When is the last time you opened a phone book, looked in an actual encyclopedia, opened a dictionary, or navigated with an paper map? The Internet has revolutionized where we go for information. The several hundred million Google searches every day include searches by potential clients looking for your expertise, your niche, and your services. Can they find you? Try Googling your name, or your therapy practice, or your specialty areas in your city. Where do you come up in the Google search? On the first page or on page number 25? If Google can't easily find you then neither can potential clients who are searching for you and your specific therapy services.
Take a look at these Internet facts:
- 62% of Americans use the Internet to find health care information. (Pew Internet and Family Life Study, 2009)
- 28-35% of Americans look online specifically for mental health information. (Pew Internet and Family Life Study, 2009)
- Kids aged 8-18 spend 7.5 to 10 hours a day “plugged in.” (2009 Kaiser Family Foundation Study)
For the past 5 years I've been actively leaving my digital footprint on the Internet for a two reasons: 1) To provide useful information to help women and families improve their mental health and family relationships and 2) To make it extremely easy for my ideal clients to find me and come to my private practice.
Keeping up with technology is crucial to building your private practice in a digital age. If you want to educate on mental health topics, promote grass roots social causes, and reach new clients (especially youth) with accurate mental health information and details about your services it's time to work harder to get Google's attention.
Here are a few things you can do to get Google to love your therapy practice and send new clients your way:
1) Get a website (if you don't already have one). Even if it's a one pager, it's better than nothing.
2) Include important keywords throughout the text of your website. Imagine what words that your ideal clients will be searching for.
3) Add a blog to your current website and write on topics that interest your ideal clients. Google favors new information so blog weekly.
4) Get others to link to your website. If you do media interviews, write articles, or network with other professionals always ask them to provide a link to your website. Add links to your website on any of social media profiles.
Google is the #1 referral source to my private practice. I love Google. I just searched my name "Julie Hanks LCSW" and Google found 26,100 results in about 0.16 seconds, and a search for my clinic "Wasatch Family Therapy" yielded 17,200 results in 0.18 seconds.
Over the next several months I'll be blogging on ways you can increase your visibility on search engines, ethically and effectively use social media so you can make it easy for your ideal clients to find your private practice...stay tuned.