Wondering where to begin with SEO? Let’s cover some super basic SEO for therapists together.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know SEO is my jam.
I love talking about SEO because it has been my primary strategy for filling my last practice in San Jose and now my new practice in San Diego.
And, you may not realize it, but SEO is the primary reason for my growth and success through Private Practice Skills, even though I spend WAY way way more time making videos for YouTube.
(btw this isn’t a bash on YouTube, I just legitimately love SEO because it WORKS).
Don’t Have Time For A Lengthy Education on SEO?
But, I know that not everyone has time to do a deep dive into their SEO or to sign up for a course all about it.
There are some really simple tools that anyone can easily implement to boost their SEO. I know most therapists simply aren’t leveraging these tips to their advantage.
So in this article, I’ll offer some super beginner-friendly tools to help your website show up in search results.
But wait, what exactly is SEO?
If you’re not familiar with SEO, it stands for search engine optimization.
Essentially, it’s the strategies we implement to help our website show up in search results so that folks can find us when they’re looking for a therapist.
As I mentioned, there can be quite a bit of strategy and some amount of tech that goes into a full-blown SEO strategy. And not everyone has the time or brain space for it.
So for now, I’d like to introduce you to an intuitive SEO strategy that you can easily implement in short order on your website right away.
Don’t Let Keyword Research Get In Your Way
One of the challenges of typical SEO strategy is keyword research.
I used to spend a really long time on this step because I wanted to absolutely NAIL it. The right keyword research strategy helps you figure out exactly which search terms someone is typing into a google search when they’re looking for a therapist like you.
Once upon a time, I would spend up to an hour on keyword research for every page and blog post on my website.
Now don’t get me wrong, that keyword research works and my websites are showing up for those search terms. But I also understand that not everyone has an hour to give for each page of their site.
How To Choose A Keyword Phrase
So this intuitive SEO strategy skips this step. Instead of doing a bunch of research about search terms, we’re just going to use our imagination.
As therapists we are smart people, and Google is intelligent and knows the synonyms of things people are searching for.
So instead of using hard data, ask yourself: if you were one of your ideal clients looking for a therapist like you in a Google search, what might they be typing into Google?
Tip: Use your intuition to imagine what your ideal client would type into a Google search looking for someone like you.
It might be something simple, like “couples counseling” or it might be something more elaborate like “couples counseling for affairs.” Or even, “LGBT affirming couples counseling for affairs.”
Traditionally with keyword research, we would try to figure out exactly what folks are typing into a search query for a therapist like this.
We might ask: “does ‘couples counseling,’ ‘couples therapy,’ ‘marriage counseling,’ or some other term get searched for most often?
But the truth is, most therapists are not even thinking about SEO. So as long as you can get a ballpark term, you can often start showing up in search results for all those related terms as well.
4 Basic Steps For Boosting SEO On Your Website
Once you can come up with a phrase that you think someone looking for your therapy services might type into a Google search, there are just a couple of things you can do on your website to boost your SEO.
1) Add Phrase To Top Of Page
- On your homepage, feature your keyword phrase somewhere where it’s clearly visible at the top of the page.
- We call the section before you scroll down the website “above the fold.” If your phrase is “couples counseling,” make sure it clearly shows up somewhere before folks scroll down the page.
2) Add Phrase To First Paragraph
- In the first paragraph of each page, find a natural way to use this phrase or its synonym.
- This is a critical step. Most therapists talk about themselves and their experience at the top of their website, but Google looks at what you talk about first and assumes that’s what’s most important.
- So if you start your page by saying “I have 12 years of experience specializing in CBT,” Google isn’t going to understand that you’re trying to attract folks looking for an anxiety therapist.
- Don’t worry, you can still keep your bio information, but just bump that paragraph a little bit lower on your page. Make sure your first paragraph emphasizes what you think people are searching for first on your page.
3) Use Headers
- When the Google algorithm looks at our website, it has kind of a shorthand to help it go through our page quickly. And after looking at some of the stuff at the top of the page, it jumps to each of our headers as a sort of “table of contents” of our website.
- When it makes sense, try to sprinkle your focus phrase or its synonyms in the headers. For example, instead of saying “About Dr. Marie,” you could say, “Meet Dr. Marie, anxiety therapist” in your heading. It’s just one more heads up to Google of what you’re about.
4) Separate Specialities Pages
- Create a separate page for each specialty.
- If you have a single page listing all of your services, it’s a little less clear to Google what that page is about.
- But, if you separate your specialties, it lets the topic of each page stand alone and carry its own weight in a Google search.
If you do just these few items, you will already be way ahead of the game compared to most therapists and there’s a good chance that in time, you will start showing up in search results for these terms.
It Will Take Time
Because this strategy is pretty low-key, you may not show up for these search terms quickly.
And if there are a lot of other therapists with similar specialties then you may not show up at the top of the search results doing this alone, but this will give your website a huge leg up over most other therapists. Because legitimately, almost no one is doing this!
Want To Catapult Your Site To the Top?
If you’d like to get to the top of search results faster, my best tip is to start blogging. Although I haven’t been keeping up with my therapy blog recently, with just 8 blog posts on my site my SEO is strong.
You can just keep implementing the same SEO strategies for your blogs: choose a topic that’s related to what you focus on in your practice, emphasize what the blog is about towards the top of the page, and be sure to use headers along the way to create a table of contents for Google.
Really Want To Level Up?
If you have extra time and really have the desire to improve your SEO, remember to check out my course on creating a website that will help fill your practice. Part of the course leads you through some SEO guidelines as well as practical ways to market your practice.
And be sure to take a look at my playlist on YouTube that has a ton of SEO tips and tricks.
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well.