Jeff Guenther on Jan 14, 2018
As we all know, websites that rank higher in online search results will attract more visitors. And more visitors, means more clients. So there is good reason why you’d want to rank high in search results. But do you ever wonder exactly why your website is not ranking as high as other websites? Does it seem like a mystery to you? Maybe you’ve followed all the best practice rules when creating a website for your practice. Maybe your website looks great and is user friendly. But you’re still not ranking as high as you think you should!
In this article, I am going to tell you why four websites are ranking high on the first page of the Google search results and how you can too. I’ll score each website with my Mini SEO Checklist. (You can download the Ultimate SEO Checklist here for free.) The Mini version isn’t as comprehensive as the Ultimate version, with just 30 items, but it will still give you a really good idea of where exactly your site needs improvement and where you’re doing well. My advice: start with the Mini and then move on to the more comprehensive Ultimate SEO Checklist.
One thing you’ll notice with two out of four of these websites: the page that ranks high in search results is not the homepage. It’s a sub-page that is optimized specifically for the mid-tail search. This highlights one of the most important things about SEO. Individual pages rank, not websites. Because of this fact, therapist are able to rank highly and compete for space on the first page of results just by focusing on specific pages of their sites that are rich in quality content. Let’s dive in!
The number two Google listing: Front Range Counseling Center – Depression Counseling Page
Front Range Counseling Center score:
Mini Checklist: 28/30
As you can see, Front Range Counseling Center is the number two listing on the first page of Google search results for search query “therapy depression denver.” That’s a really good ranking and is sure to bring them a lot of visits.
When you take a closer look at their high ranking page on depression, you can see why Google likes it so much. It has a lot of useful content. Not only do they put the keyword “depression” in all the right spots, but they use synonyms for the word in the first paragraph. Google loves that! They also provide the reader with some interesting stats and normalize the experience of depression.
After the first paragraph, they link to a handy depression questionnaire before talking about how stress is linked to depression. That’s a smart move because “stress” and “depression” are often searched at the same time. They are related terms in Google’s eyes.
The website then throws in some more related keyword terms by listing symptoms of depression. This gives Google a really good idea of what this page and website is all about.
The page ends with a list of psychological and nutritional treatment options for depression. Now Google has a really good idea of what search terms this webpage should show up for. It’s easy for the Google robots to clearly see that this page, and website, is meant to educate the reader about what depression is, what symptoms are common and how to treat the illness. This page is a perfect specialty page.
Do you have pages on your website with this type of information? If you don’t, then you are probably not ranking very well for mid-tail keyword searches.
It doesn’t hurt that the full website scores an almost perfect score on the Mini Checklist. There are number of counselors in Denver, which makes competition medium to high. If you want a chance to rank well in a market like Denver, you’ll need to get scores similar to Front Range Counseling Center on the checklist.
Why does this website rank higher than yours? Front Range Counseling Center has great scores on both checklists. Which shows that they have a well-rounded site. And they have a page all about depression that has some great content that will pull in a lot of mid-tail search queries about the topic.
The number four Google listing: Relationship Resolutions
Mini Checklist: 20/30
Coming in at the number four position on the first page of Google for the mid-tail search query “couples counseling pittsburgh” is Relationship Resolutions. Check out the site. Like me, your first question might be, “really, how?” (Sorry Relationship Resolutions!)
I don’t want to knock Relationship Resolutions, but at first glance this website isn’t all that special. It’s not even mobile ready, which personally drives me, and Google, crazy. It doesn’t look like there is much quality content. I would imagine no keyword research went in to the creation of this website. Their page on couples counselingdoesn’t even have that much copy.
Their scores of 20 for the Mini Checklist is pretty lackluster as well. You’d think a city like Pittsburgh would have a lot of competition from therapists online. You’d be wrong. Online competition for couples counselors in Pittsburgh is weak. That’s one of the main reasons they rank so high.
The other reason is that the website does actually have a lot of content if you go digging for it. There are almost 30 practitioners on staff and each of them has their own profile page. They also have a FAQ page, with some pretty decent content, that can be accessed by clicking on a link in the footer of the website.
Since this website is all about therapy for relationships and almost every page has content created around couples counseling, it is ranking high in a market that isn’t that competitive. There may be about 40 to 50 pages on this website. And each one of them is focused on therapy for couples.
Now, if you’re just an individual practitioner, chances are, you won’t have 50 pages about couples counseling. However, if you specialize in couples counseling, it’s not too much of a stretch to try to eventually have 50 blog posts on couples counseling. That will help you rank high. Plus, if you’re in Pittsburgh and get a better score on the checklists, you’ll probably rank higher than this website in no time.
Why does this website rank higher than yours? While this site ranks low on both checklists they can get away with it because of the low competition for couples counselors in Pittsburgh. They also have 50 pages on their website devoted to profiles of couples counselors. That amount of content has boosted them to a top spot.
The number three Google listing: Well Clinic
Well Clinic San Francisco:
Mini Checklist: 30/30
EMDR is one of the most searched treatment orientations. It's getting a lot of buzz right now and it is starting to be more widely used in the mental health community. If it's of interest to you, getting trained and certified in EMDR, and creating content around it on your website, would be a fantastic business move. And, of course, it's a great tool to have when treating clients with past trauma.
When you visit the Well Clinic, you can tell right away that it's a sharp website. The design is modern and the website is easy to navigate. It feels inviting and simple to understand. They took a straightforward approach when developing their therapy website and I recommend everyone do the same.
The design is centered around giving the website visitor all the information they would need in order to schedule a session, without overwhelming them. The navigation is easy to understand and doesn't have a complicated hierarchy of pages to sift through. The services that are provided are quickly found from the main navigation bar. The issues that the Well Clinic treats are identified by large icons that you can click. And each mental health issue has its very own page with basic information that a visitor may want to collect.
Keywords and Google search terms were clearly identified when the website was created. I imagine the creator of the website started with a list of terms they wanted to rank for and then created a website around that. One peek at their EMDR page proves this theory. The term "EMDR" can be found in the heading and sub headings of all the content. They plainly define what EMDR is and how it can be used in therapy. They answer a few frequently asked questions, and they also have a video about EMDR. Every therapist should use this exact structure when creating pages about the issues they focus on and the treatments they use in counseling. Good job Well Clinic!
Why does this website rank higher than yours? Because of how it is laid out. Well Clinic mapped out each page of their site before they built it. They planned on using a core group of related keywords for each page. All the content feels like it was created by thinking about what clients typically ask when starting out in therapy.
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.