Few fields are more needed today than those involved in treating those with addictions. The prevalent use illegal drugs, coupled with the abuse of prescription medications and alcohol has had devastating effects in many communities. This "industry" has blossomed in order to meet the need - and continues to grow.
According to statistics available through the U.S. National Institutes of Health, there are now more than 14,000 facilities that specialize in the treatment of those suffering from substance use disorders. These addiction treatment centers typically provide individual and group therapy, on-campus residencies, medication, and life management skills training. The website Statista puts the figure at over 16,000 for the year 2020.
But all of this growth presents a challenging problem for those who own and operate these facilities: competition.
Put simply, how do you compete? An important factor here is that patients may be willing (or even prefer) to seek treatment in a location removed from where they live.
This means that if you are operating an addiction treatment center, you are not just competing locally, within your geographic region - you face competition on a national basis - treatment centers located far away from yours are competing to get clients.
Traditional methods of marketing/advertising have relied extensively on such channels as print (newspaper and magazine) ads, and radio and TV spots, direct mail and other approaches.
And while we are not suggesting that these approaches are without any merit, the addiction treatment niche, as a whole, seems to be, more and more, relying on online promotion as an alternative.
And it's not hard to understand why the shift is happening. There are two main drawbacks to traditional marketing. One of those is certainly cost. Ad placement in these media is very expensive, because in every case, there is a limited amount of space (in the case of print ads) or time (in the case of radio and TV) that can be used for advertising. This scarcity ensures that publications and outlets like radio and TV stations sell available slots at a very high rate.
The second major limitation of traditional marketing is that, at any given moment of time, most of those reading - or hearing - or watching your presentation simply have no interest in or need for your services. And it is notoriously difficult to measure ROI from these advertising channels.
Marketing online has become a popular option for the addiction treatment industry precisely because it overcomes the two hurdles of traditional marketing methods: the cost is far lower and because your visibility is triggered by online searching, you are reaching people when there is the need for your services.
This gives online marketing channels the highest ROI - and a ROI that can be accurately measured - of any form of marketing or advertising.
And online marketing/advertising can target multiple audiences, living in multiple locations. You can compete for clients in your own backyard, or draw from throughout your state, or even the entire nation. All that is required is a different focus to reach different types of searchers.
Have you ever heard about YMYL? How about E-A-T? This is critical-to-know-stuff in the SEO world, and especially relevant to you if you are trying to get visibility for your treatment center.
YMYL is a phrase that comes to us from the search engine Google, and is short for "Your money or your life." A YMYL site is defined by Google as any site where, acting on or even believing (trusting) the information on that site could have a significant impact on that person's health or safety, financial status, well-being or happiness in life.
Examples of YMYL sites would be news sites, sites giving financial advice, sites where products/services are purchased, doctors, attorneys, and medical advice sites, just to name a few.
And if you have a website for your addiction treatment site, that is also a YMYL site.
Now here's the rub: Google has publicly stated that they hold YMYL sites to a very high standard and will only rank highly these sites if they display EXPERTISE, AUTHORITY and TRUSTWORTHINESS. That is what E-A-T stands for, and meeting that standard is key to getting your site ranked highly in the search engines.
Let us repeat this: the heart of SEO for addiction treatment centers is to increase your site's credibility. Some think that the task is to increase online visibility. It isn't. It is to increase credibility. No amount of SEO gimmicks will rank a site that Google does not trust.
Increasing your site's credibility will automatically increase its ability to rank well.
And these are not some type of tricks to "fool" the search engines - you must make your site credible for humans, not search engines.
Here are 10 things you can do - RIGHT NOW - to increase this all-important credibility component.
How many websites have you seen that offer no clue, not a scrap of information about who is running their operation? They rely instead on making generic statements like, "We at XXX have it as our goal to be ranked world-class in …"
Instead, make sure that site visitors know that there is a real organization in existence here. Demonstrate that you actually "exist" out there. Provide a physical address, show photos of your facility (both inside and outside), a location map, that you are registered with your local Better Business Bureau.
If you are providing resource articles on your site, or presenting statistical information, quote established authorities in the field. And provide links back to the original clinical or professional publications. This third-party referencing adds great credibility and helps to assure visitors that you are not promoting some quack treatment or medically questionable viewpoint.
You have no doubt taken great pains to secure well-qualified people to staff your treatment facility. No doubt, at least a few of them - most likely senior staff - would qualify as experts in their field(s). Make sure that their credentials are highlighted prominently. If your organization is partnered with others who are well known, make sure that information is provided as well.
Resist the temptation to discuss (on your website) treatments that are considered by the medical authorities as controversial or even worse, questionable. Don't link to sources promoting goofy ideas or agendas. You become more credible by associating with trustworthy sources - and less credible by association or affiliation with bad sources.
A site trying to establish credibility in any medical field needs to have a credible way to be contacted. Sites lacking a physical address and phone number are not building anyone's confidence or trust. Who wants to submit information through a website inquiry form to an organization they don't know anything about?
We highly recommend a street address be referenced that shows your physical location. If you have another address like a P.O. box where you receive mail, list that as well, as well as the main telephone and fax number and an email address.
Most visitors to your treatment center website are going to form a judgement about you by the appearance and functionality of your website. Think about the purpose of your business - does the visual layout and appearance of your site convey a professional image that is consistent with your messaging? You can't communicate a professional image if your site looks like a mommy blog.
And don't forget function. When visitors are on your site they should be able to find the information that they are looking for, should not have to wait and wait for pages to fully load. Nor should they be frustrated by clicking on links that lead to nowhere - links that are broken.
If you are like most of your competitors you probably have a significant amount of resource/research information on your site. But how current is that information? Are you staying up with the latest research? If you are putting fresh content on your site, make sure it is tagged with the date so that they (and search engines as well) will know how old it is. New forms of treatment, new medication therapies, updates about your physical plant, welcome to new staff - all of this can be used to help keep your site content current.
Here's a quick tip: For content that is largely still current and relevant, do a quick read-thru and make some minor edits and rewrites, not necessarily major changes. Then you can post the tweaked content and include a tag "updated [date]." If you maintain a blog on your site, make sure that new, fresh content is pushed out at least twice a month, each month. (Hint: Posirank has expertise in writing all sorts of medically-focused content. Contact us today if you need to give your site/blogsite a content freshen-up.)
While it might work for other sites, it is unlikely that people would react favorably to an addiction treatment center website that featured ads from other businesses or which was offering some sort of discount or promotional coupon. Any "advertising" you do on your site should be indirect - get people to contact you by your site content and credentials and leave it at that. And, please stay away from using annoying popups - they just irritate people.
Put your site under intense scrutiny. It needs to be 100% proofread, and there should be no spelling errors, typos, bad grammar or malformed HTML code causing display issues. Making these type of mistakes is very common and hard to avoid, but clean it up anyway. And if you have issues with your site not being online or taking too long to load, get with your web designers and/or hosting service and get that straightened up immediately.
This last one is a biggie. It is a huge assurance to prospective clients (and their families who may be booking their family member for treatment) to know of the many others your treatment facility has helped on to a better life. Readable, factual, and ideally verifiable testimonials and references are a must as a part of any SEO campaigns for addiction treatment websites.
And a part of this mix will - and should - involve a social media presence. When people are looking for a treatment center they will often check social media platforms they are a part of - and you need to be there to interact with them. A Facebook business page is a must. And you should be monitoring social media channels to discover what people are saying about your facility, and respond to it if needed.
Related to this is the need for ongoing Reputation Management. You don't want to allow negative content to be posted about your facility, and if it has appeared you need to mitigate the damage, either by getting the content taken down or by providing a reply or update demonstrating that you addressed the situation.
Your messaging to potential clients is probably something along the lines of: "If you have an substance addiction issue, don't try to solve this problem yourself. You need support and solid, professional help to get to a better place."
In the SEO world, much the same is true. We see the results all the time from business owners who have tried "do-it-yourself SEO." Damaged rankings - loss of website traffic - sometimes even damaged credibility. SEO is not about gimmicks and one-off tricks. Properly executed SEO requires a solid strategy based on your unique needs, as no two sites are exactly the same in their needs, even if they are operating in the same niche. Don't try to do this alone - you'll waste your time and your money.
Instead, may we suggest: Let Posirank help you. How? We want to partner with you - to talk with you (not talk AT you) - to find out your situation, your goals and the current issues that you face.
Your cost? It will cost you nothing to talk with us. Let's have a conversation and determine the best way forward for you.
You help the wounded and broken - that's what you do. We'll help you to get in front of more eyeballs online - that's what we do.
You don't have to handle SEO for yourself - schedule an exploratory session on the house. We're waiting to hear from you!