Clients-searching-for-therapist

So, you’ve gotten to the point where you’re doing your best to leverage search engine ranking.

You know you want search ranking to be a part of your strategy for maintaining clients.

A big question needs to be answered before you spend more money on advertising…

If you are truly wanting to position yourself on page one of google, what’s going to get you there in the quickest and most cost efficient way?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to techniques used to increase the ranking of your website in search engines.

It’s been a key strategy for acquiring clients for many therapists for at least 10-15 years. SEO techniques change as search engines change their algorithms for ranking websites. These algorithms are meant to qualify websites based on a number of factors, but most importantly they are meant to understand the internet as a whole, and how content is being shared, distributed, categorized and associated.

In order to follow best practices for SEO, and to give your website the best chances for ranking, you really need to understand the current trends in 2016 and how the internet is currently shaping.

1. Mobile Optimized Websites

Mobile optimization is no longer a choice. It’s a standard. With many website themes having fully responsive design this might seem like a given. But beware. You must make sure your website is truly optimized across as many devices as possible. If your themes or plugins aren’t up-to-date you may have an issue and not know it.

2. Local SEO is still important.

This means make sure you are in google my business, and have the correct name, address, phone number (NAP) across listings online. Also, local directories can strengthen this so get listed in at least 35 of the top local directories with the correct NAP.

3. SEO’ing Your Website

Your website needs the right foundation to be a contender. This includes many things but for starters it means proper title tags, usage of H1 + H2 + H3, meta descriptions, alt-image tags for images, page count (100+) yep that’s right over a 100 pages, but don’t worry that includes blog posts and that’s something to build toward, main pages of roughly 1000 words with proper keyword placement and more.

4. Blogging

It’s been important for years and it’s still important. Especially as a therapist that is trying to rank on google. It’s great to build page depth to your site, but even more importantly it gives your prospective clients material to get to know you. But you still need to drive traffic to your blog and that’s where social media comes in. If you do nothing else, blog.

5. Social Content

As social media keeps growing, so does the impact it has on SEO. Having content in social sites is becoming more important in the ranking process. Many believe it will overtake ranking overtime as social proof becomes important. SEO companies are more and more turning to social media because that is where the traffic is.

6. Videos

Youtube is still the second largest search engine. What does this mean in terms of SEO? Many companies are now turning their SEO strategies to building out video ranks in youtube, which in turn can strengthen your site. It’s only going to keep heading in this direction.

There are many other techniques but these are some of the basics. If you understand these well and stick with them, you will gain traction.

But, what about Google AdWords?

Google AdWords allows you to pay to get your website at the top of page one.

So, is it better just to use paid ads or to wait it out and gain organic results?

Here’s my answer…If you want to get on the top of page one. You want to stay on the top of page one. You don’t want to wait an unknown amount of time to get there and whether you truly will, then pay.

You will get faster results. Yes, it will cost you a significant amount of money. But many therapists are building practices off of Google AdWords.

Should you abandon SEO? No. Not if you’re willing to do the heavy lifting to get there. But it’s a long game.

What about hiring an SEO company to get you to page one? Well, if you don’t want to do it yourself then sure. But, beware it should take them time just like it would take you time to get there. Anything that happens within weeks or a couple of months is probably going to hurt you in the long run.

I personally think that it’s a better investment to use Google AdWords than paying an SEO company. You almost always get quicker results and it’s easier to analyze your return on your investment (ROI).

I think it’s good to lay the foundation for SEO, but I don’t think it’s really worth it to invest a bunch of money in it anymore.

Paying for a social media campaign can be worth your money if you don’t want to do it on your own, because that can drive traffic to your website. And it’s also where more and more internet users spend their time.

Ultimately, whatever you choose, the goal is to drive traffic to your website of interested clients who potentially want to work with you.

Are you ready to start or grow your practice and learn How to Get 5 New Clients This Month? Download our free guide now…

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Keith Kurlander

Keith Kurlander is the founder of Higher Practice, a company dedicated to helping therapists achieve their highest potential in private practice. He has two decades of combined experience in business administration, group facilitation, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level, yoga instruction and as a licensed professional counselor in private practice.

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