You have this amazing website for your mental health private practice. Now, how do you get others to see it?! And once others start seeing it, how do you help them see the value in booking a consultation with you?
That’s where SEO, or search engine optimization comes in. Now more than ever, the world is prioritizing their mental health needs. And how do others find someone that will help them work through their difficulties? They search for it. SEO will help your practice be noticed the moment a potential client decides to search for the help they desire.
And although there are quite a few moving parts to an overall SEO strategy, on-page optimizations are a foundational component. In this article, we are going to discuss what on-page SEO is, why it’s important for your mental health practice, and optimizations you can make to get started.
What is On-page SEO for Mental Health Professionals?
On-page SEO strategies are optimizations you make to what the user sees on your website, and tags search engines understand, such as webpage and blog content, visuals, HTML tags, and headlines.
Not only does this help give Google the right clues as to what your website is about, but it also gives you the opportunity to build your brand, industry authority, and audience. Generally, the more high-quality content you are able to put out there that relates to your practice, the easier it’ll be for Google to understand what type of traffic will be best suited for it.
And once Google understands your private practice, you will be able to rank higher for search terms related to your industry, which can drive increased client inquiries for your mental health treatment.
Why Is On-page Mental Healthcare SEO Important For Your Practice?
Unfortunately, in today’s competitive digital age, it’s not enough to just write great blog posts once a week. They need to be optimized for search engines using data on what others are searching for and the competitive landscape of those search terms.
Google’s algorithm is also constantly changing. It’s so much better than it once was at knowing the search intent behind a query (for example, to buy or to seek information) and understanding what others are actually searching for.
Optimizing the website of your mental health practice helps search engines understand your content and helps it get shown to those who are searching for your support.
On-page SEO Essentials For Mental Health Professionals
1. Keywords related to your mental niche
To give your content a running chance of ranking on Google, content must be keyword optimized. Now, this doesn’t mean finding one keyword and putting it in your blog post 50 times!
Google is smarter than that, and knows what types of keywords relate to each other to understand what a web page is about.
Keyword research can get a bit granular with its nuances, but a good place to start with mental health keywords is usually that service that you offer and where you offer it.
Combining these two elements can form “long-tail keywords” that may not have a high search volume, but can be easier to rank for on your service pages.
For blog content, think about your target audience and your expertise when considering what keywords to use.
What would those who may need your help be searching for? What questions would they be asking themselves? What problems could they be having?
Once you have written down a few questions in mind, try plugging them into Google and see what comes up. If there are other blog posts, then there may be some opportunities there to rank. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help you fine-tune those ideas into things potential clients would be searching for.
You should use your main keywords about 3-5 times within the page copy. What’s most important is ensuring it flows naturally and doesn’t feel forced.
Keep this in mind: what’s best for your target audience is usually what’s best for Google.
2. High-quality content
Above all else, high-quality, authoritative content is necessary to get your practice to the top of Google’s search results.
As a mental health professional, website visitors are going to trust your expertise and knowledge. So your content should be in areas of mental health you know the most about.
Do you specialize in childhood trauma? Make that your content focus!
Or is adult depression more of your area of expertise? Then deep dive into topics that will help your visitors gain valuable insights.
Because when you write quality content about areas you know the most about, you’ll be seen as an expert and while giving useful tips for those that may need your help down the line.
Additionally, content should be truthful and research-backed, since unproven tips could have significant medical consequences. Ensure your posts are reflective of your expertise but are also simple enough for your visitors to understand.
And if you need help crafting your expertise in an SEO-friendly way, there are therapist SEO companies out there that can help create rank-worthy content for you!
All the great content in the world doesn’t matter if your visitors aren’t compelled to read it! That’s where headlines come in. The main job of a headline is to simply tell the user what the content within that section is all about, evoke curiosity, and encourage them to keep reading.
Regarding SEO, unique and compelling headlines will further engage your visitors, improve click-through rate, and get them coming back for more great content.
Writing great headlines is a skill that takes some time to fully master, especially when it’s not a writing style that is typically practiced in the mental health field. However, the same tips for writing impactful content can apply here. Focus on what your visitors would want to see, keep it clear (avoid jargon-y language), and highlight the benefits.
4. Title and Heading tags
Title and Heading tags are HTML tags (usually the headlines) that act as clues to search engines to what you’re webpage is about. There is typically only one Title tag and H1 tag per page, but you can have as many H2-H6 tags as you would like.
For your webpage Title, the best practice would be to have the keyword you have decided to target within it. For example, if you’re optimizing a service page, the Title may be “Depression treatment in New York City”
I like the think of Heading tags as the outlines we all did for research papers in high school and beyond. The way an outline is organized is very similar to heading tags. Although heading tags aren’t as vital for SEO optimization as they used to be, they make your content easier to navigate and help visitors find the key information they are looking for.
5. Meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are the pieces of content that show up in search results when you type in a specific query. They are the first interaction a visitor has with you from search! Meta descriptions are what either entice users to click through to your website or continue scrolling, so they’ve got to be compelling!
Although meta descriptions don’t necessarily improve SEO optimization, they help your healthcare website’s click-through rate and curiosity towards what’s on the actual webpage. Optimizations similar to the rest of your on-page SEO content help users quickly determine what the topic of the webpage is and whether it is relevant to their needs.
For this reason, meta description optimization is a crucial component to increasing traffic to your practice’s website.
6. Visual usage and optimization
People love images and video! Not only do they give life to your content, but they also break up text into digestible sections. This can increase your content’s readability and help your main message get across.
With images, they should always relate to your content and the placement should make sense. For example, it’s common to put images at the start of each next section within a blog post that relates to that section’s topic. The same applies for webpages. Images should aim to add context to the content.
The more interactive and engaging your images are, the more likely it will be that visitors will read through your content.
Within images, you can also add these things called “alt tags” which help describe what your image is about. Alt tags help search engines categorize your content and give further evidence of what your webpage is about. So alt tags should contain your main keyword as well as a few supporting keywords.
Video is also a driving force of engagement in today’s media landscape. So having videos on your web pages, such as therapist spotlights, office walkthroughs, and informative videos can help viewers get to know you before they walk into your office! Videos also keep viewers on your page for longer periods of time which is another key ranking factor.
On-page SEO for mental health professionals is necessary for getting your life-changing content in front of those searching for your help. And once you have the basics down, the rest becomes a lot easier!
Kristen is the founder and CEO of MindThrive Digital, helping mental health professionals and coaches navigate the complexity of digital with website and SEO services. Her agency creates welcoming digital homes where website visitors can feel comfortable reaching out about mental health services. She is a passionate entrepreneur that loves helping caring professionals grow their practice and mental health advocacy. In her spare time, she is always learning, reading, and improving her skills while trying to help others do the same.