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Due to the rise of geolocation-enabled devices, the search for medical services containing ‘near me’ search terms on the Internet has increased sharply. The number of monthly searches for ‘Doctor near me’ query in the USA stands at 201,000, and for ‘Urgent care near me’ at 1,830,000. Similarly, according to UberSuggest, there are 301,000 ‘therapist near me’ searches made in the US, every month. The digital transformation of mental health care through teletherapy has made it an absolute necessity for therapists to have an online presence that is easily discoverable. Though therapists are experts at mental health, they need not have the skills to rank their practice for a Google search. While some mental health professionals choose to collaborate with technology platforms such as BetterHelp to market themselves and gain a steady inflow of clients and income, others prefer to stick with their independent practice, where marketing can be a lot harder. In this article, we discuss quick and easy-to-implement SEO strategies to help you rank for the ‘therapist near me’ search queries on Google.
So, what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of attracting potential clients who are most likely to schedule a consultation to your website. An effective SEO strategy can help you build your brand as a niche service provider and can get you to rank for specific counselling services at the national level. However, in order to achieve this, you must have a fair idea of user intent.
User intent is defined as what an online user would hope to find when they type their search query on a search engine like Google or Yahoo. As seen above, since the ‘therapist near me’ search term already has a high search volume. On an average, this term can get you 1,52,00,00,000 results. This essentially implies that you will need to compete with 1,52,00,00,000 other websites to get noticed by a potential client. Sounds demoralizing? Don’t be. There is a workaround.
Instead of optimizing your website only for ‘therapist near me’, try being more specific. Now is the time for you to bank on your niche. For example, let’s say you are a family therapist. When you optimize your website for ‘family therapist near me’, the number of search results that you are competing against reduces from 1,52,00,00,000 to approximately 19,70,00,000. Some clients might prefer therapists who are sensitive to or trained in cultural diversity, or they may prefer therapists with a multicultural background to better communicate their challenges. If you fall under this category, you could optimize your website for ‘multicultural family therapist near me’ and you’ll find that your competition further drops down to 6,99,00,000. In technical terms, these are called long-term keywords whose specific function is to increase conversions for your practice.
If you would like to officially position yourself as a therapist who can help clients with diverse identities, but not too sure about using those words openly in your website content, here is what you can do – Optimize the images on your website for these long tail keywords using alt tags. This way, there will be no reference to gender, religious or racial identities on your website, but you will still rank for the same on search engines.
Whenever a user looks up a search term on Google, the search engine also shows the questions that ‘People also ask’ about the topic. Go through these questions and include them in your website. You could include them under the FAQ section, as your clients are highly likely to ask you the same questions during their interaction with you.
Like every industry, the key to SEO success in teletherapy practice is a good keyword research and content planning. Build an exhaustive list of keywords related to your therapy practice using online tools such as UberSuggest and Ahrefs. Determine the best local keywords to use from the national keyword volume, and try to figure out the user intent for each keyword. A lot of times, there can be disconnect between a user’s search and their search queries. By understanding possible user intent, you can come up with different keywords to optimize your teletherapy website and rank for the ‘therapist near me’ search query.
Here is a place where you can find keyword ideas for therapists.
SEO can be classified as On-page SEO, Off-page SEO and Technical SEO.
On-page SEO refers to the content on your website – titles, headings, meta-descriptions and keywords on a page on your website determine if the content is SEO-friendly. In other words, they help make your counselling services discoverable for search engines when you optimize them with the right and relevant keywords.
Off-page SEO is all about validating your web page using external links or backlinks from other web pages. When you have a sizeable volume of relevant and high-quality backlinks from other websites to yours, you become a trusted authority in the teletherapy domain.
Technical SEO covers the technical aspects of your website that make it easy for crawlers to index your webpages. This includes measures such as installing an SSL certificate, optimizing the website to load faster, etc.
Paying little attention to these factors can go a long way in ranking high on search results.
Meta titles and descriptions are never visible on your webpage, but they are visible to search engines. Meta titles are a powerful way to signal to your clients the specific services that you provide. When leveraged, meta titles and descriptions can increase your conversion rates by bringing you potential clients with high intent to consult. All that you need to do is add keywords that are most relevant to your therapy practice under meta titles and descriptions, and soon you can rank for 'therapist near me'.
Getting your therapy practice to rank on search engines can feel like an elaborate process. But as you work on it, you’ll find that you can achieve your SEO goals easily with a phased approach. If you are looking to increase your income with your therapy practice, sign up on Directshifts.com and apply for hundreds of teletherapy opportunities here.