SEO – Making your site Google friendly

Search Engine Optimization SEO GoogleSEO, standing for Search Engine Optimization, determines Page Ranking, or where your website appears on the Google search result pages when someone looks for, say, “hypnotherapy in london”. Your WordPress website already has a number of SEO plugins pre-installed like All-in-one SEO, which automatically sends an XML sitemap to Google whenever your website is updated and allows you to tweak your Google snippet, and WP Super Cache, which speeds up your website’s display speed. And your website is responsive, ie mobile friendly, which is also taken into account by Google.

In fact, there are more than 200 factors that enter into the Google equation (see https://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors) and it can get quite complex but here are some simple tips that can be carried out by yourself which will help your page ranking.

1 – Make your website as informative and easy to read as possible
The more your website is well written, informative, with a clear layout and good page content length, the better your SEO. Google’s algorithms are programmed to recognize a well-written site. Take the time to rewrite certain parts of it, or add to it as your practice develops. Make use of bullet points, sub-headings, blockquotes and make sure sentences end with a full stop. Make your website interesting to read as well; the longer visitors stay on your site (dwell time) – even if they don’t become immediate clients – the better your Google page ranking.

2 – Have “Hypnotherapy” and your location appear in the homepage title
It sounds obvious but it is a good idea to have hypnotherapy and where you practise in the homepage title eg John Smith Hypnotherapy, London. It’s also advisable to have hypnotherapy naturally appear in the homepage opening paragraph and a couple more times in the text which follows. However it mustn’t appear like keyword cramming, otherwise you might be penalized by Google. As a rule a page which is about Anxiety should have Anxiety in the title, and also have the word appear 2-3 times in the text content.

3 – Use images on pages
Adding images to pages is useful for breaking up long blocks of text, and also filling out pages which don’t have a lot of text so always make sure each page has at least one image on it. Google will take it into account. We recommend pixabay.com , pexels.com or unsplash.com for free images, but best to stay clear of images which have recognisable faces on them – see https://pixabay.com/en/blog/posts/public-domain-images-what-is-allowed-and-what-is-4/ Lastly, when you insert an image into a page make sure you fill in the Alt Text field middle right of the Insert Media box, explaining the image e.g. Anxiety at the workplace. This is called Image Optimization. Alt text is mainly used for people with hearing impediments who use screen readers.

4 – Incoming links to your website or “backlinks”
Links are the blue hyperlinks which take you from one page/website to another when you click on them. Outgoing links are not necessarily beneficial to your SEO but incoming links, or backlinks, are, so if you are a member of any authoritative organisations (AfSFH, CNCH, NCH etc) make sure there is a link to your website from theirs. Habitually this will be on your personal info page on their website. Likewise, if someone publishes an article on you make sure they mention your website address somewhere, and if you have friends or acquaintances with similar-topic websites it’s a good idea to exchange links (link relevancy).

5 – Maintain a Blog
Regularly posted articles (at least once monthly) will help your SEO and keep your site “alive”. Once you publish an article you can share it to your Facebook page by clicking the FB Share button underneath the article – meaning you don’t have to re-write it. You have to be logged in to your Facebook page to do this. In Edit Post mode if you scroll down to the All In One SEO Pack Social Settings tab you can choose which image to include in the Facebook Post Share.

6 – Define your Google snippet
Make sure your Google snippet is defined for your homepage (if not already), and mentions your name, hypnotherapy and where you practise. In Edit Page mode, scroll down to the All In One SEO Pack Social Settings to define your Description. You can also enter keywords if you wish, although Google doesn’t take into account keywords.

7 – Sign up to Google My Business (free)
This will help with your local SEO, by informing Google that you run a Hypnotherapy practice in your locality, and will allow you to appear in the top search results which show map locations. Go to https://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/business/. Make sure the practice name / address details / email / telephone number(s) you enter on Google My Business are exactly the same as on your website, and fill in as much information / photos as you can.

8 – Sign up to Google Ads (payable)
Having a Google Ads account will allow your website to appear in the Ad results that Google displays at the top of its search results. Click here for the official Google Ads website. To set up a Google Ads account I recommend ringing Google Ads on 0800 169 0716 and getting a Google representative to talk you through the set up, and the pricing plans.

9 – Third party help
If you wish to take SEO further I would recommend doing a Google search for SEO service providers in and around where you are based and see what payments plans they offer. Best to talk face to face with them if possible, explaining that your website is WordPress-based, and see how they operate. Some SEO companies do ongoing SEO for a monthly fee (organic SEO ie creating Posts on your website and Social media Twitter, Facebook etc, ) some charge a one-off fee to “optimize” your site (titles, alts etc), sometimes by installing the specific WordPress SEO plugins (WP Rocket etc).

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