6 SEO Mistakes to Avoid on Your Therapy Website

seo-mistakes-to-avoid-on-therapy-website

When you hear the 3 little letters ‘S.E.O,’ does it make you want to turn and run in the opposite direction?  If so, you’re not alone. Even we felt intimidated by SEO when we first learned about it. It felt complicated, murky — like a big, intangible thing that couldn’t possibly be understood fully.

Each week, we talk to therapists who would rather stick their heads in the sand, than talk about those three letters. But we can assure it you it’s not as scary as you may think.

‘S.E.O’ is the abbreviation for the more technical term ‘search engine optimization.’

It sounds intimidating, doesn’t it?

In plain English, this simply means telling Google what your website page is about.

The thing is, there is a ton of information online about what you should be doing to rank your website (aka, SEO). There are also a LOT of people promoting services that supposedly “work,” when really they are doing things that could potentially hurt your rankings in the long run.

Because there is so much information online about SEO, we wanted to share the 6 SEO mistakes to avoid on your therapy website. Keep these mistakes in your back pocket when you consider hiring someone to help you do your SEO, or when you are doing SEO on your website yourself.

Mistake #1: Hiring a Company That Promises Fast Results or Who Uses “Blackhat” SEO

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is hiring a company to do your SEO who promises that they can get you on page 1 immediately. Chances are, they are using “blackhat” SEO strategies (meaning they are doing things against Google’s Terms of Service, which can ultimately penalize your website). Promises like “fast results” and “ranking you on page 1 overnight” should both be red flags.

Before you hire someone to help with optimizing your website for the search engines, be sure you find out exactly what they will be doing. You can find out what they should be doing on our webinar replay.

Mistake #2: Improper Keyword Targeting/Optimizing Around Unsearched Terms or Research Terms

The second mistake we see surrounding SEO is improper keyword targeting. Well, what the heck does that even mean?

When optimizing your pages for the search engines (like Google), you want to do so around keywords that people are actually searching for. Many times, websites are optimized around terms that are not searched, are “research terms,” or are too narrow.

Some examples of terms that are not searched, or are too narrow are: ‘adolescent counseling,’ ‘counseling for new fathers’ or ‘therapy for professional women.’ Although new fathers are likely searching for counseling, and professional women are likely searching for therapy as well, they just do not type in those specific terms. They will search for more general things like ‘teen counseling,’ ‘counseling for men’ or ‘anxiety treatment,’ for example.

You also don’t want to optimize your pages around what we call research terms — like ‘reactive attachment disorder,’ ‘anxiety,’ or ‘depression.’ While it may seem like these terms make sense for your pages, these are not terms people actually type in when searching for help. What you want to do instead is target keywords that are relevant and related to help-seeking, like ‘anxiety treatment,’ ‘depression counseling,’ or ‘couples therapy.’

The bottom line: you want to get very specific and optimize your pages with the most common things that people are typing into Google.

Mistake #3: Writing Short Content on Your Pages

Short content is another huge mistake when it comes to SEO.

You may be thinking: BUT, people won’t read long content, so I just want to have a short paragraph of information.

Wrong.

The more content you have on your website, the more likely you are to rank! According to the 2014 Search Metrics Report (a report released each year that shows all the factors that cause sites to rank higher), you want to shoot for 900-1000 words on each page. While this may seem like a lot, you can easily break it up with sub-headers and images to make it more digestible. Longer content also allows you to connect with your potential clients (added bonus!).

Mistake #4: Targeting Multiple Pages for the Same Terms or Using the Same Titles or Descriptions on Multiple Pages

Mistake number 4 is another quite common mistake. Unfortunately, targeting multiple pages for the same keyword will not help you rank higher for that keyword. In fact, Google won’t know which pages it should rank for what, causing Google to rank you lower.

Instead, choose a page and optimize it around the specific keyword related to that page. For example, rather than targeting every page for ‘counselor’ or ‘life coach’ you can target your life coaching page for ‘life coach’ and your couples counseling page for ‘couples counseling.’

Another common mistake is using the same meta title and meta description for every page. This will not benefit your ranking, or your potential clients. You instead want to have unique meta titles and meta descriptions for each page on your site.

Mistake # 5: Keyword Stuffing Your Content

Gone are the days where including your focus keyword over and over again throughout your page will help you rank for that keyword. In fact, “stuffing” your keyword into your content will hurt your rankings and quite frankly, annoy your website visitors.

A good example of keyword stuffing is:

I am a couples therapist in Boulder that offers couples therapy. Couples therapy can help any couples that are struggling with their relationship. You probably need couples therapy if you are fighting with your partner about every little thing. Couples therapy is really beneficial for struggling couples. You can schedule an appointment for couples therapy on my contact page.

Writing your pages this way will ultimately hurt your rankings. Stick to including your focus keyword sparsely throughout your content.

Mistake #6: Having a Blog on a Separate URL

The last common SEO mistake to avoid is having your blog on a separate URL.

Why does it matter whether your blog is on your website, or on a different platform like Blogger, separate from your site?

Here is the thing: there is a direct correlation between high rankings and high number of pages on websites. A great example of this is when you’re searching on Google for therapy-related terms, and you always see Psychology Today appearing at the top. This is because they have thousands and thousands of pages on their website. More pages equals higher ranking.

In relation to you and your practice website, if someone is searching for couples counseling in Austin, Texas and you have more pages on your website, you will likely outrank the sites that have less pages.

The easiest way to grow your website and create more pages is by blogging consistently. BUT, the blog must be on your website — it cannot be on a separate platform. For example, you don’t want to have a HTML site, and a WordPress blog that is separate from your site. This is a very common mistake people make. You want the blog on your website!

Another great thing about having a blog integrated with your website is that you can also optimize your blog posts! You can focus your blog posts around “long tail” keywords, optimize your blog images, use the keyword in your text, meta title and description. This will help rank your blog posts, in addition to your specialty pages.

Are you making any of these common mistakes? If so, we can help! Check out our

The Ultimate Guide for SEO for Therapy Websites: on SEO to learn what you should be doing on your website to rank on Google.

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