It’s no secret that the end of the year is a slow season for the counseling world.
You’ve likely noticed that you probably have more canceled appointments than you usually do. In addition, you might notice that fewer people are reaching out for your services. If you know a thing or two about SEO, you’ll probably see that your website is receiving less traffic than it was previously. In addition, some of your rankings could be dropping. Does this mean that you’re no longer a quality clinician? No. Does this mean that investing in SEO from November to January is a waste of time and money? No. Actually, it’s quite the opposite.
This time of year is the perfect time to build SEO.
Why is this the case? Well, for a few different reasons. First, you likely have more free time this month than most of the other months of the year. This is because you’ll likely have more canceled appointments. Sometimes, even the clients that swore they would still come end up canceling their appointments. This time of year can be really busy for folks and they need something to take off their to-do list. Unfortunately, that’s often their appointment with their counselor. So, this means that you’ll have more time in your workday to focus your energy on other aspects of your practice. And, to finally get to the other tasks on your to-do list.
Second, using this time to focus on boosting your SEO will help you promote your practice’s results later on. SEO is a long-term strategy. And, it can take a few months to see the fruit of your labor. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense to focus on your SEO in the slow season so your “busy” season is even more successful! In addition, this can help you to finetune your approach in reaching your ideal clients. Overall, focusing your efforts to build SEO during this time of year will help to promote the longevity of your results.
Okay, but how do we build SEO during the slow season?
Great question! There are many different avenues that you can use if you decide to venture down this path. From our experience of optimizing therapists’ websites, we have found a few options that will likely be the best ROI for your practice. Below are 5 ways to build SEO during this season.
1. Write the blogs that you previously didn’t have time for.
I know, I know. You’ve heard this 1,000 times. But, as an additional reminder, blogging is very important for SEO. Blogging can help you to build backlinks, which essentially serves as an SEO “savings account.” Backlinks come in handy when you make big changes to your site, as these changes often result in loss of SEO. So, the more backlinks you have, the better. Ultimately, backlinks assist you to build SEO.
When you start blogging during this time, there are many different paths you can go down. One option is to finally articulate the amazing ideas you’ve kept on a sticky note or a word doc. A second option, and possibly a more timely option, is to think about your current clients. What would be helpful for them to read right now? Would it be tips on assertive communication? Could it be grounding skills that they can pull out when they need them? Or how to ask what they need from those around them? Consider what would make sense for your ideal clients. Regardless of the approach you take to this blog, aim for it to a resource. The more helpful your blog is, the more eyeballs see it.
2. Respond to HARO listings.
HARO (help a reporter out) is a website that reporters use to obtain sources for their stories. HARO is a widely used website by reporters all over the country. After you sign up, you’ll receive listings for upcoming stories for which a reporter needs a reliable source. You can respond to the inquiry (doesn’t need to be longer than 2 to 3 paragraphs) including your name, the name of your practice, and your practice’s website. It’s important to keep in mind that you should respond to these inquiries as quickly as you can. Many people use HARO, so good inquiries typically go quickly!
3. Beef up your about page.
Your practice’s about page can help build the know, like, and trust factor. This page can be a deciding factor for some of your clients if they use your services. So, you’ll want to make your about page as unique as possible. Challenge yourself to include other components aside from your credentials. Yes, they are important. And, your ideal client seeing that you’re certified in EMDR will not separate from the other EMDR therapists in your town.
In addition to your certifications and credentials, include some things about you as a human. Do you have a favorite snack? What was your favorite book growing up? What made you want to be a therapist? If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Do you have pets? (10 bonus points if you include pictures!) These tidbits will help your future clients get to know you. And, will separate you from the competition.
Don’t forget about your location!
On top of including things about your life as a human, it’s also a good idea to provide a very detailed description of your office location. Feel free to include landmarks, street names, parks, large districts (shopping, business, etc.), schools, popular restaurants and/or coffee shops. Or, anything else that will give the user a very clear image of where you are. What’s more, this is also helpful for Google. This detailed description “shows” Google where you and what other locations are near. In addition, this lets Google know the other searches you’re wanting to show up for.
4. Use free resources to do some keyword research.
Doing a little keyword research during this time could be exponentially beneficial for your practice. The purpose of keyword research is to see what your ideal clients are searching for to find a therapist. Keyword research can inform what words and verbiage you use on your site. Using the keywords that your clients are searching for = more of your ideal clients seeing your site. Overall, using the right keywords helps to build SEO. A great free tool to use is Google Trends. Google Trends works by allowing you to compare the search volume for different terms in an area. In addition, it offers suggestions of other terms that are related to the words that you’re searching for.
Here’s an example of how you can use Google Trends to build SEO
Let’s say that you’re an LMFT in Atlanta, GA and you really enjoy working with couples. Your ideal clients are couples that need counseling to work on their communication to navigate the aftermath of an affair. You also prefer to work with couples that are married as opposed to unmarried couples. On your website, you include the term “marriage therapy.” When searching “marriage therapy in Atlanta, GA” in Google Trends, you see that 0 people have searched that term from November 1st, 2020 to December 5th, 2020. Google suggests that you search “marriage counseling,” as it’s a related term. When you search “marriage counseling” in Google Trends, you see that 183 people have searched it in the same timeframe. So, with this in mind, it would make more sense to include “marriage counseling” significantly more than “marriage therapy.”
Now that you have this information, apply it to build SEO!
After you do some keyword research, apply what you learned. Switch out the terms that people don’t search for with the terms that people do search for. Often, it’s a small price to pay to build SEO and reach out to new future clients.
5. Do some “housekeeping” on your website.
This might be the least exciting suggestion that we have. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not important! Doing “housekeeping” tasks on your site essentially means making sure that the information on your site is still accurate. In addition to SEO benefits, this also benefits the user. The user is more likely to stay on your site (and hopefully convert to becoming a client) if it is updated and accurate. This can include a lot of different areas, so here’s a quick list of some things to look out for:
- Hours of operation/location are updated
- You have service pages for each service you offer
- Your “meet the team” page is updated
- If a clinician left, remove them from the listing; add any new clinicians
- Update any certifications anyone in the practice received
- Awards, certificates, public speaking events, etc.
- You have a footer at the bottom of each page
- This should include your location
- If you’re strictly online, it will likely read “Providing Online Therapy in (insert state name)”
- Service modality
- If you’re online, in person, or a hybrid, make sure that’s clearly stated on your site
Wrapping on ways to build SEO during the slow season
Overall, there isn’t a “bad” time to build SEO. However, being intentional to build SEO during a slower season will likely result in a higher ROI. Working to build SEO during this season will help you make the most out of your “busy” season. And, will help you reach your ideal clients. Incorporating these tips can get you started on a great foot for the upcoming year!
Begin working with Simplified SEO Consulting
We’re here to help with all of your SEO needs! We offer many different services to help you reach your SEO goals. We offer Done For You Services where do the optimization for your site. If you’re the hands-on type, we can teach you how to do the optimization in our 12-Week Intensive Program. In addition, we offer a variety of helpful courses and ala carte services. When you’re ready to begin services with us, follow these steps:
- Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us.
- Get to know our team of highly skilled SEO specialists.
- Build SEO and continue to do what you love.
About the Author
Alyssa has been a member of the Simplified family for the past few months. And, is now stepping into a role providing training and additional support for folks learning SEO. As a current graduate student in the Advanced Placement MSW Program at Mizzou, Alyssa loves the world of mental health and technology. In addition, Alyssa has a growing interest in using social media to grow a practice, the importance of live feed, and building backlinks. She also wrote a two-part blog post series about the importance of blogging for SEO. This series addressed the importance of blogging and original content. In addition, she is co-hosting a blogging masterclass that will soon be available for purchase.