Is your mental health facility’s website optimized for voice searches on digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant? If not, the time is ripe for making this a part of your marketing plan – 5 million people in the U.S. now use voice search technology, and many of those searches are specifically for local businesses. Mental health marketers who pay attention to the nuances of voice search optimization will boost their website’s ranking in such searches, improving your chance of meeting people where and when they most need your services.
The use of voice search is accelerating, and is expected to account for 50 percent of all online searches by next year. It goes without saying that many of those searches will be on mobile devices, so having your website optimized for mobile devices is a critical first step, if you haven’t already done so. Next will be expanding and adapting your current SEO strategy to reflect the different ways people use voice search. Consider these tips to get started:
- Use conversational key terms. Voice searches are longer and more conversational in nature than written ones. Rather than typing a couple of keywords into a Google search bar, people searching by voice are more likely to pose a full-sentence question in natural language, such as, “What is the best addiction treatment facility in Atlanta?” or “I’m looking for a program that specializes in treating depression.” You might start by brainstorming different types of questions people might ask when looking for mental health services. Use these to craft long-tail keywords and sentences using natural phrasing.
- Incorporate often-searched questions and answers into your website content. Develop some content on your website that is tailored to the conversational content voice search bots are looking for. Use the questions you brainstormed to craft a Q&A or FAQ section on your website or blog that will improve your chances of this key information ranking high in patient searches. Do some research by trying different voice searches for mental health treatment and see what facilities pop up first and analyze why, then target your content accordingly. This is also an opportunity to gain visibility in more specific searches that voice users often do, for instance, “Find an outpatient treatment program for bipolar disorder near me,” or “Where can I get confidential help for domestic abuse today?”
- Incorporate speakable structured data into your web page. Work with your SEO and technical specialists to develop a structural data schema optimized for voice searches. This background code helps search engines identify what your data means and cull out the information most relevant for a particular search. It’s important for any type of search engine optimization, but especially key for providing voice searches with the most pertinent information.
- Remember that most voice searches are local in nature, and target accordingly. People are more likely to use voice search when they are on the go and looking for something right away. Sometimes that’s the best Chicago style pizza place in town, sometimes it’s the nearest hardware store, and sometimes it’s an urgent mental health need. Consider what immediate needs people may have for your services, and make sure those things will pop in a voice search – for instance, depression outreach, suicide prevention, help for domestic abuse, or inpatient treatment for addiction. Services that are unique to your program or that you are highly regarded for are prime opportunities for targeting to specific voice searches, such as, “Where can I get help for my son with conduct disorder?” or “Is there a therapist near me who specializes in depression in people with serious illnesses?”
- Make sure key information that appears in web searches is accurate and up-to-date. Check that your phone number, address, business hours and directions are current in internet searches. That may be the first, and sometimes the only, thing searchers see (or hear) and link to, and you want that process to be seamless, inviting and error free.
Voice search is a leap ahead in convenience for potential patients, and it offers significant opportunities for astute mental health marketers to reach patients wherever they are with highly relevant information about services they’re seeking. Incorporating voice search optimization strategy into your mental health marketing plan is important right now, and will be increasingly more so in the future. So if your question is, “Alexa, when is the best time to include voice search optimization in my marketing plan?”, the answer is, “Now!”
Please email me if you’d like to know more about how my motivational branding and “out-of-your-mind thinking” workshops can help you identify bold new approaches for marketing mental health services.