"Helping people who help people"

Posts tagged ‘fun numbers’

If you understand only one thing about “ranking high on Google”

Search engine optimization.

Showing up high on search engines.

There is so much buzz. So many scams.  It  brings out our inner demons of greed and “easy money” or “easy clients.”  Even my Psychotherapy Networker article on “getting clients on a shoe string budget” doesn’t get to the complexity or the history that brought me to launching my husbands therapy career online.

The reality is search engine stuff is challenging and requires a lot of effort!  This is why my approach in my trainings is to TEACH YOU!   It’s the only way the vast majority of therapists will ever be able to do this.  Why? I’m not sure you can really get enough new clients to offset the price of an “SEO firm.”  Or, you can be like friends who hire SEO consultants, but the friend has no idea what they did, or how to make business decisions off any real knowledge of SEO.

Where is the work, you may be wondering, in “ranking high?”  This is one small example of how work pays off… work beyond “ranking high” for one word.  It’s been a few days into January, and so far on The First Dance website, I have 47% of my website traffic coming from “showing up on Google” and other search engines like  Bing, Yahoo, etc.    This represents only 1/3 of my traffic, the other two sources being people who type in my website directly, and the other source being links from other websites who direct traffic to me.

Imagine in  7 days, over 1,800 pages have been found  by web surfers.  These web surfers didn’t just say things like “premarital counseling”, or any other term you’d want as a therapist, but they have used a whopping 890 DIFFERENT PHRASES to find me.  890!  Not 1 or 2 phrases, as the scammers “promise you”, and suggest you’ll have great success with “ranking high.”  Rank high for what? Your business name?

Imagine how much work it took me to get what usually results in about 3,000 unique phrases every month? (A phrase is anything someone types out, from “how much does a wedding cost?” or “who do I invite to the wedding?” or simply “counseling.”)  This means lots of writing to capture the vast questions and issues people are bringing to search engines like Google.   What I train, and why I’m so passionate, is this search engine stuff is NOT some super techie geeky thing, but is most simply understanding  HOW to write and writing for your AUDIENCE, what THEY care about, not your pet interest, or some obscure therapy model you did your Ph.D. on but nobody even  cares about, let alone would go to Google to find more information on.

So again, what does “ranking high” really mean?  I want to give you an under the hood look at what it REALLY means.

In 2009  over 87,000 pages from The First Dance  showed up to search engine surfers, using not 1 or 2 keywords, but over 26,000 UNIQUE phrases.  And the crazy part is I could have done way, way,way better if I weren’t balancing motherhood, a major surgery that pretty much took out half the year, other work, and life.  The last time, about a year ago, I spent a SOLID 8 hours of researching and writing specifically FOR search engines, I added 100 new visitors A DAY because of my efforts.  That has sustained itself, and then grows…

So if you were every skeptical of all those “rank high” scams, I hope you see why.  It’s not about one word. It’s more like building a HUGE spider web so you can attract as many bugs from as many directions as possible.  And who is the best person to build your spider web?  YOU!  You have the expertise.  YOU know your clients.  YOU know what you find fascinating and YOU know what you want your spider web to look like.

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12 clicks in 12 minutes

This is just too fun not to blog about.  I wrote a fun little blog post on The First Dance, made it a fun title “How Ikea is like wedding planning”, Twittered about it, and in 12 minutes I had 12 people click on it!

Let me translate if you have no idea what I’m talking about.  The fun thing about this story is imagine writing something new.  The next thing you want after you write something is: READERS!  But usually our writing just sits there, or we have to wait til the next newsletter, or send out a big email, or put it on our website for whomever happens upon it.  But with Twitter, I can instantly tell my 1,600 followers that I have a new blog post.  And they can just as instantly click on it and read it, pass it around if they find it interesting or useful, and voila, I have instant satisfaction that I didn’t waste time writing something nobody will see.

There is a lot more to it, and I have an outline for some You Tube videos I will create on Twitter.  But for now, just wanted to say how fun “live” Twittering is.  And since writing this post, I have had one more click!

Great Google Adwords help

For those of you who pay for Google Adwords, here is a great article because 1) it’s really on-the-ground informative and education, and 2) if you freak out reading it, then you really should consider NOT using Google Adwords, or hiring professionals to do the campaign for you.  It’s very analytical, you have to understanding landing pages, researching phrases, etc.

WordPress is considered the “Bible” of search engine optimization and I have said how I don’t read newsletters…. except I always, always read Wordtracker newsletters.  To join Wordtracker for a day, month, or year, sign up for Wordtracker here.

The Google Adwords article is here.

Enjoy!

Therapy Sites – website templates

Therapysites continues to be a viable option, even if it’s heavily used by therapists.  It seems so many therapists struggle on every aspect of a therapy website.  Even though therapysites struggles from being pretty generic (lots of therapists use them) it’s also a great spoon-fed solution for those wanting and needing to get up online right away.

I appreciate the no set up fee, month to month contract, and the fairly use-to-use website editor.

TherapySites is probably the best solution for those who are clueless, crunched for time or creativity, or who just don’t care much and want something up.

TherapySites has limitations so depending on what you want to but some therapists use therapysites for their practice and then use another website for their more innovative psychoeducation website, blog, etc.

TherapySites spends a lot on advertising, so through me you can get a free month ($59 value) and I get a small commission (this is true for everyone they work with including large therapy associations.)  The promo code at checkout is PromoET.  I can recommend TherapySites for many therapists and have come to realize the limitations are well offset by the ease of use.

Psychology Today Ads – interesting research

I have seen various links to my husbands marriage counseling website on his website traffic from his Psychology Today Ad.  I just ignore the details and summarize all the visits.

But just yesterday I realized something important.  The links TELL you something interesting!  It appears there are two links you’ll see, though I wish there were more because it would be even more “telling.”

One link will have “prof detail” at the end of it and is hopefully the higher number.  This is going to be the people who find you through Psychology Today and click through to your website.  My husband has had 35 people this year click to his website from his profile.  (I have ignored his profile til just the other day and have suggestions for him to change it.)

The SECOND link is going to say something about rms/ NAME and it will list your name.  This one is going to be someone doing a NAME search and finding you!  The reason this is so interesting is because those people (8 for my husband to date) are likely people who found you ELSEWHERE and are doing a Google search on your name to learn more.  I know, weird, but not really.  Even someone who finds my husbands website is likely interested in learning more about him on Google.  So 8 people did just that!  This might have been people word of mouth who heard about him, his ad on The First Dance premarital site, or even his own natural Google traffic and people wanting validation on who he is.

I’d love if anyone reading knows how to see their website traffic and has an ad on Psychology Today… love to see your numbers or at least see how they compare.  And anyone on Marriage Friendly Therapists, we get a lot of therapy name searches, and I know of clients who were interested and then “SOLD” on those therapists because of their profile and being listed on that website.

$2.38 Google Adwords for Therapists

Unlike most of you who may use Google Adwords, I have recently become the recipient of the money you spend!  We have a mission to help strengthen marriages.  To that end, when we have high ranking premarital counseling pages, and not enough therapists to fulfill the need, the best solution is to set up Adwords on OUR website!  The ads will be location based, so it doesn’t matter where you search, it will show local ads.  (Sort of silly when I’m testing another state and I see local ads, but I know it’s because they know my IP address and where I live.)  But the idea is we want ANY couple who finds us to get premarital help.  So if we don’t have a therapist near them, the Google Ads will be a great place to find a local person.

This is precisely why some websites will let you join for FREE.  The more traffic they can generate,  the more they can “promise you gold” by listing for free, the more their own website will gain in popularity and the more clicks they will get on the ads that generate money for them.  In the wedding world it’s especially common that “free” comes with the cost of having to link back to that website.  This enhances the main websites Google rank (more websites pointing to them) which helps them get more traffic, and more money from Ads (either formal banner ads, ads with companies, or Google Ads.)

When we had our Google ads up for the Marriage Friendly Therapy website, we definitely got traffic, but in retrospect we made some big mistakes.  When you set up your ads you can decide if you want to just be on search results or if you’re OK being inside content of another website.  I always found it odd that a therapy directory would list COMPETITORS, in Google Ads.  That is, until I realized they don’t really care who the therapist is.  The business model is for-profit.  If they can get profit from stable therapy revenue, great.  If they can get it through Google ads, great.  Obviously they need real therapists so it’s not just one big Google Ad, but I know some of these websites make a lot more in Google ads than therapy ads.

Back to my $2.38.  This is how much someone gave me today because their ad was inside my website.  Google I believe gets another 30 cents or so.  (I found out in Googling that the ratio varies year to year how much a percentage Google will take.  I don’t know this years rates.)  What surprises me about $2.38 is that is on the higher end.  I’ve had as low as 60 cents (rare) and usually closer to $1.10 per click.  What this tells me is the phrase used by the searcher was competitive, so the bidding wars made that therapist have to spend more to get clicks.  I haven’t gone into my Google Analytics to see if I can trace that exact ad down to the page it was on, but it must be a coveted area. 

I know there is a “cost of doing business.”  I just hope that therapist got a client out of that $2.38!  Or at least gets enough clients to pay for those individual clicks from someone who may just be browsing counselors.

Search Engine Traffic “Fun numbers”

I’m pulling statistics for the annual Smart Marriages conference where I’m presenting a website traffic workshop and will be interacting with a lot of marriage folks.  I am a numbers person and love the analytics of website traffic.  I’m pulling numbers for The First Dance because anyone can advertise on it if they have any credentialing in therapy or even as a premarital educator.  Unfortunately premarital folks aren’t used to advertising so when they do, they sometimes go the wrong direction and lose a lot of money!

I see so much spin and hype when it comes to getting people to advertise on websites.  I have known better and STILL been swindled into not only believing the results would be great, but believing what I knew not to be true.  That is, I was advertising on The Knot, a large wedding website, where I went to help plan my own wedding.  I knew people did not really look at the wedding directory listings.  They went and stayed for the message boards.  And I knew the “one million visitors” they proclaimed (they now say 3 million) was not quite what I, as a local premarital counseling advertiser, would get.

If you take the 1 million visitors, let’s say at least 50% of those are message board users who never go to a directory.  500,000 is still a huge number, per month.  The Knot has a lot of logistical help so a huge percentage of their visitors are on there to get a checklist, to shop for items on the knots shopping website, and to read articles.  If you actually narrow down to THOSE IN YOUR ACTUAL STATE, with an ACTUAL INTEREST in finding what you offer, who THINK of the Knot (vs just Google for premarital counseling),  you aren’t going to draw a lot of people.  Trust us.  We learned, as did two colleagues, the hard way.  We were locked into a six month contract at $125/month.  I literally drew more traffic to our site by those who clicked on my username from the message boards, opened my profile, and found the link.  And I was not selling our website.  I was just a regular message board user answering peoples questions.  AHHHHH!!!!!

OK, so enough venting about our costly mistake.  Here’s where it gets fun and here’s where you’ve got to be very analytical.

In the last six months, we can verify The First Dance has drawn 5,800 search engine terms related to premarital help.  These are 485 DIFFERENT phrases, representing all variations of premarital counseling, pre marital, premarriage, marriage prep, etc. 

The next step is to look at how many people actually viewed our premarital pages.  The numbers are fascinating and this is why I love search engine work.  From search engine optimization work, in the last six months, we’ve drawn another 19,000 visitors using 517 different phrases.  These are all the terms we wish for, on wedding family drama, wedding budget advice, and all the “issues” we feel we have something unique to offer in a crowded wedding world where all the advice is about the same and lacks a “systems” viewpoint.

But those numbers are scratching the surface.  Another 17,600 terms were used in the last six months but our web traffic tool (awstats) and our host company do not want to STORE all that data so they lump it together.  We can only guess among that 17,600 different phrases, maybe 50%or more were premarital terms.  (We’re that middle company who gets a lot of web traffic but wouldn’t want to pay thousands of dollars in software to super closely track our traffic.)

Add in our relationships with other websites, all the journalists who cover us, our social networking (we just hit 1,000 followers on Twitter last night!) and we have a lot of “bees buzzing” around who might, through no original searching on their own, find out we have a ton of premarital counseling options! 

The result?  In six months, 140,000 premarital pages have been read.  This is exciting because it fits our mission to help strengthen new marriages!

( We always talk about being “fast growing” and the numbers agree.  In 2007 the entire year yielded 11,000 premarital page views, 1, 800 terms for premarital help.   That’s a 1,280% increase in page views in two years and 322% increase in keywords used.)

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