26 Jun 2011 |
Posted by ilancloud | 15,618 Comments.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the practice of improving your websites visibility in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo for targeted keywords. The goal is to increase relevant traffic to your private practice’s website to find new clients.
For example, if data shows that people are searching for “Orange County Counselor” & “Orange County Therapist” in your area, then it would be beneficial if your site showed up in these searches. Showing up as the #1 website for this query would bring a lot of highly relevant hits from people who are specifically looking for a therapist.
An Example of Google Search for "Portland Therapist"
Google is by far the most popular search engine, used for 80% to 90% of all searches in the US. Now the reason Google has become such a giant company is because they deliver a great product. They consistently deliver the most relevant websites to viewers search queries. We all take for granted the complicated algorithms and formulas that are executed each time we “google” something. Behind the computer screen a process is completed that ranks all the billions of web pages out there to show a select few that it deems relevant to the words you typed in.
There’s a lot of money to be made in a top ranking website, especially for certain keywords. Thus competition arises and, with most things on the internet, a few will attempt to cheat the system. This is why Google is constantly changing their ranking system.
So How Do I Get My Site To The Top?
There are a few things you can do yourself but unless you’re adept at coding websites and are keeping up with the latest industry trends (which is a full time job these days as top search engines are constantly changing the rules to stop spammers) then you’ll need to hire a consultant or agency (disclaimer, we are an agency that provides this service to a select few clients).
Start with your content. By working keywords into your website page titles, headings and copy you’re telling Google how to categorize your website. Here’s an example:
Page Title:Orange County Therapist | Overcome Anxiety & Stress | Barbara Stanton MFT
Heading: Learn How to Overcome Anxiety and Stress with Barbara Stanton MFT – Orange County Therapist
Copy: Do you suffer from Anxiety & Stress? I’m Barbara Stanton MFT and I’ve been helping individuals over come these issues for over a decade in my offices in Orange County. Anxiety & Stress effect thousands of Southern Californians…..
The goal is include these keywords in all three sections of the website. Writing your content with this in mind will lay the foundation for appearing in search engines. Don’t be a spammer though! Mindlessly repeating keywords strictly for the sake of appearing in search engines will get you penalized. A good rule of thumb is to always write with the reader in mind, not the search engine.
As a Google Certified Ad Partner and an SEO service provider I’ve reported many websites attempting to cheat the system. They don’t last long in the search engines so it’s never worth it.
Links, the new online currency
As a therapist I’m sure you’re no stranger to a library’s index and the process of attributing/citing sources in writings. Believe it or not this was the original model for Google’s algorithm. Librarians have long used the tactic of ranking books for certain categories based on how many other authors and books site them as sources. This is exactly what a website does when it links to another website.
Links are very important, they help establish your site as a credible source and help build your site’s online reputation. Receiving a link from a reputable sources is more significant than a link from a lesser site. For example, one link from the New York Times is better then a hundred from a site like Bob’s News Site.
A quick note on buying links…Don’t do it! Since links are so important now a days many websites have begun selling them. Obviously this destroys the integrity for Google’s purposes. Until you’re power with the internet forces are stronger, stay away from paid links as they’ll lead your site to the darkside.
Links and content are the foundation of SEO. But they are just the beginning steps into a much larger world. In the decade since Google has been ranking websites the industry has changed a great deal. There is much, much more to SEO. I’d be happy to discuss opportunities for you to expand your private practice and give a free consultation.