What is Holistic SEO
Holistic SEO is a strategy that looks at all factors of optimization, and not just one aspect of it. The focus is based on user experience, content, and technical SEO. This is such a beneficial and necessary approach to SEO because it looks at the full picture rather than one aspect. Think about it this way, when you start a business, you may begin with an idea, but the idea itself doesn’t make the vision happen. You must address the marketing side, the website, clients, and creating client experience. You must also manage people and money. It takes a full picture to get your business thriving. In the same way, SEO focuses on the whole rather than a particular part.
Important Factors to Consider with Holistic SEO?
As with everything, we will start from the beginning. Focus on the client. The client is the person we are looking for. They are the reason we are in the business. We want to help our clients, but how do we begin? Let’s go through and address various aspects of the holistic SEO approach.
User Experience and SEO (UX SEO)
Here are some other important focus points for user experience. When it comes to keyword research, there are two focus points: what language is your client searching for, and what is the intent. It’s important to know your niche well and understand why people are searching for your therapy, coaching, or consultation services.
Part of writing content is making sure we are addressing the why and the reason someone would come into your practice. Content extends past service pages and blogs. Even in the Google search, we are giving people bit size pieces of what we offer. Therefore, optimizing for meta descriptions with pain points and keywords is important. A well-written meta description and title can bring people to your site. Another part of your meta description that needs to be optimized is your meta title. One way to go about doing this is to add the title, location, and zip codes, and maybe practice name if necessary. You can get great keywords into this and increase your traffic this way. An example would be: EMDR therapy | Location and Zip | Practice Name. This varies based on what is best for your site.
It’s also important to make sure your URL matches the page. Sometimes when creating new pages on your website, you may forget to look at what the URL states. In order to optimize for this, you must optimize the slug of your website. This may not seem important, but if your website says (simplifiedseoconsulting/new-page) this isn’t appealing from a user experience standpoint.
In terms of on-page immediate user experience, we also want people to keep coming back to your site and see how your services can help them. One way is to create a memorable logo and make it evident that this is your brand. Then on the page, create quality content and making sure you have one H1 per page. As well as sections of text broken up into H2’s. Lastly, you will want to have a clear call to action which directs your clients to begin services.
Keyword Research (what are they using)
User experience is all about focusing on the user. It’s kind of like how you are greeted in a restaurant or the experience your clients have in your office. First impressions are matter. This is not simply about appeasing the Google bots, but about acknowledging how your client gets from point A to point B. First, consider keyword research and searcher language. We want to know what your clients are searching for, what is most commonly searched, and the language your clients typically use.
For example, if you’re expecting clients to type in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, it’s highly unlikely, however, it’s still a good key term to rank for. It is more likely clients are searching for EMDR. Such as what is EMDR? Does it work online?
Likewise, someone is less likely to search for dealing with trauma, and more likely to talk about feeling stuck, or experiencing recurring memories that don’t go away. Just as in therapy, you don’t always say what is really going on directly, the same principle applies as you consider what your clients are searching for to get to you. So as you build out content. If you can answer these questions in blogs, service pages, or FAQ’s, Google is going to see that you have the answer and ranking you up higher when someone is searching for this query. So listen to your current clients and let that lead you toward potentially keyword searches.
Technical SEO (broken links, slow loading, scrolling, or cluttered content)
Technical SEO is a big part of on-page optimization. In order for Google to crawl a site and increase your Google rankings, there are both on and off-page optimization elements that need to be addressed. The Google bots, who are designed to check for any changes on your page are the functions we are trying to optimize for. These bots check out your site either naturally every few weeks or by indexing using Google Search Console.
Our goal with technical SEO is to make it easier for Google to see our changes and give us credit. The better SEO factors are optimized for the more Google rankings you will see on your end. Likewise, there are some factors we need to avoid in order for Google to rank us higher because slow and cluttered websites can be penalized as well. So to all of you with old pages on your backend that are not being used or overly stuffed media galleries. This is hurting your SEO.
Some factors of technical SEO to consider:
- The loading speed of your page and scrolling
- The structure of your site ( Builder)
- Host for your website (Domain)
- Avoid any duplicate content on the site
- Sitemaps & Indexing
- Reduce broken links (errors)
- Avoid slow loading by running audits
- Load small to medium-sized photos
- Remove content or pages no longer used
These are some important factors we consider when optimizing your website. If you’re experiencing slow loading speeds, consider if you have downloaded big files, or if there are some areas you can declutter your website.
Original Quality Content
Writing copy is key to reaching your ideal audience. In order to connect with your clients, content needs to speak to your ideal client. A key factor in creating quality content that will help you rank better is to make sure it is relevant. This may be intuitive, but sometimes writing content to your clients can be hard. We understand this. It can be easier to generalize your content, but be warned and steer clear of this. Listen to your clients and write about what is really going on. Most importantly, tell them what you can do to help. Put your heart into the content and this will help to reach your audience. Good content design leads your clients to understand how your approach will help them best. Which ultimately leads you to more calls and conversions.
Social Media Strategy
Working with social media isn’t something we work with specifically, however, it is a great way to round out your holistic SEO approach. Here are some key takeaways about social media and SEO. If you want to read more about adding social media to your holistic marketing approach, then read our unofficial SEO guide.
- If you plan to use social media for SEO, you must engage often. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, these social media outlets have their own algorithm that requires you to be involved in order to consistently come up with search results and hashtags.
- Social media on its own does not supplement SEO. These are great ways to provide external links to your website by linking your website in bios and via links. It is simply another stream of traffic to your website.
- There is a certain culture that follows social media and SEO. So if you plan to engage, know your people well.
Social media on its own isn’t meant to supplement SEO. However, it is a great way to add an additional stream to your website. Check out our SEO specialist, Alyssa, who wrote two blog posts on social media which plays into holistic SEO.
Have you ever been to a non-mobile-friendly website? These are frustrating! Typically we bounce off those websites because they are more of a hassle than helpful. Here are a few tips for making sure your website is mobile-friendly.
First, when creating your site choose a template that is consistent across platforms. Check to see how users can perform basic tasks. If you check on your site data and you notice there is low traffic to your niche service, or to once high traffic pages, check out how your mobile site is looking. Make sure your site allows for your client to do the basic tasks you intend. Such as look at service pages, access resources, any forms you have are able to be sent properly, and so on.
Here are a few helpful tools from Google that can help you become more mobile-friendly.
- Run a mobile-friendly test to see where you can improve your site health
- You can also refer to the mobile usability report for a more detailed picture on your site
Website security matters. Especially now with cyber crimes and confidentiality for online therapy. As therapists who may have client portals and deal with mental health, it’s important that on contact with your services, security is clear on your site. At the top of your website, there should be a lock that indicates that you have an HTTPS domain that is secure. Often if your website SSL certificate is not on a site when clients come onto your website, then you’re likely to get a security error and this will increase the bounce rate on your site. Likewise, this helps to prevent hackers from gaining personal information from you or individuals visiting your site. Therefore it’s important to purchase an SSL certificate.
Accessibility ( easy to access)
Making a website inclusive is not always a topic technology focuses on. SEO and accessibility go hand in hand. However, as mental health professionals, it’s crucial we set examples. Here are some ways to do this:
- Provide multiple ways to contact your services. By not offering multiple avenues, you may cause someone to have to disclose information they may not be ready to disclose. Such as a disability.
- Look at source code, screen readers can only do certain things on a website such as H1, H2, and alt text.
- Make sure widgets and plugins make sense for screen readers
- Break up and organize text for people with learning disabilities and ADHD
- Include summaries of texts on newsletters for neurodiverse individuals
What not to do
There are some things that don’t help holistic SEO just as traditional technical SEO. First, do not keyword stuff in the meta description, alt text, or within the copy. Some ways this is seen is by adding alt text or keywords to copy and then adding in white text that hides it. Likewise, make sure you are adding relevant keywords to your pages. Next, don’t buy backlinks. Google will penalize you and you will see negative effects in your SEO, making it more difficult to rebuild. Lastly do not page swap. This is when you get a page ranking very well, then switch out content for a page not ranking as well. This is considered unethical on Google.
Benefits and Close Thoughts
To sum up Holistic SEO, by looking at the whole picture and figuring out what to do to make sure your website is accessible, mobile-friendly, has great content, and has all the components for Google’s bots, you should have a reduced bounce rate, and receive more views. Traditional technical SEO is still necessary for the process because it helps Google find your website, helps other search engines find you and allows Google to index your content. Plus it is how online apps, web crawlers, and search bots find you.
Both holistic and traditional SEO has their benefits, but these are great places to start for a whole picture on your website that calls on both methods for a better user experience. Likewise, as SEO specialists we strive to address the whole picture rather than parts in order to make sure your SEO is sustainable and up to par.
Begin SEO Services at Simplified SEO Consulting
Holistic SEO has many components, but once well optimized, your website and clients will appreciate the effort. This is meant to help you sustain rankings and make sure your clients are taken care of from the moment they land on your page. Simplified SEO Consulting in Columbia, MO offers DFY packages, courses, and training options. Our skilled team of SEO experts is excited to work with you and answer any questions you have. To get started follow these three steps to begin ranking better on Google.
- Schedule an appointment for a free 30-minute consultation with a member of the Simplified SEO Consulting
- Learn more about our SEO packages and training opportunities
- Start optimizing your website holistically for a better user experience and SEO!
Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting
Simplified SEO Consulting is passionate about providing SEO services for mental health professionals and therapists. Our comprehensive SEO services are included in our Done for You SEO Service packages, and our online DIY courses. If you have questions about any of our other services please feel free to reach out or if you want to get in touch with Simplified SEO to learn more, book a free SEO Consultation with our Client Success Specialist or one of our SEO specialists to decide which option is best for your business. We look forward to working with you to build your technical SEO and Holistic SEO together!
About the Author:
Jasmine Jaquess is currently working towards her Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University. She has been doing SEO with Simplified for the last few months. Currently, she serves as the Client Success Specialist in new client consultation with Simplified SEO Consulting and is an SEO specialist. She specializes in platforms such as Squarespace and Wix but has learned to love WordPress sites as well. She really enjoys hearing the clients’ goals for their businesses and helping them achieve them.