Jeff Guenther on Oct 14, 2018
I have written a ton about how therapist can move up in Google search rankings and attract more clients. I’ve made ultimate checklists and mini checklists that cover all the important things you need to do. I’ve even made an SEO course for therapists that walks you through optimizing your website step-by-step. Many of my tips focus on what to add to your site in order for Google to understand what search terms you should rank for. And while it’s still super important to have the right content on your website, Google is getting better and better at understanding what keywords you should rank for even if you aren’t the best at adding quality content to your site. With that in mind, this article will be about how you can move up in online search ranks by doing something other than adding more content. Today, we are going to focus on getting more links to your site. Before you click away because you’ve tried and failed in the past to get other websites to link to yours, keep reading this post because I’m going to tell you a super easy way I collect links and you can too.
Before I tell you what I do to attract more links, I just wanted to really quickly tell you why they are so important to Google. Back when Google first launched their online search tool, they figured out a way to differentiate themselves from all the other web search tools. In the late 90’s, search tools would rank websites based on how many times certain keywords were present on a website. So if a therapist wanted to rank high in search results all they would have to do is make sure they had something like “therapy for depression in Seattle” repeated over and over again in order to rank number one in Seattle. Obviously that became easy to hack. Then Google added another factor to their rankings. They looked at the content on the webpage and they also counted how many times other websites linked to it. For Google, links counted as votes. They figured the more other sites linked to a site, the more important that site was and it probably should be at the top of the results.
Today, Google has added hundreds, and probably thousands, of other factors that go into how high websites should rank. But the amount of links has stayed one of the strongest and consistent indicators of how high a site will display in search results. Bottom line, your site needs to get more links. Luckily, it’s not as hard as you might think.
The reason it’s easier for therapists to move up the ranks is because most counselors don’t try to get people to link to their website. They build a nice looking site with good content and then just stop there. That allows therapists that do a little link building to outrank them.
So who exactly should you get to link to your website? Well, anyone really. The more links you get the better it is. Well, almost anyone. You shouldn’t get sketchy or weird sites to link to you. You shouldn’t get link farms (which are websites that link out to thousands of sites) to link to you. And you should never pay someone to find a bunch of sites to link to you. But it would be fine if you got your grandmother’s recipe website and your cousins photography site to link to you. It would be kinda random, but Google would count it as a link!
However, there are a couple different kinds of links therapists should be going after that Google will count as a little more important than others. Those are “authority links” and links from other therapists and healers.
An authority link is a link from a popular and respected website. And it helps if it’s a local website that is in your same area. An authority link in your city could be a school, university, weekly or daily newspaper, government site or any other popular local website. The higher the website ranks in Google, typically the more authority it has. If you get a link from one of those sites Google, will take your website a bit more seriously.
You should also aim to get links from other practitioners in your industry so that Google can see that other like-minded professionals find your site important. Getting links from other therapists works, and so does getting links from doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, energy healers and anyone else practicing healthcare in the community. Again, it’s best if it’s local. But you shouldn’t turn down a link from a site that’s national or across the country.
The easiest way to get a link from an authority site is to sign up for a free profile with ThearpyDen. Sorry for the shameless plug. But Google is starting to see TherapyDen’s therapist directory as an important mental health site. So you might as well create an account, fill out your profile and enter your website into your contact details. The link you get from TherapyDen will start moving you up in the ranks.
Side note: You might be thinking that the link from your Psychology Today profile gives you a boost. It doesn’t. I explain why here.
The first thing you need to do is reach out to all your therapist and healer friends who have a website and ask them to link to your website. It doesn’t matter where they link to you on their website. They can throw you on a “trusted resources” page on their site and that’ll be good enough.
Next, make a list of all the other sites you’d like to get links from. Like I said, find websites that are authorities in your town and also sites from other healthcare workers. Once you’ve made a list of at least 30 websites, find their contact emails and send them a message asking them to add a link to your website. It works best if you can make a good case for the link. If you specialize in counseling teenagers then you should note that when you’re reaching out to the local middle school and high school.
Some websites will want something in return for adding a link to your site. That’s fair and to be expected. If that’s the case then you can offer to write a custom and unique article for their site with your website linked in your author bio. You can even offer to make a short “how to” video that provides some mental health tips. Ask them if they have any other ideas.
I use three different types of emails when I reach out to website owners. If you’d like to use the template emails that I have created and edit them for your own purposes you can download them for free by clicking here.
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.