I've been a licensed marriage and family therapist since 2014. In the time since then, like many other therapists, I have spent a great deal of time working on figuring out how to build my practice. In grad school we…
-Joe Borders, MFT – March, 16 2018
More and more people are turning to the internet to find the things they need and want in life. Looking for therapy is no different. Search engines like google are peoples’ portal to the world. To be seen by these people you need to build a good internet presence and work on your search engine optimization (SEO).
When thinking of SEO you have to keep in mind that Google and other search engines are primarily interested in delivering relevant content to their customers. One of the ways they do this is through observing traffic to your website, where it comes from, and what content people are engaging with on your site. There are a lot of things we could talk about when it comes to SEO, but in this post we’re going to talk about 3 key aspects of SEO and how listing on SacWellness can help you with them; Providing quality inbound links, driving traffic to your site, and reducing your overall bounce rate.
Google and other search engines have to wade through everything on the internet and sort out what every page is about and how valuable the information contained on that page is. One of the ways they do this is through something I consider to be analogous to a high school popularity contest. Essentially what google does is decide what sites are authorities on a particular subject. It then assumes that any other site linked to by those authoritative sites have authority on the subject in question as well.
So for example, I am trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). Google may eventually come to think that I am an authority on this subject….currently it doesn’t. But if Sue Johnson (the founder of EFT) linked to my site from hers then Google would assume I am a reliable authority on EFT.
I’ve come up with an exercise of sorts that I share with people when I explain this concept. Google your name and credentials ie: Joe Borders, MFT. What are the first results? Is it Psychology Today? This is because Google currently thinks that Psychology Today is more of an authority on the subject of you than your own website is!
Why is this a thing? Because google can see through your website that you, or at least your internet presence is all about mental health, counseling, therapy, depression, anxiety etc. It knows that Psychology Today is an authority on these subjects, so thereby, it assumes that Psychology Today must also be an authority on the subject of you. Essentially Google trusts Psychology Today to provide relevant and accurate information about you more than it trusts your own website to. If you searched for yourself and your website came up before Psychology Today, congratulations! you’re on the right path with your SEO!….or you don’t have a listing on Psychology Today.
So! How does all this relate to SacWellness? Your profile on SacWellness will provide you with another quality backlink to your website. As SacWellness grows, Google will come to see it as an authority on subjects involving mental health, counseling, and therapy. By having a SacWellness listing, Google will see that SacWellness is linking to your website and thereby assume that your website is also an authoritative source of information on these topics.
Does Psychology Today Provide Backlinks Too?
This is where people often ask me “does Psychology today do this for me too?”. Well that’s an interesting story. I have been trying to figure this out myself for a while and somebody else finally cracked this mystery for me. Jeff Guenther over at therapy den recently wrote a revealing article about the shady side of Psychology Today. In it he answers this question that I have been asking for years.
If you do any analytics on your website you wont find any backlinks from Psychology Today. It turns out, instead of providing users with helpful backlinks, like SacWellness does, every time a user clicks on your website link, Psychology Today momentarily redirects the user to another website, that then redirects them to your site. Why would they do this? because by doing so they are avoiding giving you any SEO juice and thereby reducing your ability to out rank them! Isn’t that crazy?
Going back to my Sue Johnson/EFT analogy earlier. If Sue Johnson talked about me being a good EFT therapist, it would carry a lot of weight and I would have a line out the door for EFT. If instead she talked about someone else who then mentioned me, I would receive a lot less recognition for it. This is what Psychology Today does.
Driving Traffic and Reducing Bounce Rate
Two other important things that google takes into account when deciding how to rank your site are traffic and bounce rate. Traffic is simply how many people visit your site, how they get there, and what information they appear to be in search of. SacWellness will help drive traffic to your website by getting your information in front of people who might not necessarily see your site otherwise.
Your bounce rate is essentially the percentage of visitors to your site who leave after viewing no more than the page they landed on. Google considers high bounce rates to be a sign that a site does not contain quality information that is relevant to the search terms. SacWellness can help with your bounce rate by increasing the number of quality inbound visitors to your site. When searching for a therapist on SacWellness, potential clients sort through many other therapists before they decide to contact you or visit your website. In theory, because of this, the majority of people who visit your site through your SacWellness profile should be interested in learning more about you. They will be more likely to browse around and spend time on your site, thereby reducing your bounce rate. Google may then take this information and interpret it to mean that your website tends to contain the information people are looking for when they visit it.
More on SEO
As time goes on I will likely go into the topic of SEO more on this blog, but for now, if you are looking for help with your site SEO I strongly recommend contacting Becky DeGrossa at Counseling Wise. She and her team are very knowledgeable and helpful in the areas of SEO and internet presence for therapists. You can also join her two facebook groups that are also very helpful: Private Practice Builders and CounselingWise
This is a good place to point out another example of how search engines rank by popularity and connection to authoritative sources. Because I just linked to Becky’s website, which is an authority on SEO for therapists, search engines are likely to see this post as more authoritative of a source on SEO for therapists. Its kind of like how someone takes you more seriously if you can site theorists and authors when providing psychoeducation :-p.
-If you haven’t yet, sign up for a listing on SacWellness! All new listings created before July 10th get 5 months free!
About the Author
Joe Borders is a marriage and family therapist located in Roseville and Sacramento. He is primarily a sex positive gender therapist, but also specializes in working with couples, teens, addiction, and the LGBTQ community. Joe is also the owner and founder of SacWellness. You can find out more about him by visiting his sacwellness listing or by visiting his website: therapy and counseling in Roseville and Sacramento