About 226,000 people search for mental health treatment and related terms each month. They’re going online to find answers to their mental health questions and to seek information about getting help for themselves or their loved ones. You want them to find your behavioral health clinic when they search, so you must follow SEO best practices for your behavioral health business.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means using research and strategies to help your website rank higher in online searches. The more visibility your website gets through search engines, the better since more than 90% of online experiences start with a search engine, and the top three Google search results get more than half of the clicks.
Ranking high in search means people are more likely to click on your site when they’re looking for information. If you aren’t showing up in searches and getting most of your web traffic through organic search, your website isn’t doing its job for your behavioral health business.
You must adhere to SEO best practices to get this organic traffic for your behavioral health business.
Using SEO Content Marketing for Your Behavioral Health Business
SEO content marketing is content you create and post on your website to earn search visibility. It includes blog posts, service pages, e-books, workbooks, and case studies.
SEO content marketing uses SEO best practices to optimize your website so it shows up in search engines. It’s about people searching for help, as we described above, and finding your behavioral health site.
SEO is all about targeting and writing with keywords or terms that users enter into a search engine and getting your website to rank for those keywords. Users will then click through to your website, discover what you offer, and hopefully become a client. The process means having a clear picture of your prospective clients and understanding their pain points because you need to know what they’re likely to search for.
There are multiple ways that you can optimize your site for keywords and get it ranking at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). You’ll want to write and organize your content so that the search engines understand the type of users who will benefit from your content. You’ll also optimize your site for ease of use.
SEO Best Practices for Your Behavioral Health Business
So, you must have content to put on your site and draw potential clients there when they’re looking for information. You also need to ensure that content and your site are talking to search engines. Essentially, you must ensure your site has on-page and off-page optimization for SEO.
On-Page Optimization for SEO
On-page optimization is the actions you take with your content that help it rank higher in the search. Here are some of the key factors to consider when it comes to on-page optimization.
On-page optimization includes:
- Researching Keywords. As we explained above, keywords are search terms that users will likely input into a search engine. You want to choose keywords in your business’s niche or specific market that you know your ideal audience is likely to search for. You’ll need to research and determine the most productive keywords for your mental health business and its content. We recommend you use tools like Semrush and KWFinder. Look for words and phrases with lower competition and a higher monthly search volume.
- Writing with Keywords. Once you have a solid set of keywords, build your content around them. To optimize your content, include your target keyword throughout the body of the content. Be sure to include the keyword in your introduction, a header or two, and throughout the text. Be careful to balance using the keyword where it makes sense and keyword stuffing, which will cause search engines to penalize your content.
- Follow Writing Best Practices. You’ll want to follow content marketing best practices to get content noticed and make search engines see it as valuable. These include creating authoritative content and presenting it in short paragraphs and bulleted lists that are easy to read. Think about the format of the online content you’re attracted to. Mirror that format.
- Optimize Posts and Pages. Optimizing your content means including the keyword in necessary locations, updating your title tag with the headline, and writing a strong meta description to sell your post. You can use a tool like Yoast to help with this process.
- Use Visuals. High-quality photos or graphics will entice readers and help your site rank well. Be sure that your images include proper titles and alt text, and compress them before you add them to your site.
- Include Quality Links. Include relevant, quality internal and external links to support your content and give it authority. Don’t expect readers to trust what you’re saying. Give them a way to trace information and data back to the original source.
- User Experience. You want your website to be fast and easy for users to read and navigate. While search engines don’t necessarily rank for user experience, they pay attention to a user’s time on the page and your site’s speed. If a user quickly leaves your site or takes forever for pages to load, it signals to Google that something is wrong.
- Broken Links. You should regularly check to ensure your internal and external links are working. Google may penalize you if your site has a lot of broken links. If their bots can’t get to your page, there isn’t a way to rank it. You can use a broken link checker to make this process easier.
- Mobile Optimization. More than half of people visit websites from their mobile devices. Google gives preference to sites optimized for mobile as well as desktops. Google offers a mobile-friendly test to check.
- Security. People worry about their safety while online, so search engines prioritize sites with a security certificate. These URLs begin with https://. You can check with your web host about getting a security certificate if your site doesn’t already have one.
- Speed. Site load speed is also a big ranking factor. Internet users want websites to load immediately. Users will hit the back button or leave if your site takes too long to load. Google will think your site doesn’t have valuable information and will lower your SERP position. You can use a tool like PageSpeed Insights to determine if your site is up to speed and, if not, what you need to do to repair it.
The other half of your SEO solution concerns off-page optimization. These factors are everything that happens off of your website that helps it rank. You don’t have as much control of these factors, but you can influence them.
Off-page optimization factors include:
- Backlinks. Getting backlinks or other websites linking to yours increases your domain authority and tells Google that you may be a good source of information. The Google bots figure that you must have valuable information if other sites are linking to you. Some businesses offer backlink strategies, but we think the best strategy is to publish well-written, helpful content. If you do this, backlinks will happen naturally.
- Review Sites. Gaining positive traction on review sites in your industry and Google Business Profile will help here. Consider asking clients who successfully complete your programs to leave reviews. They help establish social proof and minimize the risk for others to seek information about your behavioral health clinic.
- Earning Certifications. Earning well-considered certifications that show your expertise and showing that on your site helps associate your knowledge with those organizations. You also can publish blog posts under your counselors’ names and credentials, which adds further authority to your site.
- Social Media. Having an active, engaged presence on social media helps establish your brand’s online authority.
- Guest Posting. Guest posting on other blogs in your industry, publishing in online journals, and contributing to the mental health conversation online helps link you and your counselors’ names to other sites and shows credibility.
Helping You Follow SEO Best Practices
We hope this post provided an overview of things to consider when it comes to SEO best practices for your behavioral health business. SEO has a lot of moving parts that change frequently. But SEO done correctly will work every time.
If you want to partner for SEO content writing services with an organization that understands both marketing and mental health, we’re ready to talk with you. We bring our guiding principles for mental health marketing to our work and can help you reach people needing your services. Book a call today if you’re ready to talk.