In SEO, backlinks are an essential component for achieving organic growth. To help our readers understand more about the role of backlinks, we hosted a two-part webinar series. Our founder Jessica provides insightful information on the importance of backlinks, and how many should be aimed for. She also goes over techniques to build strong-quality links, and how to determine if a link is of good quality. We hope this blog offers readers an in-depth look into backlinks and their importance for SEO success.

The readers digest version of building 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.

Let’s break it down to get a better understanding of backlinks. In simple terms, Google describes them as links from one website to another. These links are usually related in some way, for instance, based on topics discussed, target audience, or purpose. If you’ve ever browsed the web before, chances are you’ve already encountered a backlink. Every time you click on a link to get more information, you’re essentially connecting two web pages together. The goal of a backlink is to establish trust and reliability in the source by providing additional details or perspectives. It’s like getting a recommendation from someone we know and trust – it gives us assurance that the website is trustworthy and reliable.

To make it easier to grasp, here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re looking for a good restaurant recommendation. You might ask your friend or family member who lives in the same city as you do. They can provide you with firsthand information about the best restaurants because they’ve tried them out themselves. Just like this, backlinks work to provide additional information from a trustworthy source. They give viewers assurance that the content is credible and reliable. Ultimately, backlinks are seen as a form of endorsement for the website in question.

Another way to see it is like 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 for 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 the 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 are 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?

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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.  Some experts say that for low-competition keywords you need 0-25, and for highly competitive keywords, you need 50-100. However, this is not an exact science. For some businesses, they need to literally build thousands of backlinks!

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. Google search console is a must for analyzing data just like Google Analytics 4. GSC allows you to see your data without needing a paid tool.

Backlink resources and trackers.

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.
Simplified SEO Consulting has a dash of our own and we use tools like Majestic in order to track client backlinks.

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 are actually very attainable for most websites and a great place to start! If you have no clue where, to begin with, backlinks and this sounds overwhelming, our backlinking course can be a great place to start. Additionally, we have other blogs that can provide guidance, or even you can schedule a strategy session with one of our skilled specialists

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 a 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 on 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 once 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 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, and Find a Therapist. If you are trained in a specialty, it’s worthwhile to be in 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 be 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 in 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 to help a reporter out. Note that you typically have to respond quickly to these prompts. Oftentimes, 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 complementary work to you. In addition, consider writing a guest blog post for other related businesses. If you see a lot of 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 should be about something you are well-versed in. Additionally, it should be a blog post you haven’t posted in 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 to the podcast’s website so people can easily find your site.
Unrelated note: did anyone else start to sing “Be Our Guest” from 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 of people, I’ve got your back:
  • Directories for therapists
  • Resource lists
  • Being an informational source for reporters
  • Blog posts
    • Either write 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 any more 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 do 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.
3. Get on the first page of Google!

About the Author

Alyssa Kohne is in the process of obtaining her Master’s 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 intersection of ‘data and therapy’ that Simplified dabbles in. Recently, she participated in the two-part backlink webinar through Simplified.  She 10 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!


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!



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 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.