Good Therapy VS Psychology Today – Battle Of The Paid Directories | Marketing For Mental Health Professionals
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Good Therapy VS Psychology Today – Battle Of The Paid Directories

Good Therapy vs Psychology Today

I'm going to take a look at 2 of the most well-known paid directories for mental health professionals, Psychology Today and GoodTherapy.

When it comes to paid directories, there is a great deal of skepticism regarding their value.

From my perspective, it's always worth experimenting with different acquisition channels to see the number of inquiries and conversions you get from them.

Everyone's experience will be different- so it doesn't make sense to rule them out without at least ​trialing them (check who can join). 

Digital Exposure

When you purchase a profile listing on a directory (both are $29.95 a month), you are essentially buying into the digital visibility the directory ​has in: 

  • organic search,
  • paid search (AdWords, Bing Ads),
  • email lists,
  • social media (organic and paid),
  • direct & referral traffic.

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All you need to do is create some blog posts targeting these keywords and you're guaranteed a passive stream of client inquiries. I'll also show you how to write or outsource this 'local SEO' content. 

Lots Of Content

Psychology Today and Good Therapy produce tremendous amounts of content, capture emails, market to said email lists, run paid advertising campaigns, and leverage their brand power to garner high-quality attention in the psychology & psychiatry space.

All of this is designed, in the context of their paid directories, to capture the attention of users searching for mental health professionals.

Analytics For Therapists

Once on the site, both directories provide a means of searching for psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists, with filtering options to help laser-focus your search based on structured data the provider (ie, you) have provided when you setup your profile.  

So, if you are going to compare their value for you as client acquisition channels, one way of assessing their respective strengths is to do a digital audit of the two sites, side by side.

I ran the two sites through Ahrefs and SimilarSites.com to gather the information in the table below. You can scroll down the page for a full analysis of what it means.

I compared their SEO strength, (ie, how many quality keywords they rank for), how many backlinks they have, how much organic traffic they get per month, their domain authority scores from Ahrefs and Moz, their respective monthly listing price, as well as some top-line usage stats like visit duration and bounce rate.

How Do They Compare?

 GoodTherapyPsychology Today
# Of Ranking Organic Keywords260,0001,900,000
Organic Traffic/Month602,0004,800,000
# Of Backlinks448,0006,610,000
Average Visit Duration1:171:36
Bounce Rate76.32%75.82%
% of Traffic from Email.63%.68%
% of Traffic from Social3.38%12.02%
Monthly Listing Price$29.95$29.95
Moz Domain Authority Score7489
Ahref Domain Rating6574

Running the numbers

While these numbers are helpful in making a decision about which paid directory is best for you, I thought it wise to first dive into the personal experience I've had using GoodTherapy for my mother's psychotherapy practice.

Good Therapy Filtering Options

running the numbers

My mother has used GoodTherapy since 10/14, so I'll take a look at the numbers on that platform.

GoodTherapy costs $29.95/month and since 10/14 when she joined she has received 248 'interactions' with her profile (received emails + received phone calls + website visits).

That is over the course of 27 months (as of this writing it is 1/1/17), so that is a spend of $810.

*Updated GoodTherapy Stats 

I recently updated my mother's performance figures- you can see them here.

That means that each interaction cost us $3.26. An interaction (ie, a click) in AdWords, on average, costs us $1.47, but that is not a conversion. A better way to compare might be to define GoodTherapy Conversions as Verified Calls + Emails Received (93), which would mean that the Cost of Conversion on GoodTherapy is $8.70.

Now, whether this is good or bad depends on what you are comparing it to.

GoodTherapy Profile Performance

GoodTherapy Performance metrics, ranging from 10/14-1/17. 

Unfortunately, since our AdWords Campaign doesn't track conversions (call conversions, site contact submission conversions, or pure email contact conversions), it's difficult to assess one against the other.

That said, for $810, we could have purchased 551 AdWords clicks, and assuming an average Conversion Rate (someone contacting my mother) of 5%, that would equate to 28 conversions as opposed to the 93 apparent Conversions GoodTherapy provided for the same money. 

That doesn't mean 93 new clients, it merely means that she had 93 inquiries. That inquiry still needs to be converted into a paying client- the final step in the funnel. 

My official guestimate

Analyzing Paid Therapy Directories

So, my official guestimate is that ​for the money, GoodTherapy is worth it

Over the summer of 2016 we did some back-of-the-napkin math to figure out whether the $29.95 monthly cost was worth it based on the number of clients she had acquired from the directory, and the number of sessions that she had with them, and the math did work out.

She went through her client list and calculated the number of sessions and at a billing rate of $150, a single client that had had 6 sessions for $600, easily paid for a year's worth of the directory ($359.40).

So, while her practice is certainly not inundated with calls and emails from this paid directory, capturing just one client from the site can make it a positive Return On Investment considering the relatively low recurring cost of membership on the platform.

This, of course, depends on the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of your average client. My mother has found that, on average, the CLV for referred clients is higher than for those she has acquired digitally. This makes a great deal of sense, intuitively.

Who can join?

GoodTherapy

  • mental health counselors (e.g., LMHCs and LPCs),
  • psychotherapists,
  • social workers,
  • marriage and family therapists,
  • psychologists,
  • psychoanalysts,
  • psychiatrists,
  • physicians,
  • nurse practitioners.

Psychology Today

  • art therapists,
  • clinical social work therapists,
  • counselors,
  • drug and alcohol counselors,
  • licensed professional counselors,
  • license psychoanalysts,
  • limited license psychologists,
  • LPC interns,
  • psychiatric nurse practitioners,
  • psychiatrists, 
  • registered psycho therapists,

Psychology Today

  • marriage and family therapists,
  • marriage and family therapist interns,
  • occupational therapists, other,
  • pastoral counselors, pre-licensed professionals,
  • psychiatric nurses,
  • psychological associates, psychologists,
  • treatment facilities.

GoodTherapy Filtering Options

Good Therapy Filtering Options

Filter By:

  • Common Specialties
  • Type of Service
  • Insurance Companies
  • Gender
  • Age Group of Clients
  • Type of Therapy
  • Language

Psychology Today Filtering Options

Psychology Today Filtering Options

Filter By:

  • Insurance
  • Issues
  • Sexuality
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Language
  • Faith
  • Treatment Orientation

What a GoodTherapy listing looks like

GoodTherapy Profile Page Example

What a Psychology Today listing looks like

Therese Kempf Clinical Social Work Therapist Brooklyn NY 11201 Psychology Today

How the data was collected

Therapist Directories Compared

I used Ahrefs, which is a backlink and keyword research tool, to gather some info about the two sites.

I examined # Of Ranking Organic Keywords, Organic Traffic/Month, # Of Backlinks, and used SimilarWeb to examine the two sites' numbers for November 2016 Average Visit Duration, Bounce Rate, % of Traffic from Email, and the % of Traffic from Social. 

It's worth noting that Psychology Today's actual directory ​is a subdomain of Psychology Today (therapists.psychologytoday.com), whereas GoodTherapy doesn't use a subdomain for its directory. I thought it made sense to compare apples to apples, assessing the primary domains against each other.

What does it mean?

Psychology Today ranks for 7x as many keywords, gets 8x as much organic traffic, has 15x as many backlinks, has a slightly lower bounce rate, gets 4x as much social media traffic, while traffic from email is comparable. 

Obviously, Psychology​ Today has a much stronger digital presence. 

It must be said, that the stats for Visit Duration, Bounce Rate, and Traffic from Email & Social, are 'best guesses'. Without access to the two sites' own Analytics information, there's no real way of knowing what the figures are. But, I thought it would be interesting to include. 

In my experience, Ahref's reporting is highly accurate for keyword ranking, less so for actual organic traffic volume, as it's an informed guestimate of how many searchers are actually clicking to the site from the Search Engine Results Page.

How they rank organically?

I used Ahrefs to grab the top Keywords for each domain just to get another measure of how the respective sites rank in organic search. 

I used Ahrefs to display the top keywords, as of 1/1/16, that GoodTherapy and Psychology Today rank for. In this  table you can see the Keyword, the monthly search volume for that exact term, the estimated Traffic the site receives for that Keyword query, the Ranking Position, and the URL that ranks.

Again, Psychology Today really shines- #2 for "sex, #3 for "god", #1 for "therapist", & #1 for "find a therapist" (the latter 2 aren't listed in the table below), though Good Therapy also has some solid rankings, owning a #1 ranking for "marriage counseling", #2 for "therapist" and #2 for "find a therapist". 

KeywordKeyword Volume (Monthly)Traffic  Ranking Position (12/16)URL 
GoodTherapy
nature vs nurture39,0006,8301www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/nature-versus-nurture
abandonment issues10,0003,6691www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/abandonment
erikson's stages of development39,0003,3014www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/erikson-eight-stages-development
marriage counseling30,0002,8801www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/modes/marriage-counseling
emdr65,0002,6998www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/eye-movement-desensitization-and-reprocessing
psychiatrist182,0002,3639www.goodtherapy.org/find-psychiatrists.html
dialectical behavior therapy28,0002,2004www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/dialectical-behavioral-therapy
verified credentials8,6002,1532www.goodtherapy.org/verified-credentials.html
therapist51,0002,0852www.goodtherapy.org/
marriage counseling27,0001,8883www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/modes/marriage-counseling
codependency40,0001,8236www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/codependency
find a therapist6,4001,8012www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
therapist51,0001,7723www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
Psychology Today
sex981,00083,7932lockwww.psychologytoday.com/basics/sex
psychology today135,00079,5301lockwww.psychologytoday.com/
sex890,00054,9364lockwww.psychologytoday.com/basics/sex
love458,00015,8863lockwww.psychologytoday.com/basics/relationships
dopamine145,00011,0353lockwww.psychologytoday.com/basics/dopamine
narcissist202,0009,7035lockwww.psychologytoday.com/basics/narcissism
psychopath134,0009,3364lockwww.psychologytoday.com/basics/psychopathy
god196,0008,2973lockwww.psychologytoday.com/blog/naturally-selected/201609/god-is-watching-you
narcissist202,0007,9576lockwww.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201608/8-common-narcissist-lies
passive aggressive91,0007,5704lockwww.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201011/10-things-passive-aggressive-people-say
god178,0007,5293lockwww.psychologytoday.com/blog/naturally-selected/201609/god-is-watching-you
psychology241,0007,1574lockwww.psychologytoday.com/
what is love96,0006,1164lockwww.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-without-limits/201111/what-is-love-and-what-isnt
sociopath definition47,0005,4052lockwww.psychologytoday.com/articles/201305/how-spot-sociopath

Final thoughts

If you really wanted to assess the value of the two platforms, you could get subscriptions for both, let them run for 3 months, and then use the sites' internal reporting figures to make a decision regarding which platform performed the best for you.

To truly figure out which Converted clients came from which platform you could ask the clients when they call you how they find you and keep a tally. That's probably the easiest way to do it.

Obviously, Psychology Today has a stronger digital presence, but that doesn't mean GoodTherapy can't outperform it, considering that there are so many variables involved with website conversions.

For example, one site might outrank the other in organic search for a location-specific query like "therapist in chicago". So, if you're a Chicago Psychologist, you might find that you get better results because traffic from that query pushes client inquiries to your private practice.

In addition, it's hard to get a handle on their advertising spend- for example, their AdWords spend is completely proprietary, so I can't really report on what they are doing on that end.

That said, you can fiddle around on Google (in your location) to see if any queries trigger their ads. Test, test, test!

Ryan Nelson
 

Ryan Nelson is a NYC-based Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and a full-stack online marketer. One of his interests is helping private practice healing professionals (psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists) develop effective client-acquisition strategies.