As your private practice grows, you may notice an itch start to rise: the itch to expand your reach, to grow and serve as many people as possible. How do you do it?
Easy enough—on paper: by opening more office locations. These new locations might be in surrounding towns or even in different states—if you’re licensed to practice in those states.
But how are you going to reflect that expansion in your online presence, so that your practice shows up in front of potential clients in those locations?
(Whenever you open new locations, bear in mind that, in order to appease the ever-expanding Google powers that be, you must have physical addresses associated with each location.)
If You Have A Strong Site You Can Rank In Multiple Locations
First things first…
Know that if you already have a strong website for your current location, then it is much easier to rank subsequent locations.
With a strong site, Google already trusts you. You’re established. And the machine expects established practices to expand, organically or geographically or both.
So, it may be a good idea—if you haven’t already opened a second address (or third, or fourth, etc.)—to make sure you’re site is already as strong as it can be. That will make ranking for additional location much easier.
"But I Can't Afford All That Rent"
Yes, we understand. Paying rent on just one location can already be a financial burden. How can it be possible to open another office, or two or three? It starts to sound absurd.
You don’t have to open an office all on your own to rank in other locations.
What’s the solution then? Find another therapist with an office in the location where you want to be and rent a couple hours a week from them. Maybe even half a day a week. Or just Saturday mornings. Whatever minimum works for you.
So long as the address is real it’s fine. (And by real we mean it’s not a P.O. Box or a co-working space; these address-rules are established by Google Business Profile.)
The lesson? You don’t need to open 4 physical offices to rank in 4 locations. That’s way too much rent after all.
An Aside On Location Data
Since we’re talking about appeasing the Google gods, let’s first establish some basics about maintaining an online presence with multiple locations. Think about the last Google search you did and then think about where you were when you did that search.
Were you at home? At your office? At a pizza parlor? Did you know that if you perform that same Google search in a completely different location (even just down the block), you’ll get different results? Give it a try.
Whenever you Google something, the results are tailored to your location. It has to be relevant. How useful would it be for someone to Google “pizza places,” only for Google to serve them results about a pizzeria five states away? Not very helpful at all.
How Location Data Informs Your Practice
Now, think about the above in terms of your practice.
Let’s say you’ve just opened an office one town over. And there’s a potential client looking for “anxiety therapy” on Google, which you happen to Specialize in.
But the location data you’ve fed Google is either too little or nonexistent. Even though you’re in the same town as this potential client, that potential client can’t find you: you’re not in their search results because Google doesn’t think you actually work in that town.
So what’s the solution to expanding your reach?
Feed Google True Location Data With Location Pages
What you need to do is establish Proof of Locality.
Google gets local information through several avenues: one is through your website via location pages. Let’s take a closer look at what makes a great location page.
BUT… first and foremost—and we cannot overstate this—in order to increase the geographical reach of your therapy practice, you must have multiple physical addresses.
If you add location pages to your website simply for the sake of looking like you have multiple locations, Google will know. They cross-reference information from all over the internet and find out that these location pages are faulty or outright untrue, and that is BAD for your website.
Now that we’ve established that these location pages must pertain to actual, physical locations where you practice, and why these pages are so important for your search engine optimization, let’s take a look at what makes a great location page.
Creating Location Pages For Your Practice
There are a few factors that influence whether a location page is, “good enough” for Google. One factor is where you store the location pages on your website. Counseling Wise advises placing your location pages in your navigation menu, at the top of your website. This is separate from your contact page!
When potential clients hover over “Location”, a dropdown menu appears that shows each location where you have an office. Clicking on any particular location brings the potential client to your location page.
There are a few key parts to make an effective location page.
Key Parts Of A Location Page
There are four key parts of a location page:
- Driving Directions
- A Google Business Profile Map
Pictures: we advise that therapists include pictures of their office, both interior and exterior. This creates rapport with a potential client. This gives them a sense of ease because now your office is going to be much easier to spot from the street, either when they park to come meet you for the first time or when they drive by to get a gut feel for your location.
But, most important, pictures provide Proof of Locality for Google. The algorithm sees the images, and says, “Hey this must be real!”
Driving directions: adding driving directions serves a twofold purpose.
- To help potential clients navigate to your practice.
- (And most important) to create proof for Google’s algorithm that the practice is where you say it is.
Driving directions creates a verisimilitude of locality for Google’s algorithm. The machine scans your site and says, “Oh, this practice must really be in this town. Look at all these street names. Guess I’ll bump them higher on the local search results for this town.”
Landmarks: function much the same way as driving directions and are really part of driving directions. When choosing how to give directions to your practice, do so from local landmarks (if applicable).
If you’re in New York City an easy choice might be directions from Radio City Music Hall to your practice. Including a picture that you yourself have taken is fine as well. But even the local Waffle House is a fine choice if it’s well known.
Remember, we’re always aiming for the true, honest, and verifiable when creating location pages.
And lastly… the GBP map:
How The Google Business Profile Increases Your Therapy Practice’s Reach
Now, let’s talk about the proper use of Google Business Profile (GBP). For each location page you have on your website, you should have a correlating GBP for that location. Again, we’re feeding the Google algorithm lots of tasty tidbits about your practice so the bot can verify that you are an actual therapist with actual locations.
You might think we’re beating a dead horse here, but this means having real physical locations, with physical addresses, where you service the population in that area.
You can then use this Google Business Profile Data to further feed your location page, by embedding each location’s GBP map onto each location page on your website. This is the cincher: how Location pages work in conjunction with GBPs to cement your practice’s local rankings.
Once all of the above is finalized and optimized, your site will begin to rank for your locations, getting you in front of the potential clients searching for you.
Interested in strengthening your online presence with Google Business Profiles and Location Pages? Counseling Wise can help!