Learn about different techniques to improve your websites search performance.

Content Length for SEO on your website

SEO Content is King

In today’s world, search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to increasing a website’s. One important aspect of SEO is the length of website content, as it directly impacts search engine rankings. While there is no definitive rule regarding ideal content length, it appears longer content ranks better. However, other factors can determine the best content length for your purposes.

In the world of SEO, what is known as user experience is essential. People want concise and informative content. Short content may lack depth and leave visitors wanting more, while excessively long content can be overwhelming and discourage engagement. The key is in striking a balance that delivers valuable information in a digestible format. Google’s algorithm aims to present users with content that comprehensively answers their questions, thus rewarding longer, comprehensive articles.

Search engines utilize algorithms to determine the relevancy and quality of website content. While length is one of many factors considered, it holds much significance in search engine rankings. Longer content can incorporate more keywords and relevant information. They can also generate higher user engagement, such as increased time on the page, social media shares, and comments. These user signals are valued by search engines, signaling that the content is valuable and authoritative. This can improve your SEO ranking

When you determine your content length you should strive for a length that covers the topic, meets user expectations, and maintains readability. Aim for a balance between depth and brevity to engage users while also meeting search engine requirements.

I also recognize real-world issues. It takes a lot of time to write good content. Time we might want to spend resting or doing paid work. When I researched this topic I saw recommendations of 2,000 words for blog posts. This post will not even come close to that. For this post, I feel that length would mean many of you would stop reading. My recommendation is make your points, but don’t over-emphasize length and lose readability.


SEO Tips for Therapists

I have been having some fun on Instagram lately. Follow me at @growyourcounselingpractice. And in the spirit of now focusing on working more on my Search Engine Optimization, I am using Instagram to provide tips on marketing and building your private counseling practice. Using social media is a great way to improve your Search Engine Optimization performance. Then by taking the videos and posting them here and adding additional content I am providing fresh content on my website. Though, I am not following the recommendation I am making to have at least 600 words of content on each page or post. One can only work so hard.

These videos explain SEO, discuss the importance of social media marketing, and talk about how much content needs to be on each page.

I also want to remind people of my SEO course. This course takes you through the basics of improving your SEO. Even if you are paying someone else to do this work for you, it is good to have an understanding of what helps search engine optimization. Many companies will take advantage of your ignorance. The course takes you through different aspects of Search Engine Optimization by giving it to you in bite-size portions. I also include some worksheets to help you through making changes. As always I am also available for consultations. 

You can check out my blog for other SEO tips.

There are a few different recommendations for how much content should be on each page to improve SEO. A minimum of 600 words is now recommended and 1000 words are also recommended. You may need to add content to your web pages. I get it. It can be hard to do. I am barely going to make the old guideline of 300 words for this post. I am hoping my use of videos helps give the page some juice.

Quick answer is yes. You need business social media account to promote your business. Both to improve Search Engine Optimization performance and to use as a marketing tool. I suggest finding one platform you are comfortable with and working that. Tik-Tok is super popular now. I had some privacy concerns about it so I have moved on to Instagram which has been effective for my needs.

4 Tips For SEO Optimization of Blog Posts

4 Tips For SEO Optimization of Blog Posts

Since most therapists have what is called a static website (there are not often changes or new content added) we have to add fresh content in different ways. The blog post is one of those ways. Frequent blog posting can engage your potential clients and help your SEO. First, I must say, the most important, tip in content writing is ALWAYS writing content your reader will be interested in. If you write boring content, it does not matter how many people come to your pages because they won’t engage. 

Many of us are also trying to market in multiple locations, which is quite hard. I market in both PA and CA for my counseling services. I have intentionally optimized different pages for different states. However, that won’t necessarily be enough for many of my keywords. My Bay Area optimization has decreased since I moved and tried optimizing in PA. In order to get Google reminded about my Bay Area work, I recently wrote a blog post called Bay Area EMDR Intensives. My keywords were location (Bay Area, EMDR, and EMDR Intensives. Sometimes it can help us rank by working with less competitive keywords. EMDR Intensive is going to be less competitive than counseling will be. I may not rank for counseling but I am ranking for EMDR intensives. 

4 SEO Tips for Blog Posts

  1. Develop a strong headline. This headline should use one or more keywords. A title with a number in it gets clicked more often. 
  2. Google is suspected to be rewarding longer posts. Write a minimum of 300 words and strive for 1,000 words.
  3. Use headings to break up content. You can see how I did it in this post. There is a heading that says Writing Good Content for SEO Optimization and then a second one that is in a small heading font that says 4 SEO Tips for Blog Posts
  4. Have strong page titles and page descriptions. Do this on all pages and posts. You do this behind the scenes of your website. Below you can see a screen shot of a google search for EMDR intensives in PA. One of the counseling pages I targeted for those keywords did show up. I am indicating what the title is and what the description is.

Keeping fresh content on your website is an ongoing task. It is easy to forget and then a year goes by without posting. (2020 anyone?) However, it is important to keep up this work, and if you get off schedule, just start up again. 

Making Video Content for Your Website-You Need a Video!

Making Video Content for Your Website-You Need a Video!

Video content on your website is a great way of connecting to your potential clients. Over the years, I have done several videos for my counseling website. The first was made with an actual video camera. Subsequent ones have been made using my computer or iPhone. Today I just made a new video using my iPhone and using a tripod selfie stick with a remote. This means no awkward lean-in and lean-out to turn off the video.

Since we can make videos about ourselves now there is NO EXCUSE for not doing it! I know you will come up with some like I don’t want to see myself! I get that for sure. I hate watching videos of myself. As I recorded today’s video I must have done 10 takes. My shirt was the wrong color. My shirt had lint on it that showed up dramatically in the video. I said UM too much. But it is important to persevere. Clients need to make a connection with you and if you are not seeing people in person your website is how you are going to make that connection.

Once you create the video you may or may not want to edit it. I put my video into Imovie and was able to clip the end a bit. It took a second for me to turn off the video (even using that remote) and it seemed awkward so I just clipped the video two seconds.

When you are done you upload the video to YouTube. You should create a business account there for this purpose if you don’t have one already. You upload your video, put in a good title and description using your keywords, and publish it.

YouTube will give you a link that you can then post on social media or on your website to showcase your video. Look how I did it here.

Having videos on your website will both help engage potential new clients and help with your SEO. It is a win-win.

Make sure your website is indexed by Google

It doesn’t matter how hard you work on your website and how much you pay for Search Engine Optimization if Google has not found your website. To check type in “site:”followed by your website URL. So for my counseling website it was “site:”

Below is what showed up when I did that.

Cathy Hanville website indexedYou can see that that website has over 200 pages that are indexed which is great. Shows that posting those blogs has paid off.

If your website is not indexed then you need to go to Google Search Console to get it indexed. If you don’t have an account there I have a link at the end of this post on how to set up the account.

Once at Search Console you navigate to URL inspection which you will see on the left. Then at the top you type in the page you want to see is indexed or added to the index. If it is not indexed you will see a message (like shown below) where you can click the button to request indexing.

This is a simple thing to check and fix if it is not done.

Article on getting Google Search Console Account set up.

Can You Do a Google My Business Listing for an Online Business?

Can You Do a Google My Business Listing for an Online Business?

Like many of us, I no longer have an office or see clients in person. I also moved to another state as a result I now have two states to market to.

I took a journey to figure things out. First, I set up a Cathy Hanville, LCSW PA page. I was asked the areas served and I put in some local areas because for online work I can see someone throughout PA. Google’s policy is that if you can enter a Service Area then you can have a listing without a specific address.

Google did require a NON-PO Box address to send me a verification code to enter.

However, I later realized I could edit my existing profile by clearing the address by going to Info on the left and then hitting clear this address on the bottom of the page as shown below.

I then edited the service areas. I put in areas for both PA and CA. As you can see, I put in both states and added a few more local areas.

As I have said before, having a Google My Business Listing is one of the best things you can do for your Search Optimization and your overall marketing plan.

The Fun of Collaborating with Colleagues

Many therapists are introverts. It can make our marketing a bit anguishing as we have to step out of our comfort zones and sell ourselves. I often tell people that other therapists are one of my main source of referrals. I try to get out there and meet other therapists in the community to both learn about their practices and talk about mine. I don’t do it as often as I would like partially because recently other therapists can be very hard to get out of the office for coffee/tea.

I was super lucky when earlier this year Annie Schuessler reached out to me. Annie and I are both on a listserv. So we had seen each other’s names before. Annie both has a private practice and also does business consultation for therapists.  You may be asking why am I promoting a competitor on my blog? Because after Annie and chatted online we began to discuss ways in which we could work together. Annie has a program called The Superpower Method For Therapists® Program. It is an extensive program which is much different from what I offer. Annie asked me if I would like to teach an SEO class as bonus material in her program. WHAT!! Of course, I did. So I did that and we also recorded a podcast episode called SEO is Not Scary which is found here.

So because Annie took the time to reach out to me and we connected so well I was on her podcast, developed some SEO materials for her course, and then also further developed those materials for my own online SEO Course. It was a definite win for me and I am hoping it is a definite win for Annie and her clients too.

I know other therapists that reached out to colleagues and have started different groups and other projects. It can be scary doing those things yourself but finding a person with whom you can collaborate with can change everything.

Seven Simple Tips to Boost Your SEO

Since I am running my SEO workshop this week I thought I might do an updated post on some simple tips to help improve your websites search engine optimization performance.

  1. Make sure you have good page titles and descriptions utilizing your keywords.
  2. Make sure your website has an SSL certificate. That means your login will have an HTTPS rather than an HTTP. It also means you will not be risking someone’s browser saying your site is unsafe if they want to view it. There will be a little lock next to your URL. This is something done with your hosting company.
  3. Make sure you have a good Google My Business Listing. Check to make sure it is accurate and has many details and pictures on it.
  4. Make sure your home page is user-friendly and readable. This is both for SEO and marketing purposes. You don’t want to do all the work to get someone to your homepage and then have them not engage with you.
  5. Make sure your website is mobile friendly You can check that here If your site is not mobile friendly Google has said it will be lowered in ranking, 
  6. Add fresh content regularly. This can be done by keeping up a regular blog.
  7. Make sure your page loads quickly. You can check that here.

To learn more I have an online SEO course available here. I  am also always available for individual consultations on SEO and Marketing issues. 

5 Tips for Keyword Research

5 Tips for Keyword Research

What is keyword research? It is the technique for finding and researching the keywords that people use when searching for you type of business. Here I will give you 5 tips to help guide your research. 

1. First start with what words come up when people are thinking about your business?

For many of us it is counseling. However, there are many other words people might use. Anxiety, depressession, grief, parenting etc. Develop a list of the words that are related to your specialties.

Want to get some easy additional ideas? Go to and type in your keywords. Below it you will see other suggested keywords that you can add to your list.

2. Designate your regular keywords, also known as head terms, versus your long-tailed keywords which are more descriptive and generally have three or more words in them. EMDR therapy for PTSD, for example, versus EMDR. When you are working on your website SEO you may be able to rank higher for your long-tailed keywords than you will for the head term EMDR.

3. Use tools to further research your keywords. Google has a free keyword planner you can use found here. The only catch is you do need to sign up for an Ad Words account, though you don’t need to actually run an ad. UberSuggest also has a free tool.

4. Rank your keywords by their level of importance to you. Your most important keywords will be used on on your home page and your other keywords can be used on other pages. Don’t forget to designate a page where your name is a keyword or to use you location as part of your keywords.

5. Use your keywords in your site, while still writing good content. If you are blogging it is also a great idea to write blog posts based on your long tailed keywords.

Check out my post on 5 tips to improve your SEO for more on where to place your keywords.

Below are a few more resources on keyword research.

Moz Has a great guide to keyword research.

Another resource from Hubspot

Photo Copyright: nk2549 / 123RF Stock Photo

5 Tips To Improve Your SEO

5 Tips To Improve Your SEO

The most excellent Melvin Varghese invited me to speak on his Selling the Couch Podcast. I actually struggled with a topic until he suggested SEO. Duh of course this is something I consult on along with helping those getting started in private practice. I wrote this blog post so that those listening to the podcast could have easy access to the resources I mentioned after the show. The podcast is now live and the link above takes you to the podcast and also links to things we talked about it the podcast. Very exciting.

1. Define Your Niche

I know this sounds unrelated to SEO but until you define your niche you won’t be able to develop your keywords. Your keywords are the basis of your SEO work. I do a lot of workshops and this is what therapists’ struggle the most with. “But if I say I work with anxiety, no one else will call me!” This is simply not true. You need to define the issue or client you want to work with and then write your content directly to engage them. Your website is there to bring in your ideal clients and if you can’t engage them then any SEO work you do is for naught. Once your niche is defined then you can define your keywords. Keywords should always include your name (on your about page), your location, and your niche specialty. Each page on your website should have its own keywords. (update 11/28-check out my new post on keyword research here)


2. Use your keywords effectively.

Notice I put this after mentioning good content. Google emphasizes that good content is the most important aspect of SEO. You want your content to engage your ideal client. Once you have that you can then make sure your identified keywords are in some specific places. You want to have your keywords in your page titles, alt tags when appropriate (these are tags for your pictures), page description, headings on pages, and in your content. Google does not need to see a word 25 times on a page to recognize its relevance. If you have it there it will be seen. The old days of putting a long list of words on the bottom of the page are over. Google will identify that as keyword stuffing and may penalize your site. (update 11/28-check out my new post on keyword research here)


3. Optimize your Page Speed.

How many times have you clicked off of a page because it took to long to load? Google’s algorithms recognize this as an issue and want your pages to load quickly. There are several places you can test this. If you have WordPress there are many plugins you can use to improve your page loading speed. The most important is to have a cache plugin. I currently use W3 Total Cache. For any website you want to make sure any images are optimized because large images will ruin your page load speed. Here is an article about optimizing images for more details. If you have built your site on a platform other then WordPress you should direct page speed questions to them.

While speaking with Melvin he recommended a free website where you can size your images. It is called PicResize.

Here is where you can test your page speed on Google. You can also test here. A desirable result is a green result on desktop and a high yellow result on mobile (in the 70’s).

4 Have a Mobile Friendly Site

As of April 2015 Google has said it will penalize websites that are not mobile friendly. Most new themes are made as responsive, which means they are mobile friendly, however I have added it here because I recently worked with someone that had a new website built and it was not mobile friendly. If you hire a web designer be sure to ask them what they know about SEO because many designers are not familiar with SEO and this can cause you issues later.

Here is where you can test and see if your site is mobile friendly in Google. This is a yes or no test result.


5.  Be active on social media.

I know many therapists are resistant to this one. However, it is important to be active on social media for several factors including SEO. Your business having and using social media accounts is a factor in SEO ranking. If you write blogs (bonus for using keywords in them) and post those blogs on social media you will drive traffic to your site, which also is a factor in SEO ranking. In addition, some social media accounts can show up in search on their own. My Facebook Business Page shows up as a search results when my keywords are searched. If your name is showing up more then once in the results then it gives an appearance of expertise. I have also known therapists that have gotten clients from social media posts; Facebook in particular has worked effectively for this.


Here are some additional great free SEO resources.


The MOZ Guide to SEO is a great beginners guide to learning SEO.


Yoast has a WordPress Guide for SEO. Yoast is the go to plugin for SEO for a WordPress site.



updated January 2017 with the link to the podcast.




Go to Top