It’s a scenario everyone in an addiction treatment center dreads: patients come in highly motivated to overcome their addiction.

Then, they drop the bombshell question, “Can you guarantee my results?”

The doctors and staff members wince, knowing that they will have to patiently explain that in addiction treatment, there are no guarantees.

Relapse is a very real possibility, and patients need to stick with it, despite any setbacks that may occur. Yet, these same drug rehab centers often expect guaranteed results from a digital marketing company for their SEO needs.

That’s when the company has to sit you down and give you essentially the same speech that you give patients every day.

So, like your patients, you need to understand that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution that will always work.

Granted, there are individuals in both fields that make guarantees. However, these people are little better than the traveling salesmen of the past who traveled in brightly colored wagons advertising tonics that could “cure” virtually anything.

Such people dishonor their fields and do harm to their clients. At first glance, addiction treatment programs and search engine optimization would seem to have very little in common.

Upon closer inspection, however, the opposite is true. In its experience working with more than 100 drug rehab centers, Onlinko Limited has discovered that the two industries share a number of similarities:


In search engine optimization as in drug addiction treatment, there can be no guarantees.

Digital marketing companies or doctors can only do so much in terms of planning and implementation of marketing plans or treatment plans respectively.

When push comes to shove, improving a website or overcoming an addiction must be accomplished by the client.

In a digital age, we are tempted to think that all things have a narrowly defined solution.

However, many things can affect the effectiveness of an SEO initiative, much the same way that many things can affect how well an addiction treatment program goes.

For someone in drug rehab, there could be co-occurring mental issues that interfere with treatment. Or relatives are making recovery difficult, or any number of other complicating issues.

In the world of SEO, a number of factors may interfere with results. A drug rehab center could, for example, have an existing website that was heavily penalized by Google for various infractions.

It takes time for a new marketing company to remove the problems that caused those penalties.


Think of those rehab patients who work extremely hard on their recovery for a week and then believe they have done their part and that the process is over.

Obviously, patients like this will be in for a rude awakening when they discover that effective addiction treatment never involves a quick fix.

It’s a long process that requires commitment, perseverance, and patience—definitely patience!

In the realm of SEO, a one-off optimization initiative has about as much potential to create a long-term result as an intense week-long stab at sobriety.

It just doesn’t work that way. Obviously, SEO leads are important, and drug rehab centers have a very good reason for seeking them.

It’s been established that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, which is a sharp contrast to outbound leads
(such as traditional direct mail or print advertising) that only offers a 1.7% close rate.

However, like drug addiction rehab, SEO isn’t an overnight process.


Shortcuts to addiction recovery don’t exist. However, as the doctors and staff members of every drug rehab center know, patients will certainly look for them.

Unfortunately, they will only become terribly disappointed when the shortcuts can’t be found. That’s a critical moment in treatment.

The wrong action by the drug rehab center could mean these types of patients will leave treatment and potentially run into even bigger challenges with their addiction.

Patients sometimes have unrealistic expectations when they approach a rehab facility, hoping to find a shortcut that frees them from the hard work necessary to make recovery a success.

These patients can be difficult to deal with because they come to you with the wrong impression of how drug addiction treatment actually works.

It’s only through carefully adjusting their expectations that a positive effect will be possible.

With SEO, it’s unwise to be like those difficult patients who come to your facility. There are no shortcuts in SEO and trying to find them will only lead to frustration.

There’s no automated link-building program in the world that can make an inferior website explode overnight with organic searches—certainly not over the long run.

Results happen due to one thing and one thing only—hard work. Good SEO is the by-product of careful analysis, which isn’t a process that includes shortcuts.


As you know, many addicted individuals arrive at your rehab center with a very poor diet, often as a direct result of their addiction.

The body depends on food for energy and smart drug rehab centers monitor nutrition very carefully.

The detox process, for example, is difficult on the body and patients will need healthy food to help regain their good physical health. To ignore this aspect would be to ignore one of the building blocks of a healthy body.

The people who succeed in recovery are generally people who have healthy bodies.

Similarly, excellent on-page optimization won’t do the job if it’s constrained by ill-considered, low-quality link building and low-quality content.

It’s no accident that according to a recent report from Ascend2, 72% of worldwide marketers believe relevant content creation is the most effective SEO tactic

Onlinko Limited assures its clients that links and high-quality content are absolutely vital for a website.

Similar to bad eating habits, bad link building and poorly conceived content have a distinctly negative effect on overall performance. Good link building and good content, like good nutrition, will fuel the system in the right way.

The idea is a simple one, yet if it’s ignored, the results will likely be unsatisfactory


More than ever before, people who come into drug treatment centers are from all walks of life.

Some are too thin, some are too heavy, some are young, some are old, some have mental health issues, some are mentally healthy, some are in poor health and some are in excellent health.

Yet, all of these highly diverse people have one common goal—to get well. Some are more likely to succeed than others, depending on both their unique circumstances and where they choose to get addiction treatment.

Relatively few websites bring an utterly unique sales proposition to the table, such as an outstanding feature, product, or service that will generate instant popularity among users. This is often true for drug rehab centers as well.

Not every facility can be blessed with a picture-perfect location on Florida’s beaches. Not every rehab is as large as its owners would like.

Not all addiction treatment centers can boost the number of amenities or the comprehensive array of therapies that a nearby competitor does.

Sometimes the handicaps can be minimized by redirecting viewers to what the rehab center does have rather than what it doesn’t. But ultimately, some patients—and some rehab centers—will struggle more than others to achieve success.


Despite a patient’s best efforts, he or she may suffer a relapse. This can occur no matter how excellent the treatment program may be.

Many patients in this situation are tempted to shrug their shoulders and abandon attempts at overcoming their addiction, believing that they can’t make it happen.

Obviously, no rehab center ever wants these patients to give up. You will want to talk to them and say, “Hey, this can happen. It’s part of the territory.

You need to view this as a temporary setback. Don’t let it discourage you from trying to achieve the sobriety that you want.” You know that patients like this can definitely succeed, even if the road is bumpy for a time.

It may call for some adjustments to their treatment but they can overcome their addiction if they are committed and you are helping them receive high-quality treatment.

Similarly, SEO strategies can fail, or take a while to show results. That isn’t a good reason to give up and declare the efforts pointless.

Like addiction therapy, there may be a need to reassess the strategy to determine if alterations are needed to increase effectiveness. In the end, the tweaks made could be what makes all the difference.

Remember that there are many other drug rehab centers out there competing against you. Some may do better than you, despite your best efforts and the efforts of your marketing company partner. Don’t get frustrated.


You probably have a good idea of who recovers faster than others at your rehab centers, and the criteria you use to make this judgment probably has a lot to due with patients’ attitudes.

When patients arrive at your facility feeling extremely pessimistic, it’s likely going to be a challenging course of treatment that tests both your limits and the limits of these individuals.

They may not listen to the information you are trying to impart. They may be unwilling, to be honest with themselves, which compromises the effectiveness of therapy that offers the potential of unlocking the origin of their addiction.

On the other hand, patients with the right mindset and the right attitude are usually excellent candidates for a quicker recovery. They understand that their sobriety is what matters.

They are willing to do what it takes and have the ability, to be honest with themselves about their emotions. Should they relapse, they aren’t beaten because they have their eyes on the prize—sobriety.

With SEO, it’s also wise to keep your eyes on the prize. You have to be willing to listen to what marketing SEO experts have to say and then learn from them.

It’s important that you avoid clinging to preconceived ideas that may actually be holding you back rather than propelling you forward.

When there are setbacks in the SEO strategy, you won’t be defeated. You know that it’s time to regroup and tweak the marketing plan, not become unnecessarily pessimistic.

The patient with the right attitude stands a better chance of success. The rehab center with the right attitude toward SEO will similarly stand the best chance of achieving the success it wants.


Patients don’t get better without frames of reference. Drug rehab centers certainly don’t judge patients to be recovered because they have a “hunch” that they are.

As professionals, you go by empirical information, such as doctors’ and therapists’ reports that measure progress based on clearly defined criteria.

When something in therapy is working well, patients need to be reminded of that fact. It’s human nature to want to know if something you’re doing works.

Similarly, you don’t judge the results of how SEO is working based on knee-jerk reactions. Just because you can remember a certain day or a certain week when the phones didn’t ring doesn’t mean this can be used as a reliable indicator that the efforts aren’t working.

Metrics tell you everything you need to know. For example, they will tell you whether results are rising, leveling off, or falling.

Onlinko Limited has witnessed some facilities ready to go in a different direction before giving the SEO campaign a chance to really take root.

Another situation where metrics are vital are when an SEO campaign is showing the first signs that it has played itself out and that the time is right to reinvent the strategy.

Relying on guesswork means the decline may not be noticed until it is well underway. Measuring progress, whether in addiction treatment or running an SEO campaign, is of vital importance for success.


Few patients can overcome drug addiction without help. It’s not impossible… just very, very difficult. Rehab treatment provides an important ingredient that can make all the difference— expert advice.

For example, doctors and therapists monitor patients in detox to keep them safer than they would ever be in a self-detox environment.

During rehab, trained professionals using evidence-based therapies help patients understand the causes of their addiction.

Every drug rehab center strongly advises people against trying to get through recovery on their own—and with good reason. Research indicates that trying to overcome addiction without professional help is difficult.

Some drug rehab centers also want to do things themselves. They often try to market themselves and maintain their web presence without help.

In the past when the internet was young, this was much more feasible. Now, the digital environment changes at a pace so fast that even marketing companies have to stay on the ball if they don’t want to get left behind.

Google has made dramatic changes that greatly affect how pages rank in the 100 billion searches conducted on its site every month.4 Without knowledge of the latest changes, facilities could easily find their pages penalized for infractions they knew nothing about.

That’s where the experts at a digital marketing company can save the day for you. They track the changes that Google constantly implements regarding web content to ensure that your website doesn’t suffer as a result.


Some patients look for facilities that promise to quickly “cure” them of their addiction. As the professionals at any quality addiction treatment center know, recovery isn’t quick and the word “cure” is very inappropriate when discussing addiction recovery.

Such promises are highly dubious and the likelihood of successful recovery is probably quite low. You would never make these claims to your patients because you know better due to your professional training and industry experience

In a similar vein, digital marketing companies making claims that their SEO will bring you fast results should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Yes, it’s probably too good to be true.

Good SEO is a methodical process and it seldom can produce overnight results. It often takes time to analyze
your current site to determine what works well and what needs improvement.

Deciding what type of quality organic content should be added to your website also takes time. As stated earlier,
having the right content is a big part of effective SEO results.

You probably become frustrated when rehab patients expect instant results. You shouldn’t make the same mistake regarding SEO. Don’t be taken in by companies with promises that sound too good to be true. As the saying goes…


As a Google Partner and Google AllStar, Onlinko Limited is dedicated to helping drug rehab centers increase their admissions through our industry expertise and leading-edge digital marketing strategies.


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