How many times have you heard that search engine optimization (SEO) has to be an essential component of your digital marketing strategy? Yet, you still haven’t put an effective behavioral health SEO plan in place!
We talk to behavioral healthcare center operators about this problem every day.
Maybe you made an effort a while ago but felt the results had a low return on investment. Or perhaps the services you offer have changed significantly while your strategy hasn’t. Has behavioral healthcare SEO never been a top priority in your marketing plan?
Whatever has stopped you from putting an effective SEO strategy in place before, delaying is no longer an option.
From best practices to new keywords, SEO is constantly changing—and its impact on your digital presence grows every day. Google updates their search algorithm several times a year.1 To stay competitive and start ranking for your target keywords, your SEO strategy should be changing as frequently as the algorithm does.
Behavioral Healthcare SEO Will Grow Your Audience
With each change to the Google algorithm, search results become more intelligent and intuitive. So, if you either don’t have a strategy in place or if you’re hanging on to a plan that’s more than a year old, you need to move behavioral healthcare SEO to first place on your marketing to-do list.
Feeling overwhelmed? Here are five tips to start improving your center’s rankings today.
1. Assess the Competition
A competitive analysis helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of treatment centers that share the same target market as you. Understanding how your competition is successfully reaching your target audience–and where they’re falling short–helps you develop an informed, flexible marketing strategy.
It helps your center connect with your ideal prospective patients and lays out a path to the top rank on the search engine results page (SERP) for your chosen keywords.
What does this look like in practice?
Visit other behavioral health center websites and comb through their content. Look for their most-used words and phrases, check out their original content, and note what external websites they link to. Enter a few different search queries into Google to see what the results are.
Armed with this information, you’ll get a rough idea of how difficult outranking your competition on the SERP will be.
2. Choose the Right Keywords
Keywords are the backbone of SEO, but especially behavioral healthcare SEO. They can guide the content on your website and are a leading ranking factor Google considers when determining placement on the SERP. Identifying the most effective keywords for your site establishes your digital niche and helps you outrank the competition.
Don’t worry if you haven’t done this before.
Google provides a few different tools to help guide you in selecting the right targeted keywords for your marketing strategy. Google Search Console is a great place to learn more about keywords that rank well for behavioral health
Make sure to select some local or hyperlocal SEO keywords to include in your overall SEO strategy as well. When people first search for behavioral health providers, they typically start by looking for treatment centers “near me.”
Ranking for hyperlocal keywords makes sure your behavioral healthcare center is there to meet patients in your community when they’re ready to take the first steps on their treatment journey.
3. Get More Backlinks
Like keywords, backlinks are a ranking factor for Google. Search results high on the SERP have almost four times as many backlinks as the results on other pages.2 But backlinks—instances when websites with high authority link to your content—don’t happen overnight.
Building backlinks requires establishing your reputation as a premier behavioral health center. Much of that reputation is built by creating pages on your website that users find valuable and engaging.
Without quality content, other websites have no reason to link to your behavioral health content on their website or social channels. This is why content creation is vital. You have little chance of gaining backlinks without prioritizing meaningful, relevant content.
4. Start a Blog
A blog, really? You’re a behavioral healthcare center, not a movie review service. Aren’t blogs yesterday’s news anyway?
The importance of regularly publishing relevant, quality content has only grown over the last decade. Your treatment center’s blog is a great way to continually add meaningful, relevant content to your website.
A well-maintained blog also establishes your behavioral health center’s position as a thought leader by sharing industry knowledge and experiences. This is a good first step toward building the reputation needed to improve your SEO.
But the value doesn’t stop there.
You have access to behavioral health experts on your staff. Use them! With their expertise, you can share helpful information, offer perspectives on trends in the field, and share how your treatment center is acting on relevant research.
Beyond the value of thought leadership, blogging generates new leads. More than half of marketers report gaining new customers solely through blogging.3
Are your competitors regularly posting blog articles? If they aren’t, take advantage of their oversight to elevate your position on the SERP by fortifying your behavioral health SEO with content. If the competition is blogging, focus your efforts on fresh, new topics they haven’t covered. High-quality content wins every time.
5. Keep Your SEO Fresh
People are looking at healthcare centers across all fields of medicine more than ever before. About 80% of Americans say they’ve searched for healthcare-related information online in the past year.4 When they’re looking for a behavioral health center, is yours at the top of the SERP?
You know behavioral healthcare SEO is how you get there, but implementing the strategies we’ve discussed isn’t enough. SEO isn’t a “set it and forget it” deal.
Many marketing experts agree the most effective SEO plans are tweaked every three to six months. When you think about 2.5 quintillion data bytes being added to the internet every day, it’s easy to see why.5 More data means more competition for the top spot on the SERP.
From first-time strategies to monthly updates, Dreamscape Marketing can help you optimize your behavioral health SEO strategy and keep it up-to-date. Schedule a strategy session with us by calling 888.307.7304.
For a list of references, please contact us.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2022 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.