What Is Local SEO? Defining Local SEO for Therapists in Private Practice

When people have a local need, they will often turn to the internet to find something nearby. Our culture as a whole increasingly uses the internet first, before friends or personal recommendations, to find local information, local services, and local connections.

This means that there is huge potential to attract new clients to your psychotherapy practice via local search engine optimization, or local SEO.

You may know a bit about SEO in general: it helps your website increase it’s visibility in search engine results. But local SEO is more specific.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the collection of on page and off page factors that can help your website be seen within results that are served to your geographic area.

Even in the case of something as general as “couples therapist”, even in these types of global searches that do not have a location in the search query, local SEO is what will help ensure your practice is among the results that comes up.

Your business can come up in a result for such a general term because Google and other search engines realize

  • Where the searcher is located when they are searching
  • If what they are searching for is a local service

You’ve probably noticed this happening yourself. Have you ever been out and about and suddenly get a craving for vegan pizza?

If you type in “vegan pizza” into the search box of your phone, you won’t get vegan pizza recipes, you won’t get a definition of what vegan pizza is, you’ll get some suggestions on where to find vegan pizza near you.

And the same thing happens if searchers have a craving for healing with psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy is considered a local business. Therefore, if someone is in your area performing the search for psychotherapy services, Local SEO can help your local business become relevant to the search query of that searcher in your local area.

The Types of Practices That Benefit from Local SEO

Most private therapy practices that are focused on offering face-to-face sessions will benefit from doing local SEO.

If you are exclusively an online therapy practice, you may still benefit from local SEO. It depends on who you are targeting, what your budget for SEO is, and your marketing strategy.

For instance, some online therapists only work within their state or region or country. If this is the case, local search engine optimization strategy will still be a good investment for you (particularly if you are limited to your state or region).

Is Local SEO More Important Than Traditional SEO?

Local SEO is not more important than traditional SEO, you actually need both.

“Regardless of business model, every local business website needs to be indexable, error-free, multi-device-compliant, well-structured, and properly optimized.” – Moz

The factors that help with traditional SEO will also help with Local SEO. Think of Local SEO as an additional set of approaches towards the specific goal of getting into local search results, rather than an alternative to traditional SEO.

In terms of building an SEO strategy for a private practice then, any strategy ought to consider both local SEO and traditional SEO and evaluate how to work on both.

What Matters in Local SEO

Similar to traditional SEO for psychotherapists, Local SEO also takes into consideration on-page and off-page website factors.

Examples of On Page Local SEO Factors

  • Having your name, address, and phone number, often called NAP, is on your website consistently
  • Having a contact page linked in the primary website navigation
  • Schema markup for your local business location
  • Publishing a blog with relevant and fresh content
  • Content like services or events pages that are specific to your geographic area

Examples of Off Page Local SEO Factors

  • Listings – listings make your business visible and are at the core of local SEO. Listings are on websites and directories like Google+ Local, Yelp, Bing Places, and more.
  • Citations – references to your name, address, phone number, and/or website (NAP+W)
  • Social Media – Being present and helpful on the social media platforms that are a good match for your niche market

Should Psychotherapists Get Reviews For Local SEO?

In local SEO for non-mental health related local businesses, reviews can be a central part of local search engine marketing strategy. Not only to reviews help with ranking local businesses higher, they also increase conversion rates meaning that those website visitors exposed to your rankings, when the rankings are positive, will be more likely to reach out to you and become a client.

However, a psychotherapy private practice is not a typical local business. There are things like confidentiality, not pressuring your clients to give reviews, and other ethical considerations.

The decision if you collect reviews for your practice may depend on considerations like who you get reviews from, ethical guidelines that you follow, and your own personal comfort with this form of online marketing.

Make sure to research if getting reviews to boost your local SEO might work for you before you invest into this facet of local SEO.

Where to Go To Learn More About Local SEO

Moz is one of the best resources out there for local SEO. For some practical guidance, take yourself through this local SEO checklist to walk through a series of steps to become more visible in local search results.

For recent metrics of what’s working in local SEO, you can also take a look at this survey on local search engine ranking factors.

And there is so much more out there. Highly encouraged: a deeper delve into what local SEO is and how it could fit into your search engine marketing strategy.

Local SEO Leads to Helping More People

The more people you reach online, the more opportunities you’ll be given to truly help them. And not to just help anyone who walks in the door. More leads means you have the ability to choose which clients are an actual best match for you.

When you connect with your ideal client and help them, that’s when you’ll really be affecting change.

Was this article helpful? Do you feel like you have a basic understanding of what local SEO may achieve for a local psychotherapy practice?

Reach out to me and let me know anytime, you can send me a note or tweet me anytime. It’s so cool when I hear from you!

About Kat Love

Hi, I'm Kat! I'm the founder and lead designer here at Empathysites. Therapists helped me heal from childhood sexual abuse so now I help therapists with creating their websites. I write on topics like website design, strategy, and turning website visitors into clients. Reach out anytime if you'd like to say hi. PS. my pronouns are they/them/their. Thanks.