Local SEO Guide for Psychiatrists: 5 Steps to Boost Your Google Rankings

/Local SEO Guide for Psychiatrists: 5 Steps to Boost Your Google Rankings
Local SEO Guide for Psychiatrists: 5 Steps to Boost Your Google Rankings

Psychiatrists today face real challenges in attracting new clients. Word of mouth is still a vital source of referrals, but more and more prospects now run a simple Google search and call the first couple of psychiatrists on the results page. To build your client base, then, you need to find your way to the top of Google rankings.

SEO for Psychiatrists

We will take you through our proven, step by step process for catapulting your business to the top of the results. First, though, let’s step back and examine why local SEO is so valuable to psychiatrists.

3 Reasons for Psychiatrists to Invest in Local SEO

  1. Bye-bye Yellow Pages, Hello Google: Gone are the days when a psychiatrist could simply place an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. Today, a stunning 97% of people search online for local goods and services, and Google is the undisputed champ.
  2. Free Traffic: Although it is gradually changing, advertising remains one of the biggest expenses for any small business. Boosting your Google ranking gives you a constant supply of free traffic that you can convert to paying clients.
  3. Speedy Results: National and international companies must wait, on average, 6 to 12 months to see results from a new SEO campaign. You have a significant advantage, though. You are only competing with other psychiatrists in your local area, not those halfway around the globe. And many of your competitors are not yet taking advantage of local SEO. This means that a targeted campaign could get you onto the first page of local Google listings in just 30 days!

Step 1: Choose Your Keywords

The first step is simple. Just create a quick list of keywords that reflect your services. For example, you might choose “psychiatrist”, “psychoanalyst”, or “mental health”. When you have a reasonably complete list, sign up for a free Google AdWords account.

You do not need to build or fund an ad campaign. You just want access to the free Google Keyword Planner. This useful tool lets you see how much traffic each keyword drives, and offers suggestions for related keywords that you might not have considered.

Next, finalize your list of keywords. All keywords can be loosely separated into 2 general categories:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords signal that a prospect is ready for your services now. For example, “psychiatrist for medication management in Chicago” likely means that the client has an existing diagnosis and prescription, and needs someone now to monitor his care.

Your main focus should be on your buying intent keywords, as they drive fast results. Sprinkle them through your homepage and build separate service pages around them.

  • Research Intent: Research intent keywords generally mean that the prospect is “just looking.” She might need a psychiatrist at some point, but not today. For example, someone asking about “the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist” might be considering her options for future treatment.

These keywords do not drive speedy conversions, so they are not your top priority. However, they are wonderful for blog posts and FAQs, which allow you to introduce yourself to those who may need your services in the future.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

With your finalized keyword list in hand, it is time to optimize in 2 places—your Google My Business page and your website. Here’s how:

Google My Business

Your Google My Business is basically a miniaturized website for Google’s “Maps” section. It gives a short overview of your practice and boosts your online presence. It can also help boost your rankings quickly, as it is easier to achieve high rankings with a Google My Business page than with a website.

To optimize, fill out all of these elements accurately and completely:

  • Verification: First, claim your page and submit it for Google’s verification process. You will know this is done when you see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your business name.
  • NAP: Your NAP, or business name, address, and phone number, must be correct and identical everywhere that it appears online. To reassure Google that your business is local, use a local phone number rather than an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google categories must present services rather than results. Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist are both valid Google categories, as is Hypnotherapy Service, if that service applies to your practice. Try to list 3 to 5 categories, if possible.
  • Description: The description is simply a 100 to 200-word overview of your practice that ends with a call to action. Try this format: {Name of Practice} is a {psychiatrist} in {Your City}. {Give some information about your specialties and/or why clients love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first session.
  • Hours: Make sure that your office hours are up to date, and that they are listed correctly across the internet. If you are available on an emergency on-call basis, list those hours separately.
  • Images: Images are key to enhancing client engagement and helping new prospects understand what to expect. Add some photos of your office and staff (but not your clients due to confidentiality concerns). Make sure your images are sharply focused, sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. Also consider replacing the default Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Prioritize your “core” pages, such as your homepage and service pages. Optimize them for buying intent keywords. Then optimize your “content” pages, such as FAQs and blog posts, for your research intent keywords. Here’s how:

  • Homepage: The most critical element on your homepage is the title tag. Like a book’s chapter title, the title tag should describe your practice in just 50 to 65 characters. Try this format: Psychiatrist in {Your City} | {Name of Your Practice}.

The meta description is a 100 to 150-character overview of your main services, ending with a call to action. Format it something like this: {Name of Practice} offers professional {psychiatric services, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first visit!   

Also known as the H1, the visible headline must contain your primary category. Format it similarly to: {Psychiatrist} in {City, State}.

Your 500 to 1000-word page copy comes last. Make sure it is tightly written and edited, explains your practice and core services, and ends with a strong call to action. Use your primary keyword as it naturally fits, but avoid forcing it in.

  • Service Pages: Each core service needs a separate service page. Optimize it just like the homepage, focusing on the relevant keyword.

Step 3: Build Citations and Links

The skeleton of your local SEO campaign is now in place, and you are ready to build citations and links. Both improve your Google rankings by enhancing your online reach.

  • Citations: A citation is simply an online directory listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number). You can have citations in general national directories such as Facebook and yellowpages.com, general local directories such as your Chamber of Commerce website, and targeted mental health service directories. Make sure your NAP is exactly the same across all listings.

While free listings are readily available, some directories charge a fee. Before you pay, look at Google Analytics. It would make no sense to pay for a listing that will not drive traffic and conversions.

  • Links: Inbound links from credible and authoritative websites are a key factor in achieving the highest Google rankings. Develop relationships with service providers whose specialties complement your own, such as community mental health clinics and local counselors, and then ask to trade links. You can use a tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer to see where your competitors’ links come from.

Step 4: Ask for Reviews

Customer reviews play two important roles in your local SEO campaign. First, they help prospects decide to try your services. Second, they let Google know that your business is legitimate. While all reviews are valuable, the fastest rankings boost will come from Google My Business reviews. Send your satisfied clients an email with a link to your page, and ask them directly for a review. If you do this regularly, you will soon have a steady stream of recent reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

The only way to understand which parts of your campaign are working and which need tweaking is to track your results. There are a mind-boggling number of ways to analyze your data, but these metrics are the most essential:

  • Rankings: Google displays customized rankings based on your past browsing behavior. This means that a tool is needed to learn your true rankings. Ask your webmaster to install the free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), and check your rankings at least once a month.

To dig deeper into your rankings, consider a paid tool such as RankRanger.com. This highly useful tool tracks your Google My Business page as well as your individual webpages, and it will automatically update ranking data from all of your SEO campaigns.

  • Traffic: Google Analytics is arguably the best tool for tracking your website visitors, known as your traffic. You can not only see your overall traffic, but also the traffic for each separate webpage and what portion of traffic came from Google search. Read your report at least once every month, with an eye toward discovering any long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a specific action you want prospects to take, such as contacting you for 10% off their first visit. Google Analytics lets you track both phone and web conversions, learn which of your webpages have the highest and lowest conversion rates, and find out which services drive the most conversions.

Ready to Get Started?

Now you know why a targeted local SEO campaign is so important to building your client list. Work through the 5 steps one at a time, taking care to complete each step before moving on to the next. Here is a recap of the 5 steps:

  1. Keyword research
  2. Keyword optimization
  3. Citations and Links
  4. Reviews
  5. Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping psychiatrists attract more local customers through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

Click here to request a Free SEO Quote