Why Every Therapist (Still) Needs a Blog
When I started my online business years ago I was determined NOT to blog. Even though I liked writing I didn’t want to be held down by a commitment to write weekly articles.
What’s the point, anyway?
I proudly declared this resolution to my business coach who paused and then said, “You need to blog.”
She said I could start out with monthly posts if weekly was too overwhelming (I had a full-time job and a long commute on top of starting a business).
But she said I needed to blog and that as soon as possible, I needed to post weekly blogs.
I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from business coaches and have researched online marketing techniques like my life depends on it, but this simple advice was probably the best advice I received overall.
That might sound dramatic but after four years of blogging on that website, I rarely paid for advertising because 60% of my website visitors were consistently finding me organically.
What does that mean?
That means 60% of the people who click on my website are there because they typed a question into Google and my website was the first (or one of the first) sites that popped up with an answer.
And that is 100% because I blog.
Here’s how blogging works with SEO…
Google is the ultimate search engine and where about 75% of people who are online go to find something, ask a question, etc. Other search engines include Yahoo, Bing, etc.
This means when someone types in something like “Couples therapist in Long Beach” they are likely using Google.
For this reason, we’ll focus on how Google looks at your site when you blog consistently and why Google likes it so much.
Google ranks pages, not websites
Contrary to popular belief, Google doesn’t necessarily rank your whole site in relation to one question or keyword that someone will type in.
When you really think about it, this makes sense. For example, let’s consider this website:
We talk about a variety of topics related to websites, technology, marketing, etc.
However, this particular post is about blogging and SEO for therapists. We don’t want this post to appear if someone searches for something unrelated like “what is a SquareSpace website?”
Likewise, if someone is looking for help about “how to blog as a therapist” we want this specific post to appear, rather than our Home page or our Contact page.
Can you imagine how annoying that would be if every time you searched for something you were sent to the website’s general home page instead of being sent directly to the information you were looking for?
Google doesn’t want this to happen, so they pay more attention to the specific page.
They want to give you a list of the TOP answers to your question so you find it helpful and keep using Google every time you want to search for something.
What Google will also do, is look at how highly your therapist website is ranked for a set of keywords and use that to determine how trustworthy your site is, in general.
So, when you rank well for three keyword phrases, that is better than simply ranking well for one keyword phrase.
This is why you do want to have a few different topics that you switch up (consistently) throughout your blog posts.
Google wants your site to be updated and organized
This is usually the biggest argument you hear in favor of blogging. If you blog every week, then your website is being “updated” every week.
We know that Google likes to see a website that is active, one that is being updated regularly. This means it is likely more helpful than something someone put up five years ago and never touched again.
However, you want to do more than simply update your site. You want to update your site by making it even more valuable.
A blog is the perfect way to do that.
You can slowly add more and more content related to the topics your clients would be searching for.
What’s more, when you use things like categories to show you are consistently blogging about the same topics, Google appreciates that you’re organizing your content. Most importantly, so do your readers!
Google looks for consistency and themes (keywords)
You’ve probably heard about “keywords.” These are phrases or words that people type in to Google when they are searching for something.
Every website owner should have an idea of the keywords for which they are trying to rank.
This will help you determine what to write about and how to phrase it in a consistent way.
While you want to use the same phrases and words consistently, you don’t want to randomly throw in keywords that don’t make sense with your article. You also don’t want to copy and paste these things over and over.
Google is pretty smart and checks to make sure your keywords in your blog posts actually make sense. It also wants to see that you’re creating new content.
So, copying and pasting the same blog post each week will actually have a negative impact on your SEO because Google will know you’re not adding value or really updating anything.
This is also why you should NEVER allow someone to copy and paste a blog post you write onto their website, even they offer to link back to you. You also don’t want to post something on your site that was written elsewhere.
Don’t worry too much about anything that sounds complicated. Simply update your website with new content regularly.
Google likes when people spend time on your page/website
If your blog post is helpful and interesting, people who searched for a topic you write about will generally read it.
The “helpful and interesting” part is a whole other blog post but let’s focus on why that matters: Time spent on your site.
If you have a blog post and someone spends five minutes on your site reading it, Google knows that was helpful.
If a person spends 10 minutes on your site reading something, even better. This is why longer blog posts are more helpful for your site.
If that person clicks on a link in your blog post that takes them to another page on your site, even better! Then Google knows this post was helpful and your site is helpful and people are spending time on your whole site.
Bonus points if you get people to engage with the blog post via comments!
Yes, Google admitted that this is a big factor in whether or not a page ranks well. And what better format to get people commenting than a blog post?!
There are lots of other factors (over 200) that Google uses to rank websites and that generally consist of what we call “SEO” (search engine optimization). However, the factors above are generally considered to be some of the most important factors to Google.
And these are ALL things you can achieve with consistent blogging.
Maybe you’re on board with blogging now but not sure how it fits into a marketing plan for your private practice.