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. 

When it comes to the SEO of your site, there are many ranking factors that Google takes into account when determining how it’s ranking both on and off-page. Some of these on-page factors include the things visitors may see when they visit our site. This might include the content of the page itself, the photos used, or the targeted keywords.A tablet rests on a table with the word SEO and multiple graphics. Learn about our off page seo checklist, and how to we can help with off page optimization.

Google puts a great deal of weight on these things since anyone visiting your site will see them. So, they want that content to be the highest quality possible! But, did you know that many important ranking factors hide behind the scenes? We refer to these factors as “off-page SEO.” Today, we are going to cover some of the main differences between on-page and off-page SEO.

Defining Off-Page SEO

Like how on-page SEO elements concern the pages themselves, the off-page elements are found elsewhere! Off-page SEO can be defined as the tactics you use to improve your rankings that don’t take place on your website. There are many ways to do this, some of which you might already be using right now! 

We spend a lot of time talking about On-Page SEO which is all of the changes you can make on your website. We do this, because we think it’s really important to have great On-Page SEO so Google knows exactly what your website is about. But a solid Off-Page SEO strategy can take your SEO to the next level because it builds trust in your website. It helps search engines know that your website is the real deal, that it’s a worthwhile site.

So, in summary: On-Page SEO refers to changes you make on your site to help your page rank better and Off-Page SEO is anything that happens off your website that helps improve your rankings. On-Page SEO tells Google what to rank your site for and Off-Page SEO convinces people that your site is trustworthy.

Off-Page SEO & Technical SEO

Recognizing off-page SEO can be tricky at times. Especially when talking about technical SEO. Technical SEO involves other changes made behind the scenes. This might include improving the loading speed or security of your website. These things are not exactly “on” the page, so they must count as off-page SEO elements, right? Not exactly. These are still technical parts of SEO, which make up their own category. In truth, technical SEO deserves its own blog topic. So for now, let’s return to off-page SEO and some of the best ways to improve it! 

Common Off-Page SEO Tactics

An array of pins are connected by multicolored string. This could represent the connections made through off page optimization. Learn more about on page and off page SEO, and our off page SEO checklist.

There are many strategies you can use depending on what your service offers, and your unique strengths. But, a common tactic used is guest blogging on another site or hosting/guest appearing on a podcast. By working with another site or site owner, you can help increase the traffic your site receives by showing your content to a brand new audience. This creates a chance to build quality backlinks to your site, helping improve the authority of your domain.

This is also true for social media posts! Using social media can help you cultivate an audience, potentially improve rankings (link to blog), and connect with potential clients. When used well, it can act as an extension of your site. It could serve as a place to post updates and create unique content for your target audience. Who knows, a post could even go viral on a nationwide scale and create new links! Using off-page SEO strategies such as these helps to build brand recognition, trust with Google, and high-quality backlinks.

The Importance Of Backlinks

Backlinks are often referenced in blogs, and I’m glad they are! Building a library of quality backlinks is not an easy feat. It is something that has to build over time. Due to this, finding the opportunities to link your content to other reputable sites can quickly become an important part of your long-term SEO strategy. The more links you gain from reputable sites, directories, and other listings, the more Google will recognize your practice as an authority figure. This isn’t something easily accomplished. So, we created a comprehensive guide to earning backlinks to help! Speaking of important parts, let’s also talk about Google My Business.

NAP Information & Consistent Mentions

Off-page SEO isn’t just about backlinks. Sometimes, it helps for your business to be mentioned or listed across the web even if you don’t get a backlink to your website. For example if a really credible, national newspaper interviews you and doesn’t link to your website you may feel disappointed you didn’t get a backlink.  And your disappointment makes sense, because that would’ve been a great, high quality backlink. However, it still helps your SEO. Why? Because when Google scans that article it is probably smart enough to figure out they’re talking about your business and therefore it still gives you credibility!

One part of all this that’s especially important is your “NAP” information. “NAP” just means name, address and phone number. When Google sees this information showing up consistently various place on the web, it helps Google trust that you’re a real business and that really is your name, address and phone number.  So, that information showing up with or without a backlink is helpful. Directories and other resource lists are common places for this information to appear.

Social Media as Off-Page SEO

While Google has gone back and forth in their guidance about how important Social Media is for SEO, there does appear to be a correlation between social media and great rankings. For this reason, it’s worth mentioning Social Media when we’re talking about Off-Page SEO.  Having a strong social media presence means there is more information about your business out there on the web for people (and search engines!) to take note of. It also appears to be helpful to have “social shares” where your website content is shared on Social Media.  Lastly, Social Media helps by sending people to your website and if they like what they see (measured by things like staying on your site for a while and looking at multiple pages), that can signal to search engines that your content is great even if they didn’t come directly from a search engine.

Google My Business & Bing Places for Business

Google My Business (GMB) is also an important part of Off-Page SEO if you want to rank well on Google…and you do want to rank well on Google. In fact, GMB is such a great way to support your SEO  that we’ll get more in depth about that in a minute. But it’s good to know that Bing has a similar service with Bing Places for Business and we recommend checking that out as well.

The Importance Of Google My Business to Off-Page SEO

As you can imagine from the name, Google My Business (GMB) is another very important part of off-page SEO. It allows Google to provide helpful information about your practice for potential clients. 

Some of this helpful info includes:

A screenshot of the Google My Business app for Simplified SEO Consulting. Learn about on page and off page SEO, and how we can help with off page optimization.

The only catch is you have to provide this information. A healthy, optimized profile can help you reach a wider audience, and help establish trust with Google. This free tool also provides useful analytics that can help you assess the health of your site. Some of these analytics include engagement, the number of clicks and calls you receive, and how many times you show up in the search results. 

Improving your Google My Business profile can only help improve your off-page SEO. Creating an account helps improve your search rankings, depending on how well you optimize your business listing. Ensuring the name, address, and phone number of your practice are consistent on GMB and anywhere other than your site is also worth mentioning, but covering the importance of NAP deserves its own blog. Our team has taken a deep dive into GMB if you would like to learn more!

One last note, reviews

Another great part of Google My Business is how it can be used to read the reviews customers leave. While it may not be something that is focused on a great deal, reviews still carry weight with Google. We understand that due to the nature of work done in this field, asking for reviews may not be appropriate or ethical practice. As a result, we encourage you to use your own discretion and make the best ethical choice for the long-term health of your site.

Closing Thoughts 

As you can see, there are many ways one can work to improve their SEO without even touching your website. But, the best SEO strategy will involve both online page and off-page SEO optimization, as well as aspects of technical SEO as they pertain to your site.  

Need Support for On-Page SEO?

Our trained SEO specialists are skilled at on-page SEO and would love to help provide support to improve off-page elements as well. To start SEO services with Simplified SEO Consulting, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Book a free consult 
  2. Meet with an SEO specialist 
  3. Start improving your site’s SEO!

Other Services Offered by Simplified SEO Consulting 

Simplified SEO Consulting offers multiple SEO services to help meet the unique needs of your website. Our services include DIY Online SEO Courses, Done For You SEO services, and our Done With You 12-week SEO intensive program. For more helpful info, please visit our blog!

Photo of Sterling, an SEO Specialist at Simplified SEO Consulting that specializes in all things technical SEO!About the Author

Sterling Humburg-Cage graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA in Psychology in 2020. He integrates what he learned in school into his work as an SEO Specialist with Simplified SEO Consulting. Sterling prides himself on helping current clients & alumni problems solve difficult SEO issues.  He’s great at giving clients multiple options about how to approach a situation and responding quickly to client concerns.  Since he started, Sterling has met frequently with our alumni and provided them extra problem-solving support, often going the extra mile to do outside research and make sure private practice owners have everything they need to rank well on search engines long term for the keywords their ideal clients are using!

In SEO land, the hot topic has been backlinks. They have been discussed so frequently that we hosted a webinar. This webinar went in-depth into all things backlinks. It is a two-part series that offers a lot of valuable information about all areas of backlinks. Jessica, Tappana Simplified’s founder, does a wonderful job explaining the role of backlinks. Further, she discusses the impact they have on SEO. In addition, she explains how many you should aim for, how to build backlinks, and how to determine the quality of backlinks.
You’re probably thinking, “yikes, I missed it.” Have no fear! In this blog, I’ll provide the Reader’s Digest of important takeaways and how you can apply them to your work.  Prepare yourself. This is your invitation to the SEO journey of a lifetime. “This is the (SEO journey and educational opportunity) for those who seek to find…a way to leave their (previous low SEO rankings) behind.”

What is a backlink?

A woman sits with her head on a desk holding a sign that reads, "help!' She is regretting not setting up SEO services with Simplified SEO Consulting.

First, let’s all make sure we have a solid understanding of the basics. We talk about backlinks in SEO land and don’t often explain what it is. For our friends that aren’t familiar with the term, Google tells us that a backlink is created when a website links to a different website. Typically, this is between two websites that are related in some way. They could be related based on the content provided, intended population, or purpose, to name a few reasons. Further, if you’ve ever used the internet for anything, you’ve likely come across one. The purpose of a backlink is to provide information about a topic from a trusted, reliable source. In return, this increases the reliability of the website and a ‘backlink’ is created. Essentially, the backlink is proof that a website is trustworthy. Altogether, this ‘proof’ is seen in the form of a link. In case this sounds completely foreign to you, I’ll provide an example that many of us can relate to.

Shopping for a Car Online

We’re on a local car dealership’s website and find a car that we like: Subaru Forester (I’m in the market, so this is a real-life example).  We click on the image to check out the specs and price. Considering the condition, the price listed doesn’t seem appropriate. On the page of the beloved Forester is a link to Kelly Blue Book (if you’re unfamiliar, it’s a reliable online source for pricing vehicles). So, we click the link. KBB’s website pops up, bringing us to a separate tab. KBB confirms that the listed price is accurate given the condition of the car.  As KBB has a reputation of being a reliable source of information for cars, we accept the price. Additionally, we trust that the information we got from the car dealership is correct. Now, we don’t second guess the dealer and feel like we can trust them.
So, KBB takes notice of this. KBB sees that the cars listed on the local dealership’s website are fair and appropriate. KBB is so pleased that they make a blog post talking about how much they trust this car dealership. Further, they encourage everyone to shop there. At the end of the post, they provide a link to the car dealership’s website so people can easily access this dealership. Because of this post and link provided, the local car dealership gets a flood of new shoppers and their business booms. Overall, the dealership’s reputation is favorable “and they all live happily ever after.”
In this example, KBB linking back to the local car dealership’s website is the backlink. Backlink is the prize.  Again, this is because KBB is considered a trusted source and is widely known. Make sense?

Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks = trustworthiness = higher ranking on Google. Backlinks are important for SEO because it shows Google that the information on your website is reliable and trustworthy. Google really likes when both of these qualities are part of your website. In return, Google will rank your website higher if your website has those qualities. I often think of Google as a moral compass. If you are into Freud, think of the superego. Google likes to be helpful to its users by giving them accurate and trusted information. One way Google measures that is by how many backlinks your website has. Google sees these backlinks and thinks, “wow, lots of other websites are linking to this person’s website. That must mean they’re a great source of information. I’m going to put this website on the first page.”

The More Backlinks, The Higher You’ll be on Google

Overall, this is why we’re all here. In the end, isn’t it the goal to have a high ranking on Google? Being on the first page of Google means that you’re visible and accessible to future clients. This can lead to more clients and becoming well-known in your professional community.
So, we should all be on the same page with our understanding of backlinks. At the very least, you should be able to identify the correct definition if prompted on a multiple-choice test. We can all agree that backlinks are helpful for SEO because it shows Google that our website is trustworthy and reliable.  Level one: complete.

How Many Backlinks Should I Have as a Health Care Professional?

keyboard, coffee, mouse, and a notebook. Learn SEO tips for private practice owners from Simplified SEO consulting

Ok, so backlinks are important. But how many do I need?
When building backlinks, it’s important to consider how many you should aim for. The truth is that the number of backlinks you need is different depending on your unique niche and market.  For some businesses, they need to literally build thousands of backlinks!
Luckily, for many of our clients they don’t need nearly that many. Why? Because the mental health field (this encompasses most of our clients) is still less competitive with SEO but truly becoming more competitive every day.

How do I know how many I need?

The only way to really know how many backlinks you need is to look at how many backlinks your competitors have.  There are various tools out there you can use to assess their backlinks.  We’ve used our own data dashboard, Linkody & SEMrush all regularly in the past.  But it’s also important to know that none of these tools are perfect. So, just because one of these tools says someone has 104 backlinks doesn’t mean they have exactly 104. There are probably others out there that this tool is missing, because it just doesn’t have as many “bots” as Google does.
However…these tools do give you a good idea of how competitive your area is. Therefore, when we’re onboarding new clients we generally use our data dashboard tool to get at least some idea how many backlinks are going to a person’s competitors.  The more the backlinks their competitors have, the more challenging we can assume it will be to really get them ranking.

Where do I even start building backlinks?

At Simplified SEO Consulting, we recommend aiming for at least 100 backlinks to start with.
You can pick up your jaw off the floor. Initially, that sounds intimating and might seem unattainable, right? 100 is a lot of backlinks. And the truth is, many of you reading this will actually need significantly more than 100. However, 100 backlinks is actually very attainable for most websites and a great place to start!

Come Up With A Plan To Build Backlinks

While we encourage you to reach 100 backlinks, we also recognize how overwhelming that sounds. To be transparent, there is time commitment that goes into getting backlinks. We recommend creating a plan that works for you and your practice. A helpful tip is to start by setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific). Look at your schedule and see where you can dedicate time to building backlinks. Next, set a backlink goal for your website. For example, you can set a goal to build 1 backlink every week for a month.  Then, put your feet to the pavement and hit the ground running with backlink building!
Now, we all know what a backlink is and how many backlinks we should aim for. 100 may seem far reaching right now, but it’s possible one you come up with a strategic plan. Level two: complete. 

How Do I know If I Have Backlinks?

There are a few different sources you can use.  In SEO land, we recommend using Google Search Console. It’s the most reliable tool we have come across. However, it’s important to note that Google Search Console doesn’t always show your backlink quantity in real time.  There can be a delay with backlinks accounted for on Google Search Console. This doesn’t mean that the backlink doesn’t exist, just that it takes Google a bit to take notice. If the delay feels excessive, it’s a good idea to double check the backlink. This includes making sure the link provided to your website is active and accessible for the content you provided. If you notice that it isn’t, don’t hesitate to reach out to the source and bring it to their attention. It’s typically an easy fix for the person using your content.  
Are you still with me? Feel free to get up and stretch. We’ve covered a lot of content so far. As a refresher, we know:
  • that a backlink is a link created when one website links to a different website.
  • to aim for 100 backlinks, and that it’s helpful to come up with a strategic plan that is realistic for you.
  • we can check our current backlinks through Google Search Console.
Level three: complete.

How Do I Get Backlinks?

I’m glad you asked! This is probably the burning question on everyone’s mind, aside from ‘what is a backlink.’ There are many ways you can build backlinks. A good place to start is writing blog posts that are valuable and relevant. Consider some common themes you’ve seen within the population you serve. If your clients talk about how their anxiety is higher because of the pandemic, take that into consideration. It could be beneficial to write a blog about “helpful coping skills you can implement at home or on-the-go.” From there, optimize it with the terms you’re wanting to rank for, and share it on as many platforms as you have access to.  Here are a few other ways to build backlinks:

Directories for Therapists

Some common directories are therapy tribe, good therapy, network therapy, find a therapist. If you are trained in a specialty, it’s worthwhile to be on that directory. A few examples are the IFS directory, DBT directory, EMDRIA directory, and HulaFrog.  In fact, we have a whole blog post specifically on therapist directories.

Resource Lists

Think of anywhere in your area that could have a resource list. Usually, anywhere large groups of people will gather. Consider schools, college campuses, churches, or gyms. Additional places that could worthwhile are law firms, spas, salons, or psychiatrist offices.

Be a Source for Reporters & Media

Be a source of information for reporters that are covering a topic within your scope. You can do this a few different ways. You can reach out to your local news or radio station and offer to write a monthly column. Take creative liberty with this! Contribute to a press release about a topic you are familiar with. In addition, you can respond to a prompt on help a reporter out. Note that you typically have to respond quickly to these prompts. Often times, many people are looking at the same listings.

Write Guest Blog Posts

Yay, blogs! Everyone’s favorite! I know many of you aren’t jumping for joy at the recommendation of writing more blogs. However, two things can be true at the same time. You can dislike writing blogs and you can do it to boost your SEO. A great way to boost your SEO is to write a blog post for someone else’s website.

Who Should I Write A Guest Blog Post For?

 

This ‘someone’ could be a colleague who does similar or complimentary work to you. In addition, consider writing a guest blog post for other other related businesses. If you see a lot families, consider reaching out to your local family law firm. Offering to write a guest blog post about the benefits of family therapy could be helpful to you and the law firm.

What Should My Blog Be About?

If you offer to write a guest blog post for someone else, it’s should be about something you are well-versed in. Additionally, it should be a blog post you haven’t posted other places. Posting the same blog post on multiple different websites is considered duplicate content. Plot twist: Google does not like that. Overall, the content should be new, but it can be about similar topics you’ve written about previously.

Job Postings

I bet you didn’t consider this one, did you? Take into consideration where you post this job listing. If there is a college or university in your town that has a job site, give it a shot! This means you’ll have a backlink from an educational institution. Which, in return, is great for boosting SEO.

Speaking at a Community Event

If you like public speaking, this could be great for you! If public speaking isn’t your cup of tea, still consider it. You can often get a backlink from the organization that is hosting the event. Overall, this can be a great opportunity.

Sponsoring or Donating

If you have the resources available to sponsor or donate, it could be worthwhile for your SEO. Additionally, it’s also a beneficial way to become more involved and well-known in your community.

Set a Google Alert

The purpose of Google Alert is to track your online presence. Putting a Google Alert on your name and business can help you gauge how ‘present’ you are online. For more helpful tips on Google Alert, check out this article that can help you improve your business and backlink quantity.

Be a Guest on a Podcast

Nowadays, most people have a collection of podcasts they listen to. So, this is a great market to get involved with. Getting a backlink from a podcast is a great way to boost your SEO. Make sure your website is linked on the podcast’s website so people can easily find your site.
Unrelated note: did anyone else start to sing “Be Our Guest” from the Beauty and the Beast, or was that just me?

Quick Backlink & SEO Check In

So, you now have 4,000 different strategies to get a backlink. On top of that, we know how to check them and how many to aim for. For my list people, I’ve got your back:
  • Directories for therapists
  • Resource lists
  • Being an informational source for reporters
  • Blog posts
    • Either writing one for your website or another website
  • Job postings
  • Speaking at a community event
  • Sponsoring/donating
  • Google Alert
  • Get on a podcast
Level four: complete.

Quality of Backlinks

In the wise words of Jessica Tappana, “not all backlinks are created equal.” There are evil forces in SEO land. Think of the Little Mermaid, but with an SEO twist. Instead of Ariel wanting to be part of the human world, she wants her website to be on the first page of Google. Ursula sees this desire and capitalizes on it. Instead of making a deal to trade Ariel’s voice to be on land, Ursula offers Ariel backlinks in exchange for $50 each. Feeling ecstatic, Ariel takes Ursula up on this offer. At first, everything is fine. She gets new clients because her website is ranking higher (this would be when she meets Prince Eric in the movie). 
However, Google realizes these backlinks are paid for and drops Ariel’s ranking. She doesn’t get anymore clients (this is when she loses her legs and becomes a mermaid again).  Her dreams are shattered. Things are no longer going swimmingly for Ariel. 

Consequences of Buying Bad Backlinks

As explained in the example, paying for backlinks is not good for SEO. We see many issues with paid backlinks. Most often, the biggest issue is that it drops your website ranking so low that no one can find your website. Altogether, we no know that paying for backlinks is bad and is the evil force in SEO land. Level five: complete.

How Do I Get Rid of Bad Backlinks?

Yes, bad backlinks are a problem for your SEO. If you’re in this situation, your ears are probably burning as you read this. While this situation isn’t great, there are steps you can take to fix it!

Ask For The Link to be Removed

This is when the phrase, “closed mouths don’t get fed” comes into play. Truly, it doesn’t hurt to email the source you got the bad backlink from and ask them to remove it.

Disavowing the Backlinks

So, let’s say you ask for the link to be removed and nothing happens. The next option is to disavow the link yourself. To disavow a backlink means to remove the link, often with the use of a disavow tool. To learn more about the process of disavowing backlinks, check out this source. The source, Linkody, is a source we use frequently for our work and have great outcomes with it.

Coming to the End of our Backlink Journey

We learned a lot on our backlink journey in SEO land. I realize that was a lot of information covered. So we’re all on the same sheet of music, here’s a reminder of what we’ve covered. We know what a backlink is and how many we should aim for. Additionally, we know how to get backlinks and how to check how many backlinks we have. We’ve also met the villain in SEO land: bad backlinks. Now, we know where bad backlinks can come from and how to get rid of them. If you find yourself wanting to learn more about backlinks, take a look at this helpful blog that takes a deeper dive into the quality of backlinks. 

Beginning SEO Services with Simplified

As much as it pains me to say this, there’s a chance that you read this post and felt like you read a bunch of gobbledygook. Perhaps you read this post (enjoying my jokes and analogies) and were intrigued with SEO land. Or, you scrolled to the bottom looking for a way to get started. Regardless, we’re here to help and we’re excited that you’re here! When you’re ready to begin your improving your SEO with our help, follow these steps:
1. Sign up for our free 7-day SEO course.
2. Schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.
3. Get on the first page of Google!

About the Author

Alyssa Kohne is in the process of obtaining her Masters in Social Work with a clinical concentration from the University of Missouri- Columbia. She has been doing SEO with Simplified for the last few months. Alyssa loves the unique intersect of ‘data and therapy’ that Simplified dabbles in. Recently, she participated in the two-part backlink webinar through Simplified.  She 10 out of 10 recommends the webinar to a friend.

Preparing for our upcoming Building Backlinks Masterclass means I’ve been thinking a lot about the various places my own backlinks have come from.  Honestly, my backlinks have come from all over but I thought it would be fun to share a few places that might be less common. You might be familiar with more common backlink opportunities such as guest blogging, news interviews and therapist directories. But the truth is there are many, many different ways to get backlinks. So, here are a few of my more “out of the box” backlinks!

Job Listings

Honestly, some of my highest quality (.edu and .gov) backlinks have come from job listings!  My undergraduate degree was from the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri.  As a graduate, I’ve always known they have an online job board for job openings that are relevant to our field.  So, when I’ve had local openings I always make sure to ask it be added to that site.  One day when I was looking at my own backlinks I realized that this thing I’ve just kind of automatically done is actually getting us great backlinks!  Recently, I realized our state (Missouri) also has a state wide job board I can post openings which gives me a .gov backlinks!

*Quick Tip: .edu and .gov backlinks are considered some of the best, because search engines assume those websites are only going to link to other high quality sites!

Podcasts

I have discovered that I love being interviewed on podcasts! I have no intention of ever starting my own because they sound like a ton of work, but it’s so much fun to just chat with someone for awhile and call it work.  The other great benefit is that podcasts always publish show notes where they can link to your website.  Best of all, their websites usually have great SEO themselves so they can be really powerful backlinks!

Many of my current or former SEO clients have managed to get interviewed on podcasts after we work together and I always love listening when they send me the link.  They’ve gotten interviewed on business building podcasts, local ones where they serve as a mental health professional or podcasts from other therapists created such as my friend Veronica’s podcast for moms.

*Quick Tip: No matter what stage of practice you are in, you can probably find a podcast to reach out to. If you haven’t been on a podcast before, just think of it as talking to a friend on the phone. They’re generally pretty casual conversations.

Comment Boards

Pretty often I’ll be looking at my Google Search Console and realize that I have a backlink to my site from somewhere I’ve never heard of.  Interestingly, when I follow those links I’ll occasionally find one of my blog posts was given as a resource in answer to a question on a comment board somewhere else on the web.  This has actually happened a couple of times with a blog post I wrote on basic sleep hygiene and another I wrote about how I like to explain leaning in to anxiety.

In other words, if you write blog posts on subjects people want to hear about they will naturally share your posts! This is how Google really likes to see your website being shared.

People often make the mistake of thinking they’re only writing blog posts for SEO. The truth is that you’ll get the best results if you write truly helpful information with the intent of helping people similar to your ideal client.

Quick Tip: If you focus on writing truly helpful blog posts, people will want to share them! I caution you against assuming blog posts are just for SEO.  They serve many other purposes as well and really great ones will get you future backlinks if they’re shared!

A Paleo Meal Prep Business

One of my favorite local businesses is Paleo meal prep shop called Back 2 Basics Cooking.  I’ve gotten to know the owner over the years and we’ve become friends.  She teaches meal prep classes for people who want to learn to prep their meals ahead of time and eat healthy all week. And the last couple years she’s also offered premade frozen paleo meals that people can purchase and heat up when they’re ready to eat.  It’s such a cool business!  But since many of her clients are interested in a healthy, wholistic lifestyle she created a “Local Resources” page and was kind enough to link to my private practice website.

Quick Tip: Think outside the box when building backlinks.  What other local businesses might have clients who could also benefit from your services?  See if they have a resource page on their website they could list you on or if you could write a guest blog post!  A friend of mine even wrote a guest blog post about travel anxiety for our local airport’s website!

Image of a city with the words" Building Backlinks Simplified SEO Consulting" to promote our upcoming Building Backlinks training for private practice owners.

Upcoming Masterclass

Are you interested in learning more ways you can build backlinks for your website?  I’m giving a very low cost ($59) two part training on Building Backlinks July 2 & 9th from 1-2:15 Central time.  I’ll go over everything you know to develop your own ethical and effective backlink building strategy.  Then, I’ll send you the replay a couple days later so you have the video to refer to later!

 

Register Now

 

 

Backlinks for Therapists

Earn Quality Backlinks from their counseling websites | SEO Services for therapistsMason here to add my two cents on what exactly high quality backlinks are and how to go about getting them. At this point, perhaps you know what a backlink is. A backlink is a link from someone else’s website to yours. These help Google know that you are an authority as well as that the content you are putting into the world is worth putting at the top of the pile.

I like to think of the internet as the wild west. Backlinks are one of the best ways to get yourself seen! Not only are backlinks great for SEO, they also get you in front of new audiences. You never know who you might reach as you build your backlinks.

Here are my top three tips to get high quality backlinks:

Podcasting for High Quality Backlinks

Maybe writing is simply not your thing. Are you burnt out and associate writing with your time in school?  Perhaps you are SO ready to be done with writing for a few years? Podcasts are a wonderful way to get high quality backlinks without having to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Most podcasts have shownotes, in which they link to the website of the person they are interviewing. Therefore, think about what you specialize in and look for podcasts which cover that topic! Image of a microphone | Use podcasts to gain high quality backlinks | SEO for Therapists

The podcast world is booming, and is a great way to get in front of new audiences and build those high quality backlinks. Most podcasts have forms or contact emails you can use to pitch yourself easily. For example with just a laptop, earbuds, and a microphone you can record a podcast episode in as little as 30 minutes!

Contact local organizations or businesses with resource guides

Are you working on reaching a certain population in your community? Perhaps you love working with the LGBTQ community or other diverse populations. For example, many LGBTQ centers in communities or universities have resource pages where you can list yourself as an inclusive provider. Also, when backlinks come from nonprofits or universities they are higher quality. This helps you rank even higher!

In addition, perhaps you focus on supporting new moms and could reach out to local hospitals or birthing centers to be listed as a resource on their website.

Create a Google alert for your business name

Google Alerts is a service in which Google will send you an email letting you know when a phrase has been used. This gives you the opportunity to see where you might be mentioned and not linked! You can then email the owner of the website which adds a high quality backlink with minimal effort!

More About High Quality Backlinks

Backlinks are something we talk about often at Simplified SEO Consulting because they are an important part of any good SEO plan. If you want to learn more about high quality backlinks and why they matter as well as Jessica’s top 3 tips for writing a guest blog post, check out these posts!

Therapist teaching someone about Mental Health | SEO Tips related to blogging | Simplified SEO Consulting

Want to Learn More About SEO for Therapists?

Are you intrigued and want to learn more about SEO? Do you see the potential for SEO transforming your private practice counseling agency? Check out Simplified SEOs 7 day email course to learn more and begin to implement now!

Running a private practice is hard enough without having to worry about ranking on Google. Here at Simplified SEO we love helping therapists improve their SEO through SEO training and comprehensive done for you SEO Services. Our team of SEO consultants are ready to help you fill up your private practice with your ideal clients.

Book your free consultation today and learn more about how Simplified SEO can help you get high quality backlinks.

About the Author:

Mason Aid | SEO Specialist helping therapists and counselors | Monthly SEO packages for small businessesMason Aid is a Mental Health SEO Specialist at Simplified SEO Consulting.  They offer copywriting services for therapists including writing blog posts tailored to the unique needs of your practice.  In addition, Mason provides “Done for You” services for busy therapists needing a monthly SEO package that will save them time.  Mason has years of experience with Square Space websites and works with most of our Square Space and Wix clients.  In their off time, Mason is an advocate for the LGBTQ community and is teaching employers, teachers and mental health professionals how to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community.  In fact, Mason is in the process of launching their own podcast on this topic!

 

How popular are you on Google?  How trusted is your website?  Does Google know about all of the high quality material you’re putting up on the world wide web for potential clients to see?  Maybe…maybe not.  Part of the answer may lie in how many high quality backlinks you have.  Google will trust your site a LOT more if they know other trusted, well established, credible websites trust you as well.

Reminder: Backlinks are Important for SEO

If you’ve taken my 7 day e-mail series, gone through my SEO training, listened to me on therapist podcasts or basically had any other interaction with me as an SEO consultant, you know backlinks are an important part of SEO. Maybe you’ve even read my blog post on how and why to get backlinks.  Hint: If you haven’t, go over and read it now…

But just as a reminder: Backlinks are IMPORTANT.  In fact, I’ve frequently heard that getting backlinks from reputable sites is the single most important thing you can do for your website’s SEO!

However…Some Backlinks Help Your Website’s Ranking Better Than Others

It’s better to have a few high quality websites that Google already trusts pointing to (or “voting for”) your website than to have a TON from low quality websites.  Why?  Because Google places more weight on “votes” from websites they already trust.  I spoke to a private practice owner the other day who only had a couple of links to her site so far.  However, her site was ranking shockingly well!  We did a little investigating together and found that the few links she had were from high quality sites with a high trust score and domain authority.

So…How do I know Which Websites Google Trusts?

You’re interested in building backlinks to your website, so you decide to approach other blog authors in your field about writing guest blog posts.  How do you decide which websites to reach out to?  One way would be to check the domain authority and/or trust score of the websites you’re interested in reaching out to.

What the Difference Between Trust Flow Score and Domain Authority?

While both are useful measures of how helpful a backlink from a specific site would be, they are slightly different.  Based on my understanding so far (and admittedly, I’m still learning more about the nuanced differences), I’ll share my simple explanation.

A website’s trust flow score increases as a website gets more backlinks from quality websites.  Here, the quality of your backlinks makes a difference.  So a website that has a lot of quality backlinks pointing to it already has a high trust flow because it’s trusted by high quality sites.  It’s important to note that links from low quality sites will actually reduce your trust flow score.  Therefore, if you have links from low quality, spammy sites, you’ll want to disavow those links.

On the other hand, it’s my understanding that a site’s domain authority is a little more comprehensive measure of a website’s quality.   The Domain Authority takes into account the external links, internal links, popularity, what anchor text is used to link other sites to the website and the relevancy of the other sites pointing to that one.

Free Resources for Checking a Website’s Quality

You can check a website’s domain’s authority  using this free SEO tool.

Here’s another free tool where you can check a website’s trust flow and citation flow.

When All Else Fails…You Can Count on These to be High Quality Links

The best backlinks are those with both good trust flow and a high domain authority.  But I find it can be a pain to check both each time I’m reaching out to someone about a backlink. I generally just look for good, relevant sites.

In general, you can count on certain types of websites to be more trusted than others.  Web addresses ending in .gov or .edu should pretty much always be high quality.  One great way to get a .edu backlink is to reach out and ask to be added to resources pages for students at a local university.

Small Business SEO Consulting Services for psychotherapist group practice owners. Simplified SEO Consulting.

Are you ready to come up with a plan to improve your small business website’s online presence? My SEO Consulting services can help!

Are You Ready to Get Serious About Your Website’s Search Engine Ranking?

Are you ready to get serious about your small business website’s SEO?  I help small businesses rank better on search engines.  I started my SEO Consulting services with psychotherapy group practice owners, but I do work with other small business owners as well.  The best way to rank quickly is to hire me to do your website’s on page optimization while you work on getting as many backlinks as possible.  I’ll offer you tips and you can even hire me to do some research for you.  I’ve found that the best approach to increasing your search engine rankings though is for me to really focus on the on page work while you invest time and energy (not money…please don’t make Google mad by paying for backlinks) into getting quality backlinks.

If you’re just wanting to learn more about search engine optimization, you can check out my free SEO e-course.  On the other hand, if you’re ready to work together, you can schedule a free 30 minute SEO consultation.  We’ll talk about your website and develop a plan to help get your small business in front of more potential clients.  I’ll help you figure out if my monthly SEO packages are what you’re looking for, or you might excel at doing your own SEO with a little training.

"Most Popular" badge representing how backlinks on a website are similar to popularity votes.Backlinks

Today we’re talking about backlinks – a really powerful tool for improving your SEO.

A backlink is a link from another site TO your site.  Basically, someone else is saying that your site has valuable information their reader might be interested in on a particular topic.  For instance, if a local fitness instructor is talking about healthy eating and links to a local paleo meal prep business (we have one in my hometown so this comes to mind for me!), the fitness instructor is giving the paleo chef a backlink.

Why are backlinks important?

The words "Link Building" with connected icons showing how link building connects related websites to improve search engine optimization and help website viewers.

Backlinks are important because they give your site authority in the eyes of a search engine.  In some ways, Search Engines are a lot like an election.

Imagine for a minute that you are running for state representative. You win by being the person that gets the most votes. It’s basically a big popularity contest.

Similarly, getting the highest ranking on Google is a bit of a popularity contest. Backlinks are “votes” for your website. The basic idea is that if someone is linking their viewers to your website it is because they believe your website has something valuable to offer people. Therefore, these “votes” matter.

When running for office, to get the most votes and win the election, you have to put together a campaign. Some of the techniques you might use in your campaign might include directly asking for votes, getting an endorsement from an organization that aligns with you on key political issues and explaining to people how it’s in their best interest to vote for you.

In order to get backlinks and get the best ranking on search engines, you use similar techniques. Many backlinks will be ones you’ll directly ask for such as e-mailing a local directory and asking to be added. Other backlinks work similar to endorsements. For instance, the LGBTQ group at your local university may “endorse” you as an LGBTQ friendly counseling clinic by linking back to your website. Lastly, many backlinks will happen after you’ve provided value for someone. For instance, you may get a backlink to your site by writing a guest blog post (such as this one).

How many backlinks do I need for my site?

I heard on a podcast last year that a great goal for mental health therapists is to try to get 100 backlinks to your website, because if you have 100 backlinks you’ll have more than almost any other therapist in your area. My experience now that I’ve seen a few therapist’s data is that very few therapists intentionally build backlinks. Often if they do it’s in the form of getting on a bunch of directories. The bottom line is that 100 backlink goal is a pretty good one.  However, aiming for 100 may sound overwhelming at first (it did for me). Maybe set a smaller goal….like that you’ll reach out to 3 sites a week for six weeks (directory sites, Help a Reporter Out sites, places you’d like to guest blog, etc) to get a jump start.

Earning backlinks for your private practice website: Simplified SEO Consulting.

Earn Google’s trust by demonstrating that other reputable sources trust you as you build backlinks.
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

How can I earn backlinks for my website?

By now maybe you’re asking yourself, how do I get these backlinks you speak of? Here are FOUR places you can look for backlinks that I will talk about more in depth this week.

  1. Look for local directories
  2. Act as a source for reporters
  3. Offer to do guest blog posts for other websites
  4. Check your competitors backlinks

Directory Sites

The fist and often easiest place to look for backlinks is in directory listings. Sometimes there are online therapist directories that will give you a backlink, but I encourage you to think beyond these. For instance, consider asking to be added to lists of therapists recommended by your local school district, university lists, HULA frog, local health and wellness places, etc. Think of your ideal client and what organizations they might go to for recommendations, then look and see if those organizations have a “resources” section on their website. I say these are “easy” backlinks because if you are offering a relevant service typically all you have to do is fill out a form or send an e-mail asking to be added to that list.

Act as a Source for Reporters

Another GREAT way to get backlinks quickly is to act as a source for reporters.  You can get to know local reporters. Or, a quick way to get featured by reporters is to go through Help a Reporter Out (HARO). They link experts in various niches with reporters. After you sign up, HARO sends you e-mails three times a day a bunch of stories reporters are looking for sources to provide quotes on. You respond with a few quotes they can use and then they decide if they’ll include you in their story. I’ll do a whole other blog post on this sometime soon…

The word "blog" on a paper with a pen and small cactus to represent how important blogging is for therapists and private practice owners working on their search engine optimization.Write a blog post for another website

Guest Blogging is another great way to get a backlink! All backlinks are not created equal so it’s especially helpful if you can guest blog for a well established, reputable blog that has a high “trust score.”  It’s for this reason that I love swapping guest blogging with people where we each write a guest blog post for the other person and in the “About the guest blogger” at the bottom we like back to our own sites!

Side note…in an effort to help my SEO Consulting clients get backlinks, I offer a small discount if you write a guest blog post for my own private practice website.  I fully optimize the post so it gets seen as often as possible and then request indexing on the post so Google recognizes your new backlink!

Check out competitors’ backlinks

The fourth option for increasing your backlinks is to check out your competitors’ backlinks! If someone is linking to your competitors, there is a chance your website would be relevant for their site to link to as well. This is a great way to find new directories, new places that might be interested in a guest blog posts, etc. You can use free backlink checker websites to find some of the sites that link to your biggest competitors’ websites. Just do a search for “free backlink checker” and then type in your competitor’s website domain address. Only a handful of the websites linking to your competitors will show up on most free versions, but this can be a great place to start.

Are all backlinks created equal?

It’s important to note that all backlinks are not created equal. A backlink from a website that Google views as being more trustworthy or more of an authority on a topic will help improve your SEO more than a backlink from a brand new website your mom put up yesterday. Websites for universities, government websites and non-profit organizations often have higher “trust scores” or site rank authority and therefore provide a much bigger boost for your SEO. One tool you may want to use is this site rank authority tool.

Ready to get serious about SEO for your Private Practice Site?

Simplified SEO Consulting is pleased to offer you a variety of SEO services designed to meet your needs as a small business owner. If you’re too busy and don’t have time to optimize your website, we offer the popular Done for You SEO Services. With this package, our team of SEO specialists will optimize your website for you. If you are the do-it-yourself type, we can help you too. We have online SEO courses or a 12 week SEO intensive program where you’ll have everything you need to learn to optimize your own website.

Contact us with specific questions, or book a free SEO Consultation to decide which service is best for your practice.