Mental Health practitioners in private practice like counselors, therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists all need to continually receive quality patients each month to successfully run their practice. One of the best ways to do that is through search engine optimization, or SEO. One of the (if not the) most important parts of SEO is content creation on your website. These can take the form of pages, product pages, or blogs. Today’s post will focus on blogs. We will dive headfirst in everything you need to know about how to blog for your mental health practice, mental health blog ideas, and why you should be blogging.
Want to jump ahead? Choose a section below:
1. Who should I blog for?
2. What Makes a Good Blog?
3. What is the Best Blogging Platform?
4. Mental Health Blog Ideas
5. Why Blogging is Important
6. Does Blogging Help with SEO?
7. SEO Blog Tips
8. How to Optimize Blog for SEO
What are Blogs?
First things first, what are blogs? According to Wikipedia:
“A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (“posts”). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.”
According to dictionary.com:
“a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
Dictionary.com’s definition mentions that a blog can be run by an individual or a small group. Blogs can also be run by large organizations. In fact, many large corporations have adopted blogging as a means to producing content marketing (in tandem with other channels like social media). There are many reasons why blogging is important for SEO which we will explore in detail further in this post.
Blogs allow your practice the opportunity to create unique content on what your patients care about, and then are picked up by Google and indexed, or placed, in their search results. This process of ranking higher on search engines is search engine optimization. Blogging can be a major benefit to your mental health practice if done properly.
Now that we understand what blogs are, let’s explore what makes a good blog.
1. Who Should I Blog for My Mental Health Practice?
It may seem obvious who you should blog for with your mental health practice. But many mental health professionals we work with seem to be writing to impress the wrong audience. They write eloquent blogs that seem to be targeting other mental health professionals. This won’t help your practice grow unless your main customers are other mental health practitioners.
Instead, you really have two audiences. Let’s discuss who you should be blogging for:
Your first and most important audience for private practice mental health blogging are your patients. These are the people who you help, they pay the bills and keep the lights on in your office. Think about what your patients care about, what they need help with, and how you can help them.
2. Search Engines
The next (perhaps equally important) audience you must write for are the search engines, like Google. If you don’t write for search engines, they won’t be able to properly read your blogs and will have trouble indexing, or placing, your blogs on their search results. This can be devastating because then your patients won’t find your practice.
2. What Makes a Good Blog for Mental Health?
“Good” is a very subjective term. What’s considered “good” to a psychologist might be unreadable to a potential patient. But let’s try to establish some components that every good mental health blog includes:
- Written on Purpose
- Targets your patient(s) (think about what they search for related to their condition(s) and what you offer)
- Written at a level your patients can read easily (skip the fancy lingo)
- Adds Value to what your patients care about
- Original Content (make sure your content does not exist on other websites)
- Researched and Informative (Make sure what you write down is true or your professional opinion)
- Unique Voice (Along the lines of making your content original, don’t copy someone else’s work!)
- Related to Practice Goals (When you’re thinking about writing, think about your business goals. What are you trying to accomplish? What kind of patients do you want to attract?)
Let’s explore each of these aspects that make a good blog:
Written on Purpose:
Everything mental health professionals blog about should be done on purpose. Don’t just write to write. Think about who your patients are and what they want or need. Think about the reasons why a blog could help your practice. Find what your patients are searching for and then deliver (we’ll show you how to research below).
Targets Your Patient(s)
Every practice has unique patients. Think about the patients that you treat. Which conditions do you treat? Which treatment methods do you use? While blog can have many niches, it’s important to align each service that you offer with what patients care about.
Written So Your Patients can Read It
Your patients are not doctors (most of them!). Your blogs should reflect that and should be written in simple terms.
Writing just to write helps no one. The best mental health blogs are written to focus on their patients. There are many ways to help out your audience, it’s important to learn what your audience wants from you.
Original content is critical. Not only is copying content not cool, Google knows when copy is not original. It may not place your blog on it’s search results if it deems your blog has been copied from somewhere else. Even worse, Google could penalize your site so that it does not show up in search results at all! This can be devastating for your practice.
Researched and Informative
Every post you write should be well-researched. A major goal of writing blogs is to be an authority voice in your niche/industry. If you post without researching, your business’ reputation may suffer.
Finding a unique voice in your blog falls under branding strategies for your business. There are a million ways to say something, try to find a voice that resonates with your target customers.
Related to Practice Goals
One of the most important factors for creating a great mental health practice blog is making sure that what you write targets your practice goals. If you’re trying to increase the number of Anorexia patients that you treat, your blogs should be heavily focused on topics around Anorexia.
3. What is the Best Blogging Platform?
There are many great blog platforms out there. We use WordPress for this blog as well as for client blogs. But you can accomplish the same things on Wix or other blogging platforms.
WordPress is our number one choice, and for good reason. Almost 30% of all websites use WordPress. In addition, it’s free! You can add on a WordPress site to an existing site (in most cases) or you can create your website entirely on WordPress (like this one). WordPress also has a massive online community to help answer any questions you may have. One of the most important reasons is it’s robust SEO tools (like Yoast) that can assist your business in ranking on popular search engines. You can also easily transfer old posts to a new website if needed.
Best Blogging Platform Conclusion:
Like I mentioned above, WordPress is great for blogging, but if you have Wix or another website builder, they more often than not have blogging capabilities.
4. Mental Health Blog Ideas
Let’s explore some options for what to blog about:
- Your Key Services
- Symptoms without Naming Key Services
- Ranking Lists
- Answering Questions
Let’s take a look at these ideas on what to blog about:
Your Key Services
As mentioned above, blogging on topics directly related to your key services can be an effective strategy. We recommend having a service page for each service that you offer, as well as for each condition that you treat. Blogs are ways to push people to your service pages. To do that, your blogs should be specific questions or components of your key services.
Blogging for conditions that you treat can be a great way to get in front of patients. If your client is struggling with “seasonal depression”, and you offer this service, you could create blogs to target this condition, such as:
- What is seasonal depression?
- Do I have seasonal depression?
- Symptoms of seasonal depression
- Treating seasonal depression
- Overcoming seasonal depression
There are so many more ideas out there just on this one condition.
Symptoms without Naming Key Services
Even more blog topics can be created from what people search that does not include your key services. For example, “why do I feel sad in the Winter?” These topics are great ways to introduce your products or services, or what you treat, to a potential patient who needs your help.
Ranking lists are great. A psychologist could create a ranking list like this “5 most common side effects of being isolated” This may or may not be directly related to a specific problem, but can be broken up to target 5 different sub blogs. This kind of blog post also makes great social media content.
The last idea for mental health blogging is to Answer questions your clients are asking. You can easily find questions they ask by going to a site like Quora.com. You can also mentally gather information when you’re treating patients about what the most common questions they have are. You can create separate blogs to address each question, which can help your private practice show up on Google for answers to these questions.
Conclusions on What to Blog About
When asking yourself “what should I blog about in my mental health practice”, it’s important to find out what your patients care about. It’s also important to not push your products or services too hard. The goal is to help, educate, and/or inform. You can then naturally push them to your service offerings through links naturally placed on your blog. For instance, we sell mental health templates to fund TherapyByPro’s administrative and hosting costs.
5. Why Blogging is Important for Mental Health Practices
Many mental health professionals we speak with ask us “what is the purpose of a blog?”, “Why start a blog?”, “what is a blog used for?” There is no correct one answer to these questions. However, from our perspective, blogging and SEO go hand-in-hand. SEO is crucial for allowing your practice to be found for the millions of things your potential patients are searching for. In addition to blogs positioning your practitioners as subject experts, blog SEO targets valuable key phrases (also known as keywords) your patients search for every single day.
Here are some great reasons why blogging is important for your business:
- A blog builds trust with your patients
- A blog can educate your potential clients
- A blog will bring the right type of patients to your website
- A blog will introduce patients to your brand
- A blog can help explain the process of healing
- A blog can cause other websites to link to your site (good for SEO)
- A blog can give you unique content + links to post on social media
- Google and other search engines love websites that publish new content
- Your practice will get new patients if you blog correctly
Let’s drive deeper into why blogging is important for mental health practices:
Blogging builds trust. Along with social media, your blog is the human angle of your business. Blogging builds trust by also showcasing your business’ knowledge.
Educates Your Potential Patients
Blogging educates potential patients who may need your service offerings. Believe it or not, patients search far and wide to find answers to their questions online. Blogs can help connect your brand to your ideal patient.
Brings in Quality Patient Visitors to your Website
Blogging brings in quality visitors to your website. If the blog SEO is done correctly (we’ll get into how to do that a little later), your ideal patients will find your content in search engines.
Connects Patients to your Brand
Blogging connects your ideal patients to your brand. While many people may not know your brand name, they are able to find it based on the content that you produce.
Encourages Inbound Links
Blogging encourages inbound links from other websites. Inbound links are crucial to showing Google that your website is important, or authoritative. While getting links to your content can be difficult, it’s not impossible. It’s important to write great, robust content that ranks highly. If you write with an intention that your blog will serve as a resource for other bloggers, you may start getting links. You can also share your blog on your social media channels and ask influencers to share your content.
Blogging and Social Media Work Hand-in-Hand
If you’re tired of coming up with new social media posts day in and day out, blogging can help! With each blog, you’re producing tons of unique content. This will give you tons of ideas about what to post, and you can include a link back to your blog with more valuable information your patients care about.
Search Engines Love New Content
Blogging brings fresh, new content for the search engines to love. Google and other search engines can see when you add new blog posts to your site. They see this because they have robots running around the internet searching for new content, and then by indexing (finding and placing) your new blog content to their search engine. Fresh content about your subject matter tells Google that you’re an authority voice in the niche, which can help your website rise up rankings over time.
Targets Short and Long-Tail Search Queries
Blogging targets short and long-tail search queries. Let’s take a quick look at what each one of these are:
What are short tail keywords?
Short tail keywords are keywords that are 3 words or less. By this definition, “Short tail keywords” is a short tail keyword.
What are long tail keywords?
Long tail keywords are keywords that are more than 3 words. By this definition, “What are short tail keywords” is a long tail keyword.
The beauty of blogging is that you can write content about any subject that your customers search for.
Increases Your Therapy Practice Leads
Your ideal patients are looking for information constantly. By having blogs targeting what they care about, you can be their solution. This directly affects your bottom line.
6. Does Blogging Help with My Therapy Practice’s SEO?
Does blogging help with SEO? 1 word: Absolutely! A common blog SEO strategy is create a piece of content that targets at least 1 keyword. As you continue producing content and gaining more site authority from search engines, your business will start ranking for more keywords. The more keywords you rank for, the more traffic you get. The more traffic you get, the more leads you get.
Hubspot.com analyzed the question “how many blog posts should you publish every month?” They analyzed more than 13,500 of their customers and the results were staggering:
Their results in words:
As expected, we found that the more blog posts companies published per month, the more traffic they saw on their website. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.
While this study did not analyze blog quality, it is important to state that quality is more important than quantity. However, if your practice can produce quality and quantity, you’re in for reaping maximum benefits!
While getting more traffic is great, it may not be motivation enough for your business to invest all the time and energy needed to blog regularly. However, in that same Hubspot study, they also analyzed the number of leads vs. the number of blogs written:
These results in their words:
For our customer base, we found that an increased blog post publishing frequency correlated with more leads generated. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.
This Hubspot study data shows some startling results for businesses that create more than 16 blog posts each month. While 16+ blog posts per month is nearly impossible for any small business, larger businesses have the resources to hire writers and reap the results. Having said that, writing some blogs is better than writing no blogs! Blogging for SEO purposes can slowly create a self-generating stream of visitors and leads to your business, it is well worth the investment if done properly. So next time someone asks you “does blogging help with SEO” You can show them the data to veritably say YES!
7. SEO Blog Tips
So you may be asking, “how can I blog for my private practice?” Let’s discuss a few SEO blog tips to help get you started:
- Perform keyword research
- Incorporate your keyword(s)
- Write in-depth content
- Quality over quantity
- Incorporate Internal / external linking
- Write in topic clusters
- Have a mobile-friendly, fast website
- Write unique content
Let’s review each of these SEO blog tips:
Perform keyword research
The first SEO blog tip is to perform keyword research. Performing keyword research, or finding what your patients are searching for, is the most vital step in blogging for SEO. All too often we see practitioners writing TONS of content but they haven’t performed keyword research, thus, did not rank for many keywords. There are so many ways you can find keywords for nearly any topic or niche.
Let’s use the keyword “CBT” as an example. Go to Google, type in “CBT for”. You’ll see suggestions from Google. These are keywords that people are searching for! You can do this with any combination to get hundreds or thousands of keywords, like below:
Ah ha! Here are some potentially useful keywords: Keywords that imply intent of research to solve a specific problem related to our keyword. Want a quicker way to do keyword research for all letters like this plus questions people may have that include the keyword? Head over to answerthepublic.com. Type in your keyword (“CBT for”) and watch the magic unfold. You will see keywords for each letter, like below:
198 total results alphabetized! You can also download the full list in an Excel sheet for easy organization.
So let’s say you’ve narrowed down your topic to “CBT for anxiety” You can further input this into answer the public or type it in in Google. Let’s type it in in Google. Now scroll down to the bottom of the search results. You’ll see a header that reads “related searches.” It will look like this:
Some of these are golden keywords you could include in a specific blog post or maybe ideas for more blogs.
Google also offers a free research tool called “keyword planner.” This is a fantastic tool that you can get by signing up for Google AdWords, which is also free.
Let’s suppose you have a seasonal business selling Halloween costumes. Your keywords will most likely also be seasonal. Google has a pretty nifty tool to check out search trends based on time called “Google Trends.”
While this is an incredibly obvious example of a seasonal product, it easily illustrates the point! You can find what time of year (and where geographically) keywords are most relevant! Pretty cool huh? It’s important note that if you’re targeting a time specific trend to have your content produced at least 2 months before the spike occurs. This is because it can take several months or longer to rank for keywords.
So now that we’ve talked about researching keywords your patients care about, let’s continue with some more blogging tips for mental health:
Incorporate your keyword(s)
The next SEO blog tip is to properly incorporate your keywords throughout your blog’s copy. While choosing your keywords is extremely important, inputting them in properly may be just as important! In the next section, we’ll review some best practices to follow for your individual posts.
Write in-depth content
The more in-depth your content is on a subject, the more you look like an expert! Don’t be afraid to give away knowledge secrets. Your patients don’t know you until they know you (if that makes sense). You are the expert, so spell things out thoroughly on niche topics within your niche.
Quality over quantity
Quality in most cases trumps quantity. The same can be said about blogging for SEO. If it takes your practice a week to write a post, that’s perfectly okay! It’s better to have one great post than ten mediocre / bad posts. You will have a much better chance to rank that one great post than the ten mediocre ones.
Incorporate Internal / external linking
Another SEO blog tip to follow is making sure you link internally to your other pages, and link externally to great resources that you reference. We’ll go more in depth on this subject in the next section.
Write in topic clusters
When we write blogs for our clients or when we advise our clients what to write, we typically advise them to use topic clusters. Topic clusters start with a main theme, or topic. In the case of an eating disorder psychologist, an example could be: “Types of eating disorders.” This main theme would list out all the eating disorder types with few paragraphs of information about each. The next step would be to write an in-depth piece on each eating disorder. You could further write in-depth topics on each eating disorders. The idea is that a cluster of posts point back to the main pillar post.
Not only does this organize your blog SEO efforts, but it makes it so much easier to come up with ideas on what to write about.
Have a mobile-friendly, fast website
Site speed is often overlooked when thinking about your website SEO or your blog SEO. It’s very important that your site loads quickly not only from the user’s perspective but from Google’s perspective as well. Site speed is one of the only factors Google has confirmed as a factor for SEO. Here are a few ways to speed up your site:
- Minimize your images size
- Eliminate unnecessary plugins
- Make sure your site is built properly
- Purchase a hosting plan from a fast, reliable host
Write unique content
Our final blog SEO tip is to write original content. Never steal someone else’s content word for word. You can summarize it, or mention it with a link pointed at the original. Just like in grade school, don’t copy someone else’s work!
In tandem with the SEO blog tips above, let’s review how to blog for SEO for individual posts:
- Perform keyword research
- Identify the right keyword(s)
- Complete keyword optimization
- Optimize image alt text
- Write 500 words minimum (we recommend 1000+)
- Make clean URLs (keep your links nice and short. Ex: /my-blog-title/)
- Do Internal Linking (It’s important to link to your service pages and other key pages on your site)
- Do External Linking (Link key studies or health websites, but don’t link to your competitors)
- Optimize metatags and metadescriptions (These are the things that show up on Google search results)
- Create ordered and/or unordered lists (These are bullets or numbered bullets)
- Share it like crazy (Be sure to share your content via social media and other mediums like email)
Let’s drill down how to optimize your blog for SEO in each of these 10 areas:
Perform keyword research
When performing keyword research, we’d recommend using some of the approaches we used above. But you should also get a free Google Ads account and use their keyword planner. With this tool you can discover important keyword ideas, how much they are being searched by patients, and even which keywords your competitors are ranking for. To sign up for an account and use this free tool, follow these instructions:
1. Sign Up for Google Ads
You can find this by searching “Google Ads.”
2. Navigate to Keyword Planner
After you sign up for a free account, navigate to keyword planner by:
- Clicking on the wrench icon that says “Tools and Settings” on the top right menu
- Click on “keyword planner” on the left side of the dropdown
- Click on “Discover New Keywords” your screen will look like this:
- Type in your keyword, like “CBT for anxiety” (you can alternatively type in a competitor’s domain name in the 2nd section below)
- Next, click “get results” and see the keywords that are magically unveiled, like such:
This keyword process should take you a few hours to gather thousands of keywords. I’d recommend organizing your keywords in an Excel Sheet and start grouping similar keywords together. Once you delete non-relevant keywords, start creating a topic idea for each keyword. Follow this process and you will have hundreds of mental health blog ideas to grow your private practice!
Optimizing your blogs for Google (remember, that’s your 2nd audience) is important. A few key tips to follow with the keyword you’re targeting in each blog:
- Aim to include your exact keyword 3-5 times throughout the copy. You can also use variations of this throughout
- Place your main target keyword in your main title (h1)
- Use other target keywords or variations of your main keyword in your subtitles (h2)
- Use your main keyword in your permalink (ex: /cbt-for-anxiety/)
- Insert your main keyword in your metatags and metadescriptions (Both of these are what your patients will see on search engine listings)
- Don’t keyword stuff, this means, don’t use your keywords too many times. As long as your blog is written about your keyword, Google can pick this up
Optimize metatags and metadescriptions
Optimizing your blog for SEO would not be complete without metatag and metadescription optimization. Metatags and metadescriptions are a very important part of SEO for blog posts. This is what people will see when they search on Google or other search engines. For example, here is what this post looks like on Google:
As you can see above, “how to blog about mental health practice” and variations are in the metatitle and in the metadescription. It also seems naturally written. Remember, robots aren’t the only ones reading your blog!
Optimize image alt text
It’s important to remember that image sections on search engines are in fact search engines. We’d recommend using your main keyword or title of your blog in the image(s) on your way. In WordPress, it’s easy to add the alt tag. Go to your media library, click on your image and you’ll see this:
Type in your alt text. You can make it the same as your title. Make sure before you upload the image that the file name of the image includes the correct keywords.
Write 500 words minimum
Many people ask us what is the optimal blog post length for SEO? You’ll hear a lot of different opinions on the number of words you should write on your website pages and blog posts. Our blogs are rarely, if never under 500 words. According to serpIQ, the average page on the first 10 rankings of Google search results each contain over 2000 words, with the top spot containing over 2450 words:
Writing takes time! If you’ve made it this far, you’ve read over 4,500 words! Google and other search engines love robust, quality content that best match the search queries being performed. Do your posts deserve a number 1 spot? It’s tough, but you can do it!
Make clean URLs
Cleaning up your URLs is an “easy win” for your website and blog SEO.
If your blog post looks like this: /234kj34js9skjflsaf82349-jsalkdjl-ksajlaksjflsak-als-jf23-u423jslakf/ – change it! Include your main keyword in the permalink. An easy practice to follow is to use your blog title as your permalink. Make sure it’s not too long. The shorter the better typically.
Do Internal Linking
Another way how to blog for SEO is to do internal linking. This is a big, easy win for your blog SEO. we have seen my search engine rankings jump 40-50 spots by following this SEO tactic. According to Wikipedia:
“An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a webpage to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain. Hyperlinks are considered either “external” or “internal” depending on their target or destination.”
It’s important to link internally to your main therapy services or other pages that will bring you direct monetary value.
Do External Linking
Many bloggers are hesitant to link out to other websites. Here are a few reasons why you should link externally:
- Linking externally incentivizes links to come in to your blog
- Search engines likely reward the behavior of linking externally
- Linking externally properly gives credit to resources you’ve used
Create ordered and/or unordered lists
This is another blog SEO strategy that can benefit you greatly. Ordered and unordered lists are not as scary as they sound. They are bullets and numbered lists! Here’s an example of how using these strategically can benefit you in the search rankings:
As you can see above, our parent company’s post on “How to build local SEO for small business” is ranked 3rd, yet we have an entire massive section highlighting our post above the other 2 search results! This is because we have captured what Google calls the “featured snippet.” Answering questions is a great blog post type to do to get featured snippets. Not only do you get clicks on your search engine ranking, but even more clicks on your featured snippet!
Share it like crazy
The final way how to optimize your blog for SEO is to share it like crazy. It’s important once you publish your blog to share it on all your social media channels, send an email to your subscribers, inform influencers, and distribute on content distribution tools, such as mix.com. We also recommend writing multiple posts on your social media over time to “slow drip” all those good social signals to your website.
Final Thoughts on How to Blog About Mental Health
Thank you for reading our post on How to Blog About Your Mental Health Practice: The Complete Guide. We hope you learned about why blogging is important for your mental health practice, how to blog for mental health, and picked up quite a few mental health blog ideas for your practice. As you’ve read above, The benefits of blogging for mental health practices are enormous. If you need help with your SEO strategy, our therapist marketing company, TherapistX, can help!
We greatly appreciate you visiting our site. TherapyByPro is a free mental health directory that helps promote mental health professionals and connect them with patients who need help. If you’d like to support our mission, please consider purchasing a mental health template for your practice!