January 13, 2023

Grow your Psychiatry Private Practice: A Guide to Reputation Management, Google Business Profile, Directory Listing and Review Sites

Written by

Dr. Carlene MacMillan, MD

As a mental health clinician, your online reputation matters a lot.

More than half of prospective patients will search for “psychiatrist” or “psychiatrist near me” to find a new provider. Google often leads them to online clinician directories like Psychology Today that are optimized to show up towards the top of searches.

If you don’t have a Google Business Profile yet, you should (we’ll cover how in this article).

But what about investing your time and money into setting up profiles on clinician directories like Psychology Today and Alma? Are they worthwhile?

Keep reading to learn about:

  • Pros and cons of listing on review/directory sites (including niche sites)
  • Creating a scroll-stopping bio
  • Best practices for creating a Google Business profile

After reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of how and where to list your practice and ways to make a positive first impression.

Pros and cons of creating profiles for listing and review sites

Almost three-quarters (71%) of surveyed patients use online reviews as the very first step to finding a new doctor, and 23% use review sites to validate a provider choice. Creating a bio on listing sites like Psychology Today increases your chances of being found. But there are always tradeoffs.

Source: SoftwareAdvice.com's Master Patient Experience Survey 2020, Q: When are you most likely to use online reviews to research a healthcare professional? N:644

Pros:

  • Can increase visibility and attract new patients
  • Free or low-cost advertising option
  • Can build credibility and trust with potential patients
  • Takes less time than consistently prospecting through social media marketing
  • Improving Quality of Care: The feedback you receive from patients can help inform practice decisions and help you deliver the care patients are looking for
  • Patients will feel heard and grow in their loyalty when you respond to their reviews and address their questions and concerns

Cons:

  • Time-consuming to set up listings for each site
  • Limited control over what appears in your listing (e.g., reviews, comments)
  • May require ongoing maintenance depending on the review site/directory used
  • Many sites require you to pay to list your practice (costs covered below)
  • Visibility is not guaranteed, especially if you live in a busy city
  • People who browse a database may be searching for only practices that carry their insurance. So if you don’t take insurance, you may have less visibility on these listing sites
  • Depending on how well the sites filter clinicians and how closely patients read listings, you could end up with many prospective patients who are not an appropriate fit for your practice

Takeaway: Overall, we think the pros outweigh the cons for most psychiatrists launching a private practice to choose at least one clinician directory to be listed on. You just want to be mindful of these factors as not all directories will be a great fit.

The upfront time investment usually pays off many times over with referrals—especially if you also have a website to send people to learn more once they find you (many prospective patients will look for your website after finding you). You should track how many referrals you get from each directory and how many go on to be patients in order to determine if they are a good return on investment.

We’ll cover specific directories below. But before you list your practice anywhere, you need a scroll-stopping bio.

How to Write a Standout Bio for Directory Sites and Google Business Profile

Your practice bio should be brief but compelling. Your goal is to introduce yourself, your unique approach, and communicate to potential patients that you understand their struggles and can help them.

The key here is to include a unique selling point that distinguishes you from other psychiatrists, such as your approach, background, and treatment philosophy. Some directories allow searching by specific clinician attributes like sexual orientation or spirituality so you will need to decide if these are aspects you wish to self-disclose.  

Focus on creating content that is keyword-rich and engaging—and relevant to your niche. For example, if you offer accelerated TMS, definitely include that in your bio as it differentiates you from other clinicians. Google is more likely to display your Google Business Profile on the front page when people Google that key term.

In addition, your bio should:

  • Identify the pain that your patients are going through
  • Normalize their potential diagnoses
  • Include basic information about your practice—such as your business name, address, and typical hours of operation
  • Consider including patient testimonials if these are allowed by your state licensing board. If not, consider testimonials from colleagues you have worked with.
  • List frequently asked questions, especially around fees and insurance
  • End with a call to action inviting people to contact you or visit your website

When reviewing your listing, make sure your photograph is professional and friendly, you review the directories' guidelines, you check for errors, and you offer a free consultation if applicable.

With your bio in place, you’re ready to list it on multiple directories and set up your Google Business Profile.

The Top 8 Clinician Directories to List Your Psychiatry Practice

Let’s cover the most common online directories where psychiatrists list their practices:

Psychology Today

The bread and butter of therapist and psychiatry directories. Some solo practitioners opt just to have an online profile here rather than a practice website. A Psychology Today subscription is currently $29.95 / month for clinicians (ask a colleague for a referral code for several months free!), and free to patients to search. Unlike many other directories listed in this article, Psychology Today doesn’t provide a way for patients to review their providers.

  • Psychology Today gets 34.81 million monthly visits, which is 55% more than the next website in the mental health category, according to Similarweb.com
  • If you do not accept insurance, be sure to clearly state this in your profile to minimize inappropriate inquiries
  • Some view Psychology Today as problematic

ZocDoc

ZocDoc is transitioning from a yearly subscription to a pay-per-patient model, and you’ll need to contact them to learn about prices in your area. ZocDoc is free to patients, and allows patients to book an appointment with your practice directly through the ZocDoc scheduling tool.

  • ZocDoc enables patients reviews.
  • Psychiatrists often complain about fees around pay-per-patient pricing if there are no-shows and late cancellations.
  • You need to keep slots open on your schedule for these intakes and it is not a good fit if you like to do extensive pre-screening of prospective patients.
  • Many users of ZocDoc are looking to use their insurance so it is not a great fit if you do not accept insurance.

Alma

Alma membership costs quite a bit more than the other directories in this article, currently $125 / month, and includes marketing, insurance support, digital tools, and a clinician community platform in addition to its clinician directory. Like Psychology Today, Alma doesn’t show patient reviews.

  • Alma, like Headway and Sondermind, has negotiated more favorable rates with certain insurance companies than a clinician can typically get on their own in solo practice.
  • They also handle the credentialing with insurance panels and are able to get clinicians onboarded with the payers faster than if someone was doing it on their own.
  • If you're not planning on taking insurance, Alma and similar services are not a great fit.

Healthgrades

Every clinician who has an NPI number has a free listing on Healthgrades which is a review site for patients.

  • You can take some time to update yours if it has inaccurate information.
  • While you cannot have negative reviews removed, you can contact Healthgrades and other physician review sites and request for your profile to be removed entirely. Let them know you are a psychiatrist.

Yelp

While Yelp is famous for restaurant reviews, the platform is used to find and review all types of businesses, including psychiatry practices. Yelp is centered around patient reviews, and some complain that it overemphasizes sponsored businesses and charges businesses for paid badges. Nevertheless, Yelp allows patients to filter by several helpful categories including location.

  • You can’t prevent Yelp or a reviewer from creating a profile for your practice but you can claim it and update it for accuracy.
  • You can report any reviews that are wildly offensive or false but they will not remove negative reviews from people who appear to be actual patients.
  • Never respond to a negative review (or a positive review) with any information that confirms or denies the person is a patient. In general, it is best to ignore negative patient reviews unless they contain factually incorrect information such as saying your office is closed on Wednesdays when it is not. When in doubt, check with your malpractice carrier before responding.

Other Niche Psychiatry Directories

Keep in mind that if you practice a specific therapy or distinct approach, such as arts-oriented therapy or neurofeedback, you may have better luck listing your practice with clinician directories that cater to your specialty.

Bridges Mental Health

The Bridges Clinician Directory features NYC-based mental health professionals who provide competent, culturally responsive services to Asian Pacific Islander South Asian Americans (APISA). Note this is focused on therapists but psychiatrists and psychiatric NPs can register as a therapist. Cost: $9/month or $99/year.

Inclusive Therapists

Inclusive Therapists offers a directory of culturally responsive, LGBTQ+ affirming, social justice-oriented clinicians. There is a category for medication management.

Cost: $29/month.

Open Path Collective

Open Path is a nationwide network of mental health professionals dedicated to providing affordable, in-office, and online mental health care to clients in need. This is for therapists who are willing to offer sessions between $30 and $60 and there's no separate category or fee structure for psychiatric practitioners. Cost: Free.

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Support International (PSI) offers an online directory of qualified perinatal mental health professionals and support groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Cost: Free.

Mental Health Match

Mental Health Match is a matching platform that connects therapy-seekers with therapists who are most likely to become recurring therapy patients. It does not have options to identify as a psychiatric prescriber but could be a good fit if you are looking for ongoing therapy patients. Cost: $29.97/month or $199/year.

TherapyDen

TherapyDen is a progressive directory with expansive search filters. There's even a category for Psychedelic Integration Therapy. While the language is directed toward therapists, there's a category for medication management. Cost: Free.

Therapy for Black Girls

Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. There is an option to indicate if you prescribe medication.

Cost: $25/month or $300/year.

Therapy for Latinx

Therapy for Latinx leverages technology to serve as a national mental health resource for the Latinx community by working with licensed therapists across the country. There's a category for psychiatrists. Cost: $19.99/month or $140/year.

Manhattan Alternative

A network of unaffiliated, independently practicing therapeutic service providers in New York City who are sex-positive, affirmative, and have expertise related to issues faced by kink, poly, consensually non-monogamous, trans, gender non-conforming, and/or LGBQ individuals, as well as those with stigmatized jobs. Listing can be of therapists, psychiatric clinicians, or other medical or wellness professionals who specialize in these populations. Cost: Free

Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center

This is a national directory for professionals who work with patients with borderline personality disorder and their loved ones. Cost: Free

Specialized interventional psychiatry directories for Esketamine, TMS, and Sublocade

If you offer any of these types of services, the manufacturers offer the opportunity to be listed in their online directories. For TMS clinicians, the Clinical TMS Society offers a public directory for its members. Cost: Free for industry sites. For CTMSS it's included in the cost of TMS Society membership.

Each directory has its own set of features, so be sure to take the time to explore each one and find the one that works best for you and your practice!

Here is a summarized list of pros and cons for each psychiatry directory site mentioned:

Name Price Pros Cons
Psychology Today $29.95/month for clinicians 34.81 million monthly visits, no patient reviews Some view it as problematic, no way for patients to review providers
ZocDoc Pay-per-patient model Allows patients to book appointments directly, patient reviews Psychiatrists may complain about fees, need to keep slots open on schedule, not a good fit for those who do extensive pre-screening
Alma $125/month Marketing, insurance support, digital tools, clinician community platform in addition to clinician directory, negotiated more favorable rates with certain insurance companies No patient reviews, not a good fit for those not planning on taking insurance
Healthgrades Free for clinicians with NPI number N/A N/A
Yelp Free Patient reviews, helpful categories including location Lots of sponsored businesses and paid badges, cannot prevent or remove negative reviews.
Bridges Mental Health $9/month or $99/year Focused on NYC-based mental health professionals who provide culturally responsive services to APISA Only for therapists, but psychiatric clinicians can register as therapists
Inclusive Therapists $29/month Culturally responsive, LGBTQ+ affirming, social justice-oriented clinicians N/A
Open Path Collective Free Nationwide network of mental health professionals dedicated to providing affordable in-office and online mental health care Only for therapists who are willing to offer sessions between $30 and $60
Postpartum Support International Free Online directory of qualified perinatal mental health professionals and support groups in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia N/A
Mental Health Match $29.97/month or $199/year Connects therapy-seekers with therapists most likely to become recurring therapy patients Does not have options to identify as a psychiatric prescriber
TherapyDen Free Progressive directory with expansive search filters, including category for psychedelic integration therapy Directed towards therapists, but has category for medication management
Therapy for Black Girls $25/month or $300/year Dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls N/A
Therapy for Latinx $19.99/month or $140/year National mental health resource for the Latinx community N/A
Manhattan Alternative Free Unaffiliated, independently practicing therapeutic service providers in NYC who are sex-positive and affirmative, and have expertise related to issues faced by kink, poly, consensually non-monogamous, trans, gender non-conforming, and/or LGBQ individuals N/A
Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center Free National directory for professionals who work with patients with borderline personality disorder and their loved ones N/A
Esketamine/TMS/Sublocade directories Free Specialized interventional psychiatry directories for Esketamine, TMS, Sublocade N/A

Finding Local Clinician Directories

In addition to listing your practice on national directories, you can also find local mental health and medical directories in your area. These local listings are often free and provide a great way for potential patients to quickly locate providers in their area.

Paid Advertising on Psychiatry Directory Sites

Some review sites also offer paid advertising opportunities that can help you reach even more prospective patients. However, patients tend to trust organic listings more (i.e., listings that appear because of the quality of the content rather than because someone paid for an ad). So be sure to focus on creating high-quality listings rather than simply paying for ads.

Paid reviews appear at the top of ZocDoc for example

Creating a Google Business Profile

When looking for a provider in a specific geographic area, many patients may use Google search or Google maps to find conveniently located practices. You can create a business profile on Google Search and Maps at no cost to add your business and edit information such as business name, location, contact information, open hours, photos, and more.

Whether or not you list your practice on review sites, I highly recommend creating a Google Business profile. Besides capturing local searches by location, you’ll show up when someone Google’s your name or practice name. At this point, your prospective patient is very close to choosing a clinician, but they want to do a bit more research.

Example of how Google Business Profile’s display when someone searches “psychiatrist near me”

A Google Business Profile doesn’t replace the value of having your own website, but you can capture eyeballs with minimal work. Take some time to create an accurate and engaging profile that will make a good impression.

Here are some best practices for Google Business Profile:

  • Creating a Google Business Profile is free and easy to set up. To get started, just go to business.google.com and click "Start now." Then, follow the instructions to create your profile.
  • Once your account is set up, you can add your business information to your profile. This should include your practice name, address, phone number, website, and business hours. You should also add some photos and a brief description of your services.
  • List if you offer online appointments or virtual consultations.
  • Use keyword-rich descriptions and avoid using too much jargon.
  • Select the correct categories: Categories help Google determine which listings match a specific search query. For example, you might select “psychiatrist” as your primary category. Then, you have the option to select additional categories like “child psychiatrist.”
  • Be sure to include your website URL and contact information.
  • Upload high-quality photos of yourself, your staff, and your office.
  • Encourage your patients to leave reviews on your Google business profile. Check with your licensing board regarding guidelines on soliciting reviews from patients in an ethical manner.
  • Keep your profile up-to-date with any changes in hours, services offered, etc.

Conclusion:

Your reputation matters a lot as a mental health clinician—especially when it comes to acquiring new patients. Creating a well-optimized Google Business profile and listing your practice on popular directory sites are two great ways to create a positive first impression when someone’s actively looking for a psychiatrist.

By following the tips in this blog post, you can encourage patient referrals, build credibility with prospective patients, and attract new patients to your private psychiatry practice.

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