Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
~ George Eliot

Again, as I’ve mentioned before with some of the other sections, we could run an entire course just on SEO, so please know this is just the cliff notes version. I tried to pick the most important things to consider.

Content is King

Google updated its algorithm in 2013 to the “Hummingbird Edition”.  The big change was that instead of just looking for certain keywords to be present, such as “counselling” or “therapy”, they are now looking for other words that would also be associated with those words.  Whereas before if you had a page that had the word “counselling” 50 times, it would rank higher, now it wants to know that all the content on the page is relevant to what people are searching.

What do I mean by searching? Imagine what people would put into a search engine if they were looking for your services.   It might be something like:

  • EMDR Vancouver
  • Counselling Counselling Burnaby
  • Christian Counselling

Think of the ACTUAL words that your ideal clients would be using and try to use as many of them as possible (in a way that seems reasonable) in your content.

Phrases, not just keywords

The Google bots are now looking for phrases that would also be associated with the strong  keywords. Go back to you ideal client profiles and remember what their main concerns are. What types of phrases would your clients be googling? For example:

  • treating depression without medication
  • treating PTSD
  • how to get a better sleep

Filling your website pages with these types of phrases along with the keywords makes your website a rankings magnet.

Specific is better than general

It is better to have multiple specific pages on your website than a few that contain many topics.  This is because Google wants to make sure that they are only sending people to pages that contain exactly what they are searching for.  For example, you would want to have different pages for individual versus couples counselling as you would be speaking to different audience and different issues on those pages. If you have a few different specialties, create a separate page for each of those niches and focus on the keywords and phrases that would go along with that specific topic.

Be Connected

Another great reason to have yourself listed on various directories or other websites is the more other websites that direct people back to your domain (i.e. have a live link for your website that people can click on to take them back to you website), the more Google believes that your site is legitimate and gives you a higher ranking.


It’s the way of the future.  Most people have smartphones these days so Google rewards websites that are mobile-compatible.  If you have a developer building your website, make sure you ask them to add this feature.  It would be VERY unlikely that anyone would build you a site that isn’t mobile-friendly but it’s always good to ask.  If you have an older site, it may be time to switch to a theme that has this compatibility.

New QUALITY Content

Google likes websites that are active. This is why having a blog actually on your main website instead of on a separate platform is optimal.  Every time you add QUALITY content to your site, you are signalling that your site is new and fresh, and Google loves it.  The same rules apply in your blog, with the content of your website – keep it relevant, keep it specific, and consider the actual things your clients would be searching for.  It is better to post quality content less frequently, than crap content all the time.

Older is better

If you have a new website, it will be harder to rank really high on google in the beginning because google gives weighting to sites that have been around longer as they are seen as more trust-worthy.  This is another reason to keep an old domain if you ever decide to re-brand and just re-direct that domain to your new site instead of getting rid of it.

Don’t forget about the pictures

When you upload a picture to your website, you are able to add various “tags” to allow the photo itself to be found for SEO ranking.  

Here is a link to a great article that explains it much better than I ever could if you use a wordpress theme


Youtube is a close second

YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. If you like being video recorded, creating YouTube videos and then embedding those in your website, will often cause your site come up in the rankings.