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Drug Rehab SEO : How To Achieve Top Rankings in Google

Drug Rehab SEO may be the best, most effective strategy you aren’t investing in. Off the top of my head I can think of 3 reasons why this may be the case.

Either :

  1. You simply don’t know what Drug Rehab SEO is.
  2. You do know, but feel it doesn’t really matter anymore (isn’t SEO dead?  here’s a hint : Nope!  )
  3. You feel that it may matter, but So What, because you’ve already got a wicked (expensive) PPC campaign running for all the relevant Drug Rehab keywords related to your facility; ones you’ve ‘researched’ and ‘optimized’ for already…so your bases must be covered, right?

Not so fast.

See, the truth is, paid ads will get you results only as long as you pay for them, and maybe not even then, depending on who you’re paying. Search Engine Optimization is a fundamental, core component of inbound marketing – So be aggressive about it and send people to your site the natural, gluten free, organic way : by demonstrating value to those people who are actively looking for your services.

This article is in no way intended to convince you that the efficacy of a good and proper PPC campaign is overshadowed by proper Drug Rehab SEO – Ads work, and they work really well, when done well – rather, this article seeks to demonstrate that SEO for your drug rehab marketing is perhaps the best long-term strategy you can adopt for organically increasing your traffic, turning online visitors into physical admits, and saving you some hard earned dollars on your marketing campaigns. 

You don’t have to pay to run expensive google ad campaigns when you can rank organically and get the same results. PPC is great, but good Drug Rehab SEO means you don’t have to rely on paid ads to generate traffic to your facility’s website.

Convinced? Not quite? Bear with me as we take a look at what SEO is, and how it relates to your Drug Rehab facility. Or you could just continue rely on your spammy email marketing campaigns…

What is it?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is simply the process of getting traffic to your website from the ‘free’ ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ results on search engines. To do this, we make sure your website makes Google spiders happy whenever they take a look at it, and, seeing that you’ve optimized correctly, favor you with higher rankings.

A bunch of kids partying on the beachFor the sake of simplicity, let’s call ‘search engines’ Google (this shouldn’t alarm you, Google has a 92.4% market share, so although you love you some Bing, let’s roll with the big boss from here on out). And let’s refer to all Drug Rehab Facilities as…I don’t know…Hypothetical Drug Rehab Center…HyDraCen…and now something picturesque and beach related…Shores. Yes, Hydracen Shores, that sounds generic and vaguely coastal. Perfect. )

Why should I care?

So, why should Hydracen Shores care about ranking on Google Organically ?

Here are some stats:

  • For every 1 click on a paid search result, the organic results generate 8.5 clicks (this is on a keyword parity basis, not counting those searches that have no paid ads)
  • Organic results are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on than paid search results.
  • Over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic.
  • 51% comes from organic search, only 10% from paid
  • 70-80% of people ignore paid search, choosing only to click on organic search results.  That killer PPC campaign you’re running? Up to 8 out of 10 people will actively ignore that ad in favor of an organic listing.

And we won’t be ignored.

Why is this important for my Drug Rehab Center?

Here are a few scary facts about drug abuse in the states pulled from our friends at American Addiction Centers

  • In 2017, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders.1
  • Drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs.
  • An estimated 741,000 adolescents suffered from an illicit drug use disorder in 2017, or about 3% of this population.1
  • In 2017, an estimated 20.7 million people age 12 and older needed treatment for a substance use disorder. Only 4 million people received treatment, or about 19% of those who needed it
  • Addiction is considered a highly treatable disease, and recovery is attainable. About 10% of American adults who are at least 18 years old say they are in recovery from an alcohol or drug abuse issue

Not to Mention…

Google has a history of cracking down on ads for Drug Rehab Centers. Back in September of 2017 Google delivered a shocking wake up call to advertisers in the $35 billion Addiction Treatment industry by pulling their ads for rehab-related search terms.

It’s not that Google doesn’t care about the millions of Americans that need treatment, remember, pulling those ads cost Google millions of dollars in potential revenue;Hip Hop guys rapping up some smack with their hands instead this was a reaction to the ‘lead aggregators’ that were gaming Google and the addiction community. These people were posing as Treatment Centers, but were essentially marketing companies selling patients. Wherever there is a booming industry, shady hucksters will try to capitalize.

To combat this Google hooked up with LegitScript (remember LegitScript) to enact a 15-standard approach when determining whether or not an addiction treatment provider was a legit operation or a scam.

With LegitScript, Hydracen Shores would have had to pass the 15 point checklist, as well as pay tons of extra money in application fees, and would have had to pay tons of annual fees per new facility on top of their already ridiculously high ad spend. An expensive hassle to be sure, considering you may not even get certified.

Admittedly, Google is letting up on some of these bans, but it bears consideration.

This demonstrates the fickle nature of relying solely on PPC campaigns for lead generation. You need to think long term, and Drug Rehab SEO should be your primary strategy. Good SEO essentially means great content.

2 guys sitting in a car saying This shits chess not checkers Have some foresight.

It’s chess not checkers.

Now on to the meat of the matter. What you’ve been waiting for.

How to make Google Spiders Happy

A happy stinking spider pointing up

Let’s Start with some On-Site Technical SEO. This is the ‘under-the-hood’ stuff that Google likes to see done to your website when it crawls and indexes it.

Let’s begin with your sitemap.

Your sitemap tells Google about your site structure and it lets them discover fresh content. As such, your site map should be Clean and constantly updated.

  • Keep it free from errors (clean up those pages reporting 404s)
  • Eliminate incorrect redirects
  • Remove any URLs blocked from indexing
  • Update it any time you add or remove content
  • Keep it as efficient as possible. Google won’t crawl sitemaps with more than 50,000 URLS, so keeping it short will make sure your most important pages will be crawled more often
  • Let Google know your site exists by submitting to Google Search Console


Using a service like Screaming Frog will help you locate any broken links and redirects that need your attention. And remember, robots.txt files are only one of many ways to restrict pages from being indexed, so don’t go through your robots.txt thinking you’ve found everything that needs to be remedied. There’s the noindex meta tag, x-robots-tag and orphan pages that aren’t internally linked.SEMRush is great for helping you get a bead on all of these things.

Ask yourself the following questions and address them:

  • Am I managing duplicate content across all my domains? Am I utilizing canonical tags appropriately?
  • Are my internal links linking in a way that makes sense and promotes great user experience?
  • Do my images use Alt Tags?
  • Trustworthiness is a Google ranking factor, so am I implementing my SSL certificates properly?
  • I want Google to return more informative results to my users, so am I actively utilizing Schema Markup?
  • People like clean URLs, and therefore so do search engines. Are my URLS so clean that they could serve as their own anchor text, or sloppy with a bunch of random ugly uppercase letters?


And don’t be a rookie, make sure you’re correctly implementing your tags and meta tags. Be sure to optimize your:


Title Tag

Tells Google what Hydracen Shores is all about, as well as describing what each page is about in a way that those picky spiders can understand. Please don’t ignore your title tag.

Meta Description Tag

like the synopsis on the back of a book, this tag supplements your title and gives a little more info describing your content and purpose.

Header Tags

When you tag all of your topical headings, you’re not only making it easier for your visitors to discern what your discussing, you also make it easier for Google. Organized content for readers and spiders.

Alt Tags

Make sure Google can ‘see’ your images by assigning words to them.

NoFollow Tags

Don’t off-load juice where you don’t want it to go.

Links and Anchor Text

Make sure your links read in a smooth, relevant, descriptive manner.


To address duplicate content.

The Quick & the Dead :
Address your Load Time.

If the internet were the most spectacular party in the universe, we’ve just covered some of the items on the mandatory SEO dress code that your website needs to abide by. But that’s where the comparison ends – there is no such thing as being fashionably late. A slow load time on your website will absolutely kill your site’s engagement and increase your bounce rate.

Web page load time vs bounce rate

Tell your developer about GTMetrix if they don’t already know about it. This will give you info about your site’s speed score, load time, and it’ll give you recommendations about what  to improve.

Among other things, you’ll want to enable compression and reduce the size of CSS, HTML and JavaScript files. You’ll want to reduce redirects and render-blocking JavaScript.

Also consider improving your server response time, and/or using a content distribution network to spread out the delivery of your content over multiple servers for faster, more reliable access to your site.

Doing a quick audit of what’s going on with your sites speed issues will not only help you identify and fix the bugs, but they will help you develop best practices moving forward. For instance, if you notice your images aren’t optimized, moving forward have the appropriate member of your crew make sure they are no larger than they need to be, are compressed for the web, and are of the right file type.

(Moz has a great article for info on page speed best practices here.)

There is simply too much competition in addiction treatment marketing to have high load times on your site.

Web page load time vs bounce rateLike Sharon Stone in the Quick and the Dead, your website either loads quicker than the competition, or you get shot in the face and your visitor moves on.

Mobile Friendliness is a Real Thing.

On Monday march 26th, Google webmaster central blog released this. Yep, they’re rolling out mobile first index so those crawling, indexing and ranking systems (spiders) that paid almost exclusive attention to desktop versions of your Rehab website’s content…now those little buggers want you to be mobile optimized.

But don’t worry, they’re  not going to overly prioritize mobile. Here’s a recap of the article:

  • Mobile indexing has no ranking advantage and operates independently from mobile-friendly assessment.
  • Mobile-friendly content is still helpful for ranking
  • Fast-loading content is still helpful for ranking
  • Other factors still matter when it comes to ranking.

First make sure your site passes a mobile friendliness test. And remember, best practices for mobile are centered around user experience. Common sense demands we ask:

  • If you’re using popup software, is it running on mobile? It better not be, because nothing turns a potential mobile client away like ads getting in the way of them and their recovery.
  • Capitalize on middle of the screen content, less important stuff can go towards the bottom.
  • Are your call to actions loud and clear? Or are they collapsing on the mobile version?
  • Are your contact forms nice and simple, clear and concise? Or does a mobile user need to plug in a Bluetooth keyboard so they can type their life story?
  • Can a mobile user call your Drug Rehab Center by clicking a button, or are you making it difficult for them? (Need help making a click to call link? Check this out)
  • Please, for the love of god, avoid horizontal scrolling.


I Silo, You Silo, We All Silo :
Website Architecture Matters

One of the worst things Hydracen Shores and other treatment facilities can do to their users and their rankings is to  make their site confusing to navigate. It has to do with organizing your website thematically, and grouping related content together. By Siloing their website, Hydracen Shores will clarify their relevance on drug rehab related topics while simultaneously laying the groundwork for higher keyword rankings.

Consider the following points:

  • What subject themes are we currently ranking for? And are they all legitimately relevant to drug rehab and our site?
  • What services do we offer, as a rehab center?
  • Is there a clear distinction between our treatment programs?
  • How is a user going to navigate our site in order to get the info they need in order to recover with us?
  • Are we keeping an eye on the KW difficulty for the core keyword of each page and the search volumes for the KWs we want to rank for?

Web page load time vs bounce rateSiloing is another Drug Rehab SEO tactic that separates the wheat from the chaff (see what I did there, wheat, chaff, silo) and is often considered a necessary yet advanced SEO strategy. Bruce Clay has a great article on the relevance of siloing. Now on to the juicy stuff :

Off-Site Drug Rehab SEO
Content is King

Without question, content and links are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search.

Do you have a blog on your website? Great! Are you neglecting it? Shame on you.

A blog can be one of the best places on your site to archive valuable, engaging, actionable content that your users and potential admits will love you for.



  • Not all content is good
  • Not all content is created equal
  • More doesn’t necessarily mean better
  • No “just-in-case” or “wouldn’t it be cool” content
  • Make sure each piece has a purpose.
    Does the creation of a piece of content serve one of these reasons ?
  1. Does this blog post increase organic rankings?
  2. Does this blog post create linkable content that will contribute to our link building campaign?
  3. Does this content enhance the users experience and demonstrate our value? (Will they click the next item on the list? Will they share this on social media?)

The content across your website is going to meet the user at various stages in their decision making process. Someone who is seeking, or thinking about seeking, treatment is likely to be at one of three phases of the thought process

  1. Do I even need treatment?
  2. Okay, I need treatment, but are you guys the best option?
  3. Alright, I’m sold, how much is this going to cost me?

Content designed to address users at 1 one should be mindful that they’re in the research phase, and not necessarily ready to get an assessment or cough up money to pay for treatment. This content should decisively:

  • Build brand awareness and establish credibility
  • Assuming they’ve opted in to your email list, blog subscription, or have visited your site before, this should be a second chance at turning them into an admission.
  • Nudge them into stage 2 or 3.

Content at stage 2 recognizes that, research being done, a user is going to decide that he needs help and that you may be able to provide it. This is where you persuade them to contact you. Be encouraging without being salesy. This type of content should:

  • Reinforce your rehab center as a leading authority in Drug Rehabilitation
  • Guide them to stage 3
  • Turn them into a lead

If you’ve constructed your content correctly and managed to push them to stage 3, congratulations, your visitor is now on their way to becoming a patient. Once here, all content should be aimed at establishing your rehab center as the absolute best choice amongst competing rehab facilities.

This is your last chance to cultivate confidence in your services and by this time they should be comfortable establishing a relationship with you and your staff.

Organize your content dates by delegating the creation of a content calendar.

Are you a PPC pro already? Good, then you should already have a list of keywords related to drug rehab in a database. Use this to generate topic ideas for content at each phase of the decision making process.

Seriously, check out your keywords and look for low-to-mid competition for keywords you are not currently ranking for organically. Make a list (you should have a rough idea of the volume of people searching for these terms)

Got your list? Great, now use it to generate topic ideas! Also check out the common search queries that trigger your ads and address directly what people are searching for.

Ohhhh, Got OptionsOther was to generate topics : Ubersuggest, Reddits addiction subreddit, Ahrefs, other industry blogs and answerthepublic.com. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your intake specialist. They’re a goldmine of information and will have tons of insights regarding questions frequently asked by people seeking treatment.

There is no shortage of content ideas out there, you just have to reach out, and take it.


A quick note on content:

  • Write about something people care about
  • Ask yourself : who cares?
  • Don’t pump out content for contents sake
  • You are an authority on your business, use that to your SEO advantage
  • Make it long enough to count, you’re not tweeting
  • Longer is better

Bigger and Longer is Better than Smaller and Shorter “long form content of over 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter form content. Either people ignore the data or it is simply too hard for them to write quality long form content. So write quality long form content.

Also, long tail keywords (4 or more words) make up 50% of search queries. (Hubspot)

Rank for them!

Window To Recovery can help you build authority and improve your search engine optimization efforts. Our only focus is what actually matters: Leads, Opportunities & Revenue. Get a proposal:

Link Building.

The link building aspect of your Drug Rehab SEO campaign is worth an article in and of itself. We already know that it is one of the two most important ranking signals for your website. This means you will have to spend most of your efforts in building great content and linking appropriately – both in the form of internal linking and acquiring nice, fat, DA juicy links from other sources. Unlike the On-Site SEO mentioned in the first part of this article, link building isn’t something that can be done in a day or even a week. It really means rolling up your sleeves, applying some elbow grease, and going to work.

Get those votes!

Acquiring new links is integral to ranking. There is no easy way to do it. An external link pointing to your site is a vote in your favor, and to rally you votes you’re going to need a thoroughly impressive link building campaign. Just like our president!

Donald Trump Image Saying I Should Win Easily

This is where your blog plays a huge role. This will initially be the easiest way and most appropriate place to begin building links. But with enough top-notch content, you’ll slowly accrue domain authority and people will begin linking to your homepage.

Again, there’s No Easy Way. Link building is also referred to as relationship marketing. Earn links by demonstrating incredibile value to your users, your visitors and potential clients, and to other movers and shakers within the rehab industry.

Don’t be afraid to ask for links from reputable bloggers.

Again, most of your effort goes into content and link building.

The two go hand in hand.

Guy sneaking a piece of apple pieIf you build out super awesome content, people will want to link to you. If you make really great apple pie, people are going to eat it, enjoy it, and want to tell others about it!

Time, persistence and a willingness to reach out despite the possibility of rejection, will pay off.

Here’s a cute chart I made on the Do’s and Don’t of Link Building

Don’t Do
Link to or from spammy article directories Aim for Naturally acquired links
Link to or from Web 2.0 properties Perform Custom blogger outreach
Pay for Links, It just makes you look bad.Google doesn’t like it. Offer and ask for Guest Blogging
PBNs. Don’t F*** with private blog networks. Get Citations
Building a network of sites just to point to your site is like illegally building an apartment complex todraw attention to your offsite mobile home Get Local and Niche Links

To link well, all you need is

  • A legit website
  • Crazy good content
  • Value
  • Relevance


Regard DA (Domain Authority) with ALL THE SALT (as opposed to a grain of it)

Avoid linking to anything with DA under 20. It takes the same amount of effort to cast a line for a big fish as it does for a small fish. When optimizing your Drug Rehab SEO, cast for big fish.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a link from someone who otherwise might intimidate you. If your CONTENT IS EXCEPTIONAL, eventually you will land that DA 80+ link.

There is no corner-cutting or short cuts. No more article spinning or link farming. Google wants what users want. And users want brilliant content. So make brilliant content.

Well there you have it.

We’ve covered why Drug Rehab SEO matters and the role your Drug Rehab Facility plays in the addiction epidemic flooding America. We’ve talked about the longevity of SEO over the quick fix of PPC, as well as both Onsite and Offsite SEO strategies.

James BondThe internet is the biggest party in the world, and if you want to get noticed, Be like James Bond.

Dress Nice (technical SEO)

Come on Time (load quickly)

Bring your Phone (mobile optimization)

Network (link building) and have something worth saying (Content).

If all this sounds like some jibber jabber, but you know it’s important, hit us up! Window To Recovery has been slaying the drug rehab SEO game since Al Gore invented the internet.

If all this sounds like some jibber jabber, but you know it’s important, hit us up! Window To Recovery has been slaying the drug rehab SEO game since Al Gore invented the internet.

Al Gore in the Family guy

Click below to get a proposal. As always, thanks for reading!

See how we’ve helped our clients reach their goals.

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