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By Sara K. Sims, Director of 
Business Development,

If you have been reading my series of Promoting Your Practice articles on online marketing tips*, you have a great basic understanding of search engine optimization by now. Congratulations! 

For those of you who have websites that are still far from appearing on the first page of a Google search, you may be feeling that search engine optimization (SEO) is a lost cause. How do you stand out if you’ve done all the SEO basics, but still find that your website is lost in the crowd? If you’re in a large market like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York, you may be finding that the competition for local results is enormous. Not to worry, there are still ways to separate yourself from the pack! 

One of the most powerful optimization techniques you can use is one that is often overlooked. You see, search engines treat every page of your website as a unique possible destination, and each page could come up for a completely different keyword search than the others. This gives you a powerful tool at your disposal: targeted landing pages.

A targeted landing page is an Internet page that a visitor reaches after clicking on a link that specifically targets what that visitor is looking for. Here’s the basic idea: If you were to go to Google right now and type in the phrase that you wish your site was #1 for, it would probably look something like: “adolescent therapy after divorce in Peoria,” or, “marriage therapy for workaholics in Chicago, IL.” 

These search phrases are built of three primary components: a topical keyword + an application/situation + a location. This is the naturalistic construction of a search phrase for just about anything that someone may use a search engine for. The topical keyword represents, broadly speaking, what the searcher is looking for; the application/situation represents why someone is searching for it; and the location represents where the searcher is. 

So how do you turn this to your advantage? Simple—create a new page on your website targeted to exactly that search phrase. Just take that search phrase and use exactly that as the name of your new page. 

Use it as the heading on the page. Make sure that phrase appears in the body of the page itself. This will give the search engines an exact match for the phrase in their search results from your website—whenever anybody types it in. 

The key here is not to try to optimize for everything at once. Focus exclusively on the particular phrase you know you want your site to come up for, and use this page to target just that result. You may be tempted to optimize for as many keywords as you can think of that are even slightly related, but resist the urge! Your job with a targeted landing page is to make it crystal-clear to the search engines what this particular page is about. 

Then do it all again. Think of another search phrase, and make another targeted landing page that matches it exactly. You’ll be on your way to achieving high search-engine rankings in no time! 

Looking to build an optimized website for your practice, but don’t have the time to do it all yourself? Take advantage of our expertise. At you can build a beautiful, professional, and affordable website and then contact our SEO experts to take advantage of this, and other, techniques to grow your practice online. 

If you would like to try out a TherapySites website for free, visit, and sign-up using the promo code “AMHCA” to enjoy a free month.

* Previous "Promoting Your Practice" articles have run in several issues of The Advocate this year: 
March (page 14), April (page 15), MayJuly/August, and September
. To read them online, go to and click on the Advocate tab, then scroll to the bottom of the Advocate Archive page and open the relevant PDF.