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.

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

#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.

SEO for a Private Practice Website. Learn to Write a 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!

Balancing Rocks. Learn to balance getting to the top of Google and converting clients.

Improve Search Engine Rankings for Your Private Practice Website

If you have a website that you love but wanting more clients to see it, you may be ready for SEO Consulting services.  Whether you’re wanting to learn to do your own SEO work or wanting someone else to optimize your counseling website for you; Simplified SEO Consulting would love to help. Please reach out by e-mail or simply go ahead and schedule your free consultation to talk about how our services might be able to help you.

You have Google Analytics installed for your counseling website.  In fact, you’ve even looked at Google Analytics a few times.  But what do all those numbers mean?  How do you actually USE any of the data?  Every time you look at Google Analytics you just feel overwhelmed and to be honest a little annoyed.

You’re a therapist. You are good at connecting with people. Crunching numbers and pouring over random pieces of data on the computer just doesn’t sound appealing.

I get it.  There’s a TON of data on Google Analytics.  And the truth is that some of it is more helpful than other pieces of information on there.

How to Start Using Google Analytics Data

I’d love to help simplify things a bit and break down just a couple of pieces of information you can find on Google Analytics that might be helpful.  Here are a few questions that Google Analytics can help you answer:

How many people are coming to your site?Two happy people looking at a website. Simplified SEO Consulting offers monthly SEO packages for counseling practice owners.

A great place to start on your Google Analytics account is the top of that main page after you login.  This has some great basic information.  First up, the number of users is exactly what you suspect-the number of people (or devices) that have viewed your site in the given amount of time that you’ve chosen. Sessions is slightly different, because it takes into account that the same person may look at your site several times before calling, so your number of “sessions” is typically higher than users.

While there really isn’t a magic number of website visitors or sessions you want to aim for, you do want to look at this number occasionally. In general, you want to see that as you’re improving your counseling website’s search engine optimization, the number of people visiting your site is increasing.

Where are people finding your website?

You can also use Google Analytics to figure out where website users are coming from. Google Analytics shows you how many clients come to your site directly (they just typed in your web address), through clicking on your link from social media, or another referral (usually through a backlink on another site). After I post a new blog post to my social media sites I sometimes check in real quick to not just see how many people went to the blog post, but how many found it through my social media sites to help me determine if it’s really worth putting these things on my social media pages. Google Analytics can provide you this information for each day.

Additionally, Google Analytics can show small business owners where their website visitors are located.  This has some value in that you want the bulk of your website visitors to be people who can actually use your services.  While there are some valid reasons for people out of state (or even out of the country) to look at your website, the bulk of your visitors should probably be from the state where your practice is located.

What is Your Bounce Rate & Is that OK?

Bounce Rate refers to people who only look at one page on your site.  It’s actually very common for people to only look at one page on your site.  For instance, if they are searching Google for a specific issue, click the link and read one of your blog posts and then leave your site.  Why? Because your post answered their question.  That’s a great reason to have internal links on your site-to show them what other valuable information your site has to offer! But I’ll save that for a future post…

A big question people ask is what is a “good” bounce rate.  I don’t have a super specific answer here.  I’ve heard that in general it’s really hard to get a bounce rate before 40.  Another site said that around 50% is average. In general, the consensus seems to be that you want to aim for below 70.  But that is for websites in general. I will say that most therapist websites I’ve seen the data for are between 50-70%. I’ve seen some as low as mid 40s or as high as 80%. My best suggestion is to know what the “average” is for your website. When your website seems to be performing worse than usual, re-evaluate and make changes.

Picture of Google Analytics Top of Page. Begin SEO Consulting Services for Therapist Private Practice Owners

This is an example of some of the basic data you’ll see first when you open Google Analytics. You’ll notice that the bounce rate is right at the top.

Which Pages on my Site Need Editing?

Near the bottom of the main page you can click on “pages report.”  I love this feature!  It allows a small business owner to see some great information about specific pages on your website. As counseling practice owners, our home page will typically be the most visited.

The next most popular on a counseling website is generally the “Our Team” page or the owner’s “About Me” page.  But there’s a LOT of great data if you click on the actual page report. Some of the things I like to check out include which of my therapists pages do people go to the most and stay on the longest?  Do any of my therapist’s “about” pages have high bounce rates?  If one page people stay on shorter times and tend to exit off of, I look at if we need to change the picture, add more text, personalize the page with a favorite quote, etc.

Similarly, I look at my service pages….if one has a higher exit rate or people spend less time on the page, I look at that page to see if I can make it more informative, more inviting, add more internal links directing them to other pages, etc.  I see my service pages as some of the most important on our site, because they’re our way of really communicating to potential clients that we understand their specific concerns and really winning them over. Therefore, I pay closer attention to the statistics on these pages compared to others.

Don’t worry about a high bounce rate on your “contact” page or rates page.  After looking at these pages, people have often found the information they need and are either going to

1) Decide they can’t afford you

2) Call your office

3) Fill out and submit the contact form to get ahold of you.

Looking for Help Using this Data to Improve Your Counseling Website SEO?

As a group psychotherapy practice owner myself, I understand the importance of having a well ranking website that consistently brings in new clients.  And I love helping other therapy practice owners experience the excitement of an increase in phone calls once their website is ranking well! My SEO consulting services can help your counseling practice in several different ways.  One way is, I have a secret Facebook group for my SEO Consulting clients.  Practice owners who have purchased an SEO package (whether I’m making edits on their site for them or teaching them to edit their own counseling website) have access to this group where I do Facebook lives, share how-to videos and post random SEO tips.  For almost two weeks recently I did a mini series on Google Analytics to help people learn how to use Google Analytics data to make a plan of action for improving search engine rankings.  It has sparked some good conversation in the group with practice owners even sharing specific tips with one another about their unique website platforms (GoDaddy vs. Weebly vs. Square Space, etc).

If you are a group practice owner ready to really focus on getting your website found, book a free Simplified SEO Consulting Logo: Improving Search Engine Rankings for Private Practice Owners.consultation to discuss how my SEO services might be able to help!  I provide SEO Consulting services to therapists and other small business owners interested in optimizing their websites for search engines.  I offer monthly SEO packages where I provide work on your website for you (keyword research, adding alt text to photos, meta descriptions, headings/subheadings, etc.). Or, I offer SEO Training services where I “teach a man to fish” and teach you the skills you’ll need to keep your website ranking well for years to come!  If you’re ready to get started, book a free 30 minute SEO consultation over Zoom video chat.  We’ll discuss your business and which SEO services would help you reach your goals!