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Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimizing’ Category

SEO – What is it, what can you do today for your website?

My little niche is SEO – search engine optimization, specifically for therapists, specifically within that for those who are not techie.  I love helping people learn and grow.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed some odd declarations coming from so-called SEO experts.  It’s bizarre, especially when I have facts to back up my reality and they’re able to spout out stuff that just plain isn’t true.

A big one is that BLOGS are vital and that a regular “static” website will only give you a handful of keywords.  This was from a guy who specializes in SEO and teaches it!  I replied that in fact one of my “static websites” gets over 3,000 unique phrases a month.  He replied, “Are those from your blog?”  No.  I have a sad, neglected blog on that website and even at that, I only get about 300 visitors a month.  You can do the math.  And in fact that blog has been separate from my website and my web visitor numbers didn’t change.  He never replied back.  I’m guessing because he doesn’t himself have a large website, with great links to it, and just has no way to know that he isn’t actually telling the full truth.

Here’s my super-duper-short run down, demystifying everything about search engine optimization (which is the fancy, intimidating phrase that simply means when people type stuff into their search bar, which websites show up…”ranking high” as it is often called.)


The Three Parts to SEO and what you can do today to help your website

It all boils down to: saying stuff, building a reputation, and looking good to humanless robots.  We’ll break these down.

Saying Stuff

As is true in real life, the more someone has to say on a topic they claim expertise on, the more likely we are to believe they are telling the truth.  Google isn’t a human.  Google doesn’t know that you have two Ph.D.’s, studied with the founder of your field, did internships that were more ground-breaking than anyone has ever done as a therapist, and that you’ve written 300 books, etc.  You get what I’m saying here.  YOU know in real life you’re awesome.  But Google doesn’t unless you start waxing poetic on your expertise!

This is where people get trapped into thinking blogs are God.  Blogs, as I’ve written about before, are simply another way to add a website page.  A blog entry represents a blog page.  Just as a new “article” represents a new web page.  Same thing.  My website that gets 3,000 phrases to it is actually a Really Big Website.  And I did a lot of research on what people are asking for on search engines and still do when I can find the time.  As I’ve mentioned before, one big downside to blogs is if your niche expects “current” info, even if it’s illogical because your expertise is timeless, you may lose readers.  I can not have my main website as a blog for engaged couples with basic information dated to 2006.  In a young persons eyes, that’s just irrelevant!

What you can do: Writing for writings sake, especially if it’s not your first love, sucks.  You won’t keep it up, won’t stay motivated, and frankly, writing just to write is not likely going to get you new followers.  You need to really hone in hard core on a niche group and write to them, covering all the nuance of whatever you are an expert with.  The tighter the focus, the better.  Not only will it keep you more motivated because you’ll have a core audience in mind (vs the generic human being), you’ll be actually helping, deeply, a specific type of client who will want to bookmark and keep coming back.

What you MUST DO, even if you do no other writing, is to LIST YOUR LOCATION and SURROUNDING AREAS on every single website page.  Remember, Google is a robot and it’s trying to play matchmaker between people seeking therapy in Schlagapoo, Georgia with therapists in Schlagapoo, Georgia.  If you don’t say you’re from there, Google won’t know to match you. Similarly, Google can’t know that super near to Schlagapoo is Fartfranken, Ooglaboogla, and Goikington.  List those for Google and for your readers to realize you aren’t in their desired suburb, but you are really close by.

 

Reputation Building

OK, in fancy lingo this is called link building.  It relates to page rank, though another big lie is that page rank is God.  You can have a very high page rank and almost no website traffic.  Trust me – I had that exact situation before I learned SEO.  La la la, ok.  In big companies they hire firms who exclusively look for websites that are well ranked and who will give them a link.  Put another way, two national corporations hired a link finding company, who found my website I keep talking about, said WOW, it’s well ranked, it relates to our business, so let’s PAY them for a link to our website.  Every month I get free money for putting a link on my website.  (And yes, we’ve said no to as many companies as we’ve said yes to in order to protect our brand.)

This is where the voodoo magic of blogs comes in.  If you’re the freak therapist who has a blog with tons of traffic and tons of comments (I say freak therapist because I’ve yet to see this on a private practice blog) then you are building a reputation by having all those people comment!  But for my website I have very well regarded websites linking to MY WEBSITE.  Hence, my big main website has the reputation in Google’s eyes, not my blog.  I know three therapists with wildly successful blogs, by the way, who have full practices because of their blogs.  Please note however, their blogs actually have their own website name, own branding separate from the counseling side of their practice, and these blogs are enormously time consuming, require cash outlays for IT and design and become a full force of energy and attention.  Only then, with the therapists driving them hard core, they can get a lot of media attention, social media attention, etc.  But they are NOT blogs inside boring, small private practice counseling websites.

You’ll hear people tell you to set up articles on ezine directories and other places.  This is a bit faulty for two reasons (though I’d never tell you not to if it’s working for you, or if it gives you confidence because someone said you MUST do it.)  The first problem is those directories are not IN YOUR FIELD.  Reputation is granted by people “in the know” who give recommendations.  If your doctor recommends a specialist, you’re going to trust that recommendation and the reputation of that specialist more than if your car mechanic recommended the specialist, as will Google.  The second problem is Google and other algorithms aren’t idiots, and they’re now, from what I’m reading, starting to actually penalize websites for using these types of websites to get links.  They’re slapping people’s hands saying, no!  If you’re really good you must have peers that are saying you’re good.  And it makes sense.  In real life you need testimonials from your core customers, not from your grandma and the local librarian saying “she sure is a swell woman!”  A third issue, in my mind, is you want people to land ON your website when they search for what you are talking about, not on what I consider a brandless, huge messy, ugly directory of a bunch of self-promoting writer types.  Not that I have a strong opinion or anything 😉

What You Can Do: The most organic way to get links is to get to know websites out there in your area of expertise and ask to be a guest writer.  Maybe even pay for an ad as long as you get a real text link (not a link they use that reroutes your link, because then Google doesn’t see the direct link.)  Maybe you could even be a blogger for a large website in your niche area.  The point here is to ask for links, but in a way that doesn’t turn off the website owner.  I hate being asked for links because, well, that’s just gross.  I am protective of my web readers and I’m not going to just sprinkle out links to other websites because you asked me too.  I also have money to make selling products, so why on earth would I link to your book, lose revenue on my site and give you free money?  However, if you give me high quality content that helps my website, well then, yes, you get a link.  (As is the case for numerous people I asked to write for my site!)

 

Looking the Part: OK, so this part is probably the most dull, but it relates to how you organize your website AND if you’re titling every page with great keywords, if you’re creating great page names, and the actual file name itself is descriptive (example: therapistjane.com/how-to-destress-in-a-hospital-stay, vs therapistjane.com/article2

Similarly, you don’t want the navigation of that article to be where Google starts at the homepage, then has to go to a medical section, then an articles section, then a stress section, THEN finds the link to your destress in a hospital stay article.  Google figures if you’re going to bury your article it must not be that important!  The closer to the homepage, the better.  BUT you MUST give great care to your READERS otherwise you have one of those pathetic “I’m writing for the search engines!” website.  If you turn off your reader, it doesn’t matter if you get a lot of free search engine traffic!

 

 

I hope this little educational rant helps!    As always, I have a lot more to say and have an entire 3 hour audio course on this entire subject, A to Z on how to select a website name (thinking through SEO, marketing, branding), on down to figuring out how and what to write, how to organize your website, and how to market the website.) Check out my store.  I also have limited consulting available to be your techie cheerleader, strategist, researcher, and motivator.

Happy Website Enhancing!

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Fun Story on SEO, Media and Therapy

There are several ways to spin the story of yesterday in the Thomas household.  My energy level went through the roof and then crashed. I’m not sure if I should “work on that” or if it’s going to be a sad day when my soul doesn’t rise to the bliss of small but powerful moments.

The first way is just going whole hog with excitement:

MY COUPLES THERAPIST HUSBAND WAS ON THE LOCAL NEWS LAST NIGHT!!!!  http://bit.ly/cYCmCd I’m the one building the reputation in the therapy world and HE’S both the actual therapist AND the attention seeker so double yay!  A journalist was frantically calling tons of therapists all morning and my husband was the first one to answer!

The second way is to say, WOW, an associate level therapists lands on TV!  How did that happen?  Well, we’ve branded him well as not a “generic save everyone” therapist but as a specialized couples therapist.  Therefor the journalist would not have any concerns calling him regarding a couple issue (Brett Farve and his wife.)  But that’s not enough.  Through my search engine magic, he ranks high for a journalist to find him in the first place.  And when his website appears high it rightly or not demonstrates a level of trust him in as a therapist to journalists (and clients.)

The pessimistic story is that there won’t be much that will happen for him.  It was about twenty seconds, no link to his website, just passing reference to his very generic name and location.  He wasn’t the first person the journalist called so it wasn’t really about HIM as much as the needed voice of a professional.  It was a crapshoot that he was called.  And really, will that many more clients who find his website really call him because he was on TV for twenty seconds… (Oh, and compared to my father /his father-in-law, this is like learning to tie your shoes next to a 5 time Olympic runner…. though my father is way excited for him!)

The emotional message that I’ve been thinking about as I work behind the scenes on a relaunch of who I am and what I offer (insert a lot of excitement on THAT!) is this idea that therapists sometimes need a shot in the arm as marketing experts weigh them down with “rah rah” talk, or guilt-talk about what they should be doing.  This was clearly a HUGE boost for his optimism, ego, attention-seeking side and a fantastic way for him to connect with family and friends around a “I’m so proud of you” moment.  But this isn’t the only way to get a shot in the arm.  Sometimes the boost can be REALLY small.  Let’s say you usually get just one visitor to your website.  If you pay attention to your website traffic and post something, maybe FIVE people find your website.  Seriously.  That is not a dorky reason to be excited!  My blog traffic is going up, but that same number applied to my other websites would give me a heart attack because those websites give me significantly more daily web visitors.  No matter, for THIS blog and my goals on THIS business, I’m honestly really excited.

On a bigger scale, perhaps you say you’re risk-averse to spending money but will set up a Google ad to run, knowing you may ultimately lose some money but you WILL get some client emails or calls that you desperately need to feed your shrinking ego.  The email or call may be that little shot in the arm you need, even if rationally you set up the ads really badly and lose more money than what the client brings you.

And this all spins around to the real relaunch of who I am and what fires me up.  The simplest word is about mindset.  And about a paradigm shift in my thinking (and my helping you with your very human, normal but sometimes unhelpful thoughts.)  And about being a bit of a rebel marketer.  Stay tuned for more. 🙂

Marketing as a Relational Journey

I love therapists. I help them connect to their ideal clients online. I try to demonstrate through this blog how I wish to be in relation to you (ie, not hiding behind a one page sales website page that offers no interaction, no thoughts beyond My Products.) There is a lot going on in my life, almost all VERY good things that I can’t wait to share. Tonight I get to meet the author of the most impactful marketing book I’ve read. I will write a formal book review blog post soon enough but for now I’ll just say it has validated everything I’ve felt along this five year journey from launching the Marriage Friendly Therapists website to now. And that message is to get in relation with people. Stop telling them to hire you or read your book or your blog or sign up for your class. Start engaging them, giving them what they really want (and they don’t want YOU, they want what THEY want.)

When you view marketing in terms of your wallet, you probably get a slightly icky taste in your mouth. At least I do. My father and a colleague had a dream to help couples in marital distress find competent, trained and “marriage friendly” therapists. A fantastic dream not filled with a huge amount of drama on the professional side of things. But we moved forward, put thousands into a website, spent enough hours that to reimburse the co-founders for their time would probably average about two pennies an hour.

A year later my father and I had another dream. This dream was to stop being condescending to engaged couples, stop poo-pooing the wedding and start engaging them where they are developmentally: bringing two family clans and cultures together to celebrate one of the biggest life stages a person will ever experience. Avoiding all the standard negativity towards how much weddings cost, how trivial they are, how “silly” it is to stress about one day, we build a class format and a book to share the wisdom we acquired from my engagement journey and the stories of hundreds of others. We are now the most robust national website for premarital counselors and just received our second corporate sponsorship without effort on our end at all. They found US.

In that wild time period of two or three years, I had one, then two babies, a serious crash course on Business 101, a wild array of vendors I had to connect with, marketing I had to learn, failures I had to experience, greed and all the other emotions that go with sharing a dream and hoping to make a social change and pad the wallet a little bit. It’s been five years now and there is absolutely no way I could have predicted where I am today. WHAT? I’m teaching others about marketing? I’m writing in national magazines? I gave a keynote to 1,500 people? I authored a book? I’m living proof of something, but not sure what. Maybe being crazy?

Where I sit now, I am almost back at the beginning, wiser, more exhausted, more engaged and excited. I’m relaunching the therapy website with so much that I’ve learned and teach others to do. There will be so much more engagement on the website for couples needing help and for the unbelievable therapists whose life work includes saving marriages and families. There is a lot of low hanging fruit as I consider the exciting future of The First Dance, which has continued to grow without my trying (thanks to great content, SEO, and relationships we’ve built.) My likely goal is to get myself more inside The First Dance (beyond that I wrote everything) as I become an MFT. I’ve been building great relationships to add more exciting book offers to couples and may add more mini e-books to help with specific wedding stressors.

From all the skills I’ve learned and passion I’ve built, I am able to translate all this wisdom into any adventure I want. THAT is what excites me, not the nuts and bolts of any particular techie skill. It’s being able to think more globally at any dream you have and applying marketing principles to your future that should get and keep you engaged with the shocking amount of information there is to learn. I did a brief consult with a therapist recently and had his innocent book built into a huge empire (in my head) because I can see the potential and ways of growing like I couldn’t a few years ago when I was exclusively focused on SELL THIS BOOK OF MINE. Buy, buy, buy.

This is what I want you to do as well. I work more with seasoned professionals who may be bored “just” doing therapy, or who simply need help getting online, whether or not they need clients from their web presence. I myself am looking down the barrel of being a therapist in a few years, entering graduate school next fall. What I want therapists and educators to realize is the more you listen and engage, the more you will grow and expand. I was about to give up a few years ago when a friend told me about this crazy thing called search engine optimization. We’d spent thousands to no avail and I figured it was worth trying. Instead of gobbling up the learning to market AT people, I learned how even a robot like Google will reward you for being in relationship with others. It’s what I do naturally anyway so I simply applied a lot of life lessons into SEO and teach those to you, therapists who “get” relationships.

So my dear blog readers, stick around. The reason this “marketing” stuff is so exciting is because you can LEARN new things every day and make connections with amazing people every day. And I hope you do the same but if you’re not, I’m here to help. Because when you stop focusing on your wallet and returning to your passion, the wallet will fill up. It’s just a matter of getting from THERE to HERE. And that’s what I’m here for.

Google Ignorance

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.

Why Your Website Matters, Reason #92,938

Yesterday I was checking one of my many work emails, when I find an intriguing one about a television show.  A few emails back and forth clarifying she wanted ME, not my father, we talked on the phone.  I’d also done some Googling to know who this person was…

Let me stop right here for a moment.  Three years ago the website she  reviewed was about 14 pages.  The boring stuff everyone says “contact us” page, “FAQ”, “about.”  It was also a small website to sell our products.  She would have never FOUND that website and even if she did hear of it somehow, she would not have spent much time….and not have called.  But I learned a lot in the last three years and that site is now closer to 400 pages, which represents my authority on the subject matter and helps brand me as something unique.

This  person is pitching a TV show and did a lot of research and found yours truly.  Being impressed with the website and my expertise, she thinks I would be the perfect person for this particular role she wants to fill for the TV show.

There are quite a few steps from here to there, including TV Execs buying the show (she is expecting a a bidding war, actually!) Then me demonstrating I’m “Camera friendly.”  I’m not super worried as a Today Show producer said “you’re a natural!” (Though I got cut from the final story..c’est la vie.)

I have a fairly sensitive body and can only describe the surge of hormones, adrenaline, dopamine, etc as having a distinct feel and smell.  It was at once energizing and mellow.  And within a few hours all the energy crashed.   Fortunately I was able to enjoy my evening finishing up the brain science book I’m reading.  I was worried I’d be “good for nothing” last night, unable to concentrate on anything, including TV!  I found myself doing a dinner prayer with my kids for the first time.  I needed to climb back to Planet Reality after the idea and potential of being on a 13-part national TV show.  (Plus kids are awesome….my five year old  and I when back and forth that if Mommy is on TV HE WILL SEE ME, I won’t see *HIM* through the TV.)

Having a media saavy father has a huge role in my emotions and philosophy about this.  First of all, I know that a TV show, while AMAZING, is not a make-or-break event.  It may lead to great things, or it may just be a fun story to tell my grandkids some day.  Secondly, I know that getting this type of opportunity can distance you from people who may feel jealous or inferior.  They project all their crap onto you and you’re left trying to one-down yourself.  And unlike all the interesting responses I’ve been getting about fame, money, “glad I knew you before you made it big!”, this is my soulful reaction:  This sounds so FUN!  I expect no money and no fame.  Just a really good time and a fascinating experience.  I know I had some control in WHY this happened but a lot is a fluke (and yes, search engine optimization for that website to be found by an important TV person!)

And as a lot of people can tell you, a lot can happen from here to there.  I’ve heard horrible stories about people who got on Oprah, their book advance was $100,000 because of the shows potential, and they staked their entire career and non-profit growth on the appearance.  And then a disaster strikes and the show is pre-empted.  What may have been the biggest event of their life was a non-event.  Talk about a crash and burn!  Or a reader of this blog who got an amazing CBS Morning Show appearance to talk about her marriage prep class in California (10 years, once a month it’s been happening!)  Guess what?  The fires in California mean the ONLY state that didn’t see the show was her state.

I can’t share any details but I’ll let you know when I can share more!  But please take away the message here about why your website matters.  The more you’re self-absorbed, self-promoting, all about YOU, YOUR classes, YOUR books, the less likely you are to necessary be attractive to others. But the more generous you are with your wisdom and the more you talk about OTHERs concerns and issues, the more you appear to be addressing real people’s issues.  You’re not locked behind your workshop/book/therapy.  You’re exposing yourself so a journalist may call you as an expert, or a business may find you and ask you to do a workshop, or yes, clients may be more likely to call you because they have a sense of who you are.  And apparently there are big TV people surfing Google and may call you for a TV Show?!!!  Wow.

Website Marketing Never Ends

I just got sucked into one of those powerful solicitation emails for Wordtracker.  I am doing a month subscription (after doing two annual subscriptions and realizing my time is so limited I should just do a month, grab more information than I have time to absorb, then analyze that information throughout the next few months in Excel files.)

I am finding thousands of interesting phrases that people use that I would not have thought about on my own…or that I would not be able to assess traffic volume on.  For example “cheating wife” gets 4,587 mentions in Wordtracker, while “wife cheating” only gets 353.  That’s a HUGE difference!!

The reason marketing  your website should never end is because everyone is growing.  Psychology Today has bloggers because they know Content Is King.  Every other website model out there (Your Tango, Ezine places, Examiner, Hitched…to name a few) realizes that it’s more strategic to have OTHER people write…people embedded into communities, with lots of followers, and who write for FREE…than to hire expensive journalists.

But remember your main competition is other therapists or educators.  If you are able to write a lot of fantastic content, you may find you have a lot more clients, for free, than your competition who pays a LOT of money for Google Adwords.  Why?  People trust Google and if they type in some phrase, and your website shows up, they’re more likely to trust you.  And the more content you have, the more you are engaging them beyond the simple, “call me!  I do therapy!”

I have just created an explosion of work for myself on Marriage Friendly Therapists after attending a workshop and thinking more deeply about WHY people get couples counseling.  (Think: sex, money, kids, household responsibilities.)  I’m doing keyword research now and then will be thinking through the structure of the website to figure out how to logically add all this new, fantastic content.  But remember: if you repeat the same thing every other website says…you may not be helping yourself.  Think deeper about what you want to write about.  It doesn’t have to be long, verbose prose.  But it should engage your reader in who YOU are, or how YOU work, or YOUR stance on the issue. And, in my not so subtle opinion, it should provide HOPE.  Afterall, therapy is mostly about HOPE.  Hope for improved symptoms, less stress, more joy.

Simply put: Don’t be a Cosmo top ten cover story.  You know too much to be that simplistic.

Following the Rules without Success

This blog post is inspired by the wild and crazy websites I run into, at least weekly, that crack  me up.  They’re either therapy related or wedding planning related, though I run into other industries as well since nobody is spared.  What cracks me up is how well these websites follow some core principles of search engine optimization (which I go through in detail in my trainings.)  They get an awesome websites name.  They use all the right keywords.  They try to build links with great websites (this is sometimes how I find these sites.)  They use a lot of content to beef up their websites.

What is missing?  Sometimes the killer is they do not have an “About Us.”  This is a huge red flag.  If there aren’t “real people” behind a website, it’s because they are not involved in the industry in any way, other than trying to put together a fake-but-real-looking website to make money.  I just ran into one that actually had a canned response saying if you want to know About Us for that website, to go look up their domain name information!!  That’s like telling someone if you want to know who wrote the book sitting in front of you, go to the library to look up the book title, to find the authors.

Often, however, it’s what I call a soulless website.  You can just sort of tell by reading the content.  It’s extremely generic.  It’s very repetetive (they know keywords are good so they repeat them over and over.)  Sometimes it’s clearly a non-native English website by grammatical errors and ackward phrasing.  There is one website that isn’t fake per se, but if you’re a therapist you may have been solicited.  My dad got the solicitation (though I’d already seen the site) and noticed the goofy website content.  As you scroll down for each city page of therapists, it starts talking about the touristy information for that city!!!  Soooo funny and bizarre. It’s a way they figured they could add more content to each page by talking about the weather, sports, and tourists attractions for every city.  Very, very strange if you are in pain and thinking you were on a therapy directory trying to find a therapist.  You already KNOW about your own town and what does tourism have to do with therapy?  It doesn’t.  It’s for internet marketing purposes that this website is trying to find success.  (I believe this site also restricts the number of therapists per zip code.  I have strong negative feelings about that, though I understand the appeal in marketing to therapists.  I  can’t imagine artificially restricting who a prospective client could see based on who happened to sign up first to be listed.  Real choice creates more likelihood of success for the client and therapist.  It’s also a bad idea because as a web surfer if you only see a small list you may not read ANY of the profiles and go find a bigger directory.)

I’ve also seen websites build a ton of websites for the express purpose of “link building” among them.  Again, not the way search engine marketing works!  You have to think in junior high terms.  The most popular kids get all the street cred and get to “bless” who else is popular.  Same for search engines.  You can’t create a bunch of fake popular kids (websites) and then link them all together and get search engines to notice.

In summary, I cringe at well meaning and not-well-meaning individuals who have picked up a book on search engine marketing, do all the “rules” right, and the end result is fakery, cringe-worthy silliness.  The readers pick up on it.  And they are the ones who ultimately decide if you’re going to have success or failure.

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