You’re ready to launch your site and get your group practice in front of your potential clients, but do you know what Specialties potential clients in your area are searching for?
Do your Specialties have demand?
In some zip codes, people may not be searching for “depression therapy”, but focus on anxiety or trauma—or vice versa. (Admittedly, that example does sound unlikely, but the idea rings particularly true for more distinct Specialties like, say, equine therapy or music therapy.)
The point being… what Specialties have demand is highly dependent on your area.
At the same time—to return to the former example—you may have landed on a Specialty with high demand, but the keyword you’ve chosen isn’t the one potential clients are searching.
In some areas potential clients don’t search “depression counseling”, but search “depression therapy”. Aligning your Specialty Pages with the exact search term can be the difference between a Page 1 group practice, and a site that potential clients never see.
So, it’s paramount to know what people in your area are searching for. Otherwise, who will your site connect with?
What Are Your Specialties?
First thing first, even before you launch your website (ideally), is to figure out what Specialties you can offer. Not everyone is trained in all Specialties, and that’s perfectly fine. So, break out a legal pad, or a notepad document, or whatever is most convenient for you for taking notes and ask yourself three vital questions:
- What are you interested in?
- What are you trained in?
- What are other practitioners in your group interested in? (And, what are they experts in?)
Make sure the list is complete by conferring with the other members of your practice. And then start whittling the list down.
You don’t have to pursue everything. And it can be better, when starting out, to begin small and expand down the road. It’s a good rule of thumb to remember that when you try to do everything you often end up doing nothing.
My own list might look like:
What we’ve done is get our general terms. But these are just terms—not keywords. Now, with a bit of elbow grease and SEO research we’re going to turn the above terms into proper keywords.
Keyword Research: Identifying Demand
Here’s where we turn to the tools of SEO to make sure our group practice Specialties use the optimal keyword. Because, unfortunately, we can’t trust our guts when it comes to picking keywords. And it’s not even enough to pick, generally, what potential clients are searching. We want to pick the exact keyword people are searching if we want our group practice to thrive.
So, we turn to a handy tool called KWFinder. (I’m using myself as an example to show how this works.)
On KWFinder, what I do is I plug in all of the Specialties that I’m interested in—one at a time—along with the town in which my practice is in.
One thing I also do, is add “therapy” or “counseling” to each of my terms, e.g. “depression counseling”. I want the keywords that KWFinder shows me to be related to Private Practices. Terms like “depression” or “anxiety” on their own, when searched on Google, show general information about depression and anxiety, rather than local therapists in my area.
So, I plug in “depression counseling”. Let’s take a look at what KWFinder shows us:
Only 20 searches a month. Not very high.
Let’s try “depression therapy”.
Wow. That’s a lot more! At 140 searches a month this is the keyword I want to use for the name of my Specialty Page. And then I can use the term, “depression counseling” in my H2 headers as a secondary keyword to flesh out the page.
By using KWFinder I’ve identified a Specialty with high demand, and then refined my keywords so that I pick a name for my Specialty that aligns with what my potential clients are searching.
Notice too that by searching the keyword on KWFinder I discovered other opportunities for Specialties. In Denver, “ketamine treatment” is very popular, at 780 searches per month. If I, or one of my group practice members, is able to offer ketamine treatment it’s definitely something I want to pursue.
The trick then is to search each of your Specialties and discover the keyword with the highest search volume. It requires a bit of finagling.
A good tip is to search for variations of your Specialty. So don’t just search “depression counseling” but try “depression therapy” as well. Doing so generates slightly different lists of keywords so that you best pick the one that’s being searched in your area.
“What If No One Searches My Specialty?”
Let’s say you or one of your group practitioners are trained in hypnotherapy but no potential clients in your area is searching for “hypnotherapy”. All of the keywords return “0 searches per month.” Then what?
Unfortunately, then you’re playing with luck.
You can still offer the Specialty. Maybe the reason there’s no demand is because nobody in your area has offered hypnotherapy before. But I wouldn’t bet on it as the main means of connecting your site with potential clients.
If you want to grow your group practice then it’s best to stick with what potential clients are searching. That doesn’t mean don’t branch out into new territory, but stick with what’s familiar before doing so.
Using Google To Find Specialties With Demand
As a quick aside, yes, you can use Google to try and figure out what people are searching for, but it’s not foolproof.
And this warrants a discussion of local vs. national terms. And I’ll try to be brief.
Local terms are keywords that ping local results. Easy enough, right? When I search “depression therapy” I know it’s a local term because Google shows me the Google Business Profile 3-pack near the top of the results:
National terms do not ping the 3-pack. So, the term “depression” is a national keyword:
That’s why, group practices should never call their Specialty Page, “Depression” (which we have seen). Potential clients don’t search just “depression”. They search “depression therapy” (or “counseling,” depending on your area).
Following all that, you could Google variations of your Specialties and see what pings a local results vs. a national result, and try and make an inference about which one gets more search results, based on what your competitors are using.
It’s a very scattershot approach, and I can’t recommend it. You’re unlikely to land on the exact phrase that’s being searched.
Successful practices, whether group or individual, are successful online because they align (see the pun?) their websites with what potential clients are searching for. You and your group may be the best practitioners on the planet, but if your website isn’t set up to match with the way potential clients search then you won’t be able to help any one.
But with a little patience, and a little SEO-tinkering, you can ensure that you and your group practice are set up for success, so that you can focus on what matters: helping others.