Tag Archives: link building

Hiring Addiction Treatment Counselors – Link Building SEO

Here is an idea for link building from a different perspective. If you are hiring Certified Mental Health Professional’s i.e.CMHP’s you want to make sure that they are open to writing, are good at it and if writing is not their thing make sure they will allow themselves to be video taped.

In my experience in working with drug addiction treatment centers one of the best ways to generate new business is through the internet. What the Internet requires is content. The users want quality content. The families seeking addiction treatment do research, a lot of it. The more high quality information that you can put on your website the more likely it will be found.

The problem for many addiction treatment centers is that their Certified Mental Health Professional’s or addiction treatment counselors find themselves too busy too either write or talk about their craft. The treatment centers that have C.M.H.P.’s who write and are willing to be in videos can have a significant advantage with their marketing if they are willing to publish this information on their websites. As a matter of fact if I owned a treatment center I would make it mandatory for every CMHP or addiction treatment counselor to write at least 1 article per week and publish at least 1 video per week for the website.

If you customers are passionate about your content they will share it. If they share it you get links. If you get other websites and social media sites linking to you, Google likes this. If Google likes this then they will push up your SEO rankings. If this happens you will see more traffic on your website. If you see more traffic on your website you will get more phone calls. If you get more phone calls you will see more business in your addiction treatment center. If this happens you don’t have to pay as much money to addiction treatment marketing consultants to help you with your SEO and lead generation.

Once you get a system down for publishing this type of content it is like brushing your teeth once per day, it is no big deal. Not only will Google like this but your customers will like it even more. I often hear that customers say “you’re that guy in the videos!” And when you say “yes” it is like an instant creditably connection, which is TRUST, which is what brings in customers in every business. You already know what their problems are but they don’t know you, unless they have met you on the website videos.

Drug Addiction Treatment Article Marketing

As with any internet marketing for drug addiction treatment centers, therapists and behavioral health counselors or any other industry, it is all incremental. There is no one silver bullet, except maybe Oprah, and that only lasts a day unless you can find a another way to get some more mileage out of it. So, if there is no one silver bullet, we want to look at several methods in getting qualified traffic to our site.

One of the most cost effective ways to do this is with Article Marketing. Article Marketing allows you get essentially “free” targeted traffic to your web site by writing articles and uploading them to article directories.

The article directories serve as a couple of different functions:

1) Distribution/Syndication: Many article directories rank well and since they have search engine visibility it is very possible your article will get the same visibility and therefore end up ranking naturally in Google’s organic results.

a. Anchor Text Links: Article directories allow you to place 1-4 hyperlinks in the articles and the value of these links is what you are receiving for the article directory receiving your free content

2) Sites Seeking Relevant Content: Other webmasters look to article directories for relevant articles to use as content on their own web sites.

a. Other web masters are supposed to give you credit for your article and a link back, but often times this is not the case… if they do it can be very helpful from an SEO standpoint as you will get “free” links.

In order to understand why article marketing is so effective we need to understand a little bit about SEO. What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Using both on and off-page SEO, you can increase your organic placement and therefore traffic volumes from the search engine result pages.

Ideally with more traffic coming into your site the greater chance you have more a significant increase in conversions. The first order of business is becoming more familiar with some of the “on page” items that the search engines care about, such as:

1. Title Tag Usage –This is code and it shows up in the Google Search Results
2. Body Text – Text of the article
3. H1 tags – Headline on the Web page
4. Domain Names – AmericaInRehab.com is a domain name
5. Meta Usage – Title, Description, Keyword, Alt, Image tags etc.
6. etc

These bullets above are all contributing factors for ranking and are being factored by the search engines “on-page.” Since on-page and content are almost exactly the same, what is going to be the deciding factor for the search engines to rank one listing over the other? What drives organic web site rank in the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages)? Google is looking at who is the most referenced, and who has the most incoming links, particularly via relevant content. Writing great articles and content can attract more people who in turn may naturally link to you. Once a site achieves more inbound links, it will naturally get pushed up the Google search ranks. But where? The site who has the most links and highest quality links wins.

Let’s take a look at this in more detail. SEO has to be structured around keywords, i.e. keyword specific links. But Just having links is not enough. Google also looks at the following attributes in a sites link portfolio:

1. Link popularity (The popularity of the hosting site)
2. Link age (Links age with time, older is better as it shows more trust)
3. Link Topic i.e. Article Marketing Drug Addiction Treatment (Relevancy has a lot of weight)
4. Link Authority (Is the hosting site ranking, how many incoming links do they have, etc)
5. Link Reputation (Is the hosting site trusted in Google)
6. Link Growth Rates (You want a natural trend for quicker trust)
7. Linking with a community on niche (this is absolutely critical)
8. Link Anchor Text – Keyword specific (See below for the code example and an actual clickable link)

Internet Marketing Consultant (This would be considered an example as clickable anchor text/link text)

Google looks at these links and how the hosting sites are looking at you. It`s who has the most anchor text keywords and the absolute best incoming links that stands the best chance to rank for those keywords. If you want to Rank for “Pet Friendly Women Only Drug Addiction Treatment in Florida” you will have a much easier time of it than if you are trying to rank for “Drug Rehab in Florida”.
What topics to write about in Drug Addiction Treatment?

One way to really get to the customer answers is to record your admissions phone calls. You will begin to see a pattern of similar questions being asked by clients before they even consider entering a treatment center. Chose a popular question as the topic of an article. Make sure you really are as thorough as possible in answering ALL of their questions surrounding this one particular topic when writing your piece . For example, if you chose “What is your aftercare program like after I leave the treatment center?” What you need to do is twist that question into a generic topic for an article like: “What are the best drug addiction treatment center aftercare programs like?” Remember you are NOT advertising your treatment center in article marketing you are only providing information and a reference source.

Look closely at the leaders in your niche, visit their websites and Twitter profiles. Find out what people are asking them. You will begin to see patterns. Make sure that you are covering some of those same topics and do it more thoroughly. It makes sense you will be viewed more of as an authority and the expert the more you write.

Give it all away!

Yes, give the readers your absolute best information. You can’t give away a lifetime of professional work in 1 article or 100 articles. Instead, if you do give the user your best information you might be perceived as the industry expert since many others are just giving away superfluous and redundant generic information.

Syndication of Drug Addiction Treatment Article’s

Not only is using article marketing directories a great place to distribute your information, also try the following… Connect with aggregators like FriendFeed.com and Ping.fm to distribute your content to many of the social media sites all simultaneously. This saves a lot of time in manual distribution. You can also use article syndication tools, like iSnare.com.

Google doesn’t actually tell us, but many authority SEO`s think Google`s algorithm determines organic placement by 20-30% on-page factors (metas, content, etc) and 70-80% off page factors (links!)…meaning: LINKS MATTER MORE! Your links will determine how successful your rankings are.

In order to get your articles distributed, article marketing directories are the best place to start. A site like Ezine Articles gets some 15 Million readers per month. Just make sure that if you are using article directories (especially if you are manually submitting the content) that they are passing Page Rank. Don`t know how to check? Just use the list below and add at least 1 article to 4 or 5 of the article directories every week, if possible.

Start writing for other Web sites and Blogs

Writing for the article directories is one way to get out there. However, there are many other ways to get your messages out there. I would focus on the drug treatment industry publishers in order to get relevant, powerful backlinks from trusted web sites. Take, for instance, this article on Behavioral Health Central. By writing here on BHC, this article not only winds up in the Google news, it also gets picked up by other web sites and repurposed. You can also write for other drug addiction treatment topics on sites like Treatment-Centers.net, RecoveryView.com and many others. Just contact the publisher, learn about their guidelines and see if your expertise is required.

Show me the money! Or where’s the beef?!

The beef is in the links of the articles. So what is the best way to go about getting these inbound links to your site? Just building content is not enough… it is a failed strategy.

Reciprocal links are not good enough and actually don`t hold much weight unless they are in your own niche. So if you have a drug addiction treatment center and you have incoming reciprocal links with a rental car company, for example, Google does not care too much about that link(s).

Here are a few ways to get incoming links:

1. Make sales calls to get links
2. Write for other publishers
3. Press releases
4. Paid links and advertisements
5. Blog commenting “with follow links”
6. Blog writing
7. Use Authority Directory submissions listings
a. Treatment-centers.net (industry relevancy first)
b. Business.com
c. Yahoo.com
d. samhsa.gov
e. Best of the web
8. Q&A sites, like Yahoo Answers
9. Social media sites, like LinkedIn, Twitter etc.

Drug Addiction Treatment Article Components

1. Title should include your keyphrase
2. Body 400- 600 words max
3. Lots of easy reading. Allow the user to skip skim and scan.
4. Keyword focus and density
5. Author box, with links coming back to your site. Many times you can prepare multiple author profiles.

Hand submit to the article directories and remember, more is not always better. You want sites that are both SEO friendly (for the search engine value)and that also achieve high traffic volumes (for potential direct clicks). Your site has a set link build rate according to Google. They know if you got 2 links per week for the last year. To make your efforts appear natural, you want to vary your anchor text and your destination pages. You don`t want to always link to the home page. This looks unnatural. Do not over optimize one keyword or one page. Products like SEO Elite will help you with back link anchor text.

As far as we know in the SEO space, duplicate content filters do not exist for articles. Competition is what separates the wheat from the chafe. While several sites might republish the same article, Google will analyze which is the best optimized page and which is the best hosting site. Google will then remove the article on lower valued site(s) from their index.

A short list of benefits with article marketing

Keep a daily look out in your Google Analytics of where your referral sites are coming in from. You should begin to see some patterns. You can even have these reports automated to you and sent in an e-mail(Google alerts). With very little effort, you can get some serious benefits from article marketing.

1) Articles get your name and business “syndication”
2) Articles run in the background and work for you while you are sleeping
3) Articles do not require ongoing administration
4) Article marketing is scalable
5) Article marketing is trackable
6) Article marketing is not advertising, it is information distribution

7) ***You can embed up to as many as 1-4 links per article for links back to your web site(s)
In summary, if you aren‘t doing article marketing right now, you need to be. It should be a key component of your off-page SEO strategy to help generate organic traffic to your website. You can either do it yourself by following some of the guidelines above, or hire an Internet Marketing Consultant to do this for you. You might want to consider drug addiction treatment article marketing as 10-25% of your SEO strategy….because it works!

SEO Strategy for Addiction Treatment Centers, Counselors and Therapists

In these tough economic times, learning new skills and taking a step back to take a “personal” or “corporative” inventory will often reveal areas for major improvements and some glaring gaps in business practices. When it comes to marketing and business development, there is no better source than the Internet, especially for the counseling, therapy and treatment industries. With the Internet as the marketplace for new business through hundreds of millions of searches, a good website is not only needed, but it needs to be well optimized so it can be found when potential clients search for the services you offer. A website without optimization, no matter how good it looks, is no more useful than an expensive, glorified business card with no one to see it.

If you don’t have a web site it is strongly recommended that you invest in one, specifically built by someone who has experience building websites in your industry. A web designer and optimizer with knowledge of your specific industry can save you critical time and money. The authors of this article are two such people, and we’ll endeavor to share our knowledge and experience in this area so as to prevent costly and time consuming mistakes…

As a counselor, therapist or treatment center you are selling “people, expertise, relationships and experience.” People’s first introduction into who and what you are as a professional or treatment provider is through your website. It is human nature that individuals do business with people they know, like, and trust. In keeping with this reality, we want to allow the web site to convey the messages of personality, philosophy, experience, skills and specialties so that visitors can actually “get to know” you and your how you approach your profession when they browse through your website.

What we will cover in the article is how to prepare your web site and your business to take advantage of the massive search traffic for behavioral healthcare services on the Internet.

So how do therapists, counselors and treatment centers actually get clients? Some rely on the yellow pages to generate business and sometimes they come from other professionals. The fact is that in today’s world the Internet plays the biggest role of all in getting business into the healthcare field, period. So unless you have more business than you can handle (how many of us are in that situation?), it is imperative that you engage in Internet marketing. In today’s world, success in the behavioral healthcare field is intimately related to one’s ability to successfully market themselves on the Internet. If an individual searches the Internet for therapy or treatment, you need to be positioned in such a way that you get their business. Where else (besides the Internet) can you share ALL of your papers, articles, pictures and testimonials with the rest of the world for virtually the price of a cheap cup of coffee each day? The key is to share it in a way that it will be found when individuals in need of help search for the terms that are most relevant to the specific services you provide. Your practice or treatment center can literally be a walking, talking billboard of your expertise and services on the “Information Super Highway.”

The Internet does a great job at helping people with specific problems find the best people with the right solutions to meet their needs. For the purposes of this article, the preferred method of client acquisition (from the Internet) is to have your Internet leads come through your own web site first and not through a third party [web site]. (This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use directories or Internet Yellow Pages – in fact in many cases the exact opposite is true, but we’ll discuss that later in this article). Also, in many cases, referrals from the Internet will only come in through your web site AFTER they have qualified you based on the information they find on the Internet about you. For this reason it’s imperative that your website be in-depth and informative about who you are and what you have to offer, and it’s equally imperative that you have links from other relevant sites on the internet linking to your site…

Why links you ask? Well, would you trust a medical reference that didn’t cite its sources? In the same way, Search Engines don’t trust websites without supporting, relevant links. Links should be thought of as “votes” given by one website to another on the Internet… the more of them you have, the more intrinsic value your site has compared with all other sites on the internet in the eyes of Search Engines (Google in particular – this is the basis of the Google PageRank Algorithm as developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin during their studies at Stanford from 1995-97, and developed into a general rating system for websites on a scale from 0-10, known as the PageRank scale)… And the greater the relevance of the site that’s linking to you (in relation to the content of your own site), the more value you’ll get from each individual incoming link – in other words a “vote” from another treatment professional or treatment center is naturally more relevant and therefore more valuable than a vote from a car dealership…

Web site optimization (also known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO) can be divided into two main areas. First, you have “on site” optimization, meaning the content and HTML tags are accurate, in keeping with established standards, and maximized for relevance. Second is what’s called “off site” optimization, which entails link building and linking strategies (internal and external) to enable your well written, well optimized content to rank.

Onsite Optimization for Therapists, Counselors, and Treatment Centers

To achieve success in Internet marketing, you should take just as much pride in your website as in your profession, not only in the design and copy of the site, but also in your website optimization (SEO). (Which in turn results in attracting the right clientele)
Often times, but not always, people who are in need of therapy or treatment do a Google search on the services followed by the location, i.e. “drug treatment centers in Florida”. What typically come up are “local listings”, and often directory listings. Directories are great, and in a perfect world I tell all my clients to get listed with as many directories as possible (track the ones that help you rank and drop the ones that don’t). The way I value directories is how many links they give me, period. I don’t value them based on the number of clicks they can or can’t send to my website… The clicks are for the most part superfluous – they’re not the real value of advertising on important industry directory sites. The real value is in the relevance these directories transmit to your website for terms for which you want to rank better. The more relevant links I have the better chance I have of being found in searches for the services I provide. More on that in a minute…

Where SEO enters the picture is if I’m a heroin addiction counselor in Marblehead, and I have my therapist web site properly “optimized with tags” (which I will get into in a second) and full of high quality heroin addiction content unique to my website, I stand a possible chance of ranking somewhere in the first 10 pages on Google’s search results for “heroin addiction counselor”, but even so, just being in the first 10 pages on Google isn’t good enough. Very few people look past the first page of search results, and virtually no one continues searching to the 10th page or beyond. To have success with Internet searches for key terms specific to your profession and services, you need to be on the first page, preferably above the fold (above the fold is everything visible on a computer screen without having to scroll down), so for most popular screen resolutions that means within the top 3-5 results.
So how do I ensure that my heroin addiction counselor in Marblehead web page gets to a top spot on Google’s search results? [See Part II about Off-Site Optimization]

Let’s assume you are the best heroin addiction counselor in Marblehead. We will assume you have at least 700 -1,000 words of content (fewer is not favorable for Google) talking about your experience providing heroin addiction treatment and heroin addiction counseling, your education, level of skill, and your approach to treating clients. The content is in place, but Google needs to know that this content is there on YOUR domain. The easiest way for Google to find and index your website is for you to “TELL” THEM IT’S THERE! How is this accomplished? You “tell” them by tagging the HTML code you used to build your web page accurately and informatively – you put your main key phrases in the page’s mainXYZ tag, use XYZ tags to give alternative textual representations of all images on your site,XYZ tags for links, meta tags etc. etc. Or ask your web person to generate the proper Title Tags, Keyword Tags, Description Tags, Alt Tags, Image Tags, etc.

The big blue link you read on the Google search result is your TITLE TAG (as referenced above, the HTML syntax for which isyour title tag). The black text is often the description tag (or an excerpt thereof), or if a meta description is not present Google will grab content off your web page and use it as the search result description, which might not be what you would want as a description. (Google may pull text that isn’t very useful as a search result description). (Also, you don’t have a lot of room here to write a description so it should be concise and to the point – a good rule of thumb is to limit your meta description to 25 words or less). So if your site is JohnSmithCounseling.com and you’re really good at treatment for heroin addiction, the title tag might read something like Heroin Addiction Counselor | John Smith Counseling Marblehead (Title tags should be limited to 65 characters according to several SEO experts, but there is flexibility). Why would you write your title tag this way, instead of simply John Smith’s Counseling Services? Because unless people know of you by name in advance, they won’t be searching for “John Smith Counseling” – they are exponentially more likely to search for Heroin Addiction… or Counselor… or Counseling in Marblehead etc… With title tags, you always want to put your most important keyterms first.

For the meta description tag you have more space to work with, so you naturally want to offer more information than the title tag allows – but just as with the title tag, it should be relevant and keyword rich, and contain the same keyterms you used in the title tag. So continuing the example, the description might read, “John Smith Counseling of Marblehead is the leading authority on heroin addiction in the state of Massachusetts for the past 25 years.” You want to draw the Google searcher to click the link to your site… As long as the information on the landing page (the page that they go to when they click the link in the search results) is well written and informative, and answers the searcher’s questions. The combination of your content and good optimization (and links, we’ll go into that next) will make you rank well enough for your site to be found by searchers, and assuming they’re looking for counseling you stand a great chance of getting that client!

So now we have the easy part completed… Many SEO specialists, web developers, and consultants can provide this SEO service for you – it’s basic optimization 101. I personally prefer to teach clients and have them provide the direction to their development team. Once it’s learned, onsite SEO is fairly easy to execute (doing it well and ranking #1 for competitive terms however requires much more skill and experience).

Part II Offsite Optimization for Therapists, Counselors and Treatment Centers

In order to build your business online you need to get links, lots of links, as many relevant links from high value sites as possible. It is always a good idea to try to request links from hospitals, universities, doctors’ web sites, directories etc., and embed links to your website when commenting on other people’s blogs. These links are how people (and Google) find websites, and are a big factor in how Google ranks them as well. In fact, on today’s Internet, they’re the biggest factor, PERIOD.

Links are also the most efficacious advertising product available in the therapy and treatment industry to make your website rank – PERIOD. If you were a marriage counselor, I would search for a few marriage counseling web sites, directories and blogs to advertise on. Getting multiple relevant marriage counseling links to your marriage counseling site is of paramount importance for generating rankings and traffic, because they’re instantly recognized as high value links going to your web site by Google and Yahoo. If you’re a drug treatment center, search for Authority directory sites in the drug treatment industry on which to advertise, like Treatment-Centers.net and receive hundreds and even thousands of inbound (super-relevant) links showing up in the Google index in a very short period of time over 2-3 months.

One brief comment on Authority sites – you’re probably asking yourself what does this term “Authority site” really mean? Authority sites are category leaders, they’re sites in any given industry on the internet that are attributed greater value by search engines than all of the other sites in that field – they’re also the most relevant and have the most valuable links available on the entire internet for your specific business… Think about it, if your goal is to rank #1 for “drug interventionist in Massachusetts” the most relevant link on the entire Internet (and therefore the most effectual single link available anywhere in helping you rank) will be from the site that ranks #1 organically for “drug intervention.” How do you find Authority sites? Look for sites that you keep finding at the #1 spot, top 5 and top 10 results across a broad sampling of the biggest, broadest, and most generally relevant terms in your industry.

In order to get the links needed to rank for competitive terms, it takes time to research and find the best directories and professional websites from which to get links, legitimately (through link requests, exchanges and advertising contracts). You can also buy links from link brokers or you can pay people to write blog posts on other blogs and link back to you for the purpose of increasing your link value and PageRank (both of which are technically questionable by Google – Google strongly discourages the buying and selling of links for the purpose of increasing search rankings). When building links and considering a certain site for link acquisition, be thorough and ask questions, and always check the other site and see how many links they have coming in. Most importantly, in the case of directory sites, ask them how many links you’ll get by listing or advertising with them, and make sure you’re getting LIVE links from them. Some sites provide links through internal redirects, negating any value you would otherwise get from the link! (Examples of large resource/directory sites that use internal redirects for links are Soberrecovery.com and Sober.com – Examples of ones that provide LIVE LINKS include SAMHSA, NIDA, Treatment-Centers.net, AboutDrugRehab.com, Drug-Rehabs.com and Intervention-Referral.com) Links with internal redirects look the same as any other links, so always have someone who knows HTML look at the code of the links before you get them.

How many incoming links are necessary to rank well? There is no simple answer to this – you might rank in the top 10 for very targeted 4 and 5 word terms (and of course your own name or the name of your organization) with fewer than 100 incoming links… Ranking for more competitive, more general terms might require anywhere from 1000 to 100,000 incoming links. We also recommend having at least 50-100 web pages packed with well-written, unique, keyword rich content relevant to your practice or treatment program – the more pages of well optimized content the better. Search Engines (especially Google) love content. Give Google what Google wants, i.e. relevant links and rich content about your business and the terms for which people are searching.

Developing and optimizing a successful website for your business in the behavioral healthcare field is an ongoing process, and top-notch rankings aren’t garnered overnight. That said, if the advice in this article is followed closely and implemented diligently and consistently, results will ensue very rapidly, rankings will rise, and your website will begin to produce a steady flow of visitor traffic and phone calls into your business.

Authored By:

Bernie Grohsman is an 8 year Internet marketing veteran, and is considered by many the premier Search Engine Optimizer and Internet marketing expert in the Behavioral Healthcare field. His accomplishments include the design and/or optimization of some of the best-ranking and best-known sites in the behavioral health and addiction treatment field, he is the former Director of Internet Marketing for CRC Health Corporation, and is the Founder and owner of Treatment-Centers.net.

Jim Peake is a 15 year Internet marketing veteran with SpeechRep Consulting focused on treatment center marketing and Internet consulting. Jim is also a certified SEO consultant at Submit Express the 10 year old Search Engine Optimization company in Burbank, CA, and is a Technical Marketing consultant for Treatment-Centers.net and planning a trip with America in Rehab.