The stigma around mental health has reduced substantially over the past couple of decades. Nevertheless, it’s far from disappeared completely and patients have legitimate fears of being misunderstood. Finding ways to reassure mental health patients and thus consistently onboard new clients is one of the biggest challenges mental healthcare professionals face. With this context, if there’s one area of healthcare that has benefited greatly from the proliferation of the Internet, it’s mental healthcare.
The anonymity (at least preliminary), non-intrusiveness and confidentiality that online channels of communication provide (when compared to traditional means of getting in touch with a care provider) has meant an ever-growing number of mental health patients are turning to the worldwide web to look for care providers.
Mental health professionals have to move with the times by developing effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies that give them the visibility needed for patients to find them quickly. Nevertheless, not just any approach to SEO will do. To ensure their effort and investment is effective, mental care providers should apply the following techniques to their SEO.
1. Target the Right Keywords
As a mental healthcare professional, your ideal patient likely fits into a specific profile that revolves around their state, city, and disorder on the one hand, and your specialty and certifications on the other.
The mental health sector is not a monolith. So before you do anything else, know what area of mental health you are trained on and thus best equipped to treat. You could be a clinical psychologist, school psychologist, clinical social worker, psychiatrist, child psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, alcohol/drug addiction counselor, marital/family therapist or nurse psychotherapist. These should form the basis for the keyword phrases you target.
Many healthcare patients know the exact type of healthcare professional they want to see and ensuring you have this covered in your keywords is fundamental. Once you have your specialty and certification integrated into your keyword phrase, determine what geographical area your practice covers. Include your state, city, suburb or other geographical markers that make it easier for patients in your vicinity to find you online.
Eventually, your keyword phrase will be something like ‘san Antonio clinical psychologist’, ‘Houston family therapist’, or ‘Seattle child psychiatrist’.
2. Publish Plenty of Incisive Mental Health Information
The right keyword phrase will get mental health patients landing on your website in droves. However, it’s the quality of content that will draw them in and persuade them to book an appointment. Ergo, regularly publish comprehensive, coherent, well-researched content that demonstrates your expertise in your area of practice. It’s not just the content on your website itself but also what you post on authoritative third party sites with backlinks to your website (here’s a great resource on using anchor text to maximize backlink impact).
It’s one thing to list your credentials and experience as evidence that you are the right person for the job. But there are likely dozens or hundreds of professionals with similar qualifications in your city. Good content is one of the most powerful ways to set yourself apart. It’s also viewed favorably by Google and increases your online ‘street cred’.
Allow visitors to ask questions in the blog comment section and provide responses that are as accurate as possible. Just be sure to emphasize the risks of obtaining healthcare advice online given the limited information the healthcare professional is presented with. Urge patients to set up an actual appointment.
3. Add Your Website to Local Web Directories
The Internet is one massive ecosystem. With billions of web pages and billions of Internet users, the more focused your marketing strategy is, the higher the likelihood that you’ll stand out in the eyes of your target market. The more local your business is, the less competition you have to contend with. Listing your website on local web directories makes it easier for both search engines and users to find your website.
Create listings on the most popular general directories such as Yelp and Google My Business, general healthcare directories like Healthdirectory.com, WebMD.com, InboundMD.com and Doximity.com, and mental health directories including GoodTherapy.org, PsychologyToday.com, BetterHelp.com, NetworkTherapy.com, Find-A-Therapist.com, TherapyTribe.com, Theravive.com, and Findatherapist.com.
If you list your business on multiple directories, make sure the name, address and phone number you provide is consistent across the board.
You have put in years of work to have the skills, experience, and tools needed to better the quality of life of mental health patients. But being a top-notch professional isn’t enough to help you leverage the world wide web and build a sustainable business. Applying these SEO tips ensures your website is visible to search engines and thus easier for mental health patients to find online.