Jeff Guenther on Jan 07, 2018
First off, I like SEO professionals. I am friends with SEO professionals and I think many of them do amazing work. However, there are many reasons why it’s a good idea to do your own SEO and spend your marketing dollars elsewhere. Here are my top five reasons NOT to outsource SEO services for your therapy website. And I’ll leave “saving money” off this list since it’s such an obvious benefit.
Search engine optimization can feel incredibly technical from the outside. Like you need to know trade secrets or have programming knowledge. That’s not true at all. The most technophobic among us can learn how to apply SEO to our websites. And therapists, who are great at working with people, can also establish good relationships with their computers.
And you may not know this, but Google doesn’t want SEO to be difficult for website owners. Google wants you to create a website with your visitors in mind, not search engines and they are constantly updating their search algorithm so that it can get better at understanding websites and even the playing field for us regular folks who don’t want to hire a fancy SEO professional.
The mental health industry is unique and unlike any other. When you create a website, write content and apply SEO, you are seeking to establish rapport, create an emotional connection, build authority and form trust with your potential clients. Mental health professionals are encouraging their website visitors to make an appointment and share very personal issues. Finding an SEO professional that understands this and is able to balance these variables can be difficult. Many other industries are more straightforward and primarily focus on sales and click through rates. And those are the industries that get the most benefit and the highest return on investment in working with SEO professionals.
And even if you find an SEO professional who specializes in health and wellness, they may not immediately understand what makes you unique and how best to represent you online. Their main concern will be moving you up the search results, which is great, but sometimes they don’t take the time to get to know who you really are. And if they do take the time to thoroughly and methodically understand your one-of-a-kind brand, it will cost you the big bucks.
SEO professionals are super handy when your website focuses on air travel, technology trends, breaking news or pop culture. Those sectors are ultra-competitive and pages on those sites need to be constantly created and updated.
However, websites for therapists don’t live in the same digital dog-eat-dog world. In our industry, websites need to be set up thoughtfully and ethically and, once created and optimized, kept fresh through blog posts and link campaigns. But health and wellness websites do not face the same need for unrelenting SEO support that is the norm in other industries.
If you don’t learn how to optimize your own website now, then you may never learn at all. Hiring an SEO professional will stifle your growth and encourage the false belief that you can’t do it yourself. Applying SEO to your website is within your grasp. Trust me!
As a therapist, you would never serve as an enabler for your clients. You would teach them everything you know so that they can live healthfully and independently in the world and not have to depend on you forever. And if your clients had to go through some growing pains in order to meet their needs, you would encourage them to do so. You wouldn’t get in the way of a learning opportunity for them and you shouldn’t hire an SEO professional to get in the way of your digital learning opportunity either.
Like I mentioned in reason number three, we are not in an overly competitive industry, digitally speaking. So we don’t need highly skilled SEO professionals keeping track of all the tiny details around the clock. Also, the vast majority of therapists are not thinking too much about applying SEO to their websites. Over and over again, I see wellness providers treat their website like a static business card. They create it over a weekend and then never go back to update it again. That’s your competition. Odds are, even if you put minimal effort into optimizing your website, creating fresh content and asking people to link to you, you’ll see substantial gains.
I love to empower therapists and counselors to learn SEO. If you have a question about SEO, please write me at [email protected] and I’ll probably devote a full blog post and free guide to the answer.
Also, everything you ever want to know about SEO is just one search away on Google. Type your question into their search box, learn the answer and apply it to your website. The feeling of accomplishment when you figure it out yourself is worth so much more than paying someone else to do it for you.
I would like end this article by repeating what I said at the start. I’m not a hater. I like SEO professionals. The majority of them are incredibly skilled! If you got a great referral from a friend, then by all means, go for it. Maybe it’s not worth it to you to learn this stuff and the only thing you want to focus on is your health service. That’s cool. I get it. I just want to let people know: it’s not as daunting as you think. If you’d like to get started with SEO download this free workbook.
Jeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005. Jeff is the creator and owner of Portland Therapy Center, a highly ranked therapist directory. Jeff, and his team, have launched a new progressive therapist directory, TherapyDen.