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SEO for Therapists

People looking for local therapists start with Google. This page includes everything we've learned while working with local counseling practices to increase their visibility in the search engines.

Want the exact plan we use to help rank local therapists?

seo sop screenshot for therapists

Why SEO for Therapists?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. SEO is great for therapists and counseling services because search signals intent that they are close to making a decision.

Think about your clients. Unlike asking for a referral on Facebook for a local plumber, people generally don't publicly or even privately ask for referrals for therapists because there is often some shame associated with counseling. 

Google and other search engines are safe. People know they can search independently without having to admit publicly that they are in need of a counselor. 

Keyword Research

No matter the industry, an effective SEO strategy hinges on really good keyword research and then careful content planning. It's no different for therapists.

It's important to know exactly what potential clients are searching for in your city when they need counseling services or therapists.

We always start by building a big list of keywords and look at the national keyword volume. By looking at how people search for therapists nationally we can determine the best keywords to focus on locally.

Below is a screenshot of some of our keyword research:


Working with our client (a local Grand Rapids, MI counseling practice) we carefully selected our keywords.

Keyword research is the art and science of looking at how people search and how often they search it.

We use a tool that allows us to put in a broad term like "counseling services" to start getting ideas for how people search for counseling services:

keyword research for counseling

You can see there are some irrelevant keywords right away, but we can drill down and see that people include terms like "student" in their phrase related to counseling services.

After doing research we then put keywords into a project where we can see local keyword volume:


This allows us to get a competitive view of actual local searches for counseling services and therapists.

What you see in the image above under the column "SERP Features" are icons that represent additional information or features that show up in search results. For example, we could see if our client or any of their local competitors are running ads on certain keywords, show up in the Google Map Pack (one of the three spots in the map for local search), and several other features.

Tracking Keyword Rank and What it Means

If you're a little lost at this point, that's okay. We'll try to break it down for you:

  1. Do keyword research to see how people search for therapists near you.
  2. Pick and remove keywords (for example, maybe you do addiction counseling, but not grief counseling).
  3. Track where you show up currently in your city for these keywords (we use a tool called SEMRush to do that).
  4. Identify which keywords you aren't showing up for that you want to or which ones you want to increase your rank for.
  5. Go keyword by keyword (for example, grief counseling services near me and addiction counseling services near me) and look at your content compared to your competitors. Do you have a page dedicated to your keyword? Are you lacking content? Again, we use SEMRush to create a content template based on the target keyword. This will provide some insight into what our page needs to be more relevant to the keyword.
Keyword Ideas for Therapists

Here is a list of keywords we've used for a local counseling service. This isn't an exhaustive list of local SEO for therapist keywords. It is specific to one private practice. Their practice may be different than yours, so keep in mind that this may not include important keywords. Replace any mention of the city "Grand Rapids" with your local municipality.

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couples therapy grand rapids
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child behavioral therapist near me
christian counseling for teens
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child therapist that accept medicaid
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family counseling grand rapids
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child behavioral therapist
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addiction counseling grand rapids mi

Measure ROI

If you have the correct available data (traffic and conversion rate) from your site. It's relatively easy to make an educated estimate on the potential return on investment SEO can bring your counseling service. Though our calculator does not address all factors, it can help you see the potential value.

We know from experience that you cannot improve what you don't first measure.

For all SEO service we provide therapists, we make sure that you are set up to track results before we ever begin helping you increase your ranking.

SEO is creative and scientific, but we can help you accept the challenge of determining the true value of SEO to your business. We do it because we like to share in the success of our clients. We need to measure our own effectiveness to know who we can help.


A quick way to measure ROI is with some simple math.

  • Let's say you get 1,000 organic (from SEO) visitors to your site per month on average.
  • Let's say you convert (they call or fill out a form, etc) at 5% (50 inquiries per month).
  • Let's say of those 50, 20% or 10 become new clients.
  • Let's say your average client value is $2,500.

Within that example, you're looking at $25,000 (based on lifetime client value of $2,500 x 10 new clients) per month added to your pipeline.

Now let's say you hire an expert who can execute SEO for your therapist practice.

They believe they can get you an increase of 25% more traffic year over year and a conversion rate of 8%. The new numbers:

  • Now you'll get 1,250 organic (from SEO) visitors to your site per month on average.
  • Now you'll get an 8%  conversion rate (100 inquiries per month).
  • With 20% of 100 conversions becoming new clients, you now have 20.

Within that example, you're looking at $50,000 (based on lifetime client value of $2,500 x 20 new clients) per month added to your pipeline.

Is SEO worth it to you? Do the math. We can help you find out what your true numbers are. 

Calculate your Search Engine Optimization return on investment.

Find out if you're ready for SEO with this free Search Engine Optimization return on investment calculator.

Need help with your SEO?

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