A picture of a zebra to illustrate how learning SEO is an adaptation for therapists new to owning a small business. Simplified SEO Consulting.

A Private Practice Owner Learns SEO for the Same Reason Zebras Have Stripes: Adaptation

What do Zebra Stripes have to do with Private Practice Marketing?

I’m kind of fascinated by zebra stripes. They’re beautiful. The stark contrast between the black and the white. The way they work together to decorate this elegant animal. But did you realize that zebra stripes are actually an adaptation? It’s meant to protect these creatures from prey in the wild. Zebra stripes blend together when they’re standing in a herd so predators have difficulty making out the separate outline of a specific zebra.

Stripes help zebras survive in the wild. SEO helps private practices survive in the business world.

Therapists aren’t always Tech Wizards by Nature

Are you intimidated by technology? Does the idea of learning to work on your own site sound technical and scary? Most mental health professionals were not drawn to this field because we’re tech wizards. Most counselors are more touchy, feeling people types. Even if we’re introverts, let’s face it, what keeps us waking up and coming to work each day is the satisfaction of helping others. Full private practice caseloads of clients who face their fears, find healing, and “get better” is what excites us. Not talking marketing strategies or staring at a computer screen.

So…why should practice owners use Search Engine Optimization to market their small business?

So, why should you care about Search Engine Optimization (better known as just SEO)? Because SEO allows you to adapt to the business world which then brings more of your ideal clients through the doors of your private practice. It is through learning some important marketing techniques and business strategies that private practice owners are able to reach and help more people.  I first learned about the power of SEO through my own experience (see below), but have since watched it help my SEO Consulting clients also fill up their practices.  In this day and age, people look for all sorts of services online.  If you can get your website to the first page of Google, more potential clients will find your practice and therefore you’ll receive more calls.

Jessica’s Private Practice SEO Story

When my solo practice began to transition to a group practice I had a few panic moments. I realized that now, in order to succeed, I was going to have to do more than just offer awesome counseling services. Now I had to learn to do the business side of things.

My first step was to have a Springfield, MO-based graphic designer help me clarify my brand and create an awesome private practice logo. But the next step was developing a private practice website that I loved. I figured outsourcing was my best bet. Design isn’t really my thing and outsourcing the logo went well after all. That’s where Brighter Vision first came into the picture. I worked with their designer to edit my site until I had a beautiful website I was proud of and felt was “on brand.” But it didn’t rank at all on Google yet.

I was told it would take a few months for Google to find and index my site. So…I waited…and waited…and waited. After making a few tweaks along the way, I got really impatient at about 6 months. As much as I hated technology, I realized I needed to adapt and learn about Search Engine Optimization.

And learn I did! I stayed up all hours of the night researching SEO.

I listened to podcasts on my way to the office, working out, and just about everywhere else. There were articles to read, Youtube videos to watch, and e-courses to work through. I found a few things targeting therapists, but much of what I found wasn’t specific to our field.

Naturally, when I learned something new about SEO the most important part was implementing it. So I practiced all of the SEO techniques I was learning. The day I learned about how to write an effective meta description, I stayed up all night writing new meta descriptions for every page of my site. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t have many blog posts yet! Then the day I learned to optimize photos on WordPress to improve SEO. Luckily that one didn’t take as long as the meta descriptions. Learning to use the Fetch as Google portion of the Google Search Console changed my world and suddenly I was able to see what impact my website changes had overnight.

At first, the changes in how I ranked on search engines for various counseling keywords happened quickly. There was the time on that I jumped from not being on the first 10 pages to page 3 for one of my long-tail keywords literally overnight. Then, changes happened a little more slowly and I had to fine-tune my techniques.

I’m THRILLED to say now my website is consistently showing up below the Psychology Today rankings for counseling in my area. I’m not any better at most technology than I was before. My son was frustrated recently when I was struggling to figure out how to project Netflix onto our TV screen.  In a super-frustrated voice he said, “But Mommy, you’re good at websites. You CAN do technology.” He’s right of course. I can learn to use technology. Just like you can. It’s just an adaptation.

Therapists can learn SEO to Fill a Private Practice

Website tweaks and Search Engine Optimization might not come naturally to you. That’s ok. Admit it, embrace it. And then adapt.

The adaptation part is where I come in. I’d love to help you learn all of the SEO techniques that I did. You don’t have to spend months staying up until 2 am scouring the internet and learning one or two techniques at a time as I did. I can provide you 1:1 SEO Training. We’ll meet on a Google Hangouts call and use the Share Screen feature so I can walk you step by step through applying all of the SEO skills (keyword research, internal links, meta descriptions, etc) to your specific site.

Get Your Private Practice Ranking on Google

Are you ready to start learning to do your own Search Engine Optimization work?  If so, my 12 Week SEO training services or the 2 Month SEO Jumpstart packages might be a good fit! On the other hand, if your a busy practice owner who feels overwhelmed by the idea of adding one more thing to your plate, my monthly SEO packages are a great option.  Book a 30 minute free SEO consultation and let’s get started!

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