My last post was all about how meta descriptions can help a therapist’s private practice website, but if you’re like most people, you’re left wondering what to do with the information. So, today we’re going to focus on the how. Here are 5 general tips that I give private practice owners trying to work on their website’s SEO.
6 Tips for Writing the Perfect Meta Description
Use the right keywords in your meta description.
The first step to improving any page’s ranking on search engines is to identify a few keywords per page that you want to rank well for. These are phrases that when someone types them into Google, your webpage will (with some work) be one of the first to show up. Because meta descriptions are supposed to explain what the page is about, search engines will give them a lot of weight when deciding how to rank your page. Including a keyword in your meta description is like pointing a big arrow toward your website saying “If someone is looking for this thing, PICK ME to be at the top of the page!”
You can incorporate keywords in other places including headings, text, page title, etc. Therefore, not every phrase you want to rank for needs to be included in the meta description. However, I recommend including the top 2-3 keywords that you want that specific page to rank for. Usually, the title of your page will include a keyword and then you’re able to fit a couple of others into the text of your meta description.
Mention the Location of Your Practice
Again, Google assumes that the meta description describes the page. So, if your target audience is in a specific location it can be helpful to mention that location in the meta description. Our team often uses a location both in the SEO Title/Header and again in the body of the SEO description.
Tips for how to write a meta description for a counseling website while including your location
Adding location indicators like notable locations or local landmarks around your practice can be a great way to help Google and site visitors understand where you’re located. While it can be a bit more difficult to describe where your practice is and its surroundings, it is worth it in the long run.
Aim for 155 Characters.
Google will generally only show about 155 characters in search results. Some of your meta description won’t be seen (… will be shown in its place) if you write more than 155 characters. As a general rule of thumb, I try to write meta descriptions that are as close as possible to 155 characters without going over. To be honest, most of mine are right between 150-155 characters.
I highly recommend the Yoast Plugin for Word Press to make sure meta descriptions are the optimal length. When you are writing a meta description in Yoast, you’ll see a little bar filling up right below where you are typing and it will let you know if your meta description is too short, an ideal length, or too long. A Squarespace website (which calls these your “page description” in the SEO tab) counts down from 400 so you aim for getting as close to 245-250 as possible. If you use another platform, try writing your meta description in Word and using the “word count” feature to monitor your length.
Write a meta description that makes sense.
Remember, you are not only writing a little summary for Google. You are also writing a description to convince real live humans they want to look at your page. One mistake I see is people trying so hard to cram a meta description full of keywords that it no longer makes any sense. Not only will Google sometimes catch onto this, but your ideal client isn’t going to be enticed to click on the site if it does show up in their search results.
Communicate your value to potential clients or website visitors.
Maybe this means asking a question that your ideal client will resonate with and want to click on your site to find the answer to. Another technique is to treat the meta description as a small summary of the page. I’ve also said things like, “information about symptoms of PTSD” as part of my meta description for a service page or “tools and tips for getting to sleep faster” as part of a blog post meta description. Both of these are examples of ways I’m trying to communicate to potential clients the value of viewing my web page. Potential website visitors can see what they may gain from visiting that page.
Consider a Call to Action.
I don’t always include a Call to Action in a meta description, but if there’s space I will. Something like “Learn more” or “Call now” at the very end of a meta description just to encourage people to take action. This isn’t essential and most of the time I don’t have room for it.
The two main times I’ll add a very short call to action in a meta description include:
- I’ve used several keywords already in the meta description and there’s space
- I see a page is showing up on the first page of search results but not getting many clicks. In this case, I’ll add it to try to increase the “click-through rate” (the rate of people who click on the website versus those that just see your site listed in the search results) for that page.
Examples of Meta Descriptions for Mental Health Websites
Below are several examples of meta descriptions similar to what we write for our clients. Please do not use these exact examples on your own site but instead, see them as inspiration for how you can use a similar style to write meta descriptions on your own pages. The “heading” is what would be listed on the site as the “SEO title” and the wording below would be in the meta description setting.
Examples of Home Page Meta Descriptions for Therapists:
Healing Movement Therapy: Individual Counseling in Chicago, IL
Our Chicago, IL therapists provide effective treatment for anxiety, trauma/PTSD, sexual assault, teens, grief, stress, depression & more. Call today!
Rooted Counseling Center – Christian Counseling in Seattle, Washington 98107 & 98108
Our caring therapists offer counseling for children, teens, families & adults for anxiety, trauma/PTSD, depression & more in a Christian setting.
Healing Life Therapy – Roswell, GA 30075
Looking for counseling services in the Atlanta area? We offer counseling for children & adults experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma & more. Call today!
Better Minds Psychiatry – St. Louis, MO 63108
Considering medication for depression, anxiety, PTSD or other mental health concerns? Our psychiatrist & nurse practitioner can help. Call us in St. Louis, MO 63108
Examples of Service Page Meta Descriptions for Mental Health Professionals:
LGBTQIA Affirming Counseling – Clear Minds Therapy – Chicago, IL
Looking for a counselor as an LGBTQIA person? Do you struggle with gender dysphoria, depression, anxiety or relationships? We offer LGBTQ+ inclusive therapy
Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy – Relationship Success Counseling – Missouri
Does your relationship need help? Our counselors offer Gottman & EFT marriage counseling, premarital counseling & couples therapy in Kansas City & St. Louis.
St. Pete Counseling – Individual & Family Therapy in St. Petersburg, FL
Our St. Petersburg, FL therapists specialize in couples, pre-marital & marriage counseling for marital conflict, premarital counseling & communication issues.
Depression Counseling & Treatment in Los Angeles 90012
Suzanne Burnes offers counseling for individuals struggling with symptoms of Depression using CBT & mindfulness. Begin Depression Therapy & improve your mood in LA!
Panic Attack & Anxiety Disorder Treatment Through Counseling – Salt Lake City, UT
You don’t have to live with anxiety symptoms & panic attacks. Through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) & exposure therapy for anxiety you can regain control.
Teen Counseling – Healthy Families Therapy – Katy, TX 77493
Do you have a struggling teen? Our therapists help teens with depression, anxiety, school problems & more. Begin teen counseling in the Houston, TX area!
Examples of Blog Post Meta Descriptions:
Alcohol & Trauma: Everything You Need to Know – St. Louis, MO 63108
There is a strong link between trauma and drug/ alcohol addiction. A therapist explores that link & discuss trauma treatment options to support recovery.
9 Covid Friendly Winter Self Care Activities in Central Michigan
Covid + Winter in Michigan can equal stress. A Central Michigan therapist shares 9 Covid friendly ways you can practice self care in our area this winter!
Get Help Learning SEO
If this seems overwhelming, Simplified SEO Consulting would love to help make the process easier for you! As an SEO Consultant, I can help you apply these tips and other SEO techniques to get your mental health website (counseling, psychiatry or other related business) to the first page of Google through our SEO Training packages or online SEO courses. Or, if you’d rather outsource your search engine optimization, our “Done for You” monthly SEO packages allow you to sit back and focus on your business while our team of SEO specialists optimizes your page for you! Simplified SEO Consulting would be excited to help you on your SEO journey. To get started with our service, follow these simple steps:
- Schedule a consult with our Client Success Specialist or Consult Team.
- Learn more about our team of SEO Specialists.
- Begin your SEO Journey!
*Updated April 29th, 2023*