Please see the updated version of this article, now posted at Mindset Market Blog
Let me guess – you’re a therapist practicing solo or you work at a larger practice? Either way, making sure your practice has a digital presence and a website that potential clients can find is essential to building a client base and helping more people.
This monster guide will tell you everything you need to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) if you’re running your own therapy practice and need to bring in new clients.
Here’s our agenda in this massive guide. Feel free to click on the links below to move directly to your area of interest.
1. What Is Search Engine Optimization?
2. Should Therapists Even Focus on SEO?
3. Does SEO Really Work?
4. WordPress vs. The Rest
5. WordPress Plugins
6. Tools / Software
7. What Is On-Page SEO?
8. What Is Off-Page SEO?
9. A Responsive Website for Desktops, Tablets and Mobile Devices
10. FREE SEO AUDIT OF YOUR WEBSITE
The real question we need to be asking is, “will spending money on search engine optimization provide my practice with a return on my investment?” Simply put – will investing in SEO bring in enough new clients to make sense financially?
The good news is that there are a TON of people performing therapy-related services.
As you can see above, well over 1,000,000 searches are being performed for therapists and therapy-related services every month.
And that’s just a small sample. It’s likely that in total, over 10,000,000 searches are being performed every month for you local therapists, marriage counseling, anxiety or depression help, family or individual support and other queries related to what your practice does.
Not only are people searching for therapists themselves, but they’re searching for all the services your practice provides. That means people are actively searching for child therapy, military family assistance, and much more right in your area!
Think of it like fishing where all the fish are biting. It’s a no-brainer that’s where you want to find new clients to help.
We wouldn’t recommend doing your own SEO. The learning curve is too high and it requires about $1000 / month of fancy tools. But a team that’s experiences in search engine marketing will give you the best chance to be successful.
Here are the results of one of our clients after just a month of our Growth Package, which includes a comprehensive SEO campaign.
52% increase in website visits and 61% increase in new visitors! That’s a big win after just a month.
And our goal is to have your website traffic looking like this.
So does SEO really work? If you can build a strong relationship with a qualified and proven SEO agency or freelancer and give them the reigns to your campaign, you’ll be in good shape.
We build all our clients websites on WordPress. It’s easy for us to create beautiful websites and the user-experience is simple for our project managers, developers, and clients alike. As if that wasn’t enough, 25% of all websites are built on WordPress; that means Google is getting really good at reading these sites for search engine marketing purposes.
Those are all big advantages to using WordPress as opposed to using one of their competitors.
One of the best parts about building websites on WordPress is that library of available plugins. Here are the best ones to help support your SEO campaign. We use all of them on all of our sites!
All search engine marketers have their favorite collection of tools and software to run successful campaigns. Here are ours at Therapist Marketing.
That’s almost $1000 we spend on software and hardware tools every month for our clients and their SEO campaigns.
That’s over $10,000 spent every year on tools to perform keyword and competitor analyses, track search engine rankings, send email newsletter, and do much more.
Here’s a screenshot of the rankings of one of our clients. Not to shabby.
On-page SEO is really just what it sounds like – what you can do on your own website to help you compete for search engine visibility.
Let’s go over the most important on-page rankings factors and what you should do to rank your website for “therapist in Washington, DC”:
> Page Titles
Each page or post on your website should focus on a specific group of keyword phrases (“therapist in Washington, DC” and “Washington, DC therapist”). The title is essential to ensure search engines know what each page is about.
Suggested page title: Therapist Washington, DC | [Your Practice’s Name]
NOTE: Don’t forget to keep your title at or under 65 characters! If it’s any longer, you’ll risk having Google cut it off in search results. Not very professional!
This is the the subheader to your page’s title. It should also contain the keyword phrase you want to win for.
Suggested H1 header: Why [Your Practice’s Name] is Washington, DC’s Top Therapy Practice
> Image ALT Tags
These are technically for website visitors with visual impairments, but they also happen to be an on-page ranking factor. The images on your page should be related to the keyword phrase you want to rank for.
Suggested image alt tag: Washington, DC therapist
> URL (www.yourwebsite.com/[this-part])
This is a minimally important on-page ranking factor, but it will absolutely affect clickthrough rate (who clicks your website in Google search results).
Suggested URL: yourwebsite.com/washington-dc-therapist
> Internal Linking
Links to your page from other websites will help that page rank well. But to get started, link to that page from other relevant pages on your own website, such as related blog posts or service pages. That will help to start getting your page some authority.
Suggested: Link to this page from related blog posts
NOTE: Use anchor text (the linking text) that’s relevant to the keyword you want to rank for! That means links from other pages should use anchor text similar to “therapist in Washington, DC”.
Off-page SEO is also just what it sounds like – factors that affect your rankings that depend on signals from websites other than your own. This is mostly influences by links from other sites back to your own. This suggests to Google that other sites online consider yours as authoritative.
We execute a customized linking strategy for each client based on the level of competition in their area. Many therapists in smaller towns who have less competition may need to focus more on on-page optimization rather than off-page.
NOTE: Remember – SEO doesn’t work like a light switch you can simply turn on. It takes time for Google to index your on- and off-page SEO to and climb in the rankings. Our clients usually start seeing upward movement within the 1-3 months and more calls and emails within 3-6!
Internet usage on mobile devices has officially overtaken that of traditional desktops and laptops.
That means having a website that visitors will enjoy and be able to use easily on their mobile devices is not only a good idea to make visitors happy – it’s actually part of Google’s ranking algorithm. If your site doesn’t pass Google’s Mobile Test, your rankings may suffer as a result.
Is search engine optimization complicated? Yes. But building a solid relationship with an agency that has all the tools and know-how to run an effective campaign is well worth the investment.
If someone asked you to give them $100, and then gave you $300 in return, you’d do it right? Although SEO can be difficult to understand, measure, and implement, it’s the same concept. Paying someone to bring in enough clients to cover their costs and attract new clients is a no-brainer!
If you’re like to receive an SEO audit of your site, Therapist Marketing provides one free of charge. Please fill out the following form if you’d like to receive one, and we’ll email it to you within 24 hours (unless it’s the weekend or a holiday – then give us a few days!).