I will be writing more about “When To Quit a Therapy Directory” but this post is inspired by a very common myth. The good news is therapists are more aware of the power of Google and “showing up high.” The bad news is at least eighty percent of the world of Google understanding (SEO, search engine optimization, whatever you want to call it) is missing and decisions are made on a tiny fraction of information. And sadly, most of the SEO trainer folks make it extremely technical, or dull. SEO is wildly entertaining, fascinating, and useful. That is why I exist at all… to liven it up and make it useful for therapists.
The common line is, “You don’t rank high when I type in [insert their city, or state, or any therapy term they believe everyone searches on.]
I could literally talk for five hours straight answering this mythology, but for this blog post let me be very pointed and clear.
1 – there are countless ways people find a website. Just because the term you believe is important doesn’t show a website has little to do with the quantity or quality of referrals you may get. What if that website has developed powerful relationships that send amazing referrals? You don’t know simply by going to Google. What if the term YOU believe is vital turns out to get 2 searches a month from prospective clients? Who cares of the website doesn’t show up for two clients if the website shows up for thousands of terms from people wanting your help?
2 – there is a level of commodity to therapists online so even ranking high by itself is not going to get you clients. Insert here a lot of chatter about branding, marketing inside your profile, listing with websites that help your brand and aren’t just generic listings like you find in telephone books
3 – Even if one particular website hasn’t given you clients, at some point you may not be listed anywhere and then what happens? Coke and Pepsi put millions of dollars into advertising and have no way to know what exactly it was that captured someone’s attention. While I completely appreciate budget considerations, if you don’t list yourself anywhere, you are invisible to their hundreds of thousands of prospective clients because they did a Google search and our website showed the journalist we are a trusted resource on marriage issues. Would you pay $240 in one year to get exposure to tens of thousands of local people who see you as an expert on their local TV news? Thought so.)
4 – Google expects you to have relationships if it will ever display YOUR website to prospective clients. So even if a website doesn’t give you clients, that LINK to your website is a powerful tool to helping you “rank high” on your own. Call it indirect marketing, but companies do it all the time. I just had a company pay me a decent amount of money to be on the homepage of my wedding relationship website. Even if I don’t directly give them sales representing their advertising, they know the power of that link will give their OWN website more business because I have given them a powerful link in the eyes of Google.
Before you quit a directory, make sure you’ve done everything you can to make it the best profile possible! And that assistance will be in a future post (and e-book!) For now I hope you never decide to join, or quit, a website based on what you decide is the vital “phrase” a client would put into Google.