3 Common SEO Mistakes Therapists Make on their Websites

When I am optimizing pages for private practice owners, I have found that there are three common mistakes therapists make with their websites. I see these mistakes come up again and again and again. Let’s take a look at these mistakes, and learn how we can edit our websites to better optimize them for SEO purposes. 

 SEO Mistake Number 1: Not investing in the website you love

The first mistake I see therapists make is not investing in a website they really love. Often, when I talk to therapists about their websites, for SEO purposes, they tell me that they don’t love their website to begin with. Maybe you’ve done a DIY website, and now you realize that you want a fancier website. Or maybe you’ve changed the population that you’re working with and your website needs to reflect your current clients. You website really should put your best foot forward. I think that it is much easier for you to change website before you work on SEO. But, it is possible to change your website platform or design after you’ve worked on SEO. 

The bottom line is that a good website is worth investing in. You want to have a website that you like. Your website should be clearly branded and should speak to your ideal client. For example, If your ideal client is someone who is artsy, then you want to have a more artistic website. On the other hand, if your ideal client is an anxious mom, maybe you want to have a really peaceful website. It is worth it to invest in a website that represents your brand well and speaks to the type of clients that you see in your practice.

SEO Mistake number 2: Not having enough content

The next mistake I often see is not having enough content on the website for your private practice. It is important that you have enough service pages, and enough content on those pages. This really communicates that you are a mental health expert, and will help you rank well on Google. Having more content, whether that’s more service pages or more words, will help give Google more information about your website.

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Aside from ranking well on Google, put yourself in your client’s shoes. Think about what they would want to see when looking for therapists in their area. For example, if you were ready to start therapy because you’ve had severe anxiety and have been having debilitating panic attacks, who would you rather see? Someone who has ten specialties listed on one page titled ‘Individual Therapy? Or someone who has an entire page on panic attacks and the treatment of panic disorder? I’m guessing you’d rather see the specialist. If you treat anxiety, consider having service pages on Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Panic Disorder, etc. When clients see you have all of these different service pages, they assume you really know your stuff. They will be more likely to come and see you, and possibly be willing to pay more because you are such an anxiety specialist.

If you are in the early stage of your practice and don’t have a clear niche yet, that is okay. There are probably two or three things that you’re really good at and could have a specific service page about.

SEO Mistake number 3: Not using enough simple language 

The third common mistake I’ve found on therapist websites is talking over the clients’ heads. As therapists, it’s really easy for us to do this. In the previous example I provided on the therapist specializing in anxiety, they might refer to the term ‘panic attacks’ on their website. However, in some areas, ‘anxiety attacks’ are searched just as often because that’s the kind of wording that people use. Often, the words that we’re using are not the words that our clients are using to describe what they’re experiencing. Here’s another example, therapists specializing in women’s issues sometimes mention ‘perinatal mood disorders’ on their websites. Yet, it is almost never a commonly searched for key word in any area. I’m guessing that the handful of people who are searching for perinatal mood disorders or depression, are probably your colleagues or physicians who are looking for referrals. It’s fine to rank well for perinatal depression. But, if you’re wanting to get in front of more potential clients, you should use more common terms like ‘postpartum depression’ instead.

For more information on key words please read my blog post: Counseling Keywords: Search Terms to Target for Your Private Practice Website.

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 I usually encourage people to aim for about a third to fifth grade reading level when working on your websites. We try to reduce the number of syllables used in a word. We also replace commonly used academic wording to ones commonly used in speech. One thing I tell people is, when you’re writing a blog post or service page, imagine you’re telling a ten-year-old about the work you do. That way, you can keep on reminding yourself to keep your language simple.

One of the reasons I love working with WordPress sites is that they have that Yoast plug-in. In the Yoast plug-in, you will see a ‘reading score.’ This score reflects how easy it is for your page to be read by individuals with different levels of education. This is helpful to take note of when writing content for your pages, but focus on simplifying your wording. Even well-educated professionals who may be looking at your website don’t need to struggle to understand what you are trying to say.

Begin optimizing your private practice

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Are you ready to optimize your website for SEO purposes so you will rank higher on Google? Learn more about how to begin by following these easy steps:

  1. Book a free consultation,
  2. Speak to one of our SEO specialists to find what service is the best fit for your private practice,
  3. Start ranking better on Google and get more clients!

Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting

Simplified SEO Consulting is proud to offer you a variety of SEO services designed to meet your needs. We offer the popular done for you SEO services where our team of SEO specialists will optimize your page for you. We also offer SEO training packages, and an opportunity for you to learn SEO in a weekend at one of our intensive training sessions for private practice owners who want to learn SEO themselves. Additionally, we also offer Simplified SEO alumni packages and maintenance packages to keep you ranking well, and à la carte SEO services for those of you who just need a little guidance.  Contact us with specific questions or book a free SEO Consultation to figure out which service is best for your business!

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About the author:

Jessica Tappana is a therapist, group practice owner & an SEO expert.  Jessica is passionate about helping therapists and their ideal clients find one another. She believes quality mental health care can change the world.  Her group practice has grown primarily through great SEO and now has seven clinicians and one virtual assistant and she still sees around 10 individual therapy clients a week herself. However, most of her focus has shifted to helping other therapists around the world get in front of their ideal clients on Google.

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