Therapist/Counselor SEO Strategy

stones stacked up like in a therapist office

Below are the steps I would take to rank well in Google for a therapist or counselor.

A friend of mine just launched her counseling business in Portland, Oregon and this is the strategy I wrote for her.

Objective: Rank In Google For Therapy-related Keywords

  1. counseling portland or
  2. therapy portland or
  3. new wave counseling (brand)

SEO Strategy For Therapist and/or Counselor

Step 1: Optimize Website Home Page

  1. Keyword(s) in SEO title: Therapist Portland, Oregon – New Wave Counseling
  2. Create 1,000+ words of unique content on home page. Longer content usually ranks better and most people are lazy and don’t do a good job with it. Video explains:

At the end of this post, I’ve outlined Home Page Content Ideas you can use to create 1,000+ words. Each section is meant to be a different topic.

  1. Have a clear call to action. What action do you want people to take when they find your site? You can have multiple calls to action such as a button, hypertext, etc and it can be in multiple places on your home page.
  2. List physical office address on home page, including business name, address, phone # consistent with Google Business Page and all online directories like Yelp, yellow pages, etc. Click to call phone # is also nice if you want phone calls.
  3. Social media links – link to any of these that you use, this helps with tying your brand together. If you are setting these up, try to get them to be the same name as your business name. 

Step 2: Claim and Optimize Google Business Page

  1. Make sure to have your business name, address, phone # consistent with what is on your website.
  2. Get the correct category(s), if you’re not sure, check out your competitors and see what categories they selected.
  3. Include your business description, include main keywords

 Step 3: Link Building/Citations

  1. Google your main keyword(s) – i.e. “therapist Portland Oregon” you will see some individual businesses and you will also see online directories where you might be able to get a free listing. Search 1-2 pages of Google and try to get listed in any directories you see, including Yelp and the ones pictured below

search results for therapist portland or 12-10-2020
Step 4: Let Your Friends Know

  1. Send an email to everyone you know telling them what you do and how they can help you, share your website with them. This is exactly what I did upon launching my SEO business in 2011 and I got my first client as a direct result of that email.

Ongoing SEO Strategy For Therapist and/or Counselor

Once you’ve completed all of the above, I recommend the following as an ongoing strategy. Remember, your website is a living, breathing thing and the more often you update it with fresh content, the more relevant it will remain to Google’s algorithm.

  • Continue adding content to your website, dedicate pages to each individual service you offer first, and then add a blog where you can write about FAQ, case studies, etc. Be sure to keep aiming for 1,000+ words for each page
  • Share all of your content on your Google Business page
  • Get reviews on your Google Business page
  • Get your business listed in other online directories or use a citation building service

Home Page Content Ideas

Below are several ideas for creating 1,000+ words of content on your home page to help it rank better in Google. Of course, design is important and you’ll either have to get crafty yourself or hire a web designer to present all of these words in a way that looks nice to users.
I’ve broken each idea for a block of content into sections below:

section 1:

  • Title this first section “Portland Therapy and Counseling”
  • Make this title an H1 (heading 1)
  • Include keyword(s) early in content (therapy, therapist, counseling, Portland, Oregon and related terms)
  • Include things like what you do, where you do it, why should people choose you, how are you different from other therapists and counselors?

section 2:

  • Title this section “Our Therapy and Counseling Services”
  • Make this title an H2 (heading 2)
  • Write about the core types of therapy services you provide with brief descriptions of them, and be sure to include a list of other specific counseling services (like bulleted list Isaac emailed me) and you might describe some of these, too

section 3:

  • Title this section “New Wave Counseling – Our Process”
  • Make this title an H2 (heading 2)
  • Describe what is it like to work with you, what is your process, do you work with clients all over the world or just your city?

section 4:

  • Title this section “Counseling Testimonials” and make it an H2
  • Include testimonials, reviews of your business, even a few case studies or examples
  • From a design perspective this could work well as a left/right slider, so that it is not a long list of testimonials

section 5:

  • Title this section “How to find a therapist?” and make it an H2
  • Include your personal advice on how to select a therapist, you might include who works best with you? What are your typical clients?

section 6:

  • Title this section “About Our Therapist” and make it an H2
  • This section is like a typical “About Us” page, include your background, experience, and how you got started in the business, what excites you about it

section 7:

  • Title this section “Therapy & Counseling Awards” and make it an H2
  • If applicable, list any awards, acknowledgements, certificates, accreditations you’ve received

section 8:

  • Review autocomplete, related searches, and Google questions for any other ideas for what to write about related to your main keywords (see, 1:20 mark)
  • When I Google “therapist Portland OR,” under “People also ask” I see these, which are also great ideas for content on your home page:
    • Should you see a psychiatrist or a therapist?
    • Is there a difference between a therapist and a psychotherapist?
    • How much does therapy cost?
    • Is seeing a therapist a good idea?

people also ask - therapist portland or 12-10-2020


As you can see, it’s a lot of startup work to rank well in Google and there are no guarantees.

The outline above adheres to Google’s policies and makes use of best practices that are agreed upon by most SEO specialists.

I hope you find it helpful and by the way, the total word count for this blog post is now 1,033 words, according to my WordPress word counter 🙂

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