Has your autism treatment center’s website been struggling to rank on search engines? Is your autism treatment SEO strategy not as successful as you’d like? That might be because Google’s algorithm is always changing.
To keep ranking, you have to evolve your autism treatment SEO strategy.
A robust, up-to-date search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is the key to making sure your pages are ranking and reaching your target audience. When your prospective patients and their families are searching for a new autism treatment center, a Google search is their first stop.
Google currently controls at least 66% of web traffic referrals and getting a spot at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) will significantly increase your organic traffic.1 Search engines drive three times more visitors to health-related websites than any other type of research a patient might engage in.2 More than 25% of users click the first Google search result.3
These days, autism treatment SEO is no longer optional for any treatment center.
How to Improve Autism Treatment SEO
So, how do you know what to focus on when you’re building your autism care digital marketing strategy? There are five components of autism treatment SEO marketing that are must-haves.
1. Keyword Research
The first step to any good autism treatment SEO strategy is keyword research. A keyword is the term you want a page to rank for on search engines.4 Google’s crawlers search websites for indicators of what the site is about. Those indicators are the keywords you’ve used throughout your text, and they also tell Google how much authority your site has. Sites with higher authority rank higher in search results.
When you’re selecting your target keywords, consider what questions patients, families, and caregivers may have before performing a search for information about autism treatment centers.
What words and phrases would you want them to type into Google if your center was a perfect match for them? This is the keyword research that helps you identify the best short- and long-tail keywords to use on your website.
2. Content and Metadata Development
Once you’ve selected your keywords, they need to be seeded throughout your website. Your written content must include your keywords—without stuffing them in a way that comes off as forced or unnatural.
Have you ever read an article that used a specific phrase over and over in a way that just didn’t make sense? That’s called keyword stuffing, and it should definitely be avoided!
Google penalizes sites that overuse keywords without context.5 Your keywords should be included in your article, specifically in the metadata, but only where relevant. Generally, the rule is to distribute your keyword or phrase about once every 300 words.
Metadata includes your headline, at least one header tag, the meta description, and the featured image alt-description.
3. Internal and External Linking
Another component of your SEO strategy is internal and external links. Internal linking is fairly straightforward. Every time you post blogs, service pages, or any other key pages, add at least one link to another of your website’s pages.
External linking, or backlinking, is a bit more complex. There are a few different ways to use backlinks to support your autism treatment SEO. External links should make sense for the content. A formal link exchange with another website that is unrelated to your autism treatment center is strictly prohibited and can result in penalties being assessed against your website’s ranking.
But reciprocal linking to a relevant peer business that you have a relationship with—such as a vendor whose products you use in your treatment or to an external resource center for families—is acceptable.6
Another popular strategy for backlinking is to write a guest blog for a high authority website and include a link back to your treatment center’s website. In this case, you or one of your team members writes an article about autism treatment for a general healthcare site or even a local publication. Many journalists look for subject matter experts on topics like autism for their publications. Since there’s a clear relationship between that site and yours, search engines should recognize the link as valuable.
4. Technical SEO
Technical SEO is a category of SEO strategies that make your website more attractive to Google’s crawlers. Google prioritizes sites that load quickly and are optimized for mobile devices.
When your website is optimized and easy to use, your pages are much more likely to rank high on Google. You should also make sure your website has a site map and doesn’t generate any error messages.
Google Search Console is a wonderful free tool that allows you to check for these potential errors.
5. Local SEO
Local SEO is possibly the most important component of your autism treatment center’s SEO marketing plan. Since your patients will likely live near your center, they’ll be searching locally. So, include keywords and landing pages specific to your area.
A Google Business Profile (GBP) is essential for sharing information about the treatment your center provides. Your GBP is often the first contact a potential patient has with you, so what you share there should always be complete and up to date. GBP also has several features that can be helpful for conversion.
Google Maps integration, direct messaging, appointment scheduling, and patient reviews are all integrated into your GBP page. In fact, just having a GBP listing can actually improve your local SEO ranking.7
Do you have questions about how you can improve your autism treatment SEO? Dreamscape can help. Contact us at 888.307.7304 to schedule your free strategy session.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2021 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
For a list of references, please contact us.