Gaining credibility with Google

Most people searching for a therapist online will begin with a Google search. If you want people to find your website rather than someone else’s, you’ll need to do some work in order to appear on the first page for your keywords.

Google looks at a huge amount of data in order to determine the most important pages for a particular search term. One of the factors Google tries to determine is the online reputation of your site. It does this by looking at what other sites link to you; if someone is linking to you, it implies that your site is valuable in some way. Ideally, you should be looking to attract links from sites which are relevant to your content and which are also trustworthy and authoritative. In the case of counselling or psychology, relevant sites might be ones that discuss mental health issues or ones that talk about your local area, such as newspaper sites.

How do you attract links?

Exchange links with other therapists

To begin with, you can use your existing connections in your field. For example, you can exchange links with a colleague serving a different geographical area, or who has a different speciality, so that you’re not in direct competition with each other. If you are on the committee of a mental health charity you could ask if they can link to your website from your profile on their website.

Blog as a guest on other mental health sites

If you know a good mental health blog, you could ask if you can write an article for them in exchange for a link back to your website. Counselling Directory is an example of a therapy-related website which encourages guest bloggers. You do have to pay to join the directory, but if you’re just trying to get your practice off the ground, it may be worth the investment, at least for a few months.

Submit your website to relevant local directories

Google My Business, Yelp, your local chamber of commerce and local business directories are all good sites to be listed on.

Write genuinely useful content

Write genuinely useful content that people will want to link to. For instance, if you write an article about tips for coping with anxiety, if people find it useful, they may well choose to link to it without you even having to ask.

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