top of page

5 Steps to Improve Your Private Practice SEO

is a therapist with over ten years of successful private practice experience. With a passion for Search Engine Optimization aka SEO, he has been teaching healthcare workers how to acquire more clients through their digital assets since 2005. In 2015, Jeff created Portland Oregon’s number one mental health directory, consistently ranked first for all important search terms.  He recently launched The Practice Academy in January 2016, which helps therapists and wellness providers improve their digital marketing and search results attracting more clients online.

“Jeff, what led you into the business you are in now?”

Deciding between psychology, or computer science, Jeff went with his gut and picked counseling, although he always thought about the technology route he could have chosen. In 2012, Jeff was able to create an online healthcare website called the Therapist Directory. He enjoyed creating it, and it was a challenge to rank #1 for all popular search terms, simultaneously teaching him how to move up in search rankings. This all came together and in January 2016 he started to post every week how therapists and other wellness providers can move up in rankings online.

“What is the best advice you have ever received that relates to being an entrepreneur?”

"Work as hard as you possibly can and if you fail, learn as much as you can from that failure. Regroup and keep on moving."

“How exactly does SEO and marketing strategies work?”

  • You construct a website in order to rank it high in organic results (organic meaning unpaid search engine optimizing results).

  • Marketing, time and money go into an SEO for a website, therefore modern marketing has a lot to do with it! It’s practically a modern day business card – something you hand out to potential clients to help them understand you more.

  • We like how Katie put it: “Your website is almost like a store, but no one really knows about you unless they drive.  People might “drive by” your website online, but not likely.  SEO is all about getting the word out. The marketing strategy is a consistent strategy of identifying what works and what doesn't.”

“Google has spiders?!”

Yes! Google has spiders that they send out into the world. They crawl all the sites, jump from link to link and try to understand your site. They determine if it's a “good” or “bad” site. They then bring it back to “Google Servers” where Google organizes, categorizes, and displays the site on search pages. Because Google is so good at what they do, they have created a spider that ranks the site as if it is a human, therefore the goal for us is to optimize for them.

Let’s jump into Jeff’s 5 steps on how to improve SEO!

  • Three to Six Keywords for Each Individual Page -Keyword: a search term or query that people are typing into the search box For example: Therapy in Miami. -The trick here is, don’t neglect ANY page! Individual webpages rank on Google, not whole websites.

  • Create Page Titles for Each Page and Keywords -So, with those 3-6 keywords, utilize them in page titles and keywords for each page. -When the Google spiders go to crawl, their first stop is at your page title. This helps them figure out what the page is about and what it should be ranked. -Tips from Jeff: page titles should be no longer than 65 characters long, including the spaces. Try to use as many keywords for the page as you can.

  • Put Keywords in Content of Web Page -Next, take all of those wonderful keywords and put them in the content of your web page. -Google spiders first stop is the page title, then the content, headings, and subheadings. -Content should be broken up into easily digestible paragraphs with welcoming and approachable language that is easy to read. Naturally weave all keywords into that copy, only around 3-5 times (unless the article is long). You don’t want to stuff in as much as you possibly can, because then a human being as well as the Google spiders will think, “what in the world…” -You also can put keywords in secret places, like in the alternative text of images, or in your descriptions, or even some videos! Anywhere you can find text, the spiders will gobble it up and really get a good idea of what your website is all about.

  • Specialty Page – Long tail Keywords -Specialty Page (SP): a page that focuses on one of your specialties. For example, PTSD or anxiety. -The best way to rate high in search engine results is to have a great SP! -When you create your SP, cater it to long tail keywords, such as “therapists in Portland that specializes in codependency”, instead of short tail keywords, such as “therapist”. -Create these pages around what people are asking you in session, for example, like Jeff expounded on, codependency. Any common questions, definition of the issue, symptoms, causes, and treatments all need to live in your SP.

  • Get as Many Links as Possible -Links count as votes. Websites with the most quality links are going to rank higher than those with the least amount of links.  Links from newspapers, really popular blogs, or even local colleges are really great links. Links from your therapist buddy that just created a website are good too! -Google is in love with Wikipedia. If you ever get a link on Wiki, that's a really strong link, and Jeff even challenges us to go ahead and try!! -NEVER pay for links. If it feels shady, it is shady. -At first, shoot for around 30 links. Get these through social media accounts, guest blogs, or links from other therapist friends. Jeff said that if we could even get to 100 links we would be at the TOP of our game!

“How long does it take Google to realize you are changing your site and moving up in ranks?”

  • If you start with 3-6 keywords, Google will crawl your website 2-3 times a week, take information, and send it back to the server. Then, it will begin adjusting the rating. This can take around 1-3 weeks. Sometimes 2 months, but typically 3 weeks.

“What skill level do therapists need in order to make these website edits?”

  • These are all beginner skill level. We can totally do this, easy! Google wants everybody to rank too! They want it to be an equal playing field.

  • Check out some of Jeff’s website builder recommendations, you can rank high with any of these website builders: -Squarespace -Wordpress

“Jeff, what do you want to make sure our listeners get from your podcast?”

He wants us to feel like we can actually do this. Get excited. Get obsessed with it. See how far you can move up in search rankings and how many clients you can get from that. Anybody can do this. People don't have to pay a ton of money to rank high!

Jeff’s giveaway this week is a downloadable PDF of all the tips we learned here! You won’t have to take notes, just carry this around in your desktop or computer!

Check out the Show Notes page to see the two amazing books Jeff recommends as well!

CLICK HERE to listen to Jeff’s podcast, and be sure to check out his recommendations! Assure you subscribe so you can stay in the loop of ALL the podcasts we release. The Private Practice Startup would also be super grateful if you could rate and review our podcasts.  Thanks again for allowing us to Inspire YOU from Startup to Mastery!



bottom of page