Here at Simplified SEO Consulting, we want to provide you with truly valuable information. Recently, our team was brainstorming questions people might have about SEO and discussing the questions we hear from new clients most often. Today, we’re going to start answers these questions and, when relevant, we’ll link you to blog posts we’ve already written. So, let’s get started!
Common Questions About SEO
What does SEO stand for?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” Search Engine Optimization means creating a website and making changes to it with the hopes it will help your website show up frequently in search engine results. A well-optimized website with great SEO shows up on the first page of Google when your ideal client/customer searches for your services.
Is SEO worth it?
Absolutely. SEO is a long term marketing strategy that holds it’s value. In the 21stcentury, people are looking for services online. Getting your website to show up organically on Google puts you in front of the exact clients who need the services you are offering.
We highly recommend most service based businesses consider using SEO as part of their marketing strategy.
A great example of the power of SEO comes directly from the experience our founder, Jessica, has had building two businesses using SEO as a marketing tool. When Jessica was expanding her private practice Aspire Counseling in Mid-Missouri, she wanted to find new ways to get her clinicians in front of their ideal clients to fill their caseload. So, she spent hours researching, learning, and implementing the SEO practices we use at Simplified SEO. She had so much success getting potential clients to call and convert from her SEO investment, that she created Simplified SEO to help other helping professionals do the same.
Click here to read about Jessica’s SEO journey.
What SEO Tools Are the Best?
Tools you may use to optimize your website include:
- SEMRush (many uses)
- KWFinder (for keyword research)
- Google Adwords Planner (for keyword research)
- Neil Patel’s Ubersuggests & related Tools
- Moz.com (many uses)
- Linkody (for backlink research)
- Answer The Public (for content ideas)
For keyword research, our SEO team most commonly uses KWFinder and SEMRush which are both paid tools. However, all of the keywords on this list can be excellent sources for your keyword research! We do have a blog post with more information on some of these keyword research tools available here.
We also included in this list our favorite tool for blog post ideas (Answer the Public), checking on the quality of backlinks to your site (Linkody), and two general tools that have LOTS of functions if you’re really getting serious about SEO (Moz & SEMRush).
Where should I use keywords on my website?
Great question, you should aim to incorporate keywords throughout your website. But, here’s a list of the main places you should use keywords:
- Your home page
- Meta descriptions
- Page and blog post titles
- In the text and in subtitles
- Call to action section
- Other services section
- Alt text and titles on photos
To learn more about where to include keywords on your counseling website check out Jessica’s article: Where to Include Keywords on My Private Practice Webpage
What businesses should use SEO?
SEO is useful for any business where potential clients would look for their services online. This is especially true for businesses where there might be some stigma around asking your friends for recommendations. For example, many people don’t want their friends and family to know they’re going to counseling, so they search for therapists and their services online.
SEO is great for helping professionals of all kinds. This includes, but is in no way limited to, therapists, psychiatrists, private practice physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, lawyers, life coaches, child care facilities, education services, and more!
Who shouldn’t use SEO?
Someone just starting a brand new business in an industry where few people look online should wait to invest in SEO. For instance, if you are opening a bakery in a really busy part of town and are confident you will have a lot of word of mouth referrals, you might not need to worry about how you rank on Google.
Even in the mental health world, there may be times where you don’t need/want to invest in getting your website to the first page of Google. The times when this applies are if you have too many clients, or if your business is based around referrals from other providers. Also, some people in less competitive areas are able to easily rank just by writing some great content.
Will SEO Exist in 10 years?
Interesting question. I believe the answer is yes, but it will evolve. Optimizing for Google might not be the priority anymore. It might be optimizing for Youtube, which is similar, but different. SEO is all about getting in front of your ideal clients, so this means optimizing your content on the places they search for services. Likewise, it may mean tweaking how we optimize now and learning new techniques to appease Google’s ever-changing algorithms.
Now, if you’re asking if you’ll still rank as well in ten years as you do now, that’s a different question. Ranking well on Google requires maintenance work. You never know when one of your competitors will work on their SEO causing you to fall a bit in rankings. If you’re curious about ways to maintain your already excellent rankings, check out our alumni packages.
Is SEO just about getting a website ranking well on Google?
Ultimately, SEO is about increasing your business revenue. However, it’s also about filling your practice with the clients you will ENJOY working with. Therefore, it starts by getting you in front of the RIGHT clients. This is why keyword research is so important, that you have meta descriptions people will click on and that your website speaks to your ideal client.
What SEO techniques should I use on my site?
There are many different SEO techniques. However, there are few techniques that are very useful in getting you ranking better on search engines.
Popular SEO techniques include:
- Building backlinks
- Keyword research and usage
- Content creation- often in the form of blogging and or copywriting
- Addressing technical issues on a site
- On-page optimization
- Adding alt text to your photos that is rich in keywords
How do I know where to start on my SEO Strategy?
Google considers over 200 factors when deciding rankings. So, there are a lot of different things you can do that would be considered “working on SEO.” Different SEO companies focus on different components. Which optimization techniques you focus your energy on is likely influenced by the type of service or product you offer, your own goals, and your competition. This is why we generally recommend you choose an SEO company familiar with your specific field.
At Simplified SEO, we were founded by a therapist and owns her own private counseling practice. So, our specialty is helping therapists and those in closely related fields get to the top of search engines. We’ve also worked well with people in other service-based industries, particularly in the healthcare field.
What do SEO Specialists do?
SEO specialists help you get your website ranking well on search engines. There can be a wide variation in the actual services performed. For example, a professional may do an SEO audit and some advice about what you can work on. Or, they may create content that will help your site rank better. Alternatively, they could provide in depth on page optimization. Some provide long term, ongoing SEO services.
It’s important to know that you may interview different SEO companies who all do different things to improve your rankings. All of them may have a solid understanding of what factors search engines are considering. However, they’re choosing to focus on different fact. What all of these services have in common is that the professional’s goal is to help your website show up better in search engines and attract your ideal client.
Which SEO Plugin is Best for WordPress?
There are several good SEO plugins for WordPress, however we recommend and use the Yoast plugin. We love how user friendly it is. Plus, it gives us important information regarding optimizing your website and readability.
What are the most important things I can do for SEO?
Because Google takes into account so many factors when deciding how to rank your website, it’s difficult to know where to start! Some of the places I recommend you focus on your energy include:
- Start with a great website design that is really easy to navigate
- Building backlinks to your site
- Do proper keyword research
- Adding relevant content that speaks to your ideal client/customer
- Make sure your website has a security certificate
- Use lots of internal links
- Write clear meta descriptions on each page
- Make sure the main content on your site is easy to read
Does readability matter for SEO?
Yes. It does. Simply put, having a page that’s easy to read improves the reader’s experience. Therefore, Google will give you a better ranking if your page is easy to understand. We recommend writing your page as if explaining a concept to a middle schooler.
A lot of the business owners we work with are professionals who worry about “dumbing down” their page. They work with really educated, private pay clients who hold advanced degrees. The truth is, on a good day your ideal client probably does understand most of what you are saying. However, your ideal client may not be in a frame of mind to read very technical information. They may be distressed and need answers quickly. It’s often at a client’s lowest, most distressed moment when they are in “freeze, fight or flight” that they’re searching the Internet for a therapist. Therefore, while we focus on readability for SEO, we also believe it serves your potential clients well.
Some of the easiest things you can do to improve readability are:
- Shorten sentences
- Keep paragraphs under 300 words
- Add higher level subheadings (H2s & H3s to divide sections)
- Use simple and clear language.
Check out one of my earlier blogs on readability.
What are backlinks and are they actually important?
Great question! Backlinks are when another site links to your website. Backlinks increase your trust flow which will increase your ranking on search engines. Google’s goal is to give its users accurate and relevant information, so they value backlinks as a sign of your website’s trustworthiness and value.
Where do I get backlinks?
There are many different techniques for building backlinks to your website. You can be featured on a podcast, list your website on a directory, act as a source for media or many other options! Getting backlinks from a variety of sources will give your website “staying power” on search engines!
Throughout our time working on webpages, and based on Jessica’s success in her own practice, we’ve narrowed down a list of the best places therapists specifically can look into to get backlinks. So, check out our list and think about the people or places who would be willing to give you backlinks. Then, check out Alyssa’s comprehensive blog about backlinksfor more information. Or, check out our new backlinks course!
Some of our most popular backlink sources are:
- Online directories
- Resource lists
- Acting as a source for media and news outlets
- Help A Reporter Out or HARO is a great place to look
- Be a guest blogger
- Learn more about guest blogging from Jessica
- Job postings
- Public speaking
- Ask the event’s host to give you a backlink on their invitation or website
- Sponsor an event or donate to a charity
- Be a guest on a podcast
What is the difference between an internal link versus an external link?
An internal link occurs when we link from one page or post on your website to another page or post on your website. An external link occurs when you link from your website to another website. Both have a place in optimizing a website, but internal links will generally help your rankings more.
When our staff optimize websites, we focus heavily on adding internal links because they boost your overall search engine rankings and increase the amount of time your potential client is spending on your website. Which will hopefully compel them to contact you and convert. But, an external link is very useful because it adds credibility and shows that you know what other resources might be useful for your viewers.
To learn more about internal and external links check out a blog I wrote: How to Use Links and Anchor Text to Boost Your SEO.
What pages should I have on my website to rank well for Google?
Having the right pages is a key component of website strategy. If you are a service based business (therapist, psychiatrist, SLP, OT, etc), the basic pages I would recommend include:
- A well-designed home page
- 4-6 service pages describing your specialties to your clients
- These pages need to be 500 words or more
- Contact page
- About page or a meet the team page
- A blog
How often should I post blogs to improve my SEO?
Blogging is an essential part of getting you ranking better. This is why we remind all our clients or blog readers to blog regularly. The frequency of blogging depends on how competitive your area is. But, even if it’s not competitive we recommend a minimum of two blogs a month. Furthermore, we recommend you write blogs resting to the keywords you’re wanting to rank well for. Remember, blogging isn’t just good for your rankings, It can also help your private practice in many ways, and you can learn about those ways by reading Jessica’s article: Are blog posts just for SEO?
What is the difference between SEM and SEO?
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and typically refers to paid strategies that help your website appear more often in search results. One common SEM strategy is Google Adwords. SEO, on the other hand, refers to Search Engine Optimization which is where you rank organically in search results.
Should I use Google Adwords or SEO?
In general, SEM strategies are better for short term visibility and SEO better for long term visibility. Many of our clients choose to use both strategies. If you have to choose one, consider your goals and timeline. Adwords is better for short term results and getting in front of people quickly. SEO is a long term strategy but you don’t have to pay for every person who clicks on your site.
You can read more about in this blog post from Alyssa about Google Adwords.
Should I hire out for Search Engine Optimization?
This is a very personal question. So, my answer depends on this question: How much time and effort are you willing to put in on optimizing your own website? If you are a data nerd like our Simplified SEO staff, you may want to learn all about how to increase your rankings and interpreting data. But, if you don’t have time for that, then you should absolutely consider hiring out for search engine optimization.
What questions should I ask an SEO specialist before hiring them to optimize my site?
First, you want to make sure your SEO specialist is a good fit for helping you achieve your SEO and business goals. Then, you want to understand what strategies they are going to use, how you’ll communicate with them and what overall plan they have for your website.
Some questions you can ask your SEO specialist include:
- What’s your experience working with similar businesses?
- What results will you get?
- What are your plans or packages?
- How long do people usually need your services?
- How do you measure success?
- Am I paying for backlinks with your package?
- What specific on page SEO techniques do you use?
- How will you communicate with me?
Begin SEO Services at Simplified SEO Consulting
Thank you so much for following along and reading through this blog. I hope you found the answers to your questions, but if not, please contact us. Our talented team of SEO experts would be thrilled to answer your question and talk about what services might be a great fit for your business. Follow these three steps to begin ranking better on Google.
- Schedule an appointment for a free 15-minute consultation with a member of the Simplified SEO Consulting staff
- Learn more about our SEO packages and training opportunities
- Start optimizing your webpage and see it rank better on Google!
Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting
Simplified SEO Consulting is passionate about providing SEO services for helping professionals and therapists. Our comprehensive SEO services are included in our Done for You SEO Service packages. Also, we offer alumni packages and al la carte SEO services. Our SEO staff provides several SEO training opportunities. including our “Top of Google” online course and 12 weeks of online video training. We also offer an SEO Strategy package to learn more about SEO and what you can do to rank better on search engines.
About the Author:
Cory Moss is a Simplified SEO specialist based in Kansas City. She specializes in working on readability. She really enjoys helping her clients get to the top of Google and attract their ideal clients.