Physical Therapy SEO
Attract More Patients From Google
Written By: Joey Randazzo
Joey Randazzo is the owner and Founder of Portland SEO Growth Partners based in Portland, OR. He’s worked with hundreds of companies, including many physical therapy clinics, to build growth-centric SEO campaigns.
Updated: January 11th, 2023
Explore Our Physical Therapist SEO Resources
This Physical Therapist SEO Guide Has Been Comprehensively Updated for 2023
Due to consistent algorithm updates, the relatively recent Helpful Content Update in late 2022, we’ve updated the written content that already existed on the page. We’ve written new content. And we’ve filmed new video content. Everything is up-to-date, fresh, and helpful for your physical therapy business to dominate Google for 2023.
Physical Therapy SEO case study for a 15+ location PT clinic in California: from 1,500 organic monthly visitors to 16,000+ organic monthly visitors (in less than 16 months)
PRO~PT is a 15+ physical therapy clinic in central California.
- Before working together (June 2021): Averaging 1,500 organic monthly visitors from Google.
- September 2022: Averaging over 16,000 organic monthly visitors from Google.
- Before working together (June 2021): Ranking for 400 keywords on Google
- September 2022: Ranking for 17,000+ keywords on Google
When people search for local keywords like “physical therapist in Clovis,” PRO~PT dominates both the Google Local Pack and the organic rankings below the Google Local Pack.
Here's What You Want To See With Your Physical Therapy Website & SEO
When Someone Types "Physical Therapists Near Me" Into Google, You Show Up Here …
When Someone Types "Physical Therapists Near Me" Into Google, You Show Up Here …
Think about how people search for physical therapists. They’re probably doing chores around the house and realize that old knee injury is really bothering them, so they pull out their smartphone.
They go to Google and type in something like “Physical Therapists Near Me” – the FIRST thing to show up is the Maps area of Google called the Google Local Pack. The physical therapists that show up here “win” and get the most phone calls.
When Someone Types "Best Physical Therapists in [City]" Into Google, You Show
Up Here …
When people are looking for physical therapists, they often use the language of “best physical therapist near me” or “best physical therapist in [city]”.
The physical therapists that rank in the Maps area for these keywords get the most website visitors and phone calls.
When Someone Types Questions Into Google Like "How Can Physical Therapy Help My Back" You Show Up Here …
When Someone Types Questions Into Google Like "How Can Physical Therapy Help My Back" You Show Up Here …
People ask tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of medical questions on Google each day. Questions like …
- “What happens in a physical therapy session?”
- “What are the best exercises for back pain?”
- “Can physical therapy help with balance issues?”
Ranking for these keywords in Google proves that your website is an “authority” and can be trusted.
People Are Searching Differently For Physical Therapists Than They Used To
Just take a look and see the increase in people searching for “physical therapists near me” over the last five years.
This screenshot above comes from a tool called Google Trends (a tool created by Google itself). You can see the drastic increase in the number of people searching for “physical therapists near me.”
READ BEFORE CONTINUING! SEO For Physical Therapists Is No Longer About "Hacks" or "Tricks." Those Days are Gone.
Gone are the days of…
- Going to Fiverr and buying 1,000 backlinks for $7.32 and flying on a rocketship to the top of Google
- Adding the words “physical therapy + city” exactly 922 times on your homepage to dominate Google
- Tweaking one title tag on your physical therapy website and 52 minutes later ranking 1st
You can’t game the system anymore. You have to follow Google’s rules in way that’s better than your local competitors.
Your neighboring PT clinic down the street has 450 Google reviews and you have 12? Good luck ranking no matter how good your content is.
SEO is holistic. It’s dozens of strategies that overlap, align, mingle, and march towards you ranking higher on Google.
So, if you’re not ready to put in the work (or money) consistently for 6+ months to boost rankings and local visibility, then this isn’t the guide for you.
How Do You Get Tangible Results With Physical Therapist SEO Services?
Step 1: Comprehensive SEO Audit
Most SEO companies fail to complete this step. And this is the most important step of all!
How can you get where you want to be if you don’t even know where you are?
We recommend doing a comprehensive SEO audit to determine:
- Your current SEO performance
- Your current SEO errors
- What your local competitors are doing
- Your technical SEO performance
- And more
Step 2: Local SEO Visibility Audit
The goal for physical therapist SEO is to increase your “local visibility,” as we call it.
We use robust and powerful third-party tools to run an “SEO visibility test” on your business. This allows us to see how visible your business is on Google.
The report looks like this:
Step 3: Create a Roadmap Based on Data
We now have a lot of data from the SEO audit and the local SEO visibility audit.
SEO for physical therapists should be strategized based on data. Most other SEO companies don’t do this! They have a “hunch” that something will work.
We recommend creating a comprehensive roadmap based on the data. For example, if the data shows that your website is loading really slowly (which is negatively impacting performance), you should probably fix that first!
Step 4: Implement Highest Priority Changes First
Here’s where the magic happens:
Not all SEO activities are created equal.
Updating the alt text for images on a blog post from 2015 won’t be as impactful as improving your home page’s content.
Therefore, based on the data, you need to target the “low hanging fruit” opportunities first.
Don’t have a Google Business Profile set up? You should probably make one! If you don’t have Service Pages specifically for “Ailments” and “Treatments,” you should probably build those first before worrying about your About Us Page’s images.
Step 5: Local SEO Best Practices & Content Creation at Scale
Local SEO for physical therapists comes down to the following:
- Consistent information that Google trusts
- Accurate information
If your business has a different phone number on your website than what’s on your Facebook page, that’s a red flag for Google.
If Google chooses to rank your business, they can’t trust that if a user picks up the phone and calls, they’ll actually get through to you.
Having consistent NAPs on high-authority directories across the internet is critical.
Now, when it comes to “authority,” that’s where content comes in. If you create content that answers the questions that your target audience has, Google will see your business as more authoritative than a physical therapist that does not have much content on their site.
Step 6: Meticulously Track Data
The goal of SEO is to have a tangible impact on your physical therapy clinic. To increase website visitors. To increase phone calls. And to ultimately have those activities lead to increased revenue.
To ensure your SEO campaign is performing, you have to track data. Build a comprehensive dashboard that gives insights into your:
- Keyword rankings
- Website visitors
- Phone calls
- And other important KPIs
Top 4 Common SEO Mistakes Made by Physical Therapists
Let’s explore some of the things other physical therapists may be doing wrong when it comes to SEO. Then you’ll know which pitfalls to avoid!
Mistake 1: They Don’t Fill Out Their Google Business Profile in Detail
When it comes to Google Business Profile, the more detail, the better! Your listing should have your:
- Business name
- Address or service area
- Phone number(s)
- Website URL
- Business hours
- Reviews; and
The more information you give, the more likely it is that Google will rank you higher and that customers will be able to find you.
Mistake 2: They Don’t List All of Their Services Properly on Their Website
Let potential patients know exactly what they’ll be able to get from you. Do you offer aquatic therapy? Massage? Home visits? Include all of it on your site.
Mistake 3: They Fail to Create Data-Driven Content That Adds Value to Their Target Audience
Creating blog posts and articles that provide valuable information — while also containing important keywords — to people who may need physical therapy is one of the best ways to be easily found on Google.
Mistake 4: They Don’t Have a Reputable Process for SEO
Did you put your newest hire in charge of SEO because you figure they probably learned some of this stuff in their college technology class? That isn’t going to work.
Working with an SEO expert is the best way to grow your physical therapy practice by allowing potential clients to find it more easily during online searches.
Physical Therapy SEO Services Shouldn't Be Cookie-Cutter — Everything Is 100% Customized To Your Business
Physical therapy SEO is not the same as other types of SEO. Unfortunately, many other SEO companies treat it as such. They use the same “tips and tricks” that they use in other industries, thinking they will also work with physical therapists. That’s not the best way to do it.
We treat your business as unique. We take an individualized approach to each industry (such as physical therapists), to your specific city (NYC might be different than a smaller town in Montana), and your specific website (is your website built on WordPress or Webflow?).
5 Tactical Local SEO Strategies for Physical Therapists
Strategy 1: Google Business Profile Optimizations
This is an example of a physical therapist’s Google Business Profile:
Well, this is an example of the front-end of a Google Business Profile. The part that a Google searcher can see.
Actually, before we go any further, let’s back up:
Why do Google Business Profiles matter for physical therapists? Google Business Profiles are relevant and important ranking factors to rank in the Google Local Pack. If you forgot what the Google Local Pack is, below is a screenshot:
Optimizing your Google Business Profile helps you get found there
And when you show up in the Google Local Pack, you WIN. You get more phone calls and website visitors than your competitors.
So, how do you properly optimize your Google Business Profile so you get found in the Google Local Pack?
The answer is … are you ready for it? Comprehensiveness.
The best way to optimize your Google Business Profile is to provide as comprehensive information as possible.
There are many sections that you can provide comprehensive information, such as:
- Your categories
- Your main description
- Your services
- Your products
- Your photos
Here’s a quick example that explains the difference between being comprehensive and not being comprehensive:
For your main description, you may just be inclined to write a sentence like… “We are a team of physical therapists that is ready to help you feel better.”
That is just one sentence… Google allows 750 characters for the main description. Use them up! Do you offer fitness classes? Do you specialize in sports medicine? Are you focused on caring for the elderly? Does your clinic have wellness packages?
Answering EVERY possible question is how you can be more comprehensive.
Strategy 2: On-Page SEO for Your Homepage and Location Pages
On-page SEO for physical therapists is just a fancy way of describing the content on your website.
It includes things like:
- Your title tags
- Your meta description
- Your header tags (H1, H2, H3)
- Internal and external links
- Your images
- And basically, anything that you can put on a website page!
Why does on-page SEO for physical therapists matter? Well, Google cares about it.
For single-location physical therapists, the most important page on your website, from a local SEO perspective, is the homepage. For multi-location physical therapists, the most important pages on your website are your location pages.
When doing on-page SEO for these pages, you want to implement SEO-friendliness through keywords while also providing as comprehensive information as possible to the user (and Google).
For example, instead of a title tag like “Brownstone Physical Therapy – 503.111.1111” you can provide more context to Google by writing something like “Trusted Physical Therapists in Downtown Portland – Brownstone Physical Therapy.”
Strategy 3: Website Architecture Best Practices
This is an underrated SEO strategy for physical therapy clinics. Your website architecture and your sitemap are intimately connected.
Google crawls your sitemap to understand your website architecture, which in turn allows Google to understand what your website is about.
Here’s what a sitemap might look like to Google.
A little confusing, right? Don’t worry about it too much. Just know that when Google looks at a sitemap like this, it’s putting together what your website is about (which is really important for local SEO).
The main point is that your website structure should make sense hierarchically. Let’s use two of the main services that vets offer – 1) consultations and 2) exercise therapy.
Where should these pages live on your site? First, you should probably have a “services” page that has a URL structure similar to .com/services/
Now, any services that you offer (such as consultations and exercise therapy) should live UNDER this main services page. See below:
This seems obvious, but many websites do this wrong. There’s no vertical architecture. Instead, every page lives directly under the homepage. See below:
With this structure, it’s not clear to Google that “Exercise Therapy” is a service that you offer. It’s just another page on your site!
Strategy 4: Content Creation at Scale
There are tends of thousands of people looking for solutions to their ailments on Google right now. And this is where it gets interesting. You can create enough content for a couple of LIFETIMES about physical therapy-related topics and still have more content to go. People ask Google questions like “will physical therapy make my injured back worse?” or “how long to do physical therapy for ankle sprain?”
Some are very local:
- Best physical therapy clinic in Portland
- Best physical therapy after ski injury near Portland
Some are generic:
- Will physical therapy help my back?
- How much does physical therapy cost?
- Will my health insurance cover physical therapy?
- Should I go to an orthopedic before physical therapy?
Some are specific:
- How much physical therapy will I need to do with a partial MCL tear?
- Will physical therapy help 70-year old experiencing rotator cuff soreness?
- Can I do physical therapy the same day as a soccer match?
If you answer these types of questions through comprehensive blog articles on your website, it will do 2 things:
- You may rank in Google for these keywords that people are searching and therefore drive traffic.
- Google will take notice and see your website as an authority over your competitors. Google will think, “Wow, they’re answering all of these questions that users have relating to physical therapy. Their website is therefore more valuable than local competitors who haven’t answered any questions.”
Strategy 5: User Experience is a Bigger Deal Than You Think - Stop the Keyword Stuffing!
The old days are gone. Keyword stuffing… PBN link building… all the stuff that used to work.
Google’s getting smarter. And Google’s starting to understand that a user’s experience on a website is important.
What does this mean for you as a physical therapist?
- Make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for. They shouldn’t have to spend 5 minutes figuring out what types of insurance you accept.
- Make it easy for users to contact you. Your phone number should be clickable on a mobile device. You should consider online scheduling so someone can easily get an appointment. Anything to make the user’s experience SUPER easy.
- When writing content, you should actually offer value to the reader. Gone are the days of outsourcing writers who produce vague, keyword-stuffed articles. Your content should thoroughly answer the user’s questions and add value to them.
On Average, Our Physical Therapist SEO Services Cost
31% Less Than Other SEO Companies
Compared to Other SEO Companies That Average Between $1.5k and $3k Per Month.
FAQs About Physical Therapist SEO Services
Here are the most common questions we’ve heard.
What is Physical Therapist SEO?
Physical therapist SEO is a form of marketing that helps physical therapists increase their visibility in search engines, particularly Google.
The specific SEO strategies that are used for physical therapists vary greatly (which is why all physical therapy SEO is NOT created equal).
- Keyword research
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Google Maps optimizations
- Local SEO
- Content creation
- Landing page creation
- And more
Why Is Physical Therapist SEO Important?
Physical therapist SEO is important because it allows you to get in front of your target audience (people in pain who are looking to find a physical therapist RIGHT NOW).
Think about how social media marketing for physical therapists works: People are scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and stumble upon an advertisement for a physical therapist in their city. They might be actively looking for one, but it’s unlikely.
On the other hand, SEO puts you in front of motivated potential clients looking for what you have to offer:
SEO for physical therapists allows you to show up in Google for people actively looking for therapy. People searching for “best physical therapist near me” or “physical therapist in downtown Portland.” Ranking for those keywords has a MUCH higher conversion than people scrolling on Instagram.
How Long Does SEO for Physical Therapists Take to Work?
Physical therapy SEO can take 1 week to 6 months for you to start seeing results. It depends on a variety of factors:
- How big of a city you’re in
- How long your website has been around
- How high your website’s “domain authority” is
- How your current SEO is performing
- And much more
Some of our clients have seen 2x – 3x the phone calls within a month after starting their SEO campaign. Other clients don’t see noticeable increases in phone calls for 2-3 months.
Think about this, though:
If everyone could make a couple of tweaks on their website and rank overnight for the HIGHEST value keywords out there, like “best physical therapist in New York City” then the internet would go haywire.
Things take time. Google built its algorithms that way for a reason.
What Physical Therapist SEO KPIs Should We Track?
Physical therapist SEO should be meticulously tracked.
You want to know, with absolute certainty, that the money you’re investing in SEO is working for your physical therapy clinic.
Because of that, you need to track certain metrics to ensure that the campaign is working:
- Keyword rankings: Are your ranking on Page 1 of Google for your most important keywords? How are your keyword rankings changing week over week? Month over month?
- Organic website traffic: Is your organic website traffic from Google going up or down? Which keywords are driving the most traffic?
- Online lead submissions: Are you seeing more online leads? How are they changing month over month?
- Phone calls: Are you getting more phone calls from people searching on Google? How are phone calls changing over time?
What Type of Content Should Physical Therapy Websites Have?
Physical therapy SEO should include content that your target audience is searching for:
How do we know what keywords/content your target audience is searching for? We use advanced software and tools that give us insider information and data. We, for example, know that 5,400 people per month (on average) search for “knee pain treatment.”
So, with that being said, we do extensive keyword research to find the topics/questions that people with physical issues have.
- “What injuries are best treated by hydrotherapy?”
- “What is sports medicine?”
- “How often should I visit a physical therapist for foot pain?”
If you create content that answers these questions, then you can potentially rank in Google when people search for these.
Also, Google will favor your site more than competitors because Google will have more trust in your site.
How To Work With Us
First of all – we don’t work with all physical therapists.
We only work with physical therapists who:
- Are ambitious about growing their business
- Have the bandwidth to take the growth that will come from working with us
- Treat their employees and their customers well
If that sounds like you, then go through the easy process below:
Request a 'Free SEO Audit'
This process takes about 2 minutes.
Check Your Email
In less than 24 hours, one of our talented SEO specialists will send you a 3-5 minute customized video analysis. It will explain opportunities for you to outperform competitors.
Sit Back And Watch Your SEO Skyrocket
Just look at our case studies of the success that other Portland businesses have seen. You can have the same results.