There was a rat in the toilet. I was ready to give up. We had looked at so many houses. Our egos and self-esteem were in the toilet, just like the rat carcass. “Is this really what we can afford?” we kept asking ourselves.
Then we found our house.
It’s amazing! It was everything we wanted; the search was over. There is nothing quite like searching for something and finding what you want. Whether it’s a house or your keys, it’s nice to be done searching.
When people are searching for a counselor or consultant, they generally find one in two primary manners:
- A personal referral
- An online search
Having clear connections with others is essential. More times than not, a personal referral is going to land more clients than any advertising or online presence. However, it’s not usually that straight-forward. Think about the last time you purchased something. Imagine a friend says, “I love this new [fill in product]! I know you’ll love it!” You don’t go and purchase it that day.
You might do some of the following:
- Ask other friends what they think about the product.
- Look at Amazon reviews.
- Do a Google search and read about the product on their page.
- Ask Facebook friends what they think.
- Go look at the product in the store.
So what is the equivalent in counseling and consulting?
- Ask other friends what they think about you as a counselor or consultant.
- Look at Google+ reviews.
- Do a Google search and read about you on your page, read blog posts, or watch your YouTube channel.
- Call to talk with you on the phone.
Why Keywords Make the Difference
Using the best keywords on your website is extremely important in driving potential clients to your site.
Here’s the quick versions of how Google makes decision on rankings. Google’s main job is to make sure that when people type in a search, they find what they are looking for. That’s all that they need to do. So everything they formulate is about trying to more accurately find what people are looking for.
Since most people trust that Google does a good job at accurately finding what they are looking for, most people will click on only the first two search results.
What follows are tips to help you come up with keywords that can get you in a higher spot in Google search results.
How to Determine Keywords
Selecting keywords is essential to growing a private practice. For example, I used Google’s free Keyword Planning Tool to determine what would be the best keywords for a counselor in private practice in Portland, OR:
- The terms “anxiety counselor,” “depression counselor,” and “marriage counselor” are each only Googled 10 times per month in Portland.
- The term “marriage counseling” is Googled 140 times per month in Portland, OR.
- The term “Counselor” is Googled three times more than the term “Therapist”: 390 to 140.
- “Couples Therapy” is Googled 260 times per month.
See how a little research can help you determine what to focus your keywords on?
These are basic keywords that should be a focus in a private practice:
[your town] + counseling
[your town] + therapy
[your town] + therapist
[your town] + [your specialty]
Google Keyword Planner is a free planner for determining keywords. I’ve created a video that walks you through the process.
So what do you do once you’ve chosen your keywords? Read on.