The future of our world looks queerer than ever folks! It is estimated that roughly 1 in 6 individuals in Gen Z identify as LGBTQ+ and roughly 9% of Millennials identify as a part of the community. And we know Gen Z and Millennials are the most tech-savvy generations. So it makes sense that as these generations begin to seek healing through therapy, they will search for clinicians who not only respect their identities but celebrate them.
With that being said, this Pride month let’s consider how we can create more inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ folks. And not just physical spaces, but online spaces, too! Here at Simplified SEO Consulting, we work with private practice therapists and other helpers across the nation. More specifically, our SEO Specialists help them strategize their marketing through the use of search engine optimization on websites.
Inclusivity and SEO
One of our focuses in SEO work is getting more organic search traffic to websites. For today’s purposes, we won’t dive into how we do our SEO magic of getting web surfers to a specific website or page. Instead, we’ll talk about how to make websites more inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community.
Making this a part of your SEO strategy will better the user experience of your site overall and encourage users to spend more time on your site. This is true for LGBTQ+ website users as well as people who do not identify as LGBTQ+. Prioritizing inclusivity communicates to family and friends of LGBTQ+ people and allies that you accept them as well. Plus, it’s likely that many of your website users are questioning aspects of their identities. This could even be one of their current struggles causing them to be interested in therapy. So, we want to make those folks feel welcome too. And making your website inclusive to LGBTQ+ folks addressed all of these potential website users.
Why is LGBTQ+ inclusive website content important?
Making your website more inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community will set you apart from your competition. You will not only be seen as an ally to the community, but also as a quality therapist who considers and celebrates different identities and their intersections. Another thing to consider is potential employees. These folks will look at your site before applying, and if they don’t see themselves or their ideal clients reflected on your site, it’s likely they will rule you out as an employer.
The reasons for making your private practice website more LGBTQ+ inclusive are endless. In this blog, we’ll dive into tangible ways to make this a reality.
A huge way to make your site more inclusive to LGBTQ+ folks is to start with your copy. Avoid using gendered language and pronouns. Wherever possible, use terms like “partner,” “spouse,” and they/them pronouns.
A commonly overlooked space where we can increase inclusivity is contact forms. On some websites, a website user is asked their gender on a form for an initial appointment or consultation. Is this really important information to know? Perhaps. But if you are committed to providing LGBTQ+ inclusive services, removing a gender or sex question on a contact form can make all the difference for your clients.
If your practice requires knowing a potential client’s gender before speaking with them, do not simply give “male” and “female” as answers. Change the option to be a text box! This allows clients to self-identify. And this can be incredibly empowering for a client exploring their gender identity.
On each service page, we recommend including “pain points.” These are examples of what is bringing your ideal client to therapy. And this is a great place to include inclusive language! Dependent on the topic of a service page, you can almost always tie in the experience of LGBTQ+ folks. Below are some examples.
- Anxiety treatment page – “Perhaps you feel your anxiety peak when you think about your sexual orientation or gender identity. These feelings make sense, as exploring parts of yourself can evoke feelings of uncertainty and change.”
- Depression treatment page – “Going through times of change can create feelings of loss and sadness. Maybe you’ve recently discovered a new aspect of yourself, such as a change in sexual orientation or gender identity. While these life changes can be exciting and new, they can also be scary and be cause for grief.”
- Trauma therapy page – “Trauma includes wide and varied troubling experiences. For some, this may look like being discriminated against due to race or body size. For those in the LGBTQ+ community, experiencing homophobia or being cut off from loved ones can be an immense source of pain and can, in fact, be traumatic.”
When choosing photos for your site, consider mixing them up! Think about your ideal clients. What would they look like in images?
If you’re choosing an image of a person by themselves, look for photos with diversity. This includes race, body size, age, and ability. Additionally, you can opt for images of folks whose gender is uncertain to be inclusive of non-binary, gender fluid, or agender folks.
If you are selecting images of couples or groups of people, try to make sure that there is some diversity between images on one page. Maybe you have one or two photos of opposite-sex couples and one or two with same-sex couples. And within these images, try to look for models that are diverse. We don’t want to see multiple photos of gay, skinny, white couples, but of more realistic couples. Maybe one partner is a person of color, and one is white. Or maybe one partner has a larger body than the other. Or maybe both partners are not white skinny people. Even better!
Considering different identities when selecting images shows website viewers that you really care. It looks to them like you put in the effort to think of and include them on your website. And that’s because you did! This is an area in which if you put in the effort, it will be clear for website users to pick up on. They’ll see you as a more inclusive therapist and therefore, a more appealing therapist for their needs.
Looking for a Training Opportunity?
One way you can support the LGBTQ+ community this Pride month is to get certified in trans+ letter writing for clients seeking gender-affirming services. This training provided by Van Levy will give you the education and tools to work with trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming folks in a trauma-informed way. Additionally, by receiving this training, you will be able to write letters for clients seeking surgery, hormones, a name change, or gender marker change. If you are looking for an opportunity to grow as a clinician and provide a much-needed service to LGBTQ+ folks, I highly recommend checking this out!
Need Some Website Help?
While our SEO consulting company focuses on helping private practice therapists get to the top of Google, we also want to help make your user experience optimal. If you’d like to get ranking on Google and get some tips about making your website more inclusive, connect with us!
- Schedule a free 30-minute consultation call.
- Talk with one of our skilled SEO specialists about our programs and services.
- Create a website you’re proud of and get ranking on Google!
Services at Simplified SEO Consulting
Our SEO specialists have extensive knowledge about how to better your website. While we do not focus on website design, we do focus on helping you get to the top of Google. Many of our private practice therapists opt for our Done For You services in which a specialist takes care of most of the work for you. But if you are interested in learning SEO yourself, you should check out our DIY Online Courses and Done With You training.
About the Author
Olivia Bahr is an SEO specialist and content writer here at Simplified SEO Consulting. Olivia identifies as a part of the LGBTQ+ community herself and prides herself on helping therapists consider website users’ intersectional identities regarding website content.