Jeff Guenther on Jan 28, 2018
Simply put, you will attract more clients if you rank high in online searches. If you want to even have a chance to rank on the first page of results, you need to put popular keywords in the right place on your website. If you do this correctly then you'll have a huge leg up on the competition.
But first, let’s do a super quick review of what keywords are, why they are so important and how to find them.
Keywords, or keyword phrases, are the word or string of words that are typed into an online search engine, such as Google. When someone goes to google.com and types in the words “therapist in portland” they have entered a search query consisting of keywords.
Keywords are important because the content on your website must match the keywords that are entered into online searches. If you do not have matching keywords on your website, then it will not be displayed on search engine result pages. For example, if someone searches for “therapist in portland” but my website never mentions that I am a therapist in Portland, the searcher will not be shown my page. Why I wouldn’t use the words “therapy” and “Portland” on my website if I was a therapist in Portland makes no sense at all….but you get the idea.
The best way to come up with keywords that people are typing into Google is to listen to your clients talk about their presenting problems. Clients often use the same language about their issue, whether they are talking about it or typing about it. Check out this list of the top mental health issues for more ideas.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, where exactly should you put all the wonderful keywords you’ve found on your website? I am going to answer this question as if I was a Google spider crawling your webpage and trying to quickly understand what your page is about, what keywords are most important, and what search terms you should display for. This list is in order of importance.
If you want to get right to work, download and save this list. The list covers an additional four spots your keywords should be (in addition to the eight covered in this article).
The first place that Google looks for keywords is in your page title. Every single page on your website should have a unique page title with unique keywords. So don’t even think about skimping on your contact page. It needs just as much as love and attention as your homepage.
Page titles are displayed at the top of web browsers and on search engine result pages. If you have a WordPress website, you should use the Yoast plugin to manage your page titles. If you have a Squarespace website, you should read this article that teaches you how to easily edit your page titles. If you built your website with another program, you should Google how to edit your page title. It’s really easy and only takes seconds.
If you want me to practically optimize your page titles for you, you should read this great article I wrote.
Next up, you’ll want to put as many of your keywords into the headings and subheadings of your copy on each page of your site as you can. The copy throughout your pages should be separated into blocks of easily digestible text. Each block of text should have a heading above it. The heading should be relevant to the block of text and also contain important keywords. Easy!
Don’t go crazy if you can’t integrate every keyword into your headings. Just pick a few keywords that integrate easily and naturally.
For my webpage on codependency I use the following headings:
Isn’t it hilarious that this is on the list? Of course your keywords are going to be in the content of your webpages. But even more funny is that it’s not the number one place where your keywords should live.
Sorry to be captain obvious here, but make sure all your important keywords are spread throughout your content. Aim for repeating your targeted keywords three to five times. If you have a page that has a lot of words, then repeat them more frequently.
One of the best things you can do here is to try and use some synonyms for your keywords. So if one of your keywords is “therapy,” you should also try to use words like “counseling,” “therapist,” “counselor,” “psychotherapy,” “psychology” and “treatment” in your content.
Your top priority here is to make sure that your content reads naturally and doesn’t feel like you have forced as many keywords into your sentences as possible. (Overstuffing keywords could lead to your page being penalized by Google.)
Anchor text is the text that is used inside of a hyperlink. In the example below “helps people find an therapist” is the anchor text.
A new website was launched that helps people find a therapist in Portland.
You’ll naturally have links pointing to different websites on the internet. These links should provide information that would be helpful and useful to your visitors. Instead of hiding links in anchor text like “click here” or “more info”, you should throw in a keyword or two that is a good match for your webpage.
This one is really easy, often ignored: adding “alt text” to your images. Alt text is meant to describe the images that you have on your website. Most website building platforms have a place where can enter the alt text. Take a look at the screenshot below to see where you enter alt text on WordPress.
URL stands for Universal Resource Locator, which is just a fancy name for web address. If you can put a keyword or two in your domain name then you’re good to go. But if you can’t, because all those domains have been taken, or you just don’t like how it looks, then you should be sure to add keywords in the subpages of your website.
For instance, my webpage on codependency can be found at jeffguentherlpc.com/codependency. Voila! Keyword in the URL.
Here is yet another routinely ignored place to insert keywords. When you create or download an image to your computer, you’ll have the opportunity to name the file. When you name the file, you should enter some keywords into the file name. Believe it or not, Google checks out the names of all your files. It’s especially important to put keywords in your file name if you’d like to rank high in Google image searches.
Just like the anchor text for external links that are pointed to websites outside of your own, you should also put keywords in the anchor text of links that are pointing to other pages within your own website.
If you have a page on treating depression, link to that page with anchor text reading “depression” whenever you use the word elsewhere on your website.
Now that you know where all the keywords should live on your website, get to work on placing them where they ought to be! You’ll be surprised how quickly you can get these eight suggestions completed. If you’d like to learn about four more places to put your keywords, download and save this list! And, if you have any questions about keyword placement, please leave them in the comments section.
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.