Google has to learn to trust you:
I LOVE the scene in The Princess Bride “You keep using that word- I do not think it means what you think it means.” The truth is, writing your website is really hard and really easy. The first step is always making sure your community can relate. While the second step is ensuring it can be found by the people who need it! It can be tricky to find the right balance of using technical terms that people might be searching for, while defining them so that lay people can understand, connect, and stumble upon what they are looking for when they just don’t have the words.
There might not be as many people searching for what you think they are searching for. If there are only 10 people in your area searching for a particular issue- at best you should only expect 1-2 calls a month if your website is on point. Remember the stages of change- many people searching are in the contemplation stage and they aren’t quite ready for action. Great websites help people move from contemplation to action by giving them education, empathy, and a sense of hope and safety to move to the next stage.
Therapists are often tempted to try to make their website show up for very general searches or “all the searches” in order to combat this issue. However, it often leads to their websites not being very impactful (people don’t call) or Google doesn’t quite know what you do or see you as an expert (it won’t show up on Page 1).
- Why you need to start a website now: Some people are going to need to look at your website several times before they feel confident enough to pick up the phone. I’ve had clients tell me that they bookmarked my site MONTHS before they called and peeked at it several times- every time they are looking in on you- they are building trust! AND- if you happen to have added a video or a blog over those months- that could help them break through their self-doubt and get started!
- Therapists Get Stuck on Whether to Niche or Not
- A good therapy website educates and empathizes with clients. A GREAT therapy website makes a person feel so incredibly heard and safe that it causes them to pick up the phone right this second because they KNOW this is the time to get started. While I’ve seen some therapists who are great at connecting- it is pretty hard to connect to everybody that deeply without getting a wee bit specific. This does NOT mean you have to ONE niche or specialization. In fact, in some cases- you really shouldn’t! It DOES mean you need to learn how to write in a way that is empathetic, impactful, and a bit specific. You might have several pages that describe how you help people in specific situations!
- While I can build a basic website and write something impactful in just a few hours- that is NOT a skill that just happened. It took me years of practice and training to be able to do that! While we do NOT recommend this- many therapists take weeks, months, and sometimes years to finally feel confident enough to press the “publish” button. Until it is published nobody can possibly call you, google can start to trust you, and you can’t take this off your mental to-do list!
- Already have a website? Here is a quick website checklist to help that website trigger phone calls:
- Is your picture on the front page?
- Do you make sure that the name of your city and what you do is worked into every page of your website in a few different places (technical terms: headings, url, image alt tags, meta descriptions)?
- Do you have at least one niche or specialty page on your site where you get really heart-felt and specific about your passion?
- Does every page on your website invite people to further connect with you?
- Is your website written to the type of clients that you love working with- in a tone and way of speaking that best connects with them?
- Do you know what your clients are googling? Are you showing up when you put those search terms in?
- If you aren’t showing up where you want to show up- make a plan to write articles (blogs) about those topics or even record videos about those topics.
- If you aren’t sure how to set-up those articles or videos so that they give you the most findability juice- consider getting an assistant that understands SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get those loaded up properly.