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…
By Joe Borders,
Marriage and Family Therapist
May 8, 2019
Why You Should Join SacWellness if You’re a Sacramento Area Therapist
It’s national small business week! We wanted to take this opportunity to tell therapists in the area more about SacWellness and why they should sign up. It all comes down to 3 things: we’re cheap, local, and really dedicated to making something good for our community.
***Important disclaimer** In this video I talk about big directories like Psychology Today using “NoFollow” tags. At this time we are not using them, but we recently discovered that Google mandates their in some cases that may apply to us in the future when we start charging for the site. See this link to read more about this.
As a member of our local therapeutic community, I’m dedicated to making SacWellness the best it can be and to grow it into something that can really be useful to people. As such, I’ve been offering therapists free listings on the site since it launched in June 2018. I recently extended the free period till 2020. I’m partially doing this because I’m having a second child. Yay! ^_^. But I’m also doing this because I don’t feel like the site is “done” yet. SacWellness will never truly be “done”, but I want it to be in a stable, useful place before I charge people for it.
We’re local and we care!
One of the main points I stress to people considering listing on SacWellness is that having a smaller, local alternative to big sites like Psychology Today benefits us all. Most of this comes down to SEO (search engine optimization): the stuff you do to get your site ranking in search engines.
One of the main ways search engines like Google decide how to rank websites is through a system of estimating how authoritative sites are. Part of how they do this is through something akin to a popularity contest. Big sites like Psychology Today are seen as reliable, authoritative sources of information about counseling, therapy, and finding therapists. When Google sees Psychology Today linking to your website on your listing, Google takes that as a vote in favor of your site being a useful and authoritative source of information about mental health, counseling, etc….or at least that’s how it usually works.
The problem is that most, if not all of the directories I’ve ever been listed on myself have used some form of technique to bypass this process so that you don’t get that vote in favor of your site being a valuable source of information. Most sites do this through using “noindex tags” which basically tell Google to ignore your website when it comes up on the site in question. It took me forever to figure this out, because big directories like Psychology Today aren’t listed as links to your site in Google Web Master (now Google Search Console).
Why do they do this?
because it keeps you from ever outranking them! Try this: google your name. Is your website the first result, or Psychology Today and/or another directory? If another directory is coming up first, that means Google essentially considers that directory to be a more authoritative, reliable source of information about YOU! What this also means, is that if potential clients Google your name while looking for you, they’re likely to click on Psychology Today’s link rather than yours. To Google, this further reinforces that Psychology Today’s page is a better source of information about you and should appear before your site. It’s a vicious cycle that ultimately hinders your efforts at ranking in search engines.
***A week after writing this post I did a lot of research on the subject and discovered that Google actually mandates this practice for all sites that charge for links. It’s unclear at this time if this applies to us because we aren’t charging for links, but listings that give users the ability to include a link to their sites. You can read more about this in our blog post – Why Directories Don’t Pass Page Rank -****
SacWellness doesn’t do this
These kinds of practices keep search results for therapists in our area clogged with these giant directories, rather than actual therapist websites. This is part of why it’s so hard for us to get ranking in Google! SacWellness doesn’t use any of these coding techniques to null the passing of SEO juice to your site. As mentioned above, we recently discovered that we will likely have to change this in the future, but at this time we are not in violation of Google’s guidelines because we aren’t charging for the site or receiving any kind of kickback or reimbursement from users who place links to their sites on their listings.
We Need You!
In order to get the site ranking in search engines we need therapists like you to join the site! The more therapists we have, the better our chances of getting ranking. We’re already doing this, and our site is ranking really well. After only being out for almost a year, SacWellness is ranking on page one for around 300 of the 900 keywords we’re tracking. The site is working too! In April we had 23 phone calls and 10 emails sent through the site. We also had 135 people visit therapists’ websites through their SacWellness listings! This potentially means the site generated up to 168 referrals in the month of April!….I’m sure not all of those converted to actual scheduling clients, but still, that’s a lot!
If you haven’t created a listing yet, please consider doing so. If you have any questions or need any help with anything related to the site, let me know! I’m really here to help! ^_^
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