Search engine optimization (SEO) generally makes the brains of psychotherapists, healers, and intuitives glaze over with boredom. It's techie-speak and complicated and way beyond our skill set. And yet, we're told it's vital to internet marketing and driving clients to our websites and private practices. Well, there is good news for those of us who don't want to be spending our time obsessing about ranking, keyword research, backlinks, and such.
SEO for 2017 is much more user-friendly and oriented towards humans rather than techie algorithms.
User Experience is Key
UX, or user experience, is one of the biggest factors now for SEO. What that means is how easy and pleasing it is for human visitors to interact with your website. The focus is on how quickly website visitors can find and get to what they are wanting from your site.
This takes into account the simplicity of design and content, and removal of visual and verbal distractions. It means having buttons, links, forms, and any other interactive features right where a visitor expects to see them, so they can do what you want them to do -- make an appointment or download an info product.
UX includes minimizing clutter, which can include irrelevant paragraphs of psychobabble touting the benefits of counseling. Also counting as clutter can be old style vertical menus that run the length of the page, and sidebars stuffed with random widgets that have little to no relevance to the page focus.
Frequent Fresh Content
Set it and forget it websites are a thing of the long distant past. It is crucial now to have fresh content, and the best way to do that is to blog. Six hundred words is the usually recommend length for a blog post, and it's not really that difficult to reach that length if you simply write like you speak, and concentrate on answering an implied question.
Helpful to Humans Content
A corollary to the fresh content factor is that all pages need to have content that is relevant and directly, immediately helpful to your visitor -- who, remember, is a potential client or referral source.
What this means specifically is to avoid preaching at your readers. Instead, connect with the concerns they are living with that are causing them to be on the internet seeking help. No matter how sophisticated or educated your ideal clients are, when they are under stress, fear, guilt, anger, grief, relationship failure, trauma, the consequences of addiction, or any other emotional, physical, or spiritual distress, they are looking to make a heartfelt connection with a professional.
Social Media Signals
You may have avoided social media up to now, but that will just be a form of professional self-sabotage from now on. And according to SEO expert Neil Patel, Facebook is the place to be.
Not only do Facebook shares, comments and likes outperform Twitter, they are also more significant to SEO than keywords, backlinks, and word counts.
One good way to use Facebook is to post an image and short promotional blurb about your blog posts that interests others to come to your website to read the blog. Wait a day after posting such a blurb, then comment on that Facebook post yourself. Ask a question, try to generate a discussion among your followers.
The more activity on your Facebook post, the more people will click on the link back to your website to read the whole blog post. That generates signals to Google that your have an audience for your website.
Long Tail URLs on Blogs
First, let's clarify what a url is. That's the internet address for any specific page of any website. It includes both the domain name of the site in general, AND the name of the specific page, or in the case of a blog post, the title of the post.
For some WordPress blogs, the post url is a number. That's no good. And usually it's changeable. Find out from your webmaster or webhosting company how to do that.
If you have a Wix blog, you'll find the place to change the post url on the right side of the blogging tool. Click on the link that says Advanced SEO, and edit the field for URL permalink.
Avoid Slow Loading
It's still true that about 40% of website visitors will abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to fully load. And it's likely true that 80% of those visitors will never return. So it's important to design your pages for the fastest possible response time.
That means removing unnecessary bells and whistles, especially from the homepage. Slower loading functions like videos, dynamic features such as animations, and uncompressed photos might serve you better on interior pages.
Of course your meta title and description tags are still important. They are what everyone will see in the search results in Google.
There is a bit of an art to writing compelling page title and description tags. Here's an example:
In this example, Shamanic is the keyword, Spirit Work is the page name, and WiseWomanSeer is the domain brand. If this business wanted local in person clients, there is room in the title to add a city name or phone number. To be more effective, the description should probably include the same keyword as well.
Meta tags are added to your website in the settings for each page, and each page's tags should be different. Having the same description and title for all pages won't do you any good, and could actually be detrimental to your SEO.