Why Organic Traffic is Critical for Your Behavioral Health Center

People turn to search engines with all types of concerns, including those related to their mental health and wellness. When people search for greater understanding about and solutions to their mental health concerns, you want them to find your treatment center’s website. That’s why organic traffic is critical for your behavioral health center. It uses search engines to lead traffic to your website, allowing you to guide people to treatment.

Content Journey specializes in mental health marketing. We use search strategies to lead people in need to our clients. As an example, we increased traffic to one mental health treatment center’s website by 1,200% in just eight months. That’s a lot of opportunity for conversion!

In this post, we’ll explain organic traffic, why you want it, and how to increase this traffic on your site.

What is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic is the traffic that comes to your website through unpaid channels. It results from your website’s good ranking in search engines, like Google.

The first 10 posts to show in Google search results get the most clicks, with the first post receiving about 30% of all traffic. The goal is to get your website to rank on the first page of Google search results, as close to the top as possible, with the top three positions the ideal.

For example, when you Google “Content Journey,” our website is the first result. That’s exactly what you want for your treatment center. 

But you also want various parts of your site to appear when people search for specific mental health or addiction concerns you treat. For example, if your center specializes in treating alcohol addiction, you want it to appear when people make an inquiry like this.

You want your treatment center’s content to appear on as many first pages of search results as possible, sending more traffic to your site and creating greater opportunities for conversion.

Benefits of Organic Website Traffic for Your Behavioral Health Center

Organic traffic has multiple benefits. The greatest perk for your behavioral health center is that it increases brand awareness, which leads to conversions. After all, people can’t seek treatment from you if they don’t know your center exists. Increasing traffic to your website is an excellent way to help people learn more about your center and take the next step toward treatment.

Other notable benefits of organic traffic include:

  • Conversions. As stated above, organic traffic leads people to your website, which helps them get more information about your treatment center. Your site then should lead them through the next steps, resulting in conversions. Many businesses find that organic traffic results in higher conversion rates than paid advertising, likely because users who find a site organically are more invested in the specific topic they searched for instead of an ad served to them. In short, your website should be your best admissions specialist.
  • Cost Efficiency. You don’t have to pay for organic traffic because it results from a search. That makes the return on investment incredible for this type of web traffic — an estimated five times greater than paid approaches.
  • Sustainability. Once your site ranks well for certain keywords, it can maintain its position for a prolonged period. That means you get a steady, ongoing stream of traffic from every keyword.
  • Higher Trust and Credibility. Users often trust organic search results more than paid advertisements. Being on the first page of search results, especially in the top positions, is seen as a testament to the content’s quality and relevance.
  • Brand Authority. Consistently ranking high for industry-relevant keywords can help build brand authority. When your center is seen as an authority in your areas of expertise, it makes people more likely to trust and engage with your content, seeing treatment there as a viable, worthwhile option.
  • Long-Term Strategy. While paid advertising can yield quick results, SEO and organic traffic growth is long-term. With consistent effort, a site’s organic traffic can grow steadily over time and will continue working for your center long after you post a piece of content. A piece of content that ranks well can bring in traffic for years, whereas a paid ad only brings traffic as long as you pay for it.
  • Broader Reach. Organic search can expose your website to a broader audience. Users might find your site through various keywords and search queries you hadn’t specifically targeted, especially if you have a diverse range of high-quality content.
  • User Engagement. Organic search traffic often results in longer site visits, lower bounce rates, and more pages viewed per session because users who arrive organically actively seek out the content or services your site offers. No one forced or persuaded them to come to your site. They chose to.   

Organic vs. Paid Strategies

There is a lot of debate on the value of organic vs. paid strategies. Some people think paid traffic is always more valuable, while others think organic traffic is. The truth is that there’s a place for both, depending on your center’s goals. 

Paid advertising is an excellent way to get immediate results. We recommend using paid advertising to attract people to specific programs or initiatives. A problem with paid ads is that the traffic and attention stop as soon as you quit paying. That’s where organic comes in.

Organic traffic doesn’t stop working the minute you quit putting money behind it. Instead, it continues sending traffic to your website for as long as the keywords remain relevant. 

If you want to know more about the difference between organic and paid strategies, read our post on crockpot or microwave content strategy.

laptop computer on glass-top table
Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

What are the Best Organic Traffic Strategies?

Now that you understand why you want to build organic traffic for your behavioral health center, what’s the best approach? Here’s what we recommend.


Search engine optimization is helping your website rank with search engines. The higher the ranking, the more likely people are to find your site. To make this happen, you must follow SEO best practices for your behavioral health center, which include on- and off-page optimization to help your site rank.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is sharing valuable content in different forms through various channels to help your audience answer questions or solve problems. 

With content marketing, you don’t blatantly promote your treatment center as much as you provide information about the mental health issues you treat and then present your center as an option for seeking the services you described. 

Although the ultimate goal is to increase sales, content needs to engage, educate, or inform your audience. 

Content marketing includes:

  • Websites, including product or service pages
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Lead magnets
  • Social media promotion

Content marketing gives your website materials to rank for and helps you build strategic relationships with potential and current clients.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to connect with your customers and update them on your latest programs and offerings. It’s also an excellent way to build client loyalty and result in referrals. By sending regular emails, you can inform your clients about your center and continue supporting their wellness.

Email marketing may include your newsletter and special campaigns for referral sources, current clients, family members, etc. You can customize each campaign to the audience and speak directly to them.

To learn more, read our post on why to use email marketing for your mental health treatment center.

How to Increase Organic Traffic

This organic traffic thing sounds pretty amazing for your treatment center, right? So, how can you take your current website and make it work better for you? Below are some ways to increase organic traffic for your behavioral health center.

Make Sure the Tech is Right

The first step in improving your website is to audit it for technical issues. Technical issues will keep your content from ranking well, so this audit is essential. 

Check for broken links, site slowdowns, and other problems that could affect your website’s performance. You can use tools to help you with this, including web-based tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Broken Link Checker

You could also outsource a full technical site audit to ensure your site is operating as it should.

Identify Your Audience

A key to attracting people to your website is to speak to the right audience. Your target audience is the group of people most likely to come to your treatment center. Knowing your target audience helps you gear all of your content to them. Understanding your target audience is key to your content’s success.

Perform Keyword Research

Keywords are search terms that users will likely input into a search engine. You want to choose keywords your ideal audience will likely search for. You must research and determine the most productive keywords for your mental health center and its content. We recommend you use tools like Semrush and KWFinder. Look for words and phrases with lower competition and a higher search volume. 

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. 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

Following content marketing best practices will get your 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. Keep the text simple and easy to understand. Think about the format of the online content you’re attracted to and mirror it.

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. Content with images gets about twice the traffic as that without. Be sure that your images include proper titles and alt text, and compress them before you add them to your site so they don’t bog down its load times.

Visuals also can help people feel more comfortable with the idea of seeking treatment at your center. Be sure to include images of your counselors and treatment center so people can see themselves coming there and relating to the professionals you employ.

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.

If the source of authority is one of the mental health experts at your center, use their name or directly quote them with the material.

Post Reviews and Testimonials

People want to see other people’s success stories, especially when they’re considering mental health treatment. Social proof reduces the stigma associated with seeking treatment and removes some of the barriers to seeking help.

Social proof is the idea that people copy the behavior of others because they don’t want to miss out on something worthwhile. In behavioral health marketing, social proof comes from positive client reviews and testimonials. Display this feedback on your website, being careful not to use full names or identifying features for privacy. Let others share their experiences at your center and how it helped them in their own words.

Create Thought Leadership Content

Thought leadership is the ability to influence others with your ideas. It’s extremely effective in mental health content because you employ the experts your audience wants help from. Establish your center’s authority by including content on your website from your counselors or their quotes in blog posts. 

For example, here’s just one quote from a clinical manager in a blog post about coping with anxiety in college students. It helps support the content and keeps the reader going to learn more about the tools the expert references.

Provide Value

There are a lot of blogs out there, but not all of them are worth reading. To be successful, you need to provide value to your readers. This means creating content that is interesting, informative, and useful. If your content helps people answer their questions, it will drive traffic.

Want to know more? Read this post explaining what valuable content is.

Refresh Outdated Content

Refresh outdated content to keep visitors and search engines interested and finding value in it. You can do this by adding new information, revising old information, updating statistics, and changing images. Regardless, make sure that the content is fresh, interesting, and performing at the level it should for your center.

Not getting the most from your content? Read more about how to fix underperforming content.

Answer the Real Questions

What questions do people have about mental health issues and treatment? Answer the real questions to get attention. If you aren’t sure what the questions are, ask current clients. Once you know some of the things on your audience’s mind, consider using a tool like People Also Ask in Google searches and build content ideas around other common queries.

For example, based on the People Also Ask from this query, you can see that it would be helpful to write a post about signs of anxiety and to create a tool that helps people self-assess whether they should seek mental health services for anxiety.

Show Up Regularly

Although organic content strategies continue working for you long after you post the information, you can’t just set it and forget it. You have to keep showing up for your audience. What does that look like? It means:

  • Posting to your blog at least twice a week
  • Sending at least a monthly email newsletter
  • Posting and engaging on social media daily
  • Regularly refreshing page and blog content to keep it working for your center

It also means supplementing these efforts with email campaigns, webinars, and other public-facing content that fits your audience’s needs.

Use Google Business Profile

Setting up your Google Business Profile is a great way to improve online visibility and connect with customers. 

Google Business Profile is a free tool to manage how your business appears across Google products like Search and Google Maps. Here’s our guide for how to use Google Business Profile in mental health marketing.

You can see Content Journey’s GBP on the right side of this page.

Let’s Grow Your Organic Traffic

As you can see, organic traffic is a huge asset for your mental health treatment center. This post contains an overview of ways to grow your center’s organic traffic, but there are still even more approaches to lead people to your website. If you’re ready to make your site your best admissions specialist, let’s talk. Book a call to learn how Content Journey can help you grow client intakes.

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