SEO For Therapists: All the Details You Need To Build Your Private Practice Online 🏆

Let’s Build Your Practice.

If you are looking to grow SEO for your therapy practice, you need a professional who has actually been in your shoes, not just another digital marketing agency.

My name is Melanie Gorman, and I am a professionally trained therapist and an SEO professional. I have an extensive background working with therapists to grow their private practices. Whether you need to go from insurance to a cash-based business, you want to expand your private practice to increase your revenue and simplify your life. or you want to expand into podcasting, TedTalks or books, I have been a marketing and SEO professional for more than 10 years and I can help you.

SEO for therapists is all about getting more visibility and exposure on Google, other search engines, and on social media.

A few of the different types of therapists I have worked with include:

  • Couples therapist trained in Gottman and PACT therapy models
  • Chronic Illness therapist
  • Intensive couples therapist (weekend retreats of 2, 3 and 4 days)
  • ADHD therapist for individuals and couples
  • ADHD and anxiety therapist for kids and adults
  • Trauma and neurofeedback therapist for adults
  • CBT and OCD therapist for adults
  • Anxiety and depression counselor for adults and couples
  • Sex and intimacy therapist in the EU
  • Couples therapist in Israel
  • International personal growth seminar company

SEO for therapists is an organic and natural way to build up your private practice. As a trained therapist myself, nothing has been more enjoyable than helping other therapists build their practices. Why? Because when I help you, you get to help the world. It’s a synergistic effect that has extended my deep personal commitment to mental health, healing and innovation in our space.

The world needs healers, today more than ever. When we help you with your SEO, you reach more clients. It is that simple.

Let me explain below why we are the best SEO Professionals to grow your private therapy practice.

So how long does SEO take to work?

SEO for therapists and counselors is truly no different from SEO for plumbers or electricians (yes, we’ve worked on those sites too). But here’s the real answer from my experience…

The reality is that SEO isn’t an instant answer. It takes time. As I said in the video, if you’re in immediate need, advertising is your answer. But if you can dedicate 18 months to building your online presence, you can change the future of your business.

How Do I Know If My SEO Is Working?

how do i know if my seo is working?

You know your SEO is working when you start to see a climb in traffic from Google and other search engines. We help you measure your results using Google Analytics so you can see how much traffic your website receives from all of the various places you may post or advertise online.

SEO takes time and we benchmark for clients all of the steps along the way so progress is always measured and easy to see. It’s also aligned with your client’s customer journey. So, when things don’t work, or stop working, we pivot. But your SEO strategy is always leading the way and addresses all of the common elements necessary to get your website to rank.

Your website needs all of the same SEO elements as any other well-designed site:

  • great & relative backlinks
  • optimized page titles & meta descriptions
  • well-written copy
  • alt text & optimized image file names
  • informative blogs
  • schema mark-up 
  • fast loading time
  • indexation
  • clean navigation
  • embedded keywords
  • mobile responsive and
  • smart branding

Technical SEO and on-page SEO is the same for everyone; the industry you’re in doesn’t really matter. Where SEO for therapists is different from other industries is in the keywords and the language. Everything you say on your website should align with the language clients use when they search for your services.

And that’s where things get tricky.

Because it’s tempting to use phrases like “anxiety” or “depression” but the reality is, everyone uses those same terms.

To rank highly on search, not only does your website need to demonstrate authority, it also needs an abundance of key phrases that match how clients search for your services. Ideally, your keyword pool shouldn’t just be big terms like “trauma” or even “trauma-informed,” but should include a myriad of phrases that clients use when they search for help with their challenges.

Why should a therapist invest in SEO services?

The answer is simple, because your clients search for help on Google. SEO is the work that reframes your brand, and everything you put on your website so it aligns with how clients look for help.

And if your website can’t be found for reasonable keywords that match up with the services you offer, then you’ll never grow your therapy practice they way you envision growing it.

But picking keywords out of the sky isn’t enough to be found…

To be found on Google, you need to be more specific with your keyword selections.

All things being equal, you want to use keywords on your website that have a high search volume that matches well with your “user’s intent.” User intent is a fancy way of saying the person searching WANTS what you’re offering organically; that is without any influence from you. (Read more on keyword intent here)

You also want the lowest competitive keywords so you can rank faster.

These screenshots are from SEMRush, the main keyword research tool we use, and they show the vast difference between individual terms and the level of difficulty to rank for each.

SEO for therapist - keyword review from SEM Rush

Volume = the number of searches for a term averaged monthly over a year.

KD = keyword difficulty and higher is harder.

Conclusion – ranking for “emdr therapy for anxiety” is light years easier than ranking for “therapy for anxiety.”

Any good SEO consultant should be able to help you unwind the value of one set of keywords over another.

Ideally, you end up with a “keyword cloud or cluster” such that your whole practice can be connected through the words and phrases you weave through the language on your website.

Your therapy practice also needs to align with Google’s YMYL & E-E-A-T metrics

Funny acronyms, I know. But, both of these are part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines and anyone in the mental health space needs to both understand and align with them. The good news is that they will easily match with your integrity, values and private practice model.

What is E-E-A-T in SEO?

E-E-A-T stands for “experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness.” These qualities are essentially prerequisites for demonstrating to Google why you are the right person or business to write on a particular topic. The most important of them is trust.

When the content on your website is written with an E-E-A-T perspective, you produce a higher level of quality. These 4 variables are the backbone of content that can be trusted, validated and shared easily online. It also matches with the kind of content Google values and rewards in search.

Yes, you could argue that popularity matters. But even when we’re talking about celebrity gossip, Google still rewards high quality websites and writers over lesser ones.

What is YMYL in SEO?

According to Google, YMYL stands for “your money or your life” and it is a set of best-practices that should be followed for any content that can affect a readers “happiness, health, financial stability or safety.” Essentially content that speaks about a YMYL area of life needs to be written with the highest level of professionalism, citation of sources, and authority.

How can E-E-A-T help grow my private practice?

As a therapist you have the unique opportunity to discuss mental health issues from a place of trust, expertise and authority. Think about this for a second. If you need advice about how to change the battery in your car, would you be more inclined to follow a certified mechanic’s advice or the guy down the block who has a few blogs on his site about cars?

And with this implied trust, if that same mechanic wrote a blog that missed a few key steps, could you because you trusted him be hurt or harmed? Potentially yes. That means that anyone who is assumed to be “trustworthy” simply because of the words on their website has a responsibility to write reliable, truthful content.

As a professional therapist, E-E-A-T and YMYL give you an opportunity to write quality content that can stand apart from other writers/bloggers/reporters because your level of knowledge and experience. Writing on a regular basis will also set you apart from other therapists, because so few actually do it. We can talk a lot more about YMYL and E-E-A-T, but they are essential parts of a smart SEO strategy and something therapists need to consider as they work on growing their private practice.

Marketing For Therapists

The work on an SEO project doesn’t end when you pick the right keywords. After that you need to apply your keywords to your content and make sure Google can see all of your hard work.

After getting your landing page corrected, then it’s time to start blogging. That’s where your marketing engine really takes off.

Marketing your private therapy practice is similar to marketing for different industries, with the exception of the sensitive nature of your clients and their needs. Every avenue is at your disposal as it would be for any other business. But, where you choose to market your private practice should also fit with the values of the social media or websites you’re considering aligning with.

You may, for example, not be a fan of Facebook’s advertising policies. That’s fine, you can pick another social media site to share your content on. For many therapists LinkedIn is a better place to share with your peers. But, if you want to develop a private community with potential clients NOT peers, currently Facebook is the only social platform that offers “private groups” and perhaps you want that?

Choosing your social media sites is a critical step but it’s only one part of a strong marketing plan.

Your complete plan should include everything from blogging and content marketing, to link building, to guest blogging or offering quotes to other sites. These marketing strategies are important so you don’t want to ignore it them. These strategies lay the groundwork for how non-referral clients find you and that is important to your bottom line. (Not sure how social media impacts SEO, read this to find out)

Marketing your content is the work you do to share your message with the world.

Think of it like extending a fishing line into the vast ocean of clients. It’s not enough to set up your shop, you also have to tell the world you’re also open for business and that’s the intent of marketing.

Marketing a therapy practice should align both your values and your goals. It should also include promoting all of your SEO’ed articles and blogs. By doing this, you create the opportunity for strangers who need your services to find you.

And there are also a ton of “local” ways to market your practice if your business is an in-office practice with a physical address or a virtual office where you’re licensed across an entire state (or two or three).

Does having a Google Business Profile help with SEO?

Absolutely and it’s free. Google My Business (GMB) is a great tool to help local clients find your office, even if you’re at a virtual office or seeing clients remotely.

There are lots of other features available as well. From private practice details to resharing articles and events.

Google My Business is definitely an SEO tool you want to sign up for right away.

As you can see, SEO for therapists is a lot like SEO for other industries. The main differences are when you want to market your content, then you need to focus on marketing avenues that work for your values and align with your ideal potential clients.

Finding an SEO consultant who speaks the language of therapists is far trickier than the actual work. And that’s where we excel.

How Can I Get Started?

As a trained therapist leading the Crownsville Media team, I have lived in your world for more than 20 years.

I know the challenges of not enjoying marketing but “knowing you need to do it.” (Here’s the list of marketing strategies for therapists if you’re curious)

I know the challenge of getting off insurance and raising your fees.

I know the wishful thinking of doing SEO “once” and hoping it works.

I know the dislike of writing, blogging or putting your thoughts on paper.

I know the imposter syndrome experience of feeling like you’re an expert on some level with your clients and a total novice at marketing.

I also know the deep love you have for this field and your intrinsic belief that the world needs healers today more than ever.

And, the inner knowing you have that you can make a difference.

From my seat in the world, I believe you can make a difference too.

We can as well.

SEO for therapists, healers, coaches, professional development businesses, course creators as well as content and other forms of marketing are our expertise. We would love the opportunity to be a part of your team and help you reach your goal of helping more clients.

Please contact us for a complimentary chat to discuss how we can help you on your journey.

Updated 8/22/23

author avatar
Melanie Gorman
Melanie Gorman is the owner and operator of Crownsville Media. She holds a masters in counseling psychology and has been in the fields of web development, SEO optimization and content creation for more than 20 years.

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