We’ve all been there, sitting at our computer trying to get the motivation to write that blog post that has been on your to-do list for weeks. But, an idea for what to write about just isn’t coming to mind.
Lately, I have had a lot of conversations with our clients about blogging. So, today I want to explain the purpose of a blog and how it helps your SEO. Additionally, I will give you some tips on how to choose a topic to write about.
What is the purpose of a blog post?
Many people think that blogging is simply another marketing tool to boost your SEO. This is true. But, thinking about blogs this way makes it really hard to motivate yourself to sit down and write. So, turn that thought around and think about it like this: blogging WILL help me get to the top of Google. AND it will help me help more people and share some good information.
Adding new content to your website on a regular basis is critical to your SEO rankings. Adding new content tells Google what to rank you for. Additionally, it tells Google that you’re still paying attention to your site. Therefore, they will move you up in the rankings. Ultimately, blogging serves a very important purpose.
Blogging is another way you can serve your clients.
As I mentioned above, blogging increases the likelihood that Google will rank you higher. So, you are getting the word out about the services you provide to potential clients looking for help.
But, you can also help your current clients, former clients, and the clients who rarely come into your office by blogging.
For example, it isn’t uncommon that I will give a current client the assignment of reading a blog that I wrote. Because the content in there is relevant to what they are working on in therapy. So, I will email them the blog post and then we will discuss it the next time I see them.
Frequently, I post about the blogs I have written on the Facebook page for my private practice. Many of my former clients or the clients that I have only seen once in-person follow me here. I have had clients reach out to me after seeing the post and reading the blog to ask for additional help.
Choosing a topic for blog posts
Using our Done for you services
For our clients taking advantage of our larger Done for You packages, your SEO specialist will send you a list of 5-7 blog post ideas at the end of every month. We review your data and your keyword rankings on Brighter Vision. Then, we generate a list based on keywords we think you need to target. For example, this month I noticed that a client’s keywords for anxiety were dropping. So, the ideas I sent largely focused on anxiety-related topics.
If you are not utilizing this package here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Look at is what keywords you want to rank well for but aren’t.
Maybe these rankings have dropped or were never high to begin with. You can find all this information in your Brighter Visions data where we track your keywords. So, say you notice that the keyword “anxiety treatment in Los Angeles” has fallen from tenth place to twenty-second place on Brighter Vision. You may want to consider writing a blog post on what to expect with CBT anxiety therapy. Targeting anxiety and anxiety treatment in this blog is critical and will help you rank well.
2. Have you ever noticed that you have the same conversation with a couple of clients in your sessions? That’s a pretty good indicator that you should write a blog post about this topic.
If this is happening to you, sit down after a session and write some notes on what you are saying to your clients. That way, your words will sound authentic. And, you will be able to quickly write a blog post that will be helpful to your ideal client.
For example, you notice that you have several clients come to you with fears about social interactions during the holiday season. So you may want to consider writing a post on how to handle social anxiety during the holiday season. Or a post on self-care during the busy holiday season.
3. Check out your intake paperwork.
Why are your clients coming in? If several clients come in with concerns about a certain symptom and you do not have a blog post about it, write one. For example, several people come in saying that they have trouble falling asleep. So, I would write a blog post on the importance of sleep hygiene.
4. If you have read a good book, saw a great quote on social media, or read an article and want to share it, consider writing a blog post about it.
One thing Google notices is duplicate content. So, switching it up is important. Describe your reaction to the content and what advice you’d add.
If you’re writing a blog post that you feel good about and has at least 500 words, then you are most likely getting some keywords in it. As long as you do that it is pretty easy to go back in and optimize it yourself or have our SEO specialists do it for you.
Begin optimizing your website with Simplified SEO Consulting
I hope you found this information on blogging useful. It is something we feel strongly about at Simplified SEO Consulting. If you are ready to get to the top of Google, follow the simple steps below to get started:
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 and 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 get in front of their ideal clients on Google.
https://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.png00Cory Mosshttps://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.pngCory Moss2019-12-10 08:00:512021-01-02 01:35:54Writing Blog Posts to Serve Your Clients and Boost Your SEO
If you’ve been in private practice for long, you’ve probably realized that there are some predictable slow times. It’s scary! The first couple of years you’re in private practice you may even wonder if you’ll survive the slow down. What if it doesn’t pick back up? And aren’t people stressed during the holiday season having to travel and visit family? Why aren’t they calling?
I just looked at data for my own private practice. We have two very distinct slow times per year. Those slow times are late May through the month of July and then late November through early January. The specific metrics I was looking at in my own practice include website impressions (times we showed up in a search), clicks (when someone “clicked” on our site from a list of search results), calls and revenue. In addition to my own experience, I’ve spoken to countless other private practice owners. Through these conversations, I’ve learned that, at least in the United States, these slow periods are very common.
The worst part? Those times where fewer people are calling are the same times of year when clients are more likely to cancel appointments or “take a break” from counseling!
So, what do you do during slow periods in private practice?
I think our natural instinct is to cut expenses. The first year I certainly reacted this way. I kind of panicked to be honest. But then, I did some research and learned. I realized that these slow downs were natural, to be expected. I personally started using Profit First to better management my finances.
And now? When a slow period hits, I don’t panic. I can predict when things will pick back up. Instead, I use the slow time to focus on what needs to be done to prepare for the next busy season. It’s the perfect time for updates (SEO or design) to my website. It’s a great time to overhaul the systems in my practice and tweak things so they run more smoothly. I ask myself, what needs to happen so when the next busy season hits my business is ready to grow?
Slow times are perfect for focusing on SEO in private practice!
These slow times are my favorite time of the year to focus on SEO! Why? Because I know that if we can use this time get a private practice website ranking better, that practice has the potential to grow really, really quickly in late January or February (or in late August or September after the Summer slow time).
So, even if your initial response is a bit of a panic, I encourage you to think about how to invest your extra time or even a little money in SEO during slow times. Here are three great places to focus your efforts:
Write and schedule ahead a bunch of blog posts
Private practice owners always tell me they don’t have time to write blog posts. I get it, we’re busy. However, you’re bound to have cancellations in your practice this month. So, use this rare gift of time your clients will give you. Write ahead as many blog posts as you can! They don’t have to be perfect. Just choose topics relevant to your ideal clients, write at least 500 words and go with it! But instead of publishing them all right away, schedule them to publish every other week at the same time.
This way, Google will consistently see you publishing this new content for awhile. Come that busy month of February, it will look like you’re churning out all of this great content that new clients can read while they wait for their initial consult. However, in reality you’ll be busy returning phone calls, attending intake appointments and consulting with the other therapists in your practice!
Earn backlinks for your counseling website
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating that getting backlinks is one of the best things you can do for your counseling website. But this is another time consuming thing. So, use this slower time to focus on getting backlinks. During the holiday season, journalists and others are suddenly very interested in talking about stress. So….use that to your advantage. Write some guest blog posts. Look for new directories or resource lists you can be added to. Act as a source for a couple journalists. Maybe even offer to write a piece for your local paper. If you put a little effort into earning some backlinks during this slow period, it will have a HUGE payoff in terms of SEO. Therefore, it can play an important role in helping you get to the top of Google before everyone suddenly decides to look for a new counselor in just a couple months!
Optimize as many pages of your website as possible!
I typically recommend that you optimize around 3-4 pages per month for Search Engine Optimization. In fact, when people want to optimize more I often remind them that slow and steady wins the race and by optimizing just 3-4 we can tweak our strategy after just a few pages. However…slow times are an exception. Right now, you want to do as much work as possible as quickly as possible so you are ranking well come January.
So, I recommend putting a very strong focus on optimizing right now. In fact, that’s why we scheduled our first ever “Learn SEO in a Weekend” workshop for July 2-5! We wanted to help people optimize a whole bunch of pages (our goal is for participants to optimize 5 in a single weekend!) right before the time when everyone would be looking. Alternatively, you could purchase our “Top of Google” online SEO course right now and put aside time to walk through the course (it’s self paced so you access the modules as you have time) and immediately practice what you learn by optimizing your own page! It takes time, trial and error to practice these concepts. So, slower times of the year are honestly the best time of the year to learn SEO!
Of course, if you really are not interested in optimizing your own website (which I understand – many, many private practice owners fall into this category!), then you can use our Done for You search engine optimization services. In this case, our SEO specialists will do the optimizing for you so you can still take advantage of the slow time. In this case, I highly recommend you still focus on earning backlinks yourself while we’re optimizing your pages!
Fear not: Things will pick up
The truth is that people will always need counseling. So, while things might be slow right now, they won’t stay slow forever. Eventually, your ideal clients will start looking again. And when they do, the first place they turn will probably be Google. So, use this time to stay calm and focus on optimizing your website. Get ready for the busy time that is to come. And take comfort in the knowledge that you are providing an incredibly valuable service that will always be needed.
Interested in working with us to get your counseling website ranking faster?
Our services are meant to help you get your counseling website ranking well on search engines even faster. As a private practice owner myself, I know how valuable our time is. And I also know how short these “slow times” end up being! So if you want to maximize your time, let’s chat about which of our SEO services would be a fit for you. We offer a wide range of services, but they generally fall into two categories: SEO training for DIY practice owners who want a marketing skill they can use for years and “Done for You” optimizing for business owners who know it’s worth the return on investment to outsource on page optimization. Regardless which service you are interested in, you get started with three easy steps:
https://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bigstock-265975552.jpg15481600Jessicahttps://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.pngJessica2019-12-02 06:12:222021-01-02 01:30:153 Tips for Maximizing Your “Slow Time” in Private Practice
Do I have any other Story Brand fans out there? If you haven’t read Donald Miller’s book “Story Brand” yet, I highly encourage you to pause for a moment and go purchase it on Amazon. I’ve read through it 3 times myself, participated in a small group study where we went through it together, and created several versions of a brand script. It’s just an all around great book for every business owner to read.
*pausing now so you can purchase the book*
Ok, hopefully you’re continuing to read because you’ve now purchased this wonderful marketing book.
In general, Story Brand has great advice for therapists.
Now, hopefully I’ve made it clear that I REALLY like Story Brand and I think Donald Miller’s marketing advice is generally golden. Some of my favorite things I’ve learned from Story Brand:
As a business owner, you are the guide in your marketing, not the hero. Our customers are the hero.
Keep your messaging simple. This is especially true on websites. We want a client to be able to immediately tell what service we offer when they land on our website (Donald Miller calls this the caveman test), so I often work with SEO clients on simplifying their language in their writing, adding a clear call to action button and even simplifying the navigation bar so people can easily navigate a website.
Your website should have a clear, short statement explaining what you do “above the fold” or before someone scrolls down.
A website needs clear calls to action. It shouldn’t be difficult for a client to figure out what to do next or how to get ahold of you.
Paint a clear picture of how your service will help the client. On a website, it’s important to do this through having positive, outcome based pictures. Photos quickly convey how someone will feel after working with you.
Anyways, I could go on and on about all the things he got very right in his book.
There is one place I disagree with Donald Miller’s advice….
There’s just one place I disagree. And I know I might ruffle a couple of feathers by disagreeing with such a genius marketer. But I can’t help it….
At one point in the book (page 154 in my well loved copy), Donald Miller recommends that you delete half the content on your website. In fact, he says your website should have “very few words.”
In fact, this is something I’ve heard Donald Miller repeats when he speaks and that he’s very, very critical of websites (like mine) with a large amount of content. As someone who helps therapists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals with their SEO every single day, I disagree.
Why do I disagree?
Because if you delete half the content on your website it will be much more difficult to get your website to the top of search engines.
Google needs your website to have enough content that it can figure out what your website is about. It can’t rank you for the searches your ideal clients are doing unless it realizes that you have information bout that topic! You may have heard the phrase, “Content is King.” This is SOOO
It is well established in the world of SEO that Google ranks sites with more words higher.
Google assumes that if you have the word “divorce” on your page you know what the word means. If you have a paragraph about “divorce” on a page all about life transitions you may know a little about the topic. But if you have a whole page with lots (500+) of words? Wow, Google now assumes you’re an expert. When someone is searching for tips for getting through a divorce, Google now understands that your website has the information that person is looking for!!
So, how do we stay (mostly) true to Story Brand while also getting great SEO?
I believe it’s possible to both stay true to Story Brand and create a well-ranking website with tons of content. We use your brand script to make sure we really understand your services. Then, we sprinkle the phrases you’ve used throughout your site as we optimize.
Most importantly, we simplify your message by using your brand script when we write headings and subheadings on your page. We know nobody reads big blocks of text on a website. But they do scan the page. Therefore, the subheadings are what people are most likely to read on your page.
We use this knowledge to our advantage. Subheadings on your page absolutely need keywords in them. However, they also need to be written more carefully than anything else on your page because they are what your clients are most likely to read. So, the subheadings should be very easy to understand and clear. In other words, they should be written with your brand script in mind.
Can I still use the Storybrand wireframe and rank well on Google?
Absolutely! I’ve seen several website that use the Storybrand wireframe and just add more content. I also think it’s ok if your home page has fewer words. That is, after all, the page most people will see. I recommend people prioritize design &amp;amp; carefully chosen wording on their home page. Then, you have some carefully chosen service pages explaining that you are an “expert” on treating your ideal clients. These service pages should use Storybrand but will likely have more words on the page than Storybrand recommends.
So, don’t throw the recommended wireframe out just because you are adding more content to your site. Just know, at least on some pages, you’re likely adding more words than a Storybrand professional would recommend.
Content still needs to be quality content
Now, I don’t want you to misunderstand me here and think I’m just telling you to go add a couple thousand words of text to every page of your website. Content for content’s sake is not necessarily good. A huge part of what my staff does is help our clients strategically choose content that will both be very useful to your clients and improve your SEO. And when you’re creating content, you still want to keep in mind the principles of Storybrand.
For example, I strongly recommend blogging regularly as part of your SEO Strategy. You can write excellent, really informative blogs that provide some great tips to your ideal clients. In fact, I often assign my old blog posts as homework to clients or my client care coordinator will send out an old blog post for someone to read while they wait for their first appointment! However, I think you’ll write even better blog posts if you remember that even in those you’re setting the client up as the hero. In the blog you’re saying, “Here is a tip that will help you conquer your anxiety dragon. It’s a tool that will help you on this quest.” Not, “I’m so smart that he’s a magic technique that will solve your problems for you.”
Content is only one part of good SEO strategy
Now, just because I’m talking about how I recommend adding more content to your website than Donald Miller recommends does NOT mean I’m saying adding a bunch of content should be the focus of your SEO Strategy. First of all, content that isn’t carefully chosen isn’t helpful.
However, it’s also important to note that content is only one piece of the puzzle. You also want to address technical issues on your site, have a secure website, make sure you’re using the type of words your ideal clients might use, build lots of backlinks to your website and so much more.
So please, know that you need to add content to your website if you’re created a website that follows Storybrand closely but isn’t ranking well. But also know that just word dumping on your website won’t alone get you great SEO.
Our SEO consultants love to work with Story Brand fans!
The truth is, my favorite new trend with SEO clients is that many are sending us their brand script! This is so flipping cool. It makes our day. Or week. Or month.
If you do the hard work of reading Story Brand and creating a brand script, it helps us clearly understand your message. This helps us be more clear as we optimize your page. It informs everything from your meta descriptions to the internal links we place on your site. Most importantly, we try to incorporate elements of your brand script when we’re writing subheadings on your page. This way, your website does a better job of converting when people do a quick scan of your page!
Have your brand script ready and want to start focusing on SEO for your website?
You’ve read Story Brand, have a clear picture of how to describe your services and have even made some changes to your website. Now you’re just ready to get that website in front of more people while still maintaining a clear message. That’s where we come in!
Search Engine Optimization helps you get your website out there in front of more people. At Simplified SEO Consulting, we offer several options to help you do this. If you’re the DIY type, we have online SEO courses including a comprehensive one that takes you step by step through our favorite SEO techniques. We also have a 12 week SEO intensive if you’re looking for support and guidance to optimize your site. On the other hand, if you find your just too busy to worry about SEO yourself, our staff can optimize your site for you with our “Done for You” services. Even with this option, you’re welcome to send us your brand script and we’ll do our best to incorporate the simple messages you’ve come up with as we optimize your site.
How to start working on your SEO
We help therapists, psychiatrists, counselors other small business owners (generally in the health and wellness industry) get their websites ranking well on google. Getting started is easy!
Lately, I am having more conversations with private practice owners about why they should track data on their website. So, we wanted to take the time to discuss how and why you should track data related to your website. The short answer is that tracking data allows you to see if your website is doing the four things your website needs to do to help you grow your practice. But to dive in a little deeper, here are three ways tracking your data can help:
1. To Track Return on Investment (ROI)
The first reason to track your website data is to understand the return on your investment. When working on your SEO you need to know your investment is worth it. A lot of people pay for marketing with Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or SEO. But, they never really track whether or not that’s helping their SEO. You want to spend your hard-earned marketing dollars where it’s going to make the biggest impact.
So, when it comes to assessing your ROI and if SEO is working, we look at:
Where are your clients coming from?
In my practice, every time a potential client reaches out we mark it in our system. My assistant and I use a Google spreadsheet to track all calls that come into my practice. Without using identifying data, we use initials, we mark where they heard about us.
For example, my staff record if the inquiry comes in via phone call or email, who spoke to them first, whether they are a paying client, and any relevant notes (if they are looking for therapy covered by insurance). If you are invested in anything, and by anything I mean time/energy/money into marketing/SEO marketing, then you want to be tracking where your calls are coming from. This will let you know if your efforts are turning into paid calls.
Use an SEO tracking tool
I highly recommend using a tracking tool that tracks things like your Google rankings, your Google Search Console data & your Google Analytics data. For our consulting clients, we begin our monthly planning calls by reviewing the data. In fact, our staff check your rankings data every single time they begin to work on your website. Why? Because we want to make sure your investment is working. Have your keyword rankings increased? Are your Google clicks going up? Have more people clicked on your website? You want to know that what you’re doing is worth it.
There are several different SEO tracking tools you can use. We have a custom SEO dashboard our clients use. However, there are several out there. For instance, if you use Brighter Vision you can ask about their Brighter Insights tool which is what we used to use for all of our clients. SEMRush or Moz both have tools to track your progress as well. At a minimum, look for a tool that has “position tracking” or ranking data and shows you how you rank for each specific keyword you’re tracking. If that was all you had, you could find the rest of the data in Google Analytics or Google Search Console.
2. To Track What Happens When People Visit Your Website
The second reason to look at SEO data is to see what happens when people click on your website. We can see how many clicks your website gets, but are those potential clients calling you?
Through Google Analytics, Google Search Console & an SEO tracking tool that looks at your rankings, we want to answer the questions, “What pages are people staying on when they visit your counseling website?” In other words, what pages are they navigating to, and what pages are they staying on the longest? Or, are they even staying on your website once they arrive? Again, if you’re working with us, you have access to this information and we will help you look at it and understand what it means.
One last thing to look at to determine if people are finding what they need on your site is to consider the bounce rate. The bounce rate is how many people only look at a page on your website and then go to another site. We would prefer fewer people bouncing off and more people staying on your website.
We believe in transparency and want to make sure that our SEO services are worth your investment. In fact, we look at this data with you every single month during your planning call when you participate in our Done for You monthly SEO packages.
3. To Track Any Changes in Search Engine Rankings
Search engines are finicky things. In fact, Google is constantly changing its algorithm. Therefore, having good SEO today doesn’t mean you’ll continue to rank well tomorrow. Therefore, we want to track website data so we can see if there is any big changes in how your website ranks from month to month.
By tracking data regularly, we have the opportunity to catch and rectify any decreases in SEO. Occasionally Google changes its algorithm from an SEO standpoint. If this happens, and it affects our SEO, you have to go back and fix your website to rank better.
Just last year, Google changed its algorithm. Anybody with big pop-ups on their website that covered most of the page didn’t rank as well as they previously did. This hurt a lot of private practice owners. A lot of therapists had been told that they needed to have a big pop-up to join their mailing list, etc, and they no longer ranked well.
If we track your data, we can see when that sort of thing happens. This will alert us to when we need to make some SEO changes. There are lots of other reasons this might happen. For example, I have found some coding errors on certain websites that we’ve been working on. These come up when we go to index a certain page. When we find these coding errors, we let you know and give you screenshots that you can send to your website designer. When we are looking at the data we can find these errors and fix them. If you aren’t tracking the data, you won’t know that your SEO has decreased and you won’t be given the chance to fix it.
A Note About Google AdWords and SEO
When people are working on SEO and still doing Google AdWords, we’ll look at your Google Analytics data. This will sort out your paid searches versus your organic searches, which would be the SEO portion. We’ll look at how long people are staying on the website from each of those. When we look at Google Analytics we want to see the following: low bounce rate, more pages per session, and longer session duration.
Essentially, this tells us the quality of the search traffic coming to your page. But, if we find that one is yielding better results, that might give some clue where to invest your time and money. For instance, if you are getting a ton of traffic from Google AdWords, but people are not staying on your page long or looking at lots of pages, then it may be time to consider investing in our SEO services, rather than investing more money into AdWords.
Begin optimizing your website with Simplified SEO Consulting
If you are ready to learn more about tracking the data on your website and ranking well on Google, please follow these simple steps:
Start ranking better on Google and get more clients!
Other SEO Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting
Simplified SEO Consulting is proud to offer you a variety of SEO services designed to meet your needs. For busy practice owners, offer the popular Done for You SEO Services where our team of SEO specialists will optimize your page for you. On the other hand, if you are the do-it-yourself type or still in the bootstrapping phase of private practice, we also offer SEO training packages. Our latest SEO training option is the opportunity for you to learn SEO in a weekend at one of our intensive training sessions for private practice owners who want to learn SEO themselves. Contact us with specific questions or book a free SEO Consultation to figure out which service is best for your business!
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. Now, her group practice has seven clinicians and one virtual assistant. In addition, Jessica still sees around 10 individual therapy clients a week herself. However, most of her focus has shifted to helping other therapists around the world get in front of their ideal clients on Google.
https://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.png00Cory Mosshttps://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.pngCory Moss2019-10-29 08:00:532021-01-01 22:00:533 Reasons Why You Should Track Your SEO Data
When I am optimizing pages for private practice owners, I have found that there are three common mistakes therapists make with their websites. I see these mistakes come up again and again and again. Let’s take a look at these mistakes, and learn how we can edit our websites to better optimize them for SEO purposes.
SEO Mistake Number 1: Not investing in the website you love
The first mistake I see therapists make is not investing in a website they really love. Often, when I talk to therapists about their websites, for SEO purposes, they tell me that they don’t love their website to begin with. Maybe you’ve done a DIY website, and now you realize that you want a fancier website. Or maybe you’ve changed the population that you’re working with and your website needs to reflect your current clients. You website really should put your best foot forward. I think that it is much easier for you to change website before you work on SEO. But, it is possible to change your website platform or design after you’ve worked on SEO.
The bottom line is that a good website is worth investing in. You want to have a website that you like. Your website should be clearly branded and should speak to your ideal client. For example, If your ideal client is someone who is artsy, then you want to have a more artistic website. On the other hand, if your ideal client is an anxious mom, maybe you want to have a really peaceful website. It is worth it to invest in a website that represents your brand well and speaks to the type of clients that you see in your practice.
SEO Mistake number 2: Not having enough content
The next mistake I often see is not having enough content on the website for your private practice. It is important that you have enough service pages, and enough content on those pages. This really communicates that you are a mental health expert, and will help you rank well on Google. Having more content, whether that’s more service pages or more words, will help give Google more information about your website.
Aside from ranking well on Google, put yourself in your client’s shoes. Think about what they would want to see when looking for therapists in their area. For example, if you were ready to start therapy because you’ve had severe anxiety and have been having debilitating panic attacks, who would you rather see? Someone who has ten specialties listed on one page titled ‘Individual Therapy? Or someone who has an entire page on panic attacks and the treatment of panic disorder? I’m guessing you’d rather see the specialist. If you treat anxiety, consider having service pages on Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Panic Disorder, etc. When clients see you have all of these different service pages, they assume you really know your stuff. They will be more likely to come and see you, and possibly be willing to pay more because you are such an anxiety specialist.
If you are in the early stage of your practice and don’t have a clear niche yet, that is okay. There are probably two or three things that you’re really good at and could have a specific service page about.
SEO Mistake number 3: Not using enough simple language
The third common mistake I’ve found on therapist websites is talking over the clients’ heads. As therapists, it’s really easy for us to do this. In the previous example I provided on the therapist specializing in anxiety, they might refer to the term ‘panic attacks’ on their website. However, in some areas, ‘anxiety attacks’ are searched just as often because that’s the kind of wording that people use. Often, the words that we’re using are not the words that our clients are using to describe what they’re experiencing. Here’s another example, therapists specializing in women’s issues sometimes mention ‘perinatal mood disorders’ on their websites. Yet, it is almost never a commonly searched for key word in any area. I’m guessing that the handful of people who are searching for perinatal mood disorders or depression, are probably your colleagues or physicians who are looking for referrals. It’s fine to rank well for perinatal depression. But, if you’re wanting to get in front of more potential clients, you should use more common terms like ‘postpartum depression’ instead.
I usually encourage people to aim for about a third to fifth grade reading level when working on your websites. We try to reduce the number of syllables used in a word. We also replace commonly used academic wording to ones commonly used in speech. One thing I tell people is, when you’re writing a blog post or service page, imagine you’re telling a ten-year-old about the work you do. That way, you can keep on reminding yourself to keep your language simple.
One of the reasons I love working with WordPress sites is that they have that Yoast plug-in. In the Yoast plug-in, you will see a ‘reading score.’ This score reflects how easy it is for your page to be read by individuals with different levels of education. This is helpful to take note of when writing content for your pages, but focus on simplifying your wording. Even well-educated professionals who may be looking at your website don’t need to struggle to understand what you are trying to say.
Begin optimizing your private practice
Are you ready to optimize your website for SEO purposes so you will rank higher on Google? Learn more about how to begin by following these easy steps:
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 and 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 get in front of their ideal clients on Google.
https://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.png00Cory Mosshttps://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.pngCory Moss2019-10-15 08:00:542020-12-31 23:50:103 Common SEO Mistakes Therapists Make on their Websites
Consider the best use of your time as a private practice owner
Dependent on your phase of practice you need to focus on what the best use of your time is.
Most clinicians will not focus on their use of time, they will answer their own calls, clean their own office, get the drinks for the fridge, do their own SEO and create their own website.
Consider what you’re giving up to DIY
All that time that you could be spending on the practice, seeing clients, networking and levelling up – you’re wasting on things that aren’t giving you any ROI. So, pay somebody to clean your office, fill your drink fridge and to do some of your SEO.
Outsource to take your private practice to the next level
If you’re going to get to that next level, you can’t be getting the money just for the time in the chair. You have to be out there trying to level up your business by adding clinicians and finding new revenue streams beyond just what you’re doing. And so, finding those things that are the best use of your time, I’d say spend your time there.
About the Guest Author
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC
Joe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years, he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI.
Outsource Your SEO Today to Save Time
If you’re considering Joe’s advice and decide that working on your own SEO isn’t the best use of your time, we can help. Simplified SEO Consulting is provides SEO services for private practices. Our specialty is working with mental health professionals and related fields. Our SEO specialists have what it takes to help you get your practice in front of more potential clients. As part of our monthly SEO packages, we go in depth editing and tweaking your website so it speaks to both google and your ideal counseling clients. In fact, as you get busier we even offer copywriting services including a monthly blogging package to help you stay at the top of Google with a minimal time investment on your part. Getting started is simple:
Joe from Practice of the Practice, Jessica from Simplified SEO Consulting and 4 other awesome group practice owners at Slow Down School 2019. A big focus of the week was how to best use our time as business owners.
https://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.png00Jessicahttps://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.pngJessica2019-08-13 18:46:062020-12-31 23:38:03Best Use of Your Time: Joe Sanok’s Advice for Practice Owners
Up until now, you’ve managed your own website. Maybe it’s out of necessity….creating your own website saved some money. Maybe it’s because you’re the DIY type. I know there’s a huge thrill in creating something yourself AND it gives you the ultimate control over your own brand.
But let’s face it….managing your own website can be time consuming. And sometimes pretty technical. Even if you use a native-friendly platform such as Weebly or Wix, technical issues can still come up. For instance, I’ve had SEO clients where we’ve discovered one thing holding their site back was several problems listed on Google’s Page Speed test. Figuring out how to fix those things can be challenging…especially when the platform was designed for people who aren’t tech savvy.
You’ve honestly designed a good therapist website yourself…
Ok, some of you design AMAZING websites on your own. The DIY websites I get to see when I consult with practice owners often blow me away!!! Some are beautiful, have a consistent brand and include excellent, client-centered copy.
If this is you – you’re awesome! You know your own “brand” the best, and if you’ve really gotten this across and your website is converting clients, you deserve some major props!
You’ve wondered if you need a website designer…
Whether you are happy with the design of your website or not, maybe you’ve thought about having someone create a new site for you. Maybe you’re sick of sinking the time into your site. Or perhaps the design just doesn’t “wow.” Or you are frustrated with the limitations of templates on the website platform you’ve been using…
Benefits of Hiring a Good Website Designer:
I’m personally a big fan of hiring a website designer. Designing websites isn’t my strength, so it makes sense to outsource that to a professional who will do it more efficiently and better than I will. It’s similar to the reason so many of you use our “Done for You” monthly SEO packages – because your time is better spent with clients or working on your business.
They can create a beautiful website with a consistent brand.
I highly recommend looking at several samples of sites they’ve created before to make sure you like their look. But honestly, my favorite therapist websites I’ve worked on have been created by website designers. There are some super snazzy looking sites out there!
You’ll have support for the technical stuff.
When things come up, you have someone to turn to with questions. And trust me, if you’re really paying attention to your site’s SEO, some technical questions will eventually come up!
Your time is valuable.
Can you create a decent website? Probably. But how much time is it going to take you? Now take that and multiple it by your hourly rate. Can you pay someone to create a site for that? And the truth is that you’ve most likely underestimated how much time you’ll spend on the site. It’s been my experience that website designers can usually do a better job in less time than we can as therapists.
Why I paid someone to create Simplified SEO Consulting’s site…
When I started Simplified SEO Consulting, I created our website on Wix. And using Wix was pretty easy. I had to look up a couple of things, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to learn a new platform (I was used to WordPress). To be honest, I even got it ranking for some keywords faster than I’d expected.
But it didn’t look right. I’m just not a designer. I am not great at figuring out what colors go well together or choosing the right font. I realized that I needed help with the design portion.
If my problem was with Wix, I could have transitioned to WordPress on my own, because I actually took a course on building WP sites awhile back. But my problem was with the design side of things.
So, I decided to hire Brighter Vision to create the site. I knew once they created the site I could do most things on my own. I know my way around the backend of a WordPress site. But I wanted them to put the time and effort into creating something that looked more cohesive than my first attempt. Since my site went “live” I’ve done most things on it myself.
But sometimes I get lazy…or busy. Like last week, I wanted to add a page with the resources I recommend for therapists wanting to grow a private practice. But I had deadlines I was trying to meet and about a thousand things to do. So, even though I know how, I just sent Brighter Vision the text I wanted to include. They created the page and added it to the drop down menu. I still need to go optimize the page myself and will get to that. But in the meantime? They got the page up.
*Note I’m now an affiliate for Brighter Vision. The good news is that means if you use the code JT100 you’ll receive TWO months free!
And if you have truly mastered the art of managing your own counseling website?
Then you need to consider our SEO Training services. DIY type therapists who learn to make their own successful website also do really well learning to manage their own SEO! Our SEO training sessions focus on teaching YOU to optimize your own site. I teach you to do keyword research for your counseling website, write effective meta descriptions, optimize photos and write copy that will help convert website visitors to counseling clients.
Begin SEO Services with Simplified SEO Consulting
Simplified SEO Consulting is an SEO Service Provider for Therapists. We offer both “Done for You” monthly SEO packages where we optimize several pages each month for you as well as SEO Training services. Our SEO services go really in depth working to optimize every aspect of your page AND help convert clients once they do find your site! So, if you’re ready to get your page too the top of Google, e-mail us using the contact form on this page or schedule your free 30 minute consultation today!
https://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.png00Jessicahttps://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.pngJessica2019-07-16 20:02:482020-12-31 19:23:50Do I need a Website Designer?
Writing a guest blog post can be a great way to get more backlinks for your website! I highly recommend reaching out to therapists and asking if you can write a blog post for their site, or better yet write one for each other’s site so you get fresh content on your site as well!
Step 1: Finding a Site to Post On
I’ll be honest. I have a tendency to say “no” when some random person asks to write a blog post for me. Why? Because I assume they’re just trying to get a backlink and have no clue the quality of their posts…or even if they’d write the post themself. Therefore, I recommend you start with therapists you already know. Or ask on a therapist Facebook page who would be willing to let you write one.
Step 2: Get the Most Out of the Post
This is where my tips come in. Your time is valuable. But you want good SEO, so you’re committed to writing a few guest blog posts. How do you make sure you get the most return on your time investment? Here are 3 tips to help ensure your blog post helps both you and the person you are writing it for:
Don’t Post Duplicate Content…But Consider Similar Content
If you publish the same post on more than one site, Google may see it as “duplicate” content. Therefore, it could actually hurt your SEO. However…similar content is allowed!
For instance…you might write a post for your own counseling website called “2 Important Tips for Improving Communication with Your Spouse.” In the post, you describe how using active listening and finding common ground can help improve communication in a marriage. Then, for your friend Sarah’s counseling website you may write “2 Important Tips for Reconnect With Your Teen.” Guess what? You describe the exact same two communication techniques here! The difference is that your introduction, examples, etc. refer to the relationship between a parent and teenager son or daughter.
This way, you can write several blog posts quickly. You already have a topic and outline for the blog post, you just adapt it to a different population for each website!
Make it Easy for the Website Owner
Your guest blog post (if well written) already makes the website owner’s life slightly easier in that they’re getting fresh content on their site for free. However, when it comes down to it, you asked them for the post. Therefore, they’re basically doing you a favor. So, make their life easy. Write a quality post with at least 500 words. Take a look at their website and try to include a few internal links to other pages on their site. Break up large sections of text with subheadings that use keywords. Consider adding a Call to Action at the bottom of the page where you recommend the readers use their services.
There are small things you can do if you’d like. The easiest guest blog post I’ve used on my site was when the writer also included 3 pictures (with suggestions for alt text) and even a suggested meta description! Guys, all I had to do was basically copy and past the post onto my site then schedule for a day when I know my site gets traffic!
Give Yourself Backlinks
Now we address the reason you’re writing this post in the first place. At the bottom of the page include a small section. Title this “About the Guest Author.” In this 2-3 sentence paragraph include several backlinks to your own site. Here’s one way to format it:
____ is a therapist (backlink to your “about” page) and the owner of a counseling center in _______ (use counseling center in location as anchor text to link to your home page). She/he specializes in _______, _________ and _______ (backlink to each of your individual service pages).
If relevant, you may also mention how you know the owner or someone at the practice your are posting on.
https://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.png00Jessicahttps://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.pngJessica2019-07-14 17:01:162020-12-31 19:03:053 Important Tips for Writing a Guest Blog Post
First of all, why is an SEO gal talking about speed? Because Google (and other search engines! I don’t discriminate against Yahoo or Bing or any others!) like speed. They know that website viewers in the year 2019 are impatient. We get spoiled by fast websites across the web, so when we run into a small one it’s annoying.
How many times in the past have you clicked off a website just because it took too long to load?
Don’t kid yourself…if you’ve done it, so will your counseling clients.
Website Page Speed is one of those “tech” things therapists know very little about…
So, page speed is one of those “tech” things…
So, you remember how I am NOT a tech person? As in, I needed help to *finally* set up payment on my Starbucks app last week and the week before that I had to admit to one of my 1099s that I haven’t even had the patience to set up the app for our work e-mail yet in the 2 years that I’ve had the system up!
I learned SEO to adapt to my environment, because getting to the first page of search engines is a 21st century marketing strategy I could do from my bed sitting at my computer after my kids go to sleep. Ironically…I’m working on this blog post sitting on my bed with my kids sleeping in the other room. This is why I love my job…it gives me the work/life balance I need. And it lets my competitive bone come out as I try to beat out the competition and get therapist websites to the top of Google! 🙂
But…Sometimes Even as a Therapist I have to Learn the Tech Stuff
There is still so much I am learning! Especially as I help therapists around the country with their SEO,
Just like in the old days of college…I find myself constantly studying and trying to learn more, just about SEO this time.
I’m trying to learn at least the tech stuff relevant to website SEO. So…Last week I was talking to my cousin. He actually is a tech geek. In fact, he’s a WordPress geek. I mean this with the utmost respect. Essentially, I’m in awe of his patience and knowledge about all things tech! I was explaining to him how I encourage practice owners to work with a competent website designer, but told him I’ve felt frustrated with knowing that a couple clients’ sites were too slow and not having data to give their website developers.
The Answer? PageSpeed Insights
Next, 2 awesome things happened. First, my cousin made me promise to e-mail him with tech centered questions that I encounter as I’m helping therapists with their website. Score! I’m a social worker and know how to use my resources, so you can bet I’ll be reaching out in the future.
Second, he gave me one really quick tool that every private practice owner should be using! Best of all…it’s free. Check out PageSpeed Insights ASAP. Seriously…it only takes a minute, so click here now! You enter your website and it pops out a score telling you how fast your website is. Best of all? It gives you suggestions for how to improve your speed!
Working with Your Website Designer to Improve Your Score
One of these days I’m going to write much needed blog posts on why every psychotherapy private practice owner needs to hire a website developer and another on how to get the most from your website developer. But suffice it to say that this is one of those reasons for hiring someone. The cool “opportunities” they suggest will improve your page speed and are pretty technical. Of course, if you’re a WordPress fan like I am, there are plugins you can use to follow up on the “opportunities” so you can very quickly improve your load speed! In the past week I’ve improved the speed of my own site and a couple of clients’ by downloading some of those plugins.
But there are other things they list that use boring techno babble. So, that’s where I’ve been screen shorting pages and sending the photos off to website designers. My SEO clients are already seeing great results even in the past week from changes their website designers have made when we’ve given them these screen shots!
This could be you. This was the result of only one month of a therapist’s SEO work. We optimized & edited copy on 4 pages of their website.
Are You Ready to Focus on Your SEO?
As you can tell from this post, I’m not an expert at the technical aspects of websites. And I don’t personally design therapist websites…I’m just not that artistic! However, I often catch those technical things that impact SEO that a private practice owner may never notice themselves. Thus, I’ve learned how to reach out to your website designer or how to give you as the private practice owner the information you need to explain the issue to your website developer.
But mostly, I stay in my wheelhouse as an SEO Consultant for therapists & mental health providers. And that’s being really good at basic on-page SEO. I’m proud of the results I’ve gotten for private practice owners around the country. In fact, during a consultation call I’m happy to share some of those results with you. If you’re interested in ranking better on Google and getting in front of more of your ideal counseling clients, I can help. I offer SEO training for therapists where we meet over Zoom and I walk you step by step through how to improve your own site. We also offer really effective “Done for You” monthly SEO packages. These aren’t like other SEO packages out there. We don’t just do a little keyword research, add a couple links and call it a day. No, we go in and do in depth work editing text on your website, adding photos, add a call to action and write a compelling meta description that will help convince people to click on your site when you do start showing up in search results.
When I’m talking about Search Engine Optimization with therapists and other private practice owners, I emphasize that there are essentially 5 things that your website must do in order to bring you more clients. I want to go over each of those briefly today, because if your website does one or two of these but doesn’t do all four it’s not (yet) bringing in new clients.
#1 Show up in Search Engine Results
This one might seem kind of obvious since you’re reading this on a private practice SEO Consultant’s blog, but it’s critical. If people are searching for a therapist online and your site doesn’t show up, you aren’t even in the running for their business! So, it’s pretty important. The first couple months I work with a new SEO client, this is without a doubt our biggest goal.
#2 Convince Potential Clients to Click on Your Website
Once you’re showing up on the first or second page of search engine listings, it doesn’t do you much good if nobody’s actually clicking on your site. Usually a couple months into my SEO work with private practice owners, we start paying really close attention to their “click through rate” that measures how many people actually click on a website after it shows up in search engine results. If you’re showing up on the first page for a keyword that a lot of people are searching but nobody’s clicking on your website, the only thing you can really do is to adjust your meta data. If this is you, I recommend reading my blog post with tips for writing the perfect meta description.
#3 Convert Potential Clients
Once someone is on your website, it has to speak directly to their need and make them believe that you are the right therapist for them. This is why I encourage that people focus on developing a great website before even beginning to think about SEO. A lot of therapists start with websites they design themselves, but this part is so critical that I usually recommend working with a website designer. Brighter Vision is one super affordable option for therapists wanting a designer to help make a nice looking website. I also recommend focusing on writing excellent website copy (the words or text). Marissa Lawton helps therapists write compelling content or you may want to research the Storybrand framework. One other option is that we do offer copywriting services as an add on to our “Done for You” services. Having a well designed website with plenty of excellent content is an important step in preparing your website for SEO work.
#4 Attract the RIGHT Clients
Lately I’ve had a couple SEO clients who ranked relatively well but weren’t getting calls for their ideal clients. For instance, a private pay practice was getting lots of calls for people looking for Medicaid. When this happens, we look at both the website text and also which keywords are best to target. Often we find that your ideal clients are searching for different phrases than you first thought they were. That’s where keyword research comes in really handy!
Improve Search Engine Rankings for Your Private Practice Website
https://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.png00Jessicahttps://simplifiedseoconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Simplified-SEO-Logo-1-300x84.pngJessica2019-05-27 05:44:182020-12-31 18:35:48The Four Things Your Counseling Website Must Do