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 do I use keywords on a counseling website?
So, my short answer is everywhere that makes 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 on a counseling, therapy or other mental health website:
- The Page Title
- The Meta Description & SEO Title
- In the text
- In Photos
- 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.
Here’s a couple blog posts we’ve written in the past about these:
- How can a meta description help my counseling website?
- 6 Tips for Therapists Writing the Perfect Meta Description
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. For example, if you’re said, “I usually recommend….” you could change it to read “As an anxiety therapist, I usually recommend….” and that helps you rank better for the keyword “anxiety therapist.” Or where you say, “We are here to help” you could say “Our therapists are here to help” or even “If you live in the Baltimore area, our therapists are here to help” if you’re trying to rank for the search term “Baltimore therapist.”
Occasionally, I’ve even been known to add a whole section to be able to fit more keywords on a page. For example, if I’m targeting “ERP San Diego,” I may add a section to a page all about OCD titled “ERP is Available in San Diego” where I explain that my practice offers exposure and response prevention to those struggling with OCD in the San Diego area. By creating that section (I’ll describe this a bit more and give another example below) I’m giving myself opportunities to naturally weave that particular keyword throughout the section.
Search 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.
Here’s an article I wrote specifically about best practices using subheadings in a way that’s helpful for SEO in the mental health field.
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 published on your site, be careful. You will likely need to create a “url redirection” as well to avoid 404 errors. So, you may want to start out by just using keywords in the slug of new pages you create.
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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.