We’ve been talking a lot about SEO lately on the Private Practice Elevation Podcast.
In this article, we’re going to discuss backlinks, which are often the missing piece when it comes to making sure your website ranks well in Google.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and it has to do with the often confusing practice and strategy of helping your website pages show up in Google search results – preferably at the top of those results.
Most therapists are aware that the keywords and phrases that appear on their private practice website have a lot to do with where their website will show up on Google.
This is true, but it’s not the whole story.
While great content is the foundation of a good SEO strategy, there’s one aspect that I see get overlooked time and again.
It’s called backlinks (sometimes called inbound links).
In simple terms, a backlink is any link on another website that links to your website.
If you’ve got your therapy website link in your Facebook profile, that’s a backlink.
If you’ve written a guest blog post for PsychCentral and have your website link in your bio at the bottom, that’s a great backlink.
But why are these links important for ranking your therapy website high in search results?
Read on, my friend!
Why Backlinks Are Important for SEO
Backlinks are important because they basically tell Google that other websites like your website.
It’s kinda like having a referral on your resume.
When Google looks at your website (resume), it sees all the links (referrals) pointing to it.
If those referrals are good ones, it could help Google understand that a lot of other sites are saying that your information is extremely relevant related to your website’s topic, thus having a positive impact on your search engine results rank.
Not All Backlinks Are Created Equal
Continuing with our resume analogy, if your uncle, Charlie had a glowing referral on your resume as well as Oprah Winfrey, which one do you think would carry a little more weight?
The same is true when it comes to inbound links on your website.
A link from a website that has no authority with Google – meaning it doesn’t rank well for topics related to your website – would not be as valuable as one from a website that has a high domain authority.
Remember, Google wants to show users the most relevant and best information based on what they are looking for.
So if they type in “how to improve communication with my husband” and Google sees that you’ve got that content AND a lot of trustworthy websites are linking to it, it helps tell Google that your content is trustworthy as well.
I’ve created a lot of content on my blog at Create My Therapist Website.
So after 3 years of blogging, I’m getting about 7k average monthly pageviews on that website and the majority of that traffic comes from Google.
I get probably an email a week from someone who wants to me to update a blog post I’ve written or write a guest post on this website, because they know there’s a little domain authority there.
So a great idea for you if you’d like to boost your traffic and SEO is to get published on other websites related to your therapy services.
Using Anchor Text Properly in Your Backlinks
We can’t talk about backlinks without talking about “anchor text”.
Anchor text is the actual text that appears on a web page that links to your website.
Let’s say you’ve recently been published on Psych Central and at the bottom of your article is your bio.
In your bio you may say something like, “John Smith is an anxiety specialist with a private practice in Atlanta”.
Within that sentence, you may put a link on the words “anxiety specialist” and that would be your anchor text.
There are 6 types of anchor links you can use to link to your private practice website:
- Exact Match – The exact keyword(s) you want to rank for, such as “anxiety specialist”
- Partial Match – This is a variation of the keyword(s) you want to rank such as “anxiety specialist in Atlanta”
- Brand Anchor Text – The name of your private practice such as “Liz Fava Counseling Services”
- Naked / URL – Just the naked URL like http://www.favacounseling.com
- Benign Anchor Text – Anchor text that doesn’t mean anything like “ click here” or “website”
- No Text / Image – When you put a link on an image and there’s no text
Which one should you use when creating a backlink? Here’s what Moz had to say:
“With the Penguin algorithm update, Google began to look more closely at keywords in anchor text. If too many of a site’s inbound links contain the exact same anchor text, it can start to appear suspicious and may be a sign that the links weren’t acquired naturally. In general, it’s still a best practice to obtain and use keyword- and topic-specific anchor text when possible. However, SEOs may get better results by striving for a variety of more natural anchor text phrases rather than the same keyword each time.”
In order to create a more natural backlinking strategy and portfolio of links to your private practice website, try and stick to a ratio of 9 to 1.
You’ll want 9 anchor text links to be brand, naked url, benign or images. Then one that may be for a keyword phrase that you want to try and rank for.
Doing this will help you avoid penalties and encourage more trust from Lord Google.
Where to Begin With a Backlink SEO Strategy
If you’re wondering how many backlinks your therapy website currently has, just head to Moz’s free link explorer tool and type in your domain:
Use the results to get a snapshot of how your website is doing and what types of backlinks you currently have.
Don’t like the results? Well, then let’s get to work!
I know it may sound like a lot of work to get your website link on a whole bunch of other websites.
And yes, this can take you a lot of time! I recommend it being part of your website strategy to look for opportunities to contribute to other websites.
You could write a guest blog post or be interviewed on a podcast.
All of this requires a bit of research and relationship building.
But if you’re wanting to get started quickly, begin with some easy backlinks that will help give you a foundation of backlinks related to your private practice.
Start a business profile on each social media website you can find and simply add your branded URL or Naked URL to your profile.
This doesn’t mean you need to actually use these profiles for marketing, it’s just to show Google you are legit and to point back to your website.
Another thing you can do is find some local business directories where you can list your business with a link back to your website.
Again, we’re creating a foundation of links that become signals to Google that your private practice exists.
You could also write a roundup blog post where you list a bunch of resources from experts in your niche and you link to them. Then just email them with the blog post letting them know they were featured.
They will most likely share the blog post with their own audience, giving you some social signals which Google likes, and in some cases, they may even link to it on their own website.
Most therapists understand that optimizing the content on their website is a huge part of getting traffic from search engines.
However, not many are doing the work to create a solid foundation of backlinks from other websites.
Adding backlinks to your SEO strategy can be the missing piece to helping your private practice rise in the search engines and get more traffic and clients in your business.
At Private Practice Elevation, we can help you get more traffic with a custom backlink strategy where we do all the heavy lifting of creating links and helping you rank higher.