Let’s face it. If you’re operating a treatment facility and are looking to gain exposure on search engines such as Google, understanding how people are looking for your services and at what frequency is fundamentally step #1 in pursuit of an effective drug rehab SEO campaign. 

If you’re not familiar with how to go about conducting rehab keyword research for your center, that’s okay.

This post is meant to act as a guide to help you understand what tools are available and how to drill down to uncover keywords and phrases most relevant to your facility and its clientele. 


User searching for detox from an addiction treatment center online concept image for rehab keyword research


Unlock the Power of Keyword Research for Your Drug or Alcohol Rehab Facility with These Must-Have Tools

Google Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner offers an amazing platform to conduct rehab keyword research whether you’re doing it for organic SEO, Google Ads, or both. Within the planning tool, you can simply plug in keywords or phrases and Google will not only let you know how frequently people are searching for those phrases on a monthly average, but will also suggest additional keyword phrases relevant to the phrases you’re researching. Essentially, what you get from this platform is a wealth of keyword data insights (directly from the source we might add) coupled with exponential expansion potential for phrase opportunities. #badass

Google Suggest

You may not be aware of the name, but if you’ve ever used Google, you’ve seen it in the wild. 

Other than Google’s Keyword Planner, Google search suggestions appear as an active element when people start typing in a search which automatically suggests searches based on numerous factors such as user intent and locality as examples:


SEO keywords for addiction treatment centers


As you can see above, Google knows I’m doing a search from the Orlando Florida area and is, by default, making search query recommendations for both general and geo-focused searches.

For search suggest, we have found it’s quite beneficial for local search behavior in the addiction treatment space, but please look at it as complementary to the keyword planner tool and not as a total replacement option.

Google Trends

We love us some Google Trends data! Consider this a bit of a nerd alert… 

Google Trends is a fantastic tool your center can use to understand the popularity of search behavior over time which includes peaks and valleys of searches that are topical or cyclical in nature. 

A great example of topical trends would be something like an emerging drug epidemic to hit the scene that shows an increase in search query volume at Google:


Opioid addiction data in Google trends


Another topical way of looking at data is to compare query volume between multiple search phrases to gauge popularity between them over time:

A Cyclical example applies to centers that may see a higher level of traffic and inquiries based on their location and time of the year. This particular way of evaluating data can sometimes be misleading, but can certainly help in understanding search behavior in certain markets and how a time of year can affect search query types:

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a great tool to use as a means to understand what keywords and phrases people are using to find your site. It also includes a plethora of other insights including error detection, search impressions, clicks, and average placement data, and so much more. 

In terms of keyword research, we have found Google Search Console data to be an excellent way to see what phrases are currently ranking and based on their current performance metrics (impressions, clicks, click through rate %, and average position ), if you see certain phrases working well, but not prominently placed or leveraging additional keyword phrase variations, look at those as areas to revisit certain pages and either optimize or re-optimize them to increase their positioning in search results.

We will be writing a separate post about Google Search Console and how to use it effectively in an active SEO campaign whether it’s being conducted in-house or by an agency.


Ahrefs is a tool we like to use often here at Lead to Recovery for addiction marketing. Not only does ahrefs provide insights into link popularity metrics and areas needing improvement on the link popularity front, but it also provides additional insights in terms of potential keyword phrases your center should consider pursuing in both SEO and rehab paid search campaigns:


Drug rehab center ad research in Ahrefs


As you can see from the above example search for the term “drug rehab”, not only does ahrefs indicate its popularity in terms of search volume, it also helps users understand the competitive nature of the phrase and what it potentially costs per click in an active PPC campaign via Google Ads. From here, you can click on “all keyword ideas” and isolate all phrase opportunities for the term “drug rehab” to see what phrase variations exist your treatment center should consider as a part of your SEO strategy:


Keyword marketing strategy for drug rehab centers


As you can see above, ahrefs keywords explorer is a robust tool and we’ve only scratched the surface. Come to think of it, it could definitely use its own blog post in the future. ;)

Keyword Mapping

Now that you’ve gone through the process of conducting exhaustive keyword research into relevant phrases for your rehab center, it’s now time to map those phases to their main page targets. 

Let’s say you have a site that includes the following:

  • Homepage
  • OP/IOP
  • PHP
  • Addiction Types
    • Alcohol
    • Drugs
      • Cocaine
      • Heroin
      • Opioids
  • DBT
  • Equine Therapy
  • About Us
    • Our Story
    • Facility and Accommodations
  • Contact Us

Based on the above sitemap, you’ve already researched keyword phrase opportunities relevant to each page and now it’s time to map them to code and content variables to get in the good graces of Google.

The main areas needing strategic keyword phrase injection include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Titles
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Content
  • Alt tags
  • Anchor Text
  • H1’s and H2’s
  • Navigation (if applicable)
  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Etc.

Why Rehab Keyword Research is so Important for SEO

Look. Rehab keyword research is the concrete foundation from which you’ll build your house when it comes to conducting search engine optimization. If your foundation is weak and built upon assumptions vs. well-researched and vetted keyword phrases, you’ll find yourself wallowing in pain due to skipping this critical step toward SEO nirvana. To boost your search engine rankings, utilizing your list of keywords effectively is crucial. So, take the time and research phrases both now and into the future and we promise it will pay itself off in terms of potential admits to your facility.

Take your addiction marketing to the next level with Lead to Recovery. Our experienced team of professionals are experts at creating and executing comprehensive digital marketing campaigns that help rehab facilities increase admissions and get more leads.


Reviewed by:

Matthew Travers
Rehab Marketing Expert

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