Imagine this, you’re going into an ice cream shop. You’re told on Google that this is the best ice cream in the world. In fact, you notice a ton of comments on their Google my business page, Good ratings, and a ton of options. So you and your family choose to go into this ice cream shop because of the recommendations you received. You checked the web pages, skimmed it briefly, and have decided this is for you. So you and your family roll up to this shop.

Upon getting to the address you notice a run-down warehouse, no cars in the parking lot. There is a lone stand with an individual handing out, what appears to be ice cream. You notice that what is actually there isn’t ice cream, but t-shirt sales and nothing else. You realize very quickly that what you thought you were getting was in fact false advertising, the t-shirts are not even good quality and now you’re confused. All you wanted was ice cream?! Why are there t-shirts?

What is the point?

Now, this is a silly analogy, but you get the picture. Essentially when people invest in black hat SEO, this is what they are doing. They make their website seem like the optimal choice, develop false credibility, and ignore user experience. You don’t want to buy your “ice cream
From a sketchy warehouse selling mediocre t-shirts.

It’s false advertising and leaves the user disappointed. Even though the false individual gives the impression of success based on false comments, faked reviews, they are essentially lying to the user. Here is the thing, when we forgo user experience to appease the search engine for traffic and affiliate payments, we are forgetting the whole purpose of why we are mental health professionals. USER EXPERIENCE, and helping our ideal clients. This matters and trust is the number one key to establishing any type of therapeutic relationship with a client. So why would we use shady marketing tactics to draw people in?

What is Black Hat SEO?

Two black magician hats with red ribbon. If you have an ethical SEO strategy, you're going to see better results. Black hat SEO tactics are not healthy for your side or for user experience. Learn how our mental health seo specialists can support you today!

In short, Black Hat SEO is a great way to get banned from Google’s search engine. This can heavily damage your SEO and deplete all the efforts you have made to get to the top. Essentially, as Google and the internet have started becoming more popular, people have used certain black hat SEO techniques to make sure they are at the top of the search engine in order to increase their rankings, traffic, and affiliate income. Now there used to be fewer restrictions on the internet, and people were able to work around this to achieve the marketing goals they were looking for. 

Now…

Whether it’s Bing, Google, Yahoo, or anything in between. These search engines have established clear-cut guidelines on how to use and market their search engine ethically. If you violate these guidelines, your SEO rankings will be damaged. The recovery process will be tedious and time-consuming. So it’s best not to engage in the first place.

Differences in White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO

You may have heard the term white hat SEO and thought, is this a less risky version of the black hat SEO? Actually, white hat SEO is the right way to communicate with the Google search engine. White hat or holistic SEO takes longer but is worth it in the end. This includes creating high-quality content, such as blog posts about your therapy specialties, services, and issues your ideal clients struggle with. These include at least 500-2000 words of well-written content geared toward user experience.

You can also use manual backlinking. This means that someone is ethically helping you build backlinks. This involves guest posting. This means other therapists blog on your blog and you on theirs. Additionally, you can either hire or on your own create mini-blogs for your site. These need to be high-quality blogs but can help support your keywords and services. For example, if you’re a grief therapist. Create a blog series on anticipatory grief, disinhibited grief, and grief and loss. This will help to maintain credibility on your end.  

What is Google’s Guidelines to Ethically Use Their Search Engine

If we take a look at the community guidelines put forth by Google, you will see the following. 

Google also outlines what is considered to be “unethical” according to their guidelines:

Google outlines that if you violate their guidelines using black hat SEO tactics, that the company will take manual action against your site. Once the issue is resolved, then you can follow up with Google to have your site reconsidered and no longer banned. However, know that your SEO will still take a while to recover.

Black Hat SEO Techniques That Will Get

Snap back grey, white, and black hats. Are you looking to approach SEO from an ethical search engine optimization perspective? Learn how black hat SEO can damage your site and the differences between white hat SEO and black hat SEO.

You Banned from Google

  • Buying an expired well-ranking domain name, and then switching the content
  • Writing the same content over and over again ( reduces traffic)
  • Update content, make sure it’s not obsolete, revamp it, re-upload will increase traffic and rankings ( don’t recycle content)
  • Keyword Stuffing ( Placing too many keywords or irrelevant content to page)
  • Automatically Generated/Duplicate Content
  • Hidden Text (Adding hidden content in order to rank)
  • Doorway/Gateway Pages
  • Cloaking (showing google one page and then serving another)
  • Paid/Manipulative Links
  • Misused Structured Data and Rich Snippets
  • Misleading Redirects ( linking a page to a ranking page and then redirecting to an alternative page)
  • Trading products for links ( offering a product or money for links)
  • Negative SEO ( Building low-quality links to competitors websites)
  • Article spinning ( adding thin content just to get ranking)
  • Comment Spam ( Having comments generated on your site.)
  • Stealing content from the web
  • Auto-Generated Content
  • Social media scam ( buying shares and likes)
  • Rich snippet markup scam ( enhances listing on google with irrelevant content)
  • Automated queries ( false traffic to the website)
  • URL injection spam ( hacking a site like WP and injecting links into pages
  • Domain Squatting ( holding onto a trademark domain)

What is a link scheme?

Basically, with linking, there are ethical ways to build them and very sketchy ways. We want to encourage you to avoid the following:

  • Buying links
  • Exchanging links
  • Low-Quality Articles and Guest Posts ( needs to be high quality and relevant)
  • Automation ( building a bunch of links to others links) 
  • Profile Links ( social media profiles that include links) 
  • Link Network ( paying for links to other websites)

Essentially, if at any time when gaining a link or creating a link it isn’t done to enhance user experience, but to gain quick attention, that would be considered a link scheme and should be avoided immediately. Remember we are trying to build trust and that can take some time. Don’t shortcut this to gain attention, traffic, followers, or affiliate income. 

Why You Should Avoid Black Hat SEO Tactics?

  1. First It will affect your SEO once your Google finds out.
  2. Results are always temporary, and the long-term payout is more harmful.
  3. If you’re optimizing for the search engine, you’re ignoring the purpose which is user experience.

If you want to understand more about user experience. Then check out our blogs on writing content for clients and holistic SEO

What Should I do if I have engaged in some of these Black Hat

Colored pencils, colored airplanes and SEO thought bubble. Black hat SEO tactics have damaged many therapy websites and our mental health SEO specialists want to help you avoid this. Learn the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO today!

Tactics?

This process will take time and can be done. For example, link scheming needs to be disavowed through the Google search console. Takedown and cancel automated programs and sponsors. Have your website be looked over by Google to be seen as credible again. If you have traded products for links, clean it up, undo keyword stuffing. If you have malicious content take it down. Remove pages you have done a bait and switch on. If your domain was hacked you will have to follow up with Google. This is a small portion of what you will need to do. It can be undone, but the process is tedious and will affect your SEO.

How do I report Black Hat SEO Techniques and Tactics?

File a scam report to Google. Even though reporting will not automatically result in action from Google, you’re improving algorithmic spam detection. 

Need Support with Advanced and Technical SEO on Your Website? 

If you have been subject to Black hat SEO tactics, our specialists can help you. An ethical SEO strategy is important to our SEO specialists. While the process can be tedious, our specialists can strategize with you long-term to gain credibility. Our skilled and passionate team of SEO specialists is here to make sure your SEO journey is tailored to your brand and identity. Simplified SEO Consulting would be excited to help you on your SEO journey. To get started with our service follow these simple steps:   

  1. Schedule a consult with our Client Success Specialist or Consult Team  
  2. Learn more about our wonderful team of SEO Specialists.   
  3. Begin your ethical and holistic SEO Journey!

Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting     Jasmine, an SEO specialists at Simplified SEO consulting. If you're looking for SEO help, then contact us today. You can learn about holistic SEO, avoiding black hat seo tactics, and more. Schedule your free 30-minute consultation today with our consult team!

Simplified SEO consulting offers a wide range of services that can help you begin working with your people. We offer. Done for You SEO Service packages, online courses, and SEO training opportunities. Our most popular course includes our “Top of Google” Online course, and we have 12 weeks (about 3 months) of intensive SEO for those who want to learn with a guide. For those looking for a more specialized package, we also offer an SEO strategy package. To get started, schedule a consultation with our Client Success Specialist today!   

About the Author:   

As an SEO specialist at Simplified, Jasmine is an SEO services consultant and helps new clients become oriented to our services. If you are ready to begin Seo service for therapists or Seo for trauma therapists, then get in touch and schedule your free consultation today!  

Jasmine, an SEO Specialist, and Client Success Specialists at Simplified SEO Consulting. You may be wondering where to start with your SEO for private practice or group practices. You have come to the right place.   

Jasmine Jaquess is currently working towards her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University and is currently beginning per practicum work soon. Currently, she serves as the Client Success Specialist in new client consultations with Simplified SEO Consulting and is a Mental Health SEO Specialist. She specializes in platforms such as Squarespace and Wix but has learned to love WordPress sites as well. Her favorite part of the job is writing copy for clients and helping them find their voice to communicate with clients how they can best serve them. 

We are very excited to be providing some information for trauma therapists on SEO and service pages. As some of you know many of our SEO specialists focus on SEO for trauma therapists because we have had a career or have previous experience working with abuse, trauma, and survivors of DV. Therefore, as many of you have a focus on trauma, we hope that our holistic SEO perspective when marketing to individuals dealing with trauma will provide you with insight and encourage you to not be afraid of how your content and voice come off as you speak to this clientele. 

What pages should you build-out?

Person typing on laptop in office on desk. Learning what content to build out helps seo for therapists. Learn how to find keywords to rank on a trauma page and what SEO for trauma therapists is all about here!

 

When building out your service pages, we typically recommend having a PTSD Treatment and Trauma Therapy page. This is because these are the most highly searched for key terms. If you niche down with survivors of abuse, homicide, first responders, or DV survivors, then we would suggest making this the focus keyword, but still including PTSD treatment and trauma therapy on the page to draw in the people looking for this service. Additionally, as therapists, we know that trauma doesn’t usually show up alone, in fact, many people dealing with trauma also deal with anxiety and depression. Therefore, creating service pages based on this focus will not only enhance your SEO because we can link back to these pages but if your clients are not entirely sure if trauma is the issue. They can at least get a brief overview of how co-occurring disorders show up. 

Use of Language on a PTSD and Trauma Page?

Sometimes when we are building out trauma pages for clients, we find that they struggle with using PTSD treatment on the page for the uncertainty that they will drive in a stream of more clinical diagnoses than they are ready to work with. However, in the SEO world, people are both searching for trauma therapy and PTSD treatment. If you’re worried about driving in the wrong clients, then realize that the keywords are what drive people to your website. The written content is what speaks to them as a person. If you don’t work with intense trauma clients, mention that in your copy. Or if your focus is on co-occurring disorders, say that too. Simply adding a subheading saying “ Who Do I work Within Trauma Therapy” will help people to know whether or not you’re the right trauma therapist for them. 

Additional Tips on Trauma Language and SEO for Trauma Therapists.

If the client uses a certain language in a session, then it is ok to add it to your copy. You’re directly speaking to the client. Listen to what you’re hearing in session, and make sure to include these pain points in your copy. Also, don’t be afraid to use trauma language, it can be frightening to know what is appropriate versus what is not, but know that it is in your best interest to just be real. For example, when it comes to people dealing with trauma, it can take many times for them to decide that abuse or an assault is not their fault. Therefore, reiterating this in your copy and in sessions is just adding to one of the many times it will take before they believe it if they ever will.

Lastly, remember that while we want to be real and authentic when talking about trauma, remember to use a person’s first language. They are a person dealing with trauma, a survivor of abuse. Acknowledge the person, not the problem first.

Keywords for a Trauma Therapy Page

Here is a list of common SEO Keywords that individuals try to rank for when working with PTSD treatment and Trauma therapy:

  • PTSD treatment
  • Trauma Therapy
  • EMDR Therapy
  • TF-CBT
  • Brainspotting
  • Somatic Experiencing
  • Complex Trauma
  • Trauma and Anxiety
  • Trauma and Depression
  • Feeling stuck
  • Trauma Therapist
  • PTSD therapy near me
  • Trauma therapy near me 
  • EMDR therapist

These are just a few examples of keywords you could rank for, but the list goes on. That is why we have specialists who can help with SEO for trauma therapists, who are here to help you break down what makes sense to rank for and what doesn’t. 

If you specialize in trauma and you have a certain modality you approach from most often, it would be helpful for your rankings to create a modalities page, breaking down in client language what they can expect being in that setting with you. Additionally, creating blog posts where you answer commonly asked questions or give a resource guide will help to better connect with the client. 

Resources to link to?

Web of connecting multicolored string showing internal links connection. Internal and external linking matters. If you're wondering what is the difference between an internal link versus an external link? And how this helps SEO for trauma therapists read more!

As many of you know, linking is a big piece of the puzzle to rank for SEO for trauma therapists. We add internal links, so for example, if you have a PTSD treatment page, then we may link to your anxiety, depression, or modality page to provide more movement in your site, but also to show Google there is a connection between the topics. This also shows to your clients that there is a connection. So if you connect to your anxiety page from a trauma page and have a subheading in each discussing the connection, your client and Google will begin to recognize the connection of the topics.

Additionally, we also suggest having at least one external link on your site. This is meant to help build up your trust flow with Google. When you connect to an already well-ranked site, this will build your site credibility. Therefore, for trauma therapists, we suggest linking to:

Make sure if you’re using these as external links, know that while they are good to link sources, don’t copy content from their site. Google recognizes duplicate content and will know who published it first, and ethically, that is just bad practice. Use the general idea and then place it in your own words. 

Blogging Helps SEO for Trauma Therapists Because You’re Able to Communicate Your Voice!

Blogging. The infamous and necessary next steps in your journey ranking for SEO for trauma therapists. Blogging is a powerful tool to connect to your ideal audience. Even if you’re a group practice that offers everything, blogging can help your particular mission and perspective be seen better. 

We encourage you to write intentional and carefully crafted blog posts to answer common questions you hear in your practice. For example, you could write an open letter to moms recovering from birth trauma. What do I say to my daughter who was raped? Or Simple things first responders can say to calm a person down in a crisis situation. Resource guides and tips are useful for your client and it gives them a glimpse into the kind of care they can expect from you as a therapist. Remember, blogging is your passion piece, so don’t be afraid to be real and talk about the tough issues. 

Picture of animated content. The connection between SEO and quality content is huge for conversion. So the more honest you're with your audience the better SEO for trauma therapists you will get. Learning what the best keywords for a trauma therapy page and writing good cornerstone content matter to rank and convert.

Write blogs for their loved ones too.

Blogs are also a great resource for the family and loved ones of people dealing with trauma. They may struggle to know how to help their child, partner, friend, or family member. By giving them some helpful tips, you can help them to process what is going on in their loved ones’ lives. They may not fully understand, but when people don’t understand a loved one’s pain, they often want answers and guidance, but by providing blogs for the whole unit, they will feel better supported and even feel like they can help their loved ones better. 

Get in Touch With Our Talented Team to Learn More About SEO for Trauma Therapists!

As trauma therapists or any mental health professional, we can make a huge impact on how people live. We can help people find freedom and feel heard maybe for the first time in their lives. If you’re uncertain how to begin communicating to people dealing with trauma that you get it, SEO is a great option. People are looking for help and they don’t know where to begin. That is where your marketing strategy of person-centered service pages and blogs will be a fantastic first step for them. Just as with SEO, asking for help takes times when you’re stuck in trauma. Many times, clients make visit your site a few times before deciding to reach out for help, so be patient with the process and know that it is working and you’re making an impact.

If you could use some support, then reach out to us for help. Our skilled and passionate team of SEO specialists who are mental health nerd sat Simplified SEO Consulting would be excited to help you on your SEO journey. To get started with our service follow these simple steps: 

  1. Schedule a consult with our Client Success Specialist 
  2. Learn more about our talented team of SEO Specialists. 
  3. Begin putting your unique voice out there and continue making the impact you desire on those around you.

Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting   

Simplified SEO consulting offers a wide range of services that can help you begin working with your people. We offer. Done for You SEO Service packagesonline courses, and SEO training opportunities. Our most popular course includes our “Top of Google” Online course, and we have 12 weeks (about 3 months) of intensive SEO for those who want to learn with a guide. For those looking for a more specialized package, we also offer an SEO strategy package. To get started, schedule a consultation with our Client Success Specialist today 

About the Author: As SEO specialist at Simplified, Jasmine is a seo services consultant and helps new clients become oriented to our services. If you ready to begin seo service for therapists or seo for trauma therapists, then get in touch and schedule your free consultation today!

Jasmine, an SEO Specialist, and Client Success Specialists at Simplified SEO Consulting. You may be wondering where to start with your SEO for private practice or group practices. You have come to the right place. 

Jasmine Jaquess is currently working towards her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University and is currently beginning per practicum work soon. Currently, she serves as the Client Success Specialist in new client consults with Simplified SEO Consulting and is a Mental Health SEO Specialist. She specializes in platforms such as Squarespace and Wix but has learned to love WordPress sites as well. Her favorite part of the job is writing copy for clients and helping them find their voice to communicate with clients how they can best serve them. 

The future of our world looks queerer than ever folks! It is estimated that roughly 1 in 6 individuals in Gen Z identify as LGBTQ+ and roughly 9% of Millennials identify as a part of the community. And we know Gen Z and Millennials are the most tech-savvy generations. So it makes sense that as these generations begin to seek healing through therapy, they will search for clinicians who not only respect their identities but celebrate them.

With that being said, this Pride month let’s consider how we can create more inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ folks. And not just physical spaces, but online spaces, too! Here at Simplified SEO Consulting, we work with private practice therapists and other helpers across the nation. More specifically, our SEO Specialists help them strategize their marketing through the use of search engine optimization on websites.

Inclusivity and SEO

Image of the LGBTQ+ pride flag. This flag represents how an SEO specialist for therapists can help get a website to be more inclusive.One of our focuses in SEO work is getting more organic search traffic to websites. For today’s purposes, we won’t dive into how we do our SEO magic of getting web surfers to a specific website or page. Instead, we’ll talk about how to make websites more inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community.

Making this a part of your SEO strategy will better the user experience of your site overall and encourage users to spend more time on your site. This is true for LGBTQ+ website users as well as people who do not identify as LGBTQ+. Prioritizing inclusivity communicates to family and friends of LGBTQ+ people and allies that you accept them as well. Plus, it’s likely that many of your website users are questioning aspects of their identities. This could even be one of their current struggles causing them to be interested in therapy. So, we want to make those folks feel welcome too. And making your website inclusive to LGBTQ+ folks addressed all of these potential website users.

Why is LGBTQ+ inclusive website content important?

Making your website more inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community will set you apart from your competition. You will not only be seen as an ally to the community, but also as a quality therapist who considers and celebrates different identities and their intersections. Another thing to consider is potential employees. These folks will look at your site before applying, and if they don’t see themselves or their ideal clients reflected on your site, it’s likely they will rule you out as an employer.

The reasons for making your private practice website more LGBTQ+ inclusive are endless. In this blog, we’ll dive into tangible ways to make this a reality.

Language

A huge way to make your site more inclusive to LGBTQ+ folks is to start with your copy. Avoid using gendered language and pronouns. Wherever possible, use terms like “partner,” “spouse,” and they/them pronouns.

Contact Forms

A commonly overlooked space where we can increase inclusivity is contact forms. On some websites, a website user is asked their gender on a form for an initial appointment or consultation. Is this really important information to know? Perhaps. But if you are committed to providing LGBTQ+ inclusive services, removing a gender or sex question on a contact form can make all the difference for your clients.

If your practice requires knowing a potential client’s gender before speaking with them, do not simply give “male” and “female” as answers. Change the option to be a text box! This allows clients to self-identify. And this can be incredibly empowering for a client exploring their gender identity.

Pain Points

On each service page, we recommend including “pain points.” These are examples of what is bringing your ideal client to therapy. And this is a great place to include inclusive language! Dependent on the topic of a service page, you can almost always tie in the experience of LGBTQ+ folks. Below are some examples.

  • Anxiety treatment page – “Perhaps you feel your anxiety peak when you think about your sexual orientation or gender identity. These feelings make sense, as exploring parts of yourself can evoke feelings of uncertainty and change.”
  • Depression treatment page – “Going through times of change can create feelings of loss and sadness. Maybe you’ve recently discovered a new aspect of yourself, such as a change in sexual orientation or gender identity. While these life changes can be exciting and new, they can also be scary and be cause for grief.”
  • Trauma therapy page – “Trauma includes wide and varied troubling experiences. For some, this may look like being discriminated against due to race or body size. For those in the LGBTQ+ community, experiencing homophobia or being cut off from loved ones can be an immense source of pain and can, in fact, be traumatic.”

Photos

An image of a couple with one person kissing another on the cheek. This image represents how an SEO services consultant can help a private practice therapist make their website more inclusive.When choosing photos for your site, consider mixing them up! Think about your ideal clients. What would they look like in images?

If you’re choosing an image of a person by themselves, look for photos with diversity. This includes race, body size, age, and ability. Additionally, you can opt for images of folks whose gender is uncertain to be inclusive of non-binary, gender fluid, or agender folks.

If you are selecting images of couples or groups of people, try to make sure that there is some diversity between images on one page. Maybe you have one or two photos of opposite-sex couples and one or two with same-sex couples. And within these images, try to look for models that are diverse. We don’t want to see multiple photos of gay, skinny, white couples, but of more realistic couples. Maybe one partner is a person of color, and one is white. Or maybe one partner has a larger body than the other. Or maybe both partners are not white skinny people. Even better!

Considering different identities when selecting images shows website viewers that you really care. It looks to them like you put in the effort to think of and include them on your website. And that’s because you did! This is an area in which if you put in the effort, it will be clear for website users to pick up on. They’ll see you as a more inclusive therapist and therefore, a more appealing therapist for their needs.

Looking for a Training Opportunity?

Image of a person holding up a sign reading "protect trans lives." This image illustrates how trans letter writing can help therapists provide inclusive services to trans people. An SEO services consultant can share more!One way you can support the LGBTQ+ community this Pride month is to get certified in trans+ letter writing for clients seeking gender-affirming services. This training provided by Van Levy will give you the education and tools to work with trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming folks in a trauma-informed way. Additionally, by receiving this training, you will be able to write letters for clients seeking surgery, hormones, a name change, or gender marker change. If you are looking for an opportunity to grow as a clinician and provide a much-needed service to LGBTQ+ folks, I highly recommend checking this out!

Need Some Website Help?

While our SEO consulting company focuses on helping private practice therapists get to the top of Google, we also want to help make your user experience optimal. If you’d like to get ranking on Google and get some tips about making your website more inclusive, connect with us!

  1. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation call.
  2. Talk with one of our skilled SEO specialists about our programs and services.
  3. Create a website you’re proud of and get ranking on Google!

Services at Simplified SEO Consulting

Our SEO specialists have extensive knowledge about how to better your website. While we do not focus on website design, we do focus on helping you get to the top of Google. Many of our private practice therapists opt for our Done For You services in which a specialist takes care of most of the work for you. But if you are interested in learning SEO yourself, you should check out our DIY Online Courses and Done With You training.

About the Author

Olivia Bahr is an SEO specialist and content writer here at Simplified SEO Consulting. Olivia identifies as a part of the LGBTQ+ community herself and prides herself on helping therapists consider website users’ intersectional identities regarding website content.

By Guest Author Whitney Owens

While searching for a therapist, Jillian types into Google “Christian counselor”. She is hoping to find multiple clinicians within a short drive from her home. She wants someone who not only has clinical skills but also understands how her faith plays a role in her life. Sadly the only counselors that pop up are those with ads or those who do not even mention Christian on their website. She leaves her computer discouraged.

Christians often struggle to identify a new therapist who will understand their faith

Unfortunately this is an all too common occurrence for multiple reasons. In some cases there are just not enough Christian counselors in a specific radius. Other reasons are that counselors simply do not have good websites or have websites at all! Yes, someone told me that this morning. It is vital that clients are able to find counselors that meet their specific treatment needs. A good website and SEO are key to help more people find the best fit therapist.

But can I market myself as a “Christian Counselor?”

That being said, Christian counselors need to do all they can make their names known. Now, you may be wondering, what does it even mean to be a “Christian counselor” and what credential do I need to call myself that. It is simple. If you call yourself a Christian and also are a counselor, then you can put these words together and call yourself a Christian counselor. This does not mean that you are a theologian and know everything the Bible has to say on every issue. It also doesn’t mean that you only talk about faith in session or that you pray at the beginning and end of every appointment. Being a Christian counselor means you can bring faith into the session when appropriate when a client requests this approach in treatment. If you want to get a degree from a Christian program or get a special certification to help you integrate faith in counseling, that is great. But, from what I know, there is no specific requirement to call yourself a Christian counselor. If you know differently, please let me know.

Marketing helps clients who need your services find you

Therefore, Christian clients need to know where to find their ideal counselor, one who makes faith a part of the work. We know that most clients look for a therapist on Google or by word of mouth. Christian counselors, even if their work is not all Christian, need to give clients an option of finding them. The best way to do that is through a good website and SEO that will drive potential clients your way. 

A simple way to help your clients: Add a Christian Counseling page to your website

If you are a counselor who considers Christianity to be a part of your work, I am pleading with you to add a Christian Counseling page on your website. You can make this page like any of your other service pages such as your Substance Abuse page or your Child Counseling page. It does not have to be front and center on your website if you don’t want to market only as a faith-based practice. But, if you want to do that, no problem. Most clinicians I speak to do not want to only work with Christians. I get that. That is why I recommend you make Christian Counseling a page under your drop down menu for Services. This way, when people are looking for a Christian counselor, there is a chance you will be found. And as any consultant will tell you, make sure you have good internal and external links in your page so people have a greater chance of finding it. And as a bonus tip, you can also blog about Christian counselors to get better hits the next time Jillian gets on Google to find you.

 

Whitney Owens discusses the advantages of creating a "Christian Counseling" page on your website instead of a "Faith Based Counseling" pageAbout the Guest Author

Whitney Owens is a therapist, the owner of a private pay group psychotherapy practice in Savannah and a consultant with Practice of the Practice specializing in helping Christian therapists grow their private practices. You may also be interested in a blog post she wrote about “What is required to call myself a Christian counselor” and a podcast she hosted with another amazing therapist (shout out to William Hemphill!) answering the question, “Can I call myself a Christian counselor?” Whitney will also be starting another round of her popular Faith in Practice Mastermind group for Christian private practice owners starting in July. You can learn more about that mastermind group here. Several of our SEO clients have been through her previous masterminds and have found them really helpful as they build a successful practice that is in line with their Christian values.

 

 

There are many, many benefits to being in private practice as a psychiatrist. Certainly, a huge benefit is that you’ll likely make more money. And, in private practice, you have the ability to take the time to get to know your patients. Additionally, there will be fewer patients who really don’t want to be there. In private practice, there is time and space for continuing education, collaboration, and, well, everything.

But you’re also a business owner now. Therefore, you have new responsibilities you haven’t had to worry about before. Among the many new tasks you’ll have as a business owner, you have to think about marketing. Because you can’t help patients if they can’t find you.

A Website is a Powerful Marketing Tool for Private Practice Psychiatrists

It’s important to meet patients where they are. And in today’s day in age, that’s often online. Because most of your patients are probably looking for help online, you need to have a presence there.

But the truth is that as a private pay psychiatrist, your website needs to do more than just show up. It needs to have the right design to attract your clients’ attention. And then, it needs the right content to help them understand the value you offer.

SEO Helps You Reach The Patients Who Need You

In private practice, you have more choice in who you take on as patients and who you refer elsewhere. You know your skillset better than anyone else. And you know the populations you not only work best with but also find joy in serving. You got into this field to help people and to make an impact on the world of mental health. And your ability to practice most effectively is impacted by the fulfillment you find in your work.

So no, it is not unethical to target populations you’d like to work with. In fact, it is most ethical to cater to a population you feel skilled to serve. Search engine optimization (SEO) allows you to target your ideal clients online, which is why SEO should be an essential part of your marketing strategy.

SEO Tips for Psychiatrists

Do Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of good SEO for most websites. But psychiatrists face a unique challenge. Most likely, you have two audiences: referral sources and potential patients. Both may be searching for different keywords. Therefore, it’s important to consider each audience when doing keyword research.

Image of a large magnifying glass against a yellow background with the word "keywords" spelled out around the magnifying glass. When building a website and thinking about SEO for psychiatrists in private practice, you must think about keywords.

A good first step is to ask referral sources what they would search on Google when looking for a referral for a patient. Another good resource for keyword research is your existing patients. Take a look at your intake paperwork. Why are your clients coming to you for services? What are the trends among your patients’ concerns? This information can give great insight as to how your patients see themselves and their needs. In turn, indicating which keywords they would most likely search for online when looking for a psychiatrist, much like your potential clients you’ll be targeting on your website. The final keyword research opportunity is to use a keyword research tool. These can be extremely helpful, as they can help you find additional keywords you may not have even thought to track, but are frequently searched for in your area.

Popular Keywords for Psychiatrists

As a starting place, I’ll share some general keyword trends in the United States. However, know that it’s important to do your own keyword research for your specific area. As of April 1st, 2021, one of our keyword research tools, KWFinder, says the following keywords are searched for this number of times each month in the United States:

  • Psychiatrist – 439,000
  • Psychiatry Services – 2,200
  • Psychiatric Medication – 2,500
  • Medication for Depression – 8,5000
  • Medication for Anxiety – 165,000

Once you’ve done your research, start to use keywords throughout your website.

Build Backlinks

Building backlinks is an essential part of a healthy SEO strategy. Backlinks refer to when someone sends a website user off of their website and onto yours using a link. When you work with other professionals in your community like therapists, primary care doctors, community nonprofits, or schools, you become a known and trusted name. Brainstorm entities and organizations that work with your ideal clients. These would be great relationships to form if they do not already exist.

Image of five hands holding a "thumbs up" against a blue sky background. This image represents the good SEO for psychiatrists that happens when they work on getting backlinks.

Many large organizations have resource pages or directories on their websites. Here, you will find lists of businesses or professionals that a credible community organization supports. Typically, you can request to be put on a resource page or directory by emailing the organization or filling out a form. When your business gets listed on one of these pages, it shows both Google and website viewers that you are a quality resource to be trusted. However, there are many ways to build backlinks.

Create Individual Service Pages

Consider writing a service page for the specific types of psychiatry you really enjoy doing. Do you have specialized training in eating disorders? Then make sure you have a page on “Psychiatry for Eating Disorders.” Enjoy treating postpartum depression, anxiety, or OCD? It would make sense to have a service page on “Psychiatry for Moms.” Are many of your patients depressed? If so, create a “Medication for Depression” service page. We recommend that each of these pages have at least 500 words (2,000 is better if you’re up for writing that much!) of original content. Make great use of subheadings, include a direct call to action (Speak to a Psychiatrist About Your Depression in ______) and make sure to link to other pages of your site!

Blogging as a Psychiatrist

Blogging is an important part of a good SEO strategy. And there are many reasons to blog! Yes, search engine optimization is a key reason to blog because Google notices and likes consistently published fresh content. However, blogging also gives potential patients a sense of who you are, how you help people, and what being your patient would be like.

You may be thinking… “what do I write about?” Our SEO specialists recommend writing blog posts that answer typical questions your patients ask. You may also want to write blog posts talking about typical diagnoses you treat, but make it clear that a blog post can’t diagnose. Blogs can provide a wealth of information to patients about if you will be the best fit for their care.

Consider a Specific Page for Local Therapists & Primary Care Doctors

As a psychiatrist, the truth is that you have two audiences: potential referral sources and potential clients. Local therapists and primary care doctors who think their patients could benefit from your specialized knowledge about psychiatric medications will be looking for your services online. However, they are a very different audience than potential patients. These potential referral partners can handle a bit more technical jargon and will be asking specific questions. Therefore, we recommend you have a page on your site dedicated to these referral sources.

On the other hand, most of your content on your website needs to be targeted at your larger audience: potential patients. When these folks are finding your site, it’s probably not while they are at peak brain performance. Rather, it is most likely when they just had a panic attack, a breakdown, or at their wit’s end with their symptoms. They are probably scrambling to find help when they don’t know where else to turn. Likely, they’re looking for a psychiatrist during a quick lunch break or late at night when they can’t deal with insomnia any longer.

With that being said, as a psychiatrist, it’s essential that you have a page speaking directly to your hopeful professional referral sources. This page can be technical and you can speak as a professional. In regards to the rest of your website content, take into account what a “3 AM trauma brain” would be able to digest. Write for that state of mind. Your patients will appreciate it and likely find you very relatable.

Answer Common New Patient Questions

Image of a large "Q & A" against a hardwood background. An FAQ or Q & A page is helpful for SEO for psychiatrists in private pay.

At Simplified SEO Consulting, we’ve found that FAQ pages are great for both your website viewers AND your SEO. Make a list of the questions new patients are likely to ask.  If you have someone who answers new patient inquiries for you, check in with them about those questions. Then, add a few more you get during that first session. Now, write a 1-2 paragraph response to each of those questions.

I encourage you not to base the questions you use off what questions someone else answered on their page or some stock FAQ page. Instead, think about what pages your ideal clients are asking. Remember, we care about SEO, but we also want your website to help your clients. We want them to see that you would be a great resource for them. That you get them, relate to them. These are the things that will bring them through your doors.

Are you a Private Pay Psychiatrist?

We strongly recommend private pay psychiatrists have content on their website directly addressing their status as private pay. Maybe write a series of blog posts on the top advantages of working with a psychiatrist who is private pay. It’s ok to get slightly personal about how much you value face-to-face time with clients. Or about how you want to work for clients instead of insurance companies.

It’s also important to have a fees page on your website. Now, it’s up to you if you publish your specific fees. We’ve seen many private pay psychiatrists who do. However, this page is also a great place to address your reasons for being private pay. And, you can do so in a way that highlights the benefits for clients.

Ready to get Serious About Your Website SEO?

At Simplified SEO Consulting, we specialize in helping private practice therapists get their websites ranking on Google. Not only that, we help them stay at the top of Google too. Our SEO Specialists are passionate about getting your site in front of the clients you enjoy working with because we know that a solid therapeutic relationship makes all the difference in the world of mental health. To learn more about Simplified SEO Consulting and how we can help you get ranking, follow the steps below.

  1. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation call with us.
  2. Meet with one of our SEO Specialists to learn more about our packages and process.
  3. Get your website in front of your ideal patients!

SEO Services at Simplified

We offer a variety of services to help you along on your SEO journey. One of our most popular services is the Done For You SEO package. With this, you get to take a backseat while a skilled SEO Specialist takes point on your website’s SEO. On the other hand, we have DIY Online SEO Courses and a Done With You package if you’d like to become an SEO wizard yourself!

About the Author

Simplified’s founder, Jessica, and one of Simplified’s Mental Health SEO Specialists, Olivia, wrote this blog together. Both team members enjoy educating our clients about search engine optimization and how it can help private practices bring in clients that professionals are excited to work with!

You probably think about tracking the number of calls, intakes, client appointments, and your gross revenue. But have you thought about what data you should be paying attention to related to your website?

Image of a laptop at a desk with sticky notes, a small clock, and a cup of writing utensils. This person is most likely going to track data for SEO on their private practice website.

I’ve found myself having more and more conversations about tracking data with clinicians and private practice owners. So, I wanted to write about why you should track data related to your website. You’ve probably heard about KPI’s (key performance indicators) before and that you need to be tracking all of them for your business as a whole. Well, I track data related to my website as well. And I encourage you to do the same. It doesn’t have to be a difficult task!

Reason #1 to Track Data: To Track ROI (Return on Investment)

The first reason to track your website data is to be able to assess your return on investment. If you are working on SEO, whether on your own or by spending money to have someone (like me) do it for you, you need to know if it’s worth it. A lot of people pay for marketing, whether it’s Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or SEO, and never really track their return on investment. Don’t you want to spend your hard-earned marketing dollars where it’s going to make the biggest impact? So, when it comes to assessing your return on investment and figuring out if SEO is really working, there are a few things we look at tracking.

What Data to Track to Determine ROI on Search Engine Optimization Efforts

  1. Where did you hear about us? Every time there’s a potential client that reaches out, whether that’s by phone or email, we mark it in our system. I use a Google spreadsheet, where my VA and I keep track of all calls that come into our practice. Without using identifying information, (I think we just use initials) we record lots of information about the calls and emails we get. We mark how they heard about us, whether the request came in via phone or email, who first spoke to them, and whether they converted to a paying client. Additionally, we typically add any other relevant notes (looking for private pay or insurance, etc.). If you are invested in anything, and by anything I mean time, energy, or money into marketing/SEO marketing, then you want to be tracking where your calls are coming from. This will help you know if your efforts are actually turning into calls. And calls mean converted clients.
  2. Website States When you’re actively working with Simplified SEO Consulting on your SEO, and hopefully afterward, you will have access to our data dashboard. This tool tracks things like how you rank for specific keywords we’re targeting, our Google Analytics data and your Google Search Console data. So, at the beginning of most of our monthly planning phone calls, we briefly go over your website’s progress. Again, this is to see if you are getting a return on investment. In other words, is SEO working? Are your rankings going up? How about your Google clicks? Are more people actually clicking on your website? You want to know that what you’re doing is worth it.

Reason #2 for Tracking: To Assess Website Conversions

The second thing I look at is how your website is converting. It’s one thing getting lots of clients to your website, but are they converting? I can see, on the backend, tons of people are going to your site now, but the question is are they actually calling you? 

Image of a woman sitting at a desk using a computer, notebook, and pen. She represents someone interested in reasons to track data related to SEO on a website.

Another thing we look at here is what pages your clients are staying on. What pages are they navigating to, and what pages are they staying on the longest? You can find that information through Google Analytics. Again, if you’re working with us and have the Brighter Insights Tool, you can just look on the Google Analytics part of that. We want to look at which pages are working and where people are staying on your site. Are they staying on the site long enough to actually view and read a page? Or, are they clicking on the contact page? Often, I will look at a page’s specific Google Analytics data as well. 

Assessing Website Conversions Based on Source

Sometimes, people who find your website through SEO, Google Adwords, Social Media, etc. act differently. We want to identify those differences. And if we’re working on your SEO, we can use that data to optimize your page even more so it not only gets more clients but converts more of the right clients.

Therefore, when people are working on SEO and still doing Google AdWords, we can both add your Adwords data to your data dashboard AND can differentiate in Google Analytics how people behave when they arrive on your website through SEO vs. Adwords. This tool allows us to sort out your paid searches versus your organic searches, which would be the SEO portion. We’ll look at how long people are staying on the website from each of those sources (organic search, Adwords, Social Media, etc.). Sometimes, we find people stay on a page for a long time, you have a low bounce rate, and there is a high page session duration for both paid and organic searches. But, if we find that one is yielding higher quality results, then that might give you some clue as to where to invest your time and money.

Lastly, the other thing to look at with assessing how your website is converting is your bounce rate. The bounce rate is how many people only look at one page on your website and then bounce off to another site. So, obviously, we would prefer fewer people bouncing off and more people staying on your website.

Reason #3 to Track Data: To Catch Any Changes in Your Search Engine Rankings Quickly

The third reason we want to track data on our website is that we want to catch any significant changes in the data. So, if you have great SEO, and then all of a sudden it drops off, we want to catch that and know what’s going on. From an SEO standpoint, it could be that Google just changed its algorithm. If this happens in a major way, sometimes there are big things that you have to go back and fix.

Sudden Changes Can Happen When Google Changes Things Up

Google changes how it ranks websites frequently. Just last year, Google changed their algorithm in a way that helped many of our clients but also hurt various websites in the health and wellness space.  Previously, there was a change to give websites with “intrusive pop ups” that cover most of the text a bit of a disadvantage. A lot of health and wellness business owners we work with had been told that they needed to have a big pop-up to join their mailing list or newsletter on their website. So they have these giant pop ups encouraging people to use a free download, learn more about their online counseling services, etc even though they themselves find these pop ups annoying. They’re then surprised to learn it might negatively impact their SEO.

(Quick Tip: We recommend having a smaller pop up either at the top of the page or in the bottom right corner that can provide a similar call to action without impacting user experience and therefore possibly your SEO.)

Image of a blue bar graph on paper with a pen sitting next to it. There are many reasons to track data related to SEO. You can read more about why you should track data for SEO here.

If we’re tracking the data, we can clearly see when that sort of thing happens. This lets us know when and where we need to make an adjustment. Right after a major algorithm change, our team usually keeps a close eye on all of our clients data for a couple of weeks to identify anyone who may have been negatively impacted.

Sometimes, a drop happens for other reasons…

Similarly, there are lots of other reasons data might drop. I have found some coding errors on certain websites that we’ve been working on. These come up when we go to index a certain page. When we find these coding errors, we let you know and give you screenshots that you can send to your website designer. We are looking at the data and therefore find these errors, which we can then fix. If you aren’t tracking the data, you won’t know that an error is having such a significant impact on your data and you won’t know to fix it.

Track Your SEO Data or Begin SEO Work Altogether

Whether you’ve been working on search engine optimization for years or you’re considering starting now, you’re in the right place! Our SEO Specialists have the knowledge to get your site ranking on Google and interpret the data. Now, the piece about interpreting data is pretty important! We know how to use the data to inform future SEO work, which is pretty cool if you ask me. If you’re interested in beginning your SEO journey, follow the steps below.

  1. Book a free 30-minute consultation call with us.
  2. Chat with one of our experienced SEO Specialists.
  3. Understand the data and make SEO moves that matter!

SEO Services at Simplified SEO Consulting

Our SEO Specialists are well-versed in a variety of subjects related to search engine optimization. In fact, we can do SEO for you with our Done For You SEO package! If you’d prefer to be more hands-on and learn all about SEO, our DIY Online SEO Courses or Done With You program may be a good fit. We hope that you reach out to an SEO Specialist with any questions you have about SEO or package options!

About the Author

Jessica Tappana and Olivia Bahr collaborated on this blog post. Jessica, Simplified’s founder, taught herself search engine optimization and is passionate about making SEO simpler for other private practice owners. Olivia is a Mental Health SEO Specialist and Content Writer who enjoys helping clients understand SEO data and its real-life implications.

When you’re building or scaling your private practice, making a financial investment in anything can feel overwhelming. Especially, when it comes to marketing and there are so many options out there. At Simplified SEO Consulting, we understand that making an investment in outsourcing or learning SEO can be anxiety-producing for some clinicians. So, I wanted to take a moment and share with you some reasons why our current clients feel this investment was worthwhile.

SEO Is a Long-Term Investment

Black man searches for something on Google representing the power of SEO for private practice. Learn more about SEO for therapists from an SEO specialist at Simplified SEO Consulting

When you invest in SEO you’re making a long-term investment in attracting your ideal client. Unlike other forms of marketing, you don’t get to the top of Google overnight when you pay for SEO. But, when you make an investment in SEO, the work that is being done does not go away when you stop paying for it like it would with AdWords or other types of search engine marketing (SEM).

Although we believe that there is a time and place for Google AdWords, we believe that SEO is the best choice to make long-term. The founder of Simplified SEO Consulting, Jessica Tappana shared with me that she learned SEO because she didn’t want to pay for AdWords indefinitely. Especially, when she would stop showing up when her AdWords account ran out of money and clients stopped being able to find them on Google. Ultimately, it was just too expensive as a long-term solution to attract new clients.

Again, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t choose to invest in AdWords. It is a good way to get in front of your ideal clients quickly. For example, it may be a good strategy to use if you’re trying to fill a new group that’s starting soon. But, it may not be the best use of your money long-term.

How Long Does SEO Take?

SEO is a long-term investment. It varies depending on several factors, but we generally tell people to think of it as taking around six months (or possibly more if you live in a very competitive area like New York or Los Angeles) to get ranking on the first page on Google for at least a handful of keywords if you haven’t worked on SEO before. However, SEO is the most cost-effective way to rank well on Google for a long time. Once we get you ranking well, you’re not likely to stay on the top of Google with just a little maintenance work.

Jessica Tappana Simplified SEO founder, therapist, and owner of Aspire Counseling in Mid-Missouri says: “It was the cheapest form of marketing that has been effective for my private practice long term.”

Your Time is Valuable. Outsource Your SEO

As a therapist and private practice owner, you’re likely very busy. And, your time is worth a lot. So, ask yourself, how much time do you want to spend on marketing? There are lots of ways to market your private practice, however, they all involve time and money on your part. This is time that you could put towards seeing paying clients.

 

But, when you work with us to get your private practice website ranking well, you’re paying for our SEO expertise. Even if you’re doing a DIY package, you will still learn a lot by watching our SEO training videos from Jessica who is an SEO guru.

Tanner Enderle of Ataraxis Counseling had this to say about paying for SEO:
“Because time is your most valuable resource & this company will do it better than your DIY efforts. It is a better use of your time and money to focus on your niche.”

Jessica Tappana said “I don’t have time to do it myself anymore. So I outsource SEO work to the Simplified team because I trust them to do it well.”

SEO Doesn’t Require Excessive Networking

As a therapist, referrals are great. But, that requires networking, and often that can become very pricy. For example, say you go out to meet other professionals for coffee or lunch. That costs money. Not to mention, it costs you time, and as we said before your time is worth money. Especially if you could have been seeing clients during that time. Of course, networking is important, but this allows you to bring in clients without having to rely solely on referrals.

One of our Baltimore-based clinicians and founder of New Connections Counseling Center had this to say about the benefits of using SEO instead of face-to-face marketing: “If you are an introvert, investing in SEO is a great way to get your business noticed without having to do lots of networking!”

Megan Negendank LMFT founder of Love Heal Grow in Sacramento said “When starting my private practice, business coach after business coach recommended networking with other therapists. My highly introverted self found the idea of cold calling other professionals very overwhelming. Instead, I invested in SEO and filled my practice in a few weeks once I started ranking. I now have a group practice with 5 other therapists and we keep very busy—all because great SEO built our name in our community.”

Laura Ripperon owner of Calm Waters Counseling in North Carolina said “I moved to a new state when I started my private practice. I didn’t know any other professionals and was trying networking. A year later COVID hit and networking became more challenging. Investing in SEO has helped my website rank higher on Google and get seen by potential clients. It has also helped me cast a wider net through the whole state because I offer telehealth.”

SEO helps you attract your ideal client

female therapist on a computer that has the letters SEO on the screen. She learns SEO from an SEO specialist at Simplified SEO Consulting

The goal of SEO is not just to get you to the top of Google, but it is also to help you attract your ideal client. If you’re new and haven’t read our other blogs, you may be wondering “what is an ideal client anyway?” Well, an ideal client may be clients looking for the counseling service you’re most interested in offering. It could be a client to fill a new therapist’s caseload. Or, it could be populations that you enjoy working with like women with anxiety, new parents, etc.

In my opinion, this is what sets SEO and our company apart from other marketing firms. We truly believe in the power of attracting your ideal client and getting you known in your community as an authority on the services you provide. We use our knowledge of mental health and our research tools to help us think about what your ideal clients are looking for. Then, we use our expertise to target market to them.

April Brown, a Miami-based therapist, and owner of The Heard Counseling said “You become known for your niche- essentially increasing your ideal client referrals. Clients aren’t the only ones googling you, professionals and colleagues are too. I have found that many colleagues and referral sources have found me through google thanks to my SEO investment. They have reached out to me and wanted to start up a referral network because of my niche.”

SEO Helps You Scale Your Practice As You Continue to Grow

Many of our clinicians begin working with us when they are single practitioners. Then, after their caseloads become full, they hire more clinicians. When this happens, we use SEO to target the niches of their new employees to help them attract their ideal clients.

The beauty of SEO is that it is flexible in times like these. Our staff will take the time to listen to your needs as a private practice owner and help you address them effectively.

Jason Drake of Katy Teen and Family Counseling shares his experience: “So I had a 3-5 year plan to open a group practice. After the 12-week intensive with Simplified SEO I was able to open a group practice in 10 months. It’s been 6 months since opening a group practice and just hired my 4th therapist. Ranking on Google is the main variable that allowed this growth. Is SEO important? Nope, it’s critical!”

Final Thoughts

So, what I want you to understand about SEO is that it is an investment, but it is an important one to make as you work towards growing your business. When you invest in working on your SEO with Simplified SEO consulting, we hope you will feel the support of our entire team as we help you get to the top of Google and attract your ideal client. We will be with you every step of the way to help you market your amazing services and reach more clients.

Begin SEO Services with Simplified SEO Consulting:

If you’re ready to learn more about SEO services or the skills to do your own SEO work, then contact our staff. We will discuss all the options during a free consultation call. To get started and get to the top of Google, follow these steps:

  1. woman sits at her laptop next to a bunch of text bubbles with photos representing the power of SEO for therapists. Learn more about the benefits of SEO from an SEO expert at Simplified SEO ConsultingMake an appointment for a free 30-minute consultation with a member of the Simplified SEO Consulting team
  2. Learn more about our packages and training opportunities
  3. Start optimizing your webpage and watch your site rank better on Google!

About the Author:

Cory Moss is a Simplified SEO specialist based in Kansas City. She specializes in working on readability for therapist websites. She really enjoys helping her clients get to the top of Google and attract their ideal clients.

As mental health professionals, one of the first things we most likely learned as graduate students was our code of ethics. You may have been taught all the ways you can be sued and how to avoid offending clients. At least that is how I felt in my professional ethics class. Everything we do as professionals require us to aspire to certain standards as well as follow state laws and regulations. Once we have our codes ingrained in us, we may move on with our lives putting them into our practice, daily life, and so on. 

Have you ever considered how your code of ethics impacts your practice, marketing, writing, and treatment methods? Whether you realize it or not our morals and values impact every aspect of our lives. Including our professional book of codes. So how do we promote optimizing for ethical SEO?

Personal holding blue digital world in hand above city. As professionals we follow codes and have ethics. Have you considered how these impact your ethical SEO strategy? Whether its seo backlinking or ethical search engine optimization, we need to be accurate in our information. Learn more about SEO for mental health here!

How does your ethics code impact your SEO?

As you may have found out as business owners, marketing is a key part of your growth. In order to reach out to your ideal people, you must understand the different ways you can increase your stream of clientele. Something you may not have been taught as a student. At times, when you’re looking into ads, SEO, copywriting, and so on, you may notice some shady practices. In fact, some of these just downright go against our practices as mental health professionals.  So how do you begin to keep in mind our codes and reach out to your people?

Reviews Reviews Reviews?

One big NO, as professionals is asking for reviews. I’m sure we are all aware of this whether you’re a coach, social worker, MFT, or counselor, we do not ask for reviews. In all of our codes, we know that confidentiality is important. Even though we see mental health as a positive some people are not ok with the negative stigma that follows it. We cannot ask someone to disclose that you’re their therapist because it violates so many boundaries. Not only that, no matter what theoretical orientation you use as a professional, the therapeutic relationship does have some sort of authority in it. You’re seen as the expert, even if we believe the client is the expert. Therefore, there is an unfair power dynamic present when asking for reviews. 

On the other hand, one thing that cannot easily be avoided is when a client willingly leaves a review on your site, Google my business, yelp, or whatever stream you may be on. This isn’t unethical. It wasn’t coerced and it happens from time to time. Take it with a grain of salt and move forward because it does help your SEO. 

Group of collegues talking and smiling while looking at picture. Collaborating with professions is good for SEO backlinking. If you're looking to build reviews for ethical seo, you will need collegues and mentors for help. Learn about this ethical search engine optimization approach.

How do you get reviews to help your SEO in an ethical way?

In order to build ethical reviews, it’s important to network and maintain connections. Receiving reviews from colleagues and mentors is a great way to build credibility. These people know you and your work. They are wonderful for references and help you seem credible from a Google standpoint. So reach out to a few people that can get a good review from and return the favor. We talk a bit more about this in another post I wrote recently about SEO & Google My Business.

Accurately Portray Your Service and Expertise 

This may be an obvious one, but it’s necessary for us as professionals to accurately portray ourselves in our field. We are not healers, we do not have a cure for your mental health, and we need to make sure we are providing services we have the skills, training, and expertise in. In the social worker’s code, this is under 4.06 C in the section of Misrepresentation. For Marriage and family therapists, this is under standards of advertising with 9.1 to 9.8. For counselors, this is listed under section C of the ACA code. This means that we need to practice within our competence and we have obligations for advertising such as not selling products to clients, recruiting them, or asking for statements(reviews). 

Where do we draw the line?

We need to draw the line as professionals and know when we are about to cross a line. We have authority in our field and we need to exercise it appropriately. Therefore advertising ourselves as experts in certain modalities, or topics, when we do not have the training, is unethical. From an SEO standpoint, when you market yourself as an EMDR therapist but you don’t have the expertise, you’re leading people into a false sense of security. The keywords you rank for drive in the people looking for specific treatments and approaches. People trust us therefore on our websites we need to make sure that we are promoting what we can do and receiving training in areas we want to work on, in the future. We are advocates for those who are struggling, so we must not create websites that inaccurately portray our skills. 

Meta Descriptions for Ethical SEO

One way we can avoid making false claims as professionals is by making sure you’re honest from the first point of contact. This may be your meta descriptions. Make sure your meta descriptions accurately reflect what’s on the page. You want people to see you as being transparent and honest. While you want to write a meta description that will encourage people to “click” on your website, it’s important that it’s accurate enough that they aren’t surprised by what they find when they get there. Make sure you’re not setting people up for failure by enticing them with false information only to have them disappointed. Not only does this affect your reputation, but it can leave a bad impression on the mental health field as a whole. We want people to have a healthy idea of what professionals do, not bad taste. 

Why do we not pay for SEO backlinking?

As mental health professionals, we want to be as ethical as possible. Even if we do not understand the behind the veil of Google’s rules, we need to make sure we are adhering to them. Our codes are not laws, but we aspire to uphold them because we believe that they keep us safe and most importantly protect our clients. With Google, buying backlinks is against their rules. It’s just part of their system. If you buy backlinks you’re essentially cheating Google’s system, and being dishonest to the algorithm. This is what is called “black hat SEO” It’s like you’re trying to get one over on Google’s. This is dishonest to Google and you will get penalized if and when you’re caught. Why does this matter?

We want to be honest as professionals in all aspects of our business. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it’s Google’s rules and we need to honor that. If you do buy backlinks, note that when you’re caught Google will drop your rankings and potentially remove you from search results entirely. That means clients are not finding you cannot help them. 

purple graphic for link building being held up by man holding tablet. SEO backlinking is a great way to increase credibility with Google. However this must be done with ethical seo strategies. Learn more about seo for mental health professionals today!

Language matters for ethical search engine optimization

Lastly, I do want to address this because it’s in all of our codes to portray ourselves accurately. We are not to state that we can have cures and can solve other people’s problems. While we want to write copy that is relatable and real, we do not just tell people what they want to hear just to get them in the door. We need to be careful what claims we make on our website. People can be easily susceptible to false claims. Let’s not be a part of the problem. Honor your codes and consider is this a direct violation of my ethics or am I about to cross the line? 

Closing message for Ethical SEO 

SEO is very important to professionals, especially those of us who don’t want to be salesy and are unfamiliar with where to begin. However, with all marketing efforts, we have to consider if what we are doing is ethical and right. SEO can help you build your practice, but it needs to be built on truth and what you’re skilled in. Make sure as you create a copy that you’re putting your solid expertise on the page and leaving out the works in progress until you truly feel ready to add more niches, or treatment modalities. If you receive advice that makes you wonder if something is right, ask colleagues, SEO specialists, or mentors who can give you unbiased advice. Follow your better judgment and keep your ideal client in mind.

Remember the general principle we all follow which is to do no harm. Even if inserting a bit of falsehood into sites may seem to hurt no one. This could one day come back to bite us. Compare your marketing strategy to your code and see if you’re nearing any gray lines. Happy optimizing and I look forward to seeing you help your ideal clients with ethical SEO strategies soon!

Begin SEO Services at Simplified SEO Consulting 

We strive as professionals to make sure we are acting ethically and that we are giving you ethical advice. Our specialists want you to thrive and reach your people. We are advocates for the profession and know the positive impacts you make on those around you. That is why we are here to help you make ethical decisions and we advise you to consult multiple people. If you’re looking to begin SEO work, Simplified SEO Consulting offers DFY packages, courses, and training options. Our skilled team of SEO experts are here to walk you through this process and help you make ethical decisions. If you have questions we are here to help. To get started follow these three steps to begin ranking better on Google.

  • Schedule an appointment for a free 30-minute consultation with our Client Success Specialist.
  • Learn more about our skilled specialists today!
  • Start optimizing your website with ethical SEO in mind!

Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting

Simplified SEO consulting offers a wide range of services that can help you begin working with your people. We offer Done for You SEO Service packages, online courses, and  SEO training opportunities. Our most popular course includes our “Top of Google” online course and we have 12 week of intensive SEO for those who want to learn with a guide. For those looking for a more specialized package, we also offer an SEO strategy package. To get started, schedule a consultation with our Client Success Specialist today!

About the Author:

Jasmine Jaquess is currently working towards her Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University. She has been doing SEO with Simplified for the last few months. Currently, she serves as the Client Success Specialist in new client consultation with Simplified SEO Consulting and is an SEO specialist. She specializes in platforms such as Squarespace and Wix but has learned to love WordPress sites as well. She really enjoys hearing the clients’ goals for their businesses and helping them achieve them.

What is Holistic SEO

Holistic SEO is a strategy that looks at all factors of optimization, and not just one aspect of it. The focus is based on user experience, content, and technical SEO. This is such a beneficial and necessary approach to SEO because it looks at the full picture rather than one aspect. Think about it this way, when you start a business, you may begin with an idea, but the idea itself doesn’t make the vision happen. You must address the marketing side, the website, clients, and creating client experience. You must also manage people and money. It takes a full picture to get your business thriving. In the same way, SEO focuses on the whole rather than a particular part. 

Keyboard and pencils with concept map of holistic SEO. If you are wondering how you can optimize for the whole picture of SEO, Google is leaning more toward a Holistic perseptive over a technical SEO perspective. Its important to address SEO and accessibility and user experience in SEO. Learn more by reading our blog

Important Factors to Consider with Holistic SEO?

As with everything, we will start from the beginning. Focus on the client. The client is the person we are looking for. They are the reason we are in the business. We want to help our clients, but how do we begin? Let’s go through and address various aspects of the holistic SEO approach. 

User Experience and SEO (UX SEO)

Here are some other important focus points for user experience. When it comes to keyword research, there are two focus points: what language is your client searching for, and what is the intent. It’s important to know your niche well and understand why people are searching for your therapy, coaching, or consultation services.

Part of writing content is making sure we are addressing the why and the reason someone would come into your practice. Content extends past service pages and blogs. Even in the Google search, we are giving people bit size pieces of what we offer. Therefore, optimizing for meta descriptions with pain points and keywords is important. A well-written meta description and title can bring people to your site. Another part of your meta description that needs to be optimized is your meta title. One way to go about doing this is to add the title, location, and zip codes, and maybe practice name if necessary. You can get great keywords into this and increase your traffic this way. An example would be:  EMDR therapy | Location and Zip | Practice Name. This varies based on what is best for your site. 

It’s also important to make sure your URL matches the page. Sometimes when creating new pages on your website, you may forget to look at what the URL states. In order to optimize for this, you must optimize the slug of your website. This may not seem important, but if your website says  (simplifiedseoconsulting/new-page) this isn’t appealing from a user experience standpoint.

In terms of on-page immediate user experience, we also want people to keep coming back to your site and see how your services can help them. One way is to create a memorable logo and make it evident that this is your brand. Then on the page, create quality content and making sure you have one H1 per page. As well as sections of text broken up into H2’s. Lastly, you will want to have a clear call to action which directs your clients to begin services. 

Keyword Research (what are they using)

User experience is all about focusing on the user. It’s kind of like how you are greeted in a restaurant or the experience your clients have in your office. First impressions are matter. This is not simply about appeasing the Google bots, but about acknowledging how your client gets from point A to point B. First, consider keyword research and searcher language. We want to know what your clients are searching for, what is most commonly searched, and the language your clients typically use.

For example, if you’re expecting clients to type in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, it’s highly unlikely, however, it’s still a good key term to rank for. It is more likely clients are searching for EMDR. Such as what is EMDR? Does it work online?

Likewise, someone is less likely to search for dealing with trauma, and more likely to talk about feeling stuck, or experiencing recurring memories that don’t go away. Just as in therapy, you don’t always say what is really going on directly, the same principle applies as you consider what your clients are searching for to get to you. So as you build out content. If you can answer these questions in blogs, service pages, or FAQ’s, Google is going to see that you have the answer and ranking you up higher when someone is searching for this query. So listen to your current clients and let that lead you toward potentially keyword searches.

Technical SEO (broken links, slow loading, scrolling, or cluttered content)

Technical SEO is a big part of on-page optimization. In order for Google to crawl a site and increase your Google rankings, there are both on and off-page optimization elements that need to be addressed. The Google bots, who are designed to check for any changes on your page are the functions we are trying to optimize for. These bots check out your site either naturally every few weeks or by indexing using Google Search Console

Our goal with technical SEO is to make it easier for Google to see our changes and give us credit. The better SEO factors are optimized for the more Google rankings you will see on your end. Likewise, there are some factors we need to avoid in order for Google to rank us higher because slow and cluttered websites can be penalized as well. So to all of you with old pages on your backend that are not being used or overly stuffed media galleries. This is hurting your SEO. 

Some factors of technical SEO to consider:

  • The loading speed of your page and scrollingWeb design of words with SEO conceptions in large and small print If you're struggling to best optimize your website for SEO, no worries read about our holistic approach. Just as health has many components so does holistic SEO. Learn about the difference between holistic SEO and technical SEO and how this is one part of many.
  • The structure of your site ( Builder)
  • Host for your website (Domain)
  • Avoid any duplicate content on the site
  • Sitemaps & Indexing
  • Reduce broken links (errors)
  • Avoid slow loading by running audits 
  • Load small to medium-sized photos
  • Remove content or pages no longer used

 

These are some important factors we consider when optimizing your website. If you’re experiencing slow loading speeds, consider if you have downloaded big files, or if there are some areas you can declutter your website.

Original Quality Content

Writing copy is key to reaching your ideal audience. In order to connect with your clients, content needs to speak to your ideal client. A key factor in creating quality content that will help you rank better is to make sure it is relevant. This may be intuitive, but sometimes writing content to your clients can be hard. We understand this. It can be easier to generalize your content, but be warned and steer clear of this. Listen to your clients and write about what is really going on. Most importantly, tell them what you can do to help. Put your heart into the content and this will help to reach your audience. Good content design leads your clients to understand how your approach will help them best. Which ultimately leads you to more calls and conversions.

Social Media Strategy

Working with social media isn’t something we work with specifically, however, it is a great way to round out your holistic SEO approach. Here are some key takeaways about social media and SEO. If you want to read more about adding social media to your holistic marketing approach, then read our unofficial SEO guide. 

  • If you plan to use social media for SEO, you must engage often. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, these social media outlets have their own algorithm that requires you to be involved in order to consistently come up with search results and hashtags.
  • Social media on its own does not supplement SEO. These are great ways to provide external links to your website by linking your website in bios and via links. It is simply another stream of traffic to your website.
  • There is a certain culture that follows social media and SEO. So if you plan to engage, know your people well. 

Social media on its own isn’t meant to supplement SEO. However, it is a great way to add an additional stream to your website. Check out our SEO specialist, Alyssa, who wrote two blog posts on social media which plays into holistic SEO. 

Mobile Optimization

Have you ever been to a non-mobile-friendly website? These are frustrating! Typically we bounce off those websites because they are more of a hassle than helpful. Here are a few tips for making sure your website is mobile-friendly.

First, when creating your site choose a template that is consistent across platforms. Check to see how users can perform basic tasks. If you check on your site data and you notice there is low traffic to your niche service, or to once high traffic pages, check out how your mobile site is looking. Make sure your site allows for your client to do the basic tasks you intend. Such as look at service pages, access resources, any forms you have are able to be sent properly, and so on. 

 Here are a few helpful tools from Google that can help you become more mobile-friendly. 

HTTPS (security)

Website security matters. Especially now with cyber crimes and confidentiality for online therapy. As therapists who may have client portals and deal with mental health, it’s important that on contact with your services, security is clear on your site. At the top of your website, there should be a lock that indicates that you have an HTTPS domain that is secure. Often if your website SSL certificate is not on a site when clients come onto your website, then you’re likely to get a security error and this will increase the bounce rate on your site. Likewise, this helps to prevent hackers from gaining personal information from you or individuals visiting your site. Therefore it’s important to purchase an SSL certificate. 

Accessibility ( easy to access)

Making a website inclusive is not always a topic technology focuses on. SEO and accessibility go hand in hand. However, as mental health professionals, it’s crucial we set examples. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Provide multiple ways to contact your services. By not offering multiple avenues, you may cause someone to have to disclose information they may not be ready to disclose. Such as a disability. 
  • Look at source code, screen readers can only do certain things on a website such as H1, H2, and alt text.
  • Make sure widgets and plugins make sense for screen readers
  • Break up and organize text for people with learning disabilities and ADHD
  • Include summaries of texts on newsletters for neurodiverse individuals

What not to do

There are some things that don’t help holistic SEO just as traditional technical SEO. First, do not keyword stuff in the meta description, alt text, or within the copy. Some ways this is seen is by adding alt text or keywords to copy and then adding in white text that hides it. Likewise, make sure you are adding relevant keywords to your pages. Next, don’t buy backlinks. Google will penalize you and you will see negative effects in your SEO, making it more difficult to rebuild. Lastly do not page swap. This is when you get a page ranking very well, then switch out content for a page not ranking as well. This is considered unethical on Google. 

Benefits and Close Thoughts

Concept map with SEO at the center, components of SEO connecting to thought. If you're lost wondering where to begin with your website and marketing strategy, then no worries, we understand that there is a lot to absorb. This blog post focuses on holistic seo, UX SEO, and technical SEO. Optimzing and providing SEO help for therapists takes the whole picture. Learn more about this process today!

To sum up Holistic SEO, by looking at the whole picture and figuring out what to do to make sure your website is accessible, mobile-friendly, has great content, and has all the components for Google’s bots, you should have a reduced bounce rate, and receive more views. Traditional technical SEO is still necessary for the process because it helps Google find your website, helps other search engines find you and allows Google to index your content. Plus it is how online apps, web crawlers, and search bots find you.

 

Both holistic and traditional SEO has their benefits, but these are great places to start for a whole picture on your website that calls on both methods for a better user experience. Likewise, as SEO specialists we strive to address the whole picture rather than parts in order to make sure your SEO is sustainable and up to par.

 

Begin SEO Services at Simplified SEO Consulting

Holistic SEO has many components, but once well optimized, your website and clients will appreciate the effort. This is meant to help you sustain rankings and make sure your clients are taken care of from the moment they land on your page.  Simplified SEO Consulting in Columbia, MO offers DFY packages, courses, and training options. Our skilled team of SEO experts is excited to work with you and answer any questions you have. To get started follow these three steps to begin ranking better on Google.

  1. Schedule an appointment for a free 30-minute consultation with a member of the Simplified SEO Consulting
    staff
  2. Learn more about our SEO packages and training opportunities
  3. Start optimizing your website holistically for a better user experience and SEO!

Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting

Simplified SEO Consulting is passionate about providing SEO services for mental health professionals and therapists. Our comprehensive SEO services are included in our Done for You SEO Service packages, and our online DIY courses. If you have questions about any of our other services please feel free to reach out or if you want to get in touch with Simplified SEO to learn more, book a free SEO Consultation with our Client Success Specialist or one of our SEO specialists to decide which option is best for your business. We look forward to working with you to build your technical SEO and Holistic SEO together!

About the Author:

Jasmine Jaquess is currently working towards her Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University. She has been doing SEO with Simplified for the last few months. Currently, she serves as the Client Success Specialist in new client consultation with Simplified SEO Consulting and is an SEO specialist. She specializes in platforms such as Squarespace and Wix but has learned to love WordPress sites as well. She really enjoys hearing the clients’ goals for their businesses and helping them achieve them.

 

 

Whether or not online practices can have a Google My Business listing is quite a controversial subject right now. Many of our clients have attempted it, only to have their listing removed when Google realizes they don’t actually have a physical location. We know Google’s guidelines on the matter are ambiguous, and we realize online-only […]