Welcome back to part two of my comprehensive guide to copywriting for SEO series. I wrote this series because I know how challenging copywriting can be for busy therapists. I have had a lot of clients who tell me that copywriting is both intimidating and time-consuming. But, it doesn’t have to be so hard. My goal today is to simplify it a bit.

In part one I shared three tips to make copywriting easier: write like you’d speak to a client, speak to their pain points, and create a page for every service you offer. These tips are extremely important and it’s worth reading the blog to learn more about them. But today, I want to share three more practical tips to improve your writing experience and better your SEO.

3 Copywriting for SEO Tips:

  Include References to the Places You Want to Rank Wellpensive woman writes in a notebook next to an open laptop representing copywriting for SEP. Learn how to optimize your website in SEO training with an SEO specialist

It’s critical to include references to your location or the places where you would like to draw clients from in your website copy. This helps tell Google where you’re located, thus helping you show up better in search results for clients who are looking for services in that area.

If you have an online therapy practice, this tip is extra important. Because you cannot technically have a Google My Business listing, it often takes Google longer to realize what areas you serve. Therefore it may take longer to get you ranking in those areas. So, you must mention areas throughout your state in your website copy.

If you have multiple locations, it’s still important to make references to the places where you see clients. Although you may not be able to mention them all, look for spots to weave it in where it looks natural.

Two powerful places to really highlight where you’re located are in your footer and in a location(s) page. Let’s talk about those in-depth a bit:

  • Footer: If you have a physical address put it here. If you do not, then mention where you’re located. For example, “Our therapy office is located in Kansas City, MO however, we see clients throughout Kansas and Missouri.”
  • Location Page: I would argue that having a location page is for all practices that see clients in person. However, I feel it is especially important for practices with multiple in-person locations. On this location page, I encourage you to embed a map if possible and provide driving locations to your practice.

Look for Opportunities to Add Keywords and Internal Links

man types on his laptop computer in a cafe. He learned about copywriting for seo from an seo specialist at Simplified SEO ConsultingI know writing copy is intimidating but I encourage you to write first, then look for opportunities to target the keywords you want to rank for. The same goes for adding internal links to other pages on your site. Sometimes, simply putting your thoughts down on paper without worrying about other things makes writing easier.

Once you have written your page or post, then look for places to add in or modify the wording to add keywords and links. This can be done throughout a page or a post however, there are a few places that I find offer great opportunities to add in these SEO elements. These places are:

  • Headings and subheadings
  • A call to action section where you detail the three steps to start services at your practice (here you can link to your home, contact, about page, etc.)
  • An other services section where you share about the other offerings you provide at your practice and link to those pages.

Proofread Your Work

man with grey hair sits at his laptop and smiles at the camera representing copywriting for SEO and getting seo training with an seo specialist at simplified seo consultingI am certainly guilty of making spelling and grammatical mistakes when I write. Most people are. However, I always try to take the time to go back and proofread my work before publishing it. Even then, I am bound to make a mistake here and there. That’s when I rely on the wonders of technology and the tools that are at my disposal.

I personally love using the Hemmingway Editor and the Grammarly plugin when I write. Both tools catch common spelling and grammatical errors and they tell me if my writing is confusing or hard to read. I encourage you to use both as you work on writing copy for your private practice website.

Google likes to rank pages it considers “trustworthy.” So, if there are lots of spelling and grammatical errors it may hurt your rankings a bit. Now, I’m not saying it has to be perfect, but reading it over once or twice can really help.

SEO Services For Your Private Practice Website:

If you’re ready to optimize your website and improve your private practice website’s SEO, Then our SEO specialists can help! We would be honored to support you in your efforts to get in front of your ideal client on Google. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Schedule your free 30-minute consultation with a member of the Simplified SEO Consulting team
  2. Learn more about our SEO services and training opportunities
  3. Start optimizing your webpage and watch your site rank better on Google!

About the Author:

Photo of Cory, our Content Coordinator who helps you write blogs for SEO and also offers 1:1 SEO TrainingCory Moss is a Simplified SEO specialist & our Content Specialist based in the Kansas City metro area. She specializes in working on readability for therapist websites. She really enjoys helping her clients get to the top of Google and attract their ideal clients. Cory is great at speaking to clients about their dream practice and figuring out exactly what content on their website will help them reach those goals. She enjoys helping people learn about SEO and watching how people can improve their optimizing over time!

One of my favorite things about Simplified is that we challenge the “one size fits all” approach. Through years of working with therapists throughout the country (and internationally!), we know that every practice is starting at a different place. And, that each practice has different goals.

With that in mind, we’re also very aware of the practice’s capacity.

What does that mean? Well, each practice has different resources. This can be having a team with many clinicians that can delegate tasks. Other times, this looks like have more administrative time to knock the behind-the-scenes tasks. Again, this is different for everyone. But, you’re probably wondering how this relates to SEO. Well, let me tell ya!

A brain is pondering a question. This is related to doing your own website optimization. Simplified offers training courses to teach therapists how to build their own SEO.

Your practice’s capacity determines which SEO service makes the most sense. We offer services for practices at every stage. For some, our Done For You services are a great fit. Other times, our al a carte or online courses make sense. Furthermore, our Done With You services can be a great fit for some practices.

. . . Done With You Services?

Yep, Done With You Services! This service is our 12-week intensive training option. With this package, you’ll work one-on-one with our SEO specialists to learn how to do your own optimization. We meet every other week to teach you SEO concepts that you’ll be applying in real-time. During this time, we’ll work together on your site. We start with some basic keyword research and competitor research. From there, we work on writing stellar meta descriptions and creating SEO-worthy titles. Then, we do on-page optimization. This is when we work on incorporating headings, infusing keywords, and adding location indicators. The next step is internal links, external links, call to action, and other services sections. Don’t forget about adding photos with alt text!

A few of you reading this are PUMPED

A cartoon brain holds dumbbells. This demonstrates concepts of doing your own website optimization. Training options with Simplified can help you to boost SEO.

This sounds exciting, right? Learning how to do all of the SEO things on your own! If learning how to do your own website optimization sounds appealing to you, this blog is for you! Moving forward, I’ll cover some personal qualities that can determine your success in doing your own website optimization. From our experience, we have seen a theme of what determines success. Today, I’ll be covering a few signs that can help determine if doing your own website optimization could be a good fit for you!

So, who should do their own website optimization?

1. Website Optimization Consideration #1: Service providers that are the “hands-on” type

These are the folks that like to have their hands in every pot. Typically, these are the people that learn the best by doing- or our kinesthetic learners. And, have curiosity about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans. This often comes in handy for service providers doing their own optimization because it’s up to them to get it done! On top of that, there’s a healthy dose of curiosity that comes along with it, too. We find that providers are the most successful when they want to build their skills and understanding of SEO. At first, it will probably feel like learning a different language. But, after time, the pieces of the puzzle will start to fit.

In addition, therapists that are willing to dedicate some time to learning SEO are often more successful. While learning SEO won’t require as much time as obtaining licensure, there is still a component of time that comes along with doing their own website optimization.

2. Website Optimization Consideration #2: Clinicians that are willing to learn

A cartoon brain uses a laptop. This reflects concepts of doing your own website optimization. Learn more about how Simplified can help you to build SEO.

Correction: clinicians that are willing to learn things for their practice that grad school never taught them. Something that I, along with the other SEO Specialists, have heard time and time again is that grad school “didn’t teach (them) how to run a practice.” And that’s definitely true! What’s more, grad school didn’t teach you how to SEO either.

Learning SEO requires *some* unlearning of grad school.

What does this mean? Good SEO requires you not to write like you’re creating an essay for grad school. One of the determining factors of good SEO is readability. Typically, Google responds best to pages that have the readability of 5th grade. Essentially, Google likes when we write in a way that a 5th grader could read it and understand it. To achieve this, we recommend:

  • limiting run-on sentences (but really, aim to have NO run-on sentences)
  • adding transition words
  • having lots of headings and subheadings
  • not having sections longer than 150 words without a heading
  • straying away from academic language 
    • if it’s a sentence you would include in an essay, it likely needs to be edited

And, will to learn some techy things

In doing your own SEO, there are some techy aspects that come along with it. To be clear, we’re not expecting anyone to learn how to do their own coding. But, some of the processes require to you know a little more than the average bear. Better yet, they require you to be willing to learn more than the average bear. Doing your own SEO requires you to learn how to set up Google Search Console and Google My Business. On top of that, submitting sitemaps and requesting indexing are tasks that come along with website optimization as well.

Just to be clear: we’ll teach you how to do all of these things!

We know that doing your own SEO is the farthest thing from common knowledge. We’re aware that there’s a lot that goes into it. And, at first, it might feel pretty overwhelming. But you want to know a secret? None of our specialists were familiar with SEO when they started! But, after some training, practice, and personal research, we become experts! Just like you, we felt intimidated with learning what seems like an underground black market trade. But, after practice and guidance, we got the hang of it.

And the super cool thing? So can you!

3. Website Optimization Consideration #3: Therapists that have future projects in mind

A brain holds a lightbulb. This is related to doing your own website optimization. Simplified offers training option so therapists can learn how to do their own website optimization and boost SEO.

Especially if you have a few projects in mind that will require you to use the internet to some capacity. This looks different for everyone. But, some common themes that I’ve heard in the past include changing your URL or practice name. Sometimes, practice owners decide to expand their practice. However, the name or website URL they previously had doesn’t quite fit anymore. Other times, practice owners see a website redesign in their future. In both of these scenarios, SEO will take a drastic hit. Big changes like this will result in an initial decrease in your SEO.

A metaphor that I like to compare it to is a breakup.

Let’s pretend your website and Google are in a relationship. Things have been going steady and it seems like you’re both happy. But, out of the blue, your website breaks up with Google. From Google’s point of view, this was completely unexpected. Things were going great, then you suddenly end things with no warning? Google is very confused. And, incredibly hurt. Now, Google has trust issues with your site. Then, it sees that you’re coming back (submitting sitemaps, requesting indexing, updating your Google My Business). And Google wants to trust you. But, it’s not quite ready for it. Now, Google needs you to prove that you’re committed this time. And, the only way to show that is through time and rebuilding your SEO.

But, you’ll get back to where you were! Maybe not overnight. But, you’ll recover your SEO. And, hopefully exceed the SEO you built up previously.

Of course, there are other “projects” or “changes” that would make you a great fit for doing their own website optimization

Everyone sees a different future for their practice. If yours is full of new projects, expansions, or dabbling in podcasts, website optimization could be a great fit. Why? Because this will be one less thing you need to pay to outsource! Instead, you can take some time to learn how to do it yourself then apply it as you need to in the future.

A few details about our Done With You program

Two brains are shown. This demonstrates concepts of doing your own website optimization to boost therapist SEO.

At Simplified, we truly believe that any therapist can learn to do their own SEO and website optimization. And, we’re happy to teach those tools! Our 12-week intensive program is a great option for practitioners that are curious and excited to learn how to do their own SEO. In our training program, our approach is holistic. Our goal is to teach you everything you need to know to do your own website optimization. We start from the beginning and cover the basics. From there, we gradually incorporate skills that increasingly become more advanced. With this in mind, we walk along with you the entire time.

Our training program is a unique one-on-one opportunity that teaches you everything you need to know about website optimization. On top of that, we offer technical support and guidance throughout the entire time. You’ll meet with your SEO Specialist every other week for 12-weeks. During this time, we’ll cover the content that was included in your “homework.” On top of that, we’ll do some on-page optimization to see what it looks like in real-time. In addition, you will be offered resources that explain concepts in greater detail. Our intention is for you to incorporate these concepts each week on your site with our guidance. Along the way, we’re happy to answer any questions that come up.

So, are you ready to get the training party started?

I hope you found this interesting! As aforementioned, the training program can be a great fit for some clinicians. We’d love to have you in our training program! If you decide that you’re ready to do your own website optimization, follow these steps:

  1. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us. 
  2. Get to know our team of highly skilled and experienced SEO specialists.
  3. Brag to your other therapist friends that you can optimize your website optimization 🙂

For those that aren’t interested in Done With You services, we also offer Done For You services where we do the optimization. Either way, we’re happy to help!

About the Author

Alyssa has been a member of the Simplified family for the past few months. And, is now stepping into a role providing training and additional support for folks learning SEO. As a current graduate student in the Advanced Placement MSW Program at Mizzou, Alyssa loves the world of mental health and technology. In addition, Alyssa has a growing interest in using social media to grow a practicethe importance of live feed, and building backlinks. She wrote a two-part blog post series about the importance of blogging for SEO. This series addressed the importance of blogging and original content. In addition, she is co-hosting a blogging masterclass that will soon be available for purchase. Stick around for some more hands-on opportunities!

In the past, we’ve covered researching keywords for therapists is so important. But for our topic today, we are going over some of the most common mistakes people make when doing keyword research. Now we all make mistakes, it’s only human to do so. But, those mistakes can have ripple effects that affect the overall ranking of your site. So, it can be invaluable to know how to avoid them. Let’s talk about it!

Woman on computer near notebook and coffee doing keyword research. This person has figured out what the best keywords for therapists in her area. To learn more about Simplified specialists, keyword research tools for therapists, and more, continue reading our blog.

Common Mistake #1: Assuming You Know What Your Audience is Searching

You may think you’re familiar with the terms that your ideal clients are searching for. Or, you may have expertly crafted the terminology you use throughout your site. While this is all wonderful to have, this doesn’t necessarily translate to knowing what your ideal clients are searching for. Even though different clients might describe their experiences in similar ways, you still shouldn’t assume that they correlate with Google. It’s certainly important to be familiar with how your clients describe what they are going through. But, it is also important to understand that some of the terms you’re familiar with might be unknown to your ideal client. For example, even though you may have a page titled “adolescent psychotherapy”, most people probably won’t be typing all of that out in the search bar. Instead, people may be searching for the term “teen counseling”, or something similar to it.

Honestly, keyword research can be a bit of an art. We’ve had many therapists come to us wanting to be very inclusive and only optimizing for “couples therapy.”  Yes, this is a great term that encompasses all of the work that you do. But in most areas of the country (there are exceptions which is why we must ALWAYS do keyword research for your unique area) “marriage counseling” is actually searched for significantly (think x4) more frequently. Similarly, you might describe your service as “psychotherapy for anxiety,” but more people are searching for “anxiety treatment” or even “anxiety counseling.”

But, There is An Exception

It should be noted that the intake materials that new clients fill out can provide you with valuable info. These can provide you with insight as to their reasons for coming into therapy. And, also give you ideas on future service pages or blog posts to address the issues your clients are bringing up. While this is effective, you’ll have much more luck using one of the many keyword research tools for therapists out there. In order to find what out your ideal client may be searching for. Which, actually leads me to my next point.

Common Mistake #2: Not Focusing On a Specific Location

There are many tools to research keywords for therapists. Some popular options include Google Trends, KWFinder, and Keywords Everywhere. However, knowing where to focus is just as important as the keyword itself. Having at least one specific location for where you’d like your site to rank is becoming increasingly important as the Google algorithm changes. Our team of SEO specialists has found that including location indicators on keywords for therapists helps focus the search to the area you want to rank for. Doing so will help Google understand where your practice is located. And, will help get your site in front of potential clients in your area.

Computer with the words "SEO Keyword Tool." This computer is being used to find the best keywords for mental health professionals in the area. Contact Simplified SEO Consulting for support keyword research tools for therapists and more.

It also helps narrow down terms that may be searched for to only focus on what is being searched for in a specific area. Even for online-only practices, referencing that your practice is based in a certain town or city may help to build your online presence with Google. Additionally, it is important to note that search trends differ based on where you are searching from. For example, “depression counseling” might be the most searched keyword in your state. But, “depression treatment” could be searched for most in the state that borders yours. It’s important to understand what keywords you are wanting to rank for, and where they are being most searched for.

Common Mistake #3: Not Understanding the Difficulty and Search Volume of Keywords

Admittedly, some keywords are harder to rank for than others. Tools such as KWFinder allow you to see the difficulty. But, this can become confusing when taking search volume into account. While it’s normally best to track the keyword that has the highest search volume, this isn’t always the best option when it comes to competing with others.

The difficulty of a keyword is based on how likely it is you’ll be able to climb up the search results. The harder the keyword, the harder the climb will be. If it’s a service many people offer support for, like “depression counseling”, you can expect a lot of competition and a tough climb. On the other hand, you can expect niche services to be easier to rank for since there isn’t as much competition.

Where this understanding becomes important is when dealing with keywords that might have a similar search volume, but different difficulties. Just because a keyword has a higher search volume does not mean you should necessarily focus on it. In fact, sometimes keywords with a smaller search can better because of the fact they’re easier to rank for. Not going for the most searched keyword can sometimes be the best call. Our SEO specialists can also help you weigh these kinds of decisions.

Common Mistake #4: Not Being Thorough with Selecting the Keywords Themselves

When it comes to SEO, even the plural and singular forms of a keyword can produce different results. When conducting keyword research, it’s very important to double-check that you have the correct form of the keyword you want. And, that you think about the search intent behind the keyword you want to rank for. Even the difference between “therapy for depression” and “depression therapy” might result in different search volumes.

Green search button with white hand curser hovering over it for Simplified SEO Consulting. Contact us for support in finding the best keywords for therapists, best keywords for mental health, and more.

So, What is Search Intent?

This is the reason why someone is searching for a term in the first place. When thinking of what keywords to target, think of why they would be searching for it. Are they seeking information from your site? Are they looking for a particular service? Maybe they want to buy something. Or, are simply researching more information on a topic. Understanding what your ideal client is hoping to gain from finding your site can help you tailor your keyword research. This way, when they do find your site, you will have the answers they are looking for.

In Conclusion

There are multiple pitfalls that people might fall into when conducting keyword research. It can certainly take a while to get used to all of the quirks and caveats that come with properly researching keywords for therapists, but the outcome of doing it correctly is worth any hassle.

Begin SEO Services with Simplified SEO Consulting

Our SEO specialists are trained in conducting properly researching keywords for therapists. We would love to help improve your SEO and get you higher up on Google. Follow these steps to start finding your ideal client today:

  1. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with a member of our team
  2. Learn more about our services
  3. Start optimizing your site, and ranking better on Google

SEO Services Offered at Simplified SEO Consulting

Simplified SEO Consulting provides SEO services for helping professionals and private practice owners. Our comprehensive SEO services are included in our Done for You SEO Service packages.  People typically participate in those for an average of 6 months while we set a really firm foundation and get your website ranking well. Then, we offer continued support through our alumni packages. Our team also provides learning opportunities with our SEO training packages. This includes our “Top of Google” online course, 12 week Intensive Training Program and SEO Strategy package if you’re interested in learning how to optimize your website on your own.

Take the next step and book a free SEO Consultation to determine which option is best for your business. We look forward to talking with you!

About The Author

Sterling Humburg-Cage is a member of the 2020 graduating class from the University of Missouri. He is intent on using his B.A. in Psychology to help provide the best results as an SEO specialist.

Believe it or not, speed plays a bigger part in SEO than you think. You can have optimized content on your page that wows anyone who sees it. But, if the page takes too long to load, they won’t see it at all! I think everyone has been guilty of impatiently clicking away from a site at one point. So today I’ll be going over how you can improve your site speed. Warning, it might get a little technical.

What if I Don’t Know Much About the “Tech” Stuff?

Graphic of SEO data for Simplified SEO Consulting.

Have no fear! One of the perks of living in these modern times is having no shortage of resources and tools for private practice owners to improve their site. Working with a website designer is a great option. They will be able to make the changes necessary to fix some of the slower moving parts of your site. The only catch, they still need data!

Great, How Do I Get my Data?

Thankfully, Google has made it even easier with tools like PageSpeed Insights (PSI) to find this data. It’s one of the most used page speed measurement tools. PSI will quickly show you a score of how fast your site is based on different points of data it collects. All you have to do is click here, and enter your website to PSI. In return, it will give you different important pieces of data, opportunities to help load your page faster, and diagnostics about the performance of your site.

What Other Things Can I Do To Help Speed up My Site?

While I could get in the weeds on some of the more technical things within PSI, here are some of the biggest things you can do NOW to improve your site’s speed.

Concerned asian therapist looks at her laptop as she worries about SEO. Simplified SEO Consulting can help you improve site speed and more. Site Speed Tip #1: Optimize Those Photos!

You might think I’m talking about alt text and photo titles, but there is actually a lot more that can go into optimizing these! First up is the type of file you use. When it comes to what type of file to use, we suggest you go for a .png for your logo and .jpeg files for the other photos on your site.

When it comes to the file size, smaller equals better. Try to keep your photos under 1MB as a good rule of thumb. When it comes to our photo optimization process, our team likes to download “medium” sized photos from Bigstock. This way the image is just the right size. Not too big, but still large enough so that you can make out everything in the image.

Site Speed Tip #2: Word Press Users: Pick Purposeful Plugins

Having plenty of plugins can help you to accomplish a lot of different things on your site. But, having too many can weigh down your site. When choosing your plugins, make sure that you know what they are doing for your site, and how they are helping you! It might also be a good idea to occasionally look at the back-end of your site, and turn off any that you aren’t currently using.

While we’re on the topic of plugins, one great suggestion is Autoptimize. It’s a WordPress plugin that will help with caching, which is another important (but technical) part of SEO.

Site Speed Tip #3: Squarespace Users: Check Settings and Fonts

For Squarespace users, there is actually a quick fix you can make right now! From the back-end of your site, you can go to Settings -> Advanced ->SSL. Turning this SSL option on will make sure your site is delivered more quickly to Google, and turning on the “HSTS Secure” option can also help as well!

Another quick win is making sure your fonts will play nicely with Google. Squarespace has I lovely library of web fonts, but some can make your site run slower than others. Check to make sure you are using a web safe typeface. Furthermore, it also helps to only use one or two fonts on your site at a time. The more fonts the page has to load, the longer it will take to pop up for a potential client.

Site Speed Tip #4: External Scripts Can Slow Down Your Website

Technology graphic showing the word "S.E.O." and some computer icons representing how we simplify the process of optimizing your website for search engines

External scripts like a Facebook share button or a “schedule here” icon that goes to your personal calendar can be super helpful for things from a client-facing perspective. But, these scripts can also negatively impact the speed of your site. It’s important to think about the function of these scripts, and if they’re really worth the potential decrease in speed.


Begin Optimizing Your Website With Simplified SEO Consulting

Our trained SEO specialists would love to help you improve all aspects of your site. We feel strongly about providing the best service possible. If you are rank higher on Google, follow the simple steps below to get started:

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

Other SEO Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting

Simplified SEO Consulting offers a variety of SEO services designed to meet your needs. For practice owners, we offer Done for You SEO Services. We also offer alumni packages and al la carte SEO services. Our team provides several learning opportunities with our SEO training packages including our “Top of Google” online course and 12 weeks of online video training and SEO Strategy package if you’re interested in learning how to optimize your website on your own.

About The Author

Sterling Humburg-Cage is a member of the 2020 graduating class from the University of Missouri. He is intent on using his B.A. in Psychology to help provide the best results as an SEO specialist.

I talk a lot about keywords (in fact, my blog post on Counseling Keywords is one of the most popular pages on our site!), but I realized that most of what I say is related to keyword research.  Then, I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on where to put keywords.  Therefore, I thought I’d write a short blog post (let’s face it: short for me means under 1,000 words so let’s see how this goes…) on that exact topic.

Where to put keywords on a counseling website:

So, my short answer is everywhere that makes even a little bit of sense.  But, I’m guessing you’re looking for a more detailed answer than that.  Here’s the list of places I most often recommend you think about including keywords:

  1. The Page Title
  2. The Meta Description & SEO Title
  3. In the text
  4. Subheadings
  5. In Photos
  6. The URL slug

Now let’s look at a little closer at each of these….

1. The Page Title

Your page title should be a quick description of what the page is about. However, it should also try to include at least one keyword you are targeting.  If someone was looking for the information you have on that specific page of your website, what would they look for?  This is where a little keyword research really helps you make difficult decisions like are you going to call a page “Trauma Therapy” or “PTSD Treatment?”

2. The Meta Description & SEO Title

Your SEO title for your page and the meta description should hold a couple of the top keywords that you want to target on that page.  For instance, your SEO title might contain the word “Trauma Therapy,” and then your meta description might include the words PTSD symptoms, EMDR, TF-CBT and trauma therapist.

3. In the Text

To be honest, I have a lot of fun with this one.  You want to write in a way that seems fairly natural. However, you also want to work in as many keywords as you can.  I can look at almost any sentence at this point and figure out a way to add at least one more keyword…

4. Subheadings

Screen shot of a blog post we've written pointing to H2, H3 and H4 level headings to demonstrate how we use higher level headings to make main points and for keyword placementSearch Engines assume a subheading describes the information below it. Therefore, words in subheadings are most likely given more “weight” when determining how to rank a page.

I’ve been known to add entire sections of a page just so I can use a specific keyword in a subheading. For instance, if “symptoms of PTSD” is searched for a lot (hint: in most areas it is), I’ll create a specific section of the page called “Symptoms of PTSD” just so I can use that keyword in a subheading.  Google assumes that subheadings describe the content of that section. And if you have a whole section about something, it must be an important part of your page, right?

I sometimes say that if you mention the phrase “panic attack” on a page, Google will assume you know how to spell the word. If you write an entire section of a page called, “Signs of a panic attack,” you must have some decent information to share on the topic. Then, if you create a whole page about panic attacks Google will believe you really have a lot of great information and is even more likely to rank you at the top for that search term.

5. Optimizing Photos

I recommend using keywords in both the photo file name and the alt text.  In fact, you can fit in some of the keywords you don’t know where else to use on your website here.  Once you’ve picked a photo that goes well with your page, you can change the file name for the photo to include a keyword and specify the alt text for that photo. This is what will be read to someone using a screen reader when they visit your site.

6. The URL Slug

When I’m creating a new website page, I’ll check the url slug. I want to keep a url slug short, on topic and include 1-2 keywords.  For instance, the slug for this page is “Keyword-placement-website.”  It communicates that this post is about keyword placement on a website.  It’s relatively short and easy to type and on topic. However, “keyword placement” is a keyword I want to target for this blog post as well.  Here’s a great Yoast article if you want to learn more about optimizing a url slug.

*Important note here: If you are going back and changing the slug on a page that’s already been optimized on your site, be careful.  You will likely need to create a “url redirection” as well.  So, you may want to start out by just using keywords in the slug of new pages you create.

Graph showing Growth of a small business after starting a monthly seo package from Simplified SEO Consulting.

Begin SEO Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting

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 page for you. If you are the do-it-yourself type, we can help you too. We have SEO training packages designed to teach you the skills you need to get your website ranking well including our “Top of Google” online course and our “Top of Google” 2.5 Day SEO Workshops.

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

photo of Jessica Tappana SEO specialist and founder of Simplified SEO Consulting

About the author:

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

You have a great therapy practice, but do you even exist without a website? Not in today’s world! Check out these free, relevant resources for mental health professionals. If you want to learn more about how we can help your therapy website rank higher in the search results, book a free consult. I’d love to talk with you about which services could help you help more people.

I am not new to WordPress. For years, I had the responsibility of keeping up with my office’s website on the our local University’s server. Y’all, it was the Wild, Wild West when we first set up that site! I am definitely a DIY-er on a lot of things, but this was overwhelming. Coding? Site navigation? Design? We weren’t even thinking about meta descriptions and SEO at that point! After supervising two huge redesigns, I learned a ton about site upkeep, plugins, widgets, themes and accessibility (more on that next month). But, I did not know how to launch a brand new, DIY website. In fact, I thought all you had to do was purchase a domain on Google and WordPress would magically make it happen.

Nope. Not so much.

Well…sort of. You can go through WordPress.com, which is what I did with my birth services site a few years ago. Whoops! Don’t do this, unless you want to spend a bunch of money to “rent” the space. I can’t even get Yoast SEO tools on the site without upgrading to a more expensive package! No, thank you.

So, how do I get started with my therapy website?

First, you need to have a clear vision and mission for your website. This will help make the decisions much easier to make while getting setup. You do not have to have a fancy brand kit, but you will need to make some aesthetic decisions eventually. Don’t worry, these can be changed! Having a budget for what you are able to spend on basic website setup now, and on an annual basis, would be helpful. This is especially important if you have “shiny object syndrome” like I do. There are a ton of people who would love to sell you a bunch of bells and whistles online. Of course.

Okay, great! I have time and money. What’s next?

Short video loop of 4 adults from the show Seinfeld doing a celebratory looking dance with fast feet and hands in the air. From Giphy. Celebrate your SEO wins for your therapy business with Simplified SEO ConsultingNext, I HIGHLY recommend you block out a day to do the basic launch for your mental health or therapy website. Can it be done in a few hours, here and there? Sure. But, if you’re like me, focused time is way more productive than pieces. If you are able to immerse yourself in the training, and set up your site as you go, you’ll end your day of action with a live website! Celebrate your wins, folks. You deserve it.

Didn’t you say there was training involved?

Finally, get yourself registered for the FREE Yoast SEO Training on WordPress for Beginners. Like I said, I was not a beginner, but wanted to approach the process as a beginner would. This way, I could catch up on any features, tips and tricks that I didn’t already know. Let me tell you, I am so glad I did it this way! Was some of it a review of information I already knew? Sure. Of course. Here’s a hot tip for those modules that are more of a review for you:

Hot Tip: You can adjust the speed of each video! 1.25x was a decent pace for me to still listen for new concepts without feeling like I was “wasting” time. (Because NO ONE has extra time, amirite?)

For those of you who are less auditory, there are PDF pages with every module that provide more details than the videos. I started the training watching every video, then reading the PDF, then taking the quiz for that module before moving on to the next. After a couple of topics, I either just watched the videos or just read the PDF, depending on my comfort level with the action steps for the concept. Basically, you can do this however YOU learn best. Yes, this is the instructor in me talking now.

Wait…there’s a quiz?!?

Yes. Yes there is. Quite a few of them, actually. I was sort of hoping you wouldn’t notice that part, perhaps? In order to get your certificate at the end, you must score at least 80% overall. (Yes, you can re-take the quizzes after you’ve reviewed the answers and the concepts again…it’s really not that bad) Actually, this was a fun part of the training! As a high-achiever, you know I needed to do well on those quizzes and get that certificate.

Danica Wolf successfully completed the WordPress for beginners course by Yoast SEO!

Now, there were a few key takeaways from the training I would love to highlight! These are things that some of our clients have had questions about, so you might be curious too. I’d love to know what else you are curious about, so please leave a comment below with additional questions and/or topics you would like for us to cover.

Key Takeaways For Mental Health Professionals for Your Therapy Website

Module 4.2: Adding images, videos and embeds

Even those who know how to add images could benefit from this enhanced training. However, remember that with our Done For You Comprehensive SEO packages, we can do this for your counseling or therapy website.

    • Notice that GIF I included up there? Yep, fancy right? I didn’t know how people did that until going through this module! AND, because I know how to optimize Alt Text for both SEO and accessibility, that fun little image is giving this post a nice boost in the rankings while ensuring that all who read this page are able to experience the content. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.
    • Maybe the GIF isn’t your thing. That’s okay. I also know that in order to captivate, connect and convert our potential (read: ideal) clients, we need to build the “Know, Like and Trust” factor. One great way to do this is to have more of you and your team featured. One way to do this is to spend a quick two minutes talking about a particular concept, on camera, and add it to a service page! (I know, it sounds scary…but you can do hard things, right?) Perhaps you could do a quick Facebook Live, download it to YouTube and embed the video on your site? If all of that sounds too scary, find a quality clip of Brené Brown for the time being.

Module 6.3 & 6.4: Common Mistakes and Security

Well, if that doesn’t entice you to watch this 3.5-minute video, I don’t know what will! Yes, please…just tell me the common mistakes. Not surprisingly, they are the type of things that we at Simplified SEO Consulting have a tendency to mention every month on Facebook, on consult calls and via e-mail. So, let’s review the top three for SEO, shall we?

  1. Photo of police officer, looking at the camera. Officer is a woman in uniform.Improper Permalink Etiquette: Set them up in a smart, strategic, SEO-enhancing way (or let us) before hitting “Publish”, and don’t touch them once they are published!
  2. Avoiding the Updates: Be sure to update your website, plugins and theme regularly! At least twice a month is best practice. If you have a web developer, they may be doing this already but you should still ask to be sure.
  3. Create a CLU password! Passwords shouldn’t be simple, or easy to guess. Did you know, StarWars made the list of most popular passwords? Yep. We’re not quite as clever as we think we are, huh?
    Get a CLU instead: Complex, Long and Unique!

Module 7.2: WordPress and the Yoast SEO Plugin

Before the training, I honestly didn’t know everything the Yoast plugin could do for therapy and other mental health websites. I’m still not positive I know the ins and outs of every piece (canonicals? crawlability? sure…) What I love most about the plugin is:

Bullet feedback –

Red. Orange. Green. I’ve been driving for over half of my life. I can certainly get on board with a basic stoplight system! Easy. Even as I’m typing this post, I check the real-time feedback every so often to be sure I’m optimizing this blog. (How Meta……get it?)

Readability analysis –

If you’ve been on a call with me, you know my oh-so-shameful secret already. Okay, it’s not really a secret, but it’s my biggest “growth edge” when it comes to SEO for therapy websites. Drumroll, please…I’m an academic. Yep. I have the horrible habit of making things WAY more complex than needed. In fact, I think I had that last sentence written three different ways before settling on its current form? (Checks readability color again)

Snippet editor –

What kind of magic is this?! I know we can’t actually dictate what the search engines choose to feature in search results. But, if we take the time to make it easier for the bots, they should reward us, right? I think so. This is that “secret sauce” that Jessica refers to, the meta description! In the past couple of months, I have learned a ton about meta descriptions. Way more than I knew was possible. If that sounds like a fun venture for you, definitely snag our free, 7-day SEO e-mail course.

To Wrap it All Up

In the final, “What Should You Do?” module, my favorite quote was “…of course, you could outsource this, but it remains a task that requires human effort.” Yes. Yes it does! That’s where we come in. If you are the DIY type, I totally understand. I am too. There are certainly some basics to know that will help you get set up, but ranking well on the search engines is a process that involves a surprising amount of trial and error. To make it easier, we are so excited to finally offer a live crash course in SEO via a weekend workshop! We would love to work with you online and/or in-person.

With affordable, accessible options for all sizes and scopes of clinics, we can help you maximize your online therapy website presence and attract more clients who are already looking for you. To get started, just schedule a free, 30-minute Zoom consultation by clicking here.

Happy helping, however you practice,

~Danica Wolf, MSW
Mental Health SEO Specialist