How Does the Psychology Today Algorithm Work?

Secrets of the Psychology Today Algorithm

Table of Contents

How can I get more calls from Psychology Today?

You would be amazed how often I get that question. It feels that 91.38% of therapists who are on Psychology Today are unhappy with the number of leads and clients they get from the platform.

** Yes, I made that stat up, but the sentiment is real.

Unlike your website, which can be optimized for SEO, there is nothing you can do to get your profile to regularly appear on page 1 of Psychology Today. That’s because the Psychology Today algorithm is random!

However, if you’re asking “how do I get more views on Psychology Today,” you can help your profile show up in more searches by including more keywords, services, and specializations. This is an effective strategy; but, that doesn’t make your profile show up any higher.


How to craft an effective psychology today listing

What is an Algorithm?

Before diving into the big question of “is the Psychology Today algorithm random,” let’s explore what an algorithm actually is.

In the context of search results, an algorithm a complex set of rules and calculations used by search engines to determine the relevance and ranking of web pages in response to a user’s search query.

Essentially, it’s the brain behind the list of search results you see when you look something up online.

These algorithms analyze numerous factors about each web page, including keywords, site usability, and links from other sites, to decide which pages are most likely to answer the user’s question or need. Algorithms are of paramount importance in SEO for therapists.

The exact workings of these algorithms are closely guarded secrets of search engines, but they are known to prioritize relevance, authority, and user experience in their rankings. The goal is to deliver the most useful and accurate information in the most efficient manner possible, making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for among the vast amount of content available on the internet.

Is Psychology Today Random?

Psychology Today’s algorithm is designed to rotate therapist profiles randomly within search results for a given area, such as a county, town, or zip code. This system aims to democratize visibility among therapists, ensuring that all profiles have an equal chance of appearing at the top of search results at different times. However, this also means that a therapist’s profile could move from the first page to a much lower position without any changes to the profile itself, making visibility to potential clients unpredictable

Maximizing Your Profile’s Visibility

Given the algorithm’s design, your profile might only appear at the top of search results in a small percentage of searches conducted by potential clients. If your area has over 200 therapists listed, for instance, your profile might only be in the top five for one out of every forty views. This places immense importance on optimizing your profile for the moments it does appear in a favorable position. Ensuring your profile is as engaging and informative as possible becomes crucial to making the most of the limited visibility afforded by the algorithm.

Does Adding Video Help the Psychology Today Algorithm?

The quick answer is “we don’t know for sure.” However, as a therapist marketing coach who regularly keeps my ear to the pavement for the latest industry news, the rumors and whispers say “maybe.”

To be clear, adding a video to your Psychology Today profile does not explicitly guarantee a bump in the platform’s algorithm ranking, as direct statements from Psychology Today or empirical evidence detailing this effect are scarce.

One thing is for certain, incorporating a video into your profile can significantly enhance your visibility and appeal to potential clients. Psychology Today videos allow therapists to convey their personality, therapeutic approach, and empathy more vividly than text alone, providing a more personal touch that can make a profile stand out​.

The Myth of Algorithm Optimization and Gaming the System

If you look at therapist communities on social media and Reddit, you will find users who swear that making regular updates to their profiles gives them a bump and makes them show up on page 1 more often. One therapist suggests that by adding in (then taking away) a middle initial from his name, he regularly shows up at the top of the Psychology Today search results.

Other therapists state that they tweak their zip codes or add/subtract services to get a profile bump. However, despite these whisperings, there is no official statement from Psychology Today or verifiable statistical proof that these methods work.


How the Psychology Today algorithm works

6 Ways to Improve Your Psychology Today Profile

While I can’t recommend Psychology Today as a “must” in the therapist marketing toolbox, it does play an important role. Once you accept that you can not “game the system” or reliably get Psychology Today to put your profile on page 1, the question becomes: “what makes a good Psychology Today profile?”

1. Craft a Client-Centric Headline

Your headline should immediately address the needs or concerns of your potential clients. Use empathetic and engaging language that speaks directly to the kind of clients you wish to attract. For example, instead of a generic title, use something like “Empowering You to Navigate Life’s Challenges,” which speaks directly to the client’s journey and how you can assist them.

2. Detail Your Therapeutic Approach

Clearly explain your therapy methods and how they benefit clients. Avoid jargon; instead, describe in layman’s terms how your approach can help potential clients overcome their specific issues or improve their life. This helps clients understand what makes your service unique and how it aligns with their needs.

3. Showcase Your Specialties

Highlight the areas you specialize in and describe why you’re passionate about these areas. Provide examples of common challenges you help clients with, which can help potential clients see themselves in your description and feel that you’re the right fit for their specific concerns.

4. Personalize Your Bio

Share a bit about yourself beyond your professional qualifications. This could include your therapeutic philosophy, what led you to become a therapist, or what you enjoy outside of work. A personal touch can make you more relatable and help potential clients feel more connected to you.

5. Choose an Appropriate Photo

Select a professional yet approachable photo for your listing. Your headshot should be clear, well-lit, and convey warmth and trustworthiness. Consider the background, attire, and your demeanor in the photo. Smiling gently can make you appear more welcoming. The goal is to make potential clients feel at ease even before they meet you, encouraging them to reach out for help.

6. Incorporate a Profile Video

Adding a personal video to your profile can significantly enhance your connection with potential clients. In the Psychology Today video, introduce yourself, describe your therapeutic approach, and what clients can expect from working with you. Keep it short, genuine, and reassuring. A video helps to convey your personality and therapeutic style more effectively than text alone, making potential clients feel more comfortable and inclined to reach out for a consultation.

7. Include Office Photos

Adding images of your therapy space can help potential clients visualize where their sessions will take place, adding another layer of comfort and trust before they even meet you. Ensure these photos are well-lit, tidy, and inviting. The environment should reflect a safe, welcoming, and professional atmosphere. These visual cues can help clients feel more at ease and more likely to initiate contact.


How to create an effective psychology today video


Need Help With Marketing For Therapists?

While you can’t control the Psychology Today algorithm, there are plenty of therapist marketing strategies that can keep your practice full all year round.

At Goodman Creatives, I specialize in helping therapists like you establish and enhance your online presence, ensuring you connect effectively with potential clients. From crafting personalized, impactful Psychology Today profiles to developing comprehensive digital marketing strategies, I provide the tools and expertise necessary to grow your practice. By understanding your unique strengths and the needs of your dream clients, I can guide you in creating a compelling, authentic narrative that resonates with those seeking help. Reach out today to learn more.

Got Questions?

Ask me anything about this article … or, reach out to see how I can help you get a steady, predictable stream of therapy clients you love with less effort and stress.

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About the Author:

Greg Goodman

As a therapist business coach, web designer, copywriter, and marketing expert, Greg has been helping mental health professionals get a steady stream of clients they love since 2006.

In his career, Greg has helped everyone from associates to established solo partners, group practices, and beyond. He even had a 6-year stint as the head of a large mental health clinic in San Francisco where he kept 43 caseloads full.

In addition to his work helping therapists, Greg is a passionate photographic storyteller, traveler, husband, father, and human being dedicated to personal growth and making the world a better place.

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