use Keywords on Existing Pages

If you aren’t targeting the right keywords on the front and back end of your website, you may as well not have an online therapist website at all. The competition is fierce! Add keywords within your site’s existing page copy where it makes sense. Hire a developer to input keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, and alt tags for images on the back end of your website. 

If you already have blog posts on your website, make sure to revamp them with keywords and use a tool like Yoast SEO to optimize each post for better performance.

Create New Pages

It’s possible to create new pages on your website with the specific goal of attracting organic search traffic. While you shouldn’t clutter your site with tons of pages that distract patients from scheduling an appointment, adding a few select URLs is smart. Consider adding a “specialties” dropdown of specific types of mental health concerns you treat or forms of therapy you offer. Or a local geo-page that targets patients in a specific geographic area you serve.

For instance, “Online Therapist in Maryland” or “Online Therapy in Baltimore”. The more niche you can get, the more likely your website traffic will be to convert. Which pages can you create to target your unique audience? Again, an SEO audit can reveal these types of SEO-informed site structure improvements. Take a look at pages for other online therapists who outrank you in Google (especially those you consider competitors) and see what types of pages they include on their sites. While SEO for healthcare professionals can be tricky, it’s also quite lucrative.

Add Keywords to Your URLs

When creating pages targeted at improving SEO for online therapists (and just in general) URL structure matters. Keep URLs short and consistent, using dashes between words and incorporating the target keywords you’ve identified for each page or blog post you publish. While you can use numbers in your URLs, avoid using dates, which may cause problems later when you update posts.

Example: This post is titled SEO for Online Therapists: Get More Online Patients in 2021, but the URL is  /seo-for-online-therapists/ . When we update the article next year with new information, we can simply change the title to reflect the current calendar year. The URL will remain the same and our SEO value for this post will continue to grow and improve in 2022.

Optimize Title Tags

Title tags are the first thing search engines consider when ranking your content, so it’s super important to update them quarterly or yearly, at the very least. Think of title tags like the keyword-dense elevator pitch for each page of your website. Don’t use duplicate tags (the same title tag on more than one page. Do use strategic keywords, and be sure to keep your tags short so they’re easy for search engines like Google to “crawl” or index for organic search. 

Add Your Address

Consider adding the address and phone number of your therapy practice to your footer or header, so it’s displayed on every page of your website. Adding your address and contact information tells Google where you’re located and encourages it to show your site to potential clients who search near you. It also makes it easy for potential clients to directly contact you to set up a session. Many patients are searching for a personal connection and will be more likely to set up an appointment if they can call a number. You can always set up a Google phone number to screen any unwanted calls. 

Get Listed in Online Directories

Google My Business is Google’s directory for businesses, which means Google uses the information you supply in that directory for searches. Add a keyword-rich description and photos of your business to the directory. While Google My Business is the most important online directory, seek other online directories like Yelp and Good Therapy and register for those too. 

Publish Keyword-Rich Content Regularly

If you don’t already have a blog site as part of your online therapist marketing, now is the time to launch one. Publish SEO blog posts at least once a month, using a variety of SEO keywords that you identified as SEO keywords for therapists. These posts will create more opportunities for Google to notice your site and recommend it to others. Aim for these posts to be 800–1,200 informative, engaging words. Google consistently ranks long-form, educational, and entertaining content highiest.

Format Content So It’s Easy to Read

Did you know search engines rank content higher if it’s formatted for reading ease? Keyword-rich headlines and subheads—H2s and H3s—make your writing more scannable and easy for readers to consume. Make sure to use them on your pages and in your blog posts. Headers should be descriptive and easily understood and, if possible, contain your online therapist keywords. For example, this article is broken down into smaller individual “tips” that are easy to scan instead of one huge block of text, each containing keywords. 

Break up your content with bullet points, numbers, and quotes as much as possible to help guide the reader’s eye toward the most important information. Use images to add visual interest and break up sections of text. And pay attention to spelling and grammar!

Install SEO plug-ins

SEO plug-ins eliminate some of the mystery behind SEO for therapists by allowing you to fill in blanks and giving you SEO ratings before you post. If you have a WordPress website, we recommend Yoast. It’s super user-friendly and uses color-coding to tell you how to optimize your content as you go.

Refresh Old SEO Content

If you already have a blog on your site, be sure you’re refreshing your content at least annually. When you refresh content, add new information and stats, revise and add any keywords you need to, and be sure to add new internal and external links. Search engines put the newest, most updated content at the top of search rankings. You can change the publish date, but you need to include an editor’s note at the top or bottom of the article explaining when the original article was published and when you updated it. 

Post Testimonials for Better SEO

Potential clients are much more likely to contact you if they see that others recommend your services. Of course, you don’t want to violate therapist/patient confidentiality, but you could ask people to give testimonials and post them on your site using only their first name. Or, add testimonials from any partners that regularly refer patients to your practice.  

Engage with Potential Clients

We understand that you don’t want to give away your services for free. But sharing the content you create, recommending other sources of helpful information, and engaging with clients on social media pages for your online therapy practice will go a long way toward building your brand and creating trust with potential clients. Consider what value you can provide to potential clients on social media that might help build a relationship with them and make them seek out your services. often, your social media profiles will pop up before your website in search—so post regularly!

Understanding SEO for Online Therapists

SEO is necessary if you want potential clients to find your online therapy practice through Google. The actions in this post will help your website show up in Google searches. If you’re still not seeing the results you want, contact us. We specialize in digital media for doctors and wellness brands, so we can help!