April 2, 2024

Episode 58:

How AI is Changing SEO and Google in 2024 with Kristie Plantinga

In this episode, Kristie shares how Google has changed in 2024 and she’ll give a roadmap to future-proof your practice on Google as the prevalence of AI grows.

Episode 58: How AI is Changing SEO and Google in 2024 with Kristie Plantinga

Show Notes

Kayla: Welcome back to the Designer Practice Podcast, and I’m your host, Kayla Das.

Artificial intelligence, or otherwise known as AI, has taken the world by storm over the last couple of years. Although there might be some hesitations about how to use it ethically in private practices. However, when it comes to building search engine optimization or SEO, it can be a game changer.

In today’s episode, Kristie Plantinga, SEO expert and owner of TherapieSEO, is with us to share how Google has changed in 2024, and she’ll provide us a roadmap to future-proof your practice on Google as the prevalence of AI grows.

Hi, Kristie. Welcome to the show. I’m so glad to have you here today.  

Kristie: Yeah. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to talk about this stuff.


Kayla: Yeah. And before we dive in, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from? Tell us a little bit about your own business journey and how you’ve become an SEO expert for therapists specifically.

Kristie: Yeah. So, I studied psychology in college along with music actually, but I was gunning to become a therapist. I was in the, you’re a good listener to therapist pipeline as I’m sure many therapists can relate to. But by the time college ended, I knew that I wasn’t ready to become a therapist, even if I were a therapist, I’m pretty sure I could work with like two people a week. I think therapists are so amazing. The emotional stamina they have to hold space for people. And I just knew at the end of the day that I didn’t have it at that time.

But I loved mental health and that never went away. It was a big part of my life and I started pursuing other skills I had essentially and I kind of fell into writing and website design. And I started studying search engine optimization, because it’s a nice balance between– it’s very technical but there’s also lots of creativity involved in it as well. And so, it seemed the perfect fit for me. For some reason, an SEO agency hired me after I was done my graduate degree. And so that’s where I started learning a lot about SEO. I caught the entrepreneurial bug as I’m sure your listeners can relate to. And I knew that I wanted to do marketing, do SEO, but specialize, I didn’t want to be a generalist, and immediately. I was like, I got to help therapists. Mental health is my passion. I love working with therapists. And so, I just brought the two of them together four years ago. And here we are today.

Kayla: And I can totally appreciate, to be a therapist but being kind of called to something else because that’s like me like I started with a private practice. I am a social worker. But I think my calling is business coaching, right? Like I love to help people with business and growth and hence why we had the Designer Practice Podcast. And I always kind of joke and say, I think I went into social work for all the wrong reasons. But I’m glad that I’m here and I’m glad that I’m able to help other therapists. But I am a businesswoman through and through, so I love helping other people with their journey, with their private practices, and being able to really build a career that they want for themselves. So, I really appreciate, I love your journey because we all come to where we’re supposed to be, even if there’s some pivots along the way.

Kristie: Deviations along the way. Yeah, and I think with mental health too, therapists are the frontline workers, but therapists need support too. And I think that’s more where my role is. And I’m really passionate about making some change in the mental health systems in America, at least. So, yeah, I think I see myself as more of the support for the people who are gifted enough to take on that kind of work. So, I’m the backseat cheering you on.

Kayla: And we need people like you. Because that’s something that as social workers, as therapists, as private practice owners that we don’t necessarily have the skills or not necessarily trained in how to improve our SEO, how to use some of these tools that you’re going to explain today in this episode. So glad that you’re here.

What is SEO?

So, for any listener who may not have heard of the term SEO before, what is it? And how does it help therapists and coaches when growing their private practices?

Kristie: Yeah, I mean, SEO can be such a great marketing strategy. So, it stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the process of getting your website to rank higher for certain keywords. So, you know, therapist Edmonton, if someone wanted to rank for that. The things we do to your website or your reputation online more so, which we’ll get into. Those sorts of activities that we do help you rank higher for those keywords. So, when someone searches therapist near me, anxiety therapist, therapist Edmonton, whatever. That is how you get to show up higher for those keywords.

Benefits and Limitations of Investing Money into SEO

Kayla: So, what are some of the benefits and limitations of investing money into SEO?

Kristie: I mean, I could talk about the benefits all day. Once you’re doing well on Google, many of our clients don’t do any other marketing. They have to obviously keep up the initial work that we put in. But I compare it to ranking on page one of Psychology Today, every time someone searches. And obviously Psychology Today’s typically spot one on Google. So, they get a good amount of those clicks, but that’s essentially the exposure that you’re getting if you’re in a consistent place on Google for a variety of keywords or even just one group of keywords, if you only want to show up for couples counseling or something, you know, then that’s there.

So obviously the visibility, but in more recent times, it’s also really about building your reputation online. So, it’s PR in many ways. It’s getting the word out there, especially if you’re the type of therapist who really does want to make a name for yourself in a certain specialty. SEO and digital PR is a huge topic of conversation in the SEO world right now. That is hugely beneficial because that stuff doesn’t go away, you know? Like with Google Ads, you pay, you know, $1,000 a month to get in front of people that way. But once you write one article and it’s in Forbes, or you get quoted in Cosmo, or you wrote this article on how to fall asleep more quickly at night. And it started ranking a year ago and it’s ranking for another five years. Like they’re just the sort of longer lasting assets for your business.

So, there’s certainly an amount of I think resilience you need to do SEO because it’s not a quick process. There are no shortcuts. There are no magic bullets that comes with it. It just takes time because you’re essentially proving to Google, I’m really good at what I do. So, when someone searches for this type of professional, you should show them my website and Google is getting smarter and smarter. So essentially the burden of proof is getting higher to show Google that you are a professional that is worth ranking on their platform, essentially.

Kayla: I love that you said that there’s no quick fixes because I know what many private practice owners get into the trap of is that they’ll hire an SEO expert, like literally might not even have their website up yet. Or if they do, they literally just put it up and they pay thousands of thousands of dollars and they expect to be on page one with all the money that they invested. And really what I’m hearing you say is that it does take time. So, it’s not that you can’t invest in an SEO expert because, of course, that’s really going to help you start moving forward. But those expectations on what they can do is not going to be an overnight process.

Kristie: No, not at all. And I’m glad you brought that up. I mean, we even have clients who reach out to us now and they ask us, can you do keyword research, optimize my title tags and meta descriptions. And lately I’ve been kind of joking. It’s like, well, you could just kind of like burn your money instead. I know that’s dramatic, but it’s like, that’s not going to get you anything. So, we can do that work, but that’s step zero in the process. It is so much more involved now. And obviously then having a professional guide you through that to show you the most efficient way and also the most effective way, given how Google is ranking things now and assessing websites.

But yeah, it is certainly not a one-and-done thing. It’s definitely you put in a good amount of work one time, whether that be for a year or year and a half, whatever. And then it’s a matter of maintaining, but it is absolutely not, “Well, I paid my designer and they put therapists in Denver and my homepage title tag. So why aren’t I ranking on Google?” It’s like, well, because other people have been doing this for years, or they’ve invested thousands of dollars. It’s just not going to cut it.

How does Google Rank and How has it Changed in 2024

Kayla: I love that you shared that. And I think this goes into the next question of, we think of Google, how really does Google rank or identify SEO? And how has that been changing, especially in 2024? And also, how does that impact or influence, say, the current SEO strategies that people use talking about meta descriptions and all of that good stuff, if at all?

Kristie: Yeah, it’s very much affecting all of that. And It’s been really interesting observing all of these changes. Google, even in the last four years, things just move so quickly online. So, it’s very much a part of my job to observe those changes to make sure that the things that we’re doing are actually working.

So, if we think about back when Google started, we’ll just say the early 2000s, it was the wild west of SEO. And you could basically– because Google, the algorithm just wasn’t very advanced. And so, you could do some silly stuff that was really easy and it would go really far, but Google has picked up on that stuff more and more. So, the kind of little fixes, the little tweaks, the tricks that honestly people in my field would use, they’re just really not cutting it anymore.

And so now It really is about, I would say, two things. One, I’ll just briefly touch on because we mentioned it, digital PR, building your reputation online, that’s done in many different ways, but primarily getting linked to from major publications, HuffPost, Forbes, Cosmo, Elite Daily, all that kind of stuff. That kind of PR is very important. And the second piece of that is creating content that really closely aligns with what the user is actually searching for. So, in years previous, you could get around quite a bit by just having a lot of words on the page because you can show Google, this is a very comprehensive resource on this topic. So, the more you write, the more about the topic you can mention, it gets complicated, but that does feed into in an AI machine learning type thing, because the more connections that are being made within this topic, you’re impressing Google. Like, “Wow, they’re really talking about everything within this topic.” So comprehensive used to be the name of the game.

But now it’s more, are you precisely matching what’s called search intent. And that’s essentially what do people want from a certain keyword? So, if someone searches, am I a perfectionist quiz that they’re not looking for the history of perfectionism, they want a quiz to take that’s going to tell them whether or not they have this. So, a lot of websites just by more creatively matching search intent can rank above more reputable websites if their content matches the search intent more. So that is becoming more and more important. So digital PR, building reputation online and then content that doesn’t just kind of satisfy the Google gods, you know, we talked about title tags, meta descriptions, making sure keywords are throughout the content. But really, is this exactly what the searcher is looking for? Because that is what Google is going to reward at the end of the day.

Misconception of SEO

Kayla: I think this goes into something I talk about on the podcast sometimes is like different types of blogs or different types of articles that we can create. Another misconception that I know therapists, at least starting out, often think about is that if they just have an about me page, a main page, a contact page, that they’re going to magically be on the first page of Google. But the truth is that you need to continue to create that content, going back to that intent piece that you were mentioning, is that having the content that people are searching for is important. It’s not just good enough to have a homepage, although you should have a homepage. But it’s not necessarily an SEO strategy that’s going to pop up on the first page unless probably you pay for Google ads or something like that, but it’s usually the content that you create. Would you agree with that?

Kristie: Yeah, a simple website is good for many purposes. And just because we’re talking about SEO, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the right thing for you. The benefits can be incredible, but like we’ve talked about, it’s a process. But this kind of one-and-done simple business card of a website. That’s not what Google looks for because anyone can do that. Like when you think about just the effort that goes into this stuff. Who is Google going to rank more the person who paid $1000 for a website and they updated it one time five years ago, or the website that’s building a name for themselves? They’re putting out really helpful content. They’re participating in the dialogue. That’s what Google wants to rank because if they see the simple website that nothing has been added to it or it’s old or doesn’t look good on mobile, or it’s this janky old platform. They’re like, “Is this person even a business?” So, website structure and updating it, that absolutely has an effect on ranking because you just think, no magic bullet. If it’s you against 30 other practices who have been doing SEO for five or more years, I mean, some practices are very old, they’ve likely done SEO. So, your website that you put no effort into, that’s not going to work. It’s really, truly a matter of effort.

Kayla: I agree 100 percent because my website, I actually update it and create it on my own but I create consistent content. Now it’s through my podcast episodes, but before that I did blogging and I always created articles. And now when people search for the type of keywords that I rank for I’m on page one of Google for many different topics, and that is because I continue to put out that content. Because at the end of the day, Google is really a good business owner, they just want to make sure that whoever goes on their platform and what they’re searching, they are going to find something valuable and helpful for that person. Because the truth is, if that person searches something and lands on things that are not helping them in any way, they’re not going to come back. And then Google is going to lose their quote unquote business.

So really, I look at it as how can I help the clients that I want to attract, right? I always think about it from my own client perspective is what do they need to know? What do they need to learn? How can I kind of entice them and educate them into the things that I provide? And with that, providing that valuable content is also going to help Google, because if people are searching this information, Google’s going to be like, “Ah, this person keeps writing about this. Or this person has this area of expertise. And I’m going to rank that person.”

Kristie: Yeah, you get rewarded for participating in the online dialogue and I think there’s really no better way to think about this. YouTube owned by Google. You can do SEO for YouTube, optimizing your videos to rank higher when people search things, of course. And some of those factors are slightly different for YouTube and they all come down to engagement and time spent on the platform. So, if someone’s watching your video. It’s a longer video. People are sticking around. But then also that kind of side feed right there. If people click into that, that means that they are staying longer on YouTube. And its advertising money, that’s how Google makes money for the most part. With those platforms, so if you can just encourage people to keep using Google and YouTube and that stuff that, that Google knows like a piece of content.

Google and Double E-A-T

Kayla: Yeah, and I know that about a year and a half ago, so I think it was the end of December in 2022, Google had updated its, I don’t want to say algorithm, but what it searches for. And now it’s called Double E-A-T before that was E-A-T. But now it is experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. So, can you tell us a little bit about what that means and how that plays into SEO in general?

Kristie: Yeah, and it’s great that you brought that up because that is another, if I were to summarize some of the changes of this plays into the digital PR thing that we’ve been talking about. So, E. A. T. the expertise authority trust that’s been around for years, but the new kind of E, they’ve added is the expertise side of things.

One thing therapists’ have to think about if they’re going to invest in SEO is that it’s getting more competitive on Google. More companies are trying to monetize on the mental health field because obviously it’s a crisis. I read some statistics from NAMI the other day in America, the average state 40 percent of people are anxious and or depressed. So that’s just the world we live in right now. So, more companies are being born to meet those needs. So, things are getting more competitive, right? But what a lot of these mental health companies are often lacking are real people that are writing about this stuff. So, when we talk about the expertise thing, Google loves, loves original content. As in things that only an expert could write on, you know, in my experience with my clients, this is the most effective that or I found that this thing is most effective for that or this reminds me of this one client specifically talking about your experience with something specific that is your way to democratize all of that.

Because a lot of these companies, they just outsourced everything. And a lot of those writers aren’t really qualified. Like, I’ve done a bunch of freelance writing online and I applied to work in all sorts of industries. I’ve written about stuff and I’m like, I had no business writing about that. I researched, so I was able to pull it off, but Google could now definitely tell ” this girl does not know what she’s talking about.” but therapists have that edge where you have thousands of hours of expertise in this stuff or experience in this stuff. And if you communicate that in your content, that is a significant leg up, that’s free, and it’s effective. So I love empowering therapists to really step in to that E-E-A-T kind of thing because you are Google’s dream writer. Therapist, it does not get more subject matter expert than that. So, I definitely think therapist should feel empowered that they can create the type of content that Google loves.

As a Therapist, You’re the Expert Google Wants to See

Kayla: I love that you highlighted that listeners are already the experts, because one of the things that we often worry about is calling ourself an expert, and you don’t have to call yourself an expert, you really just need Google to think you are, and you are. Because you are the one with all this experience, like you said, there’s so many articles out there that may not even be written by true therapists or people within the field. They are marketing professionals who had to do the research to create this content. The experiences that you’ve had is going to inform your expertise, whether you want to call yourself an expert or not.

Kristie: Yeah. And I encourage therapists to step into that. Why be shy? You know, you have an advanced degree. You’ve done this for thousands of hours. You’re likely specialized. You’ve taken other trainings. A lot of professionals don’t even necessarily have those objective credentials to back up their work. Therapists are highly regulated for better and worse in some cases. But let that stand for itself. If you had to go through all of this stuff to get where you are in terms of regulation and education, all that kind of stuff. Step into it! And you never know what piece of content you create changes someone’s life. And anytime I’m working with a therapist, who’s just feeling real down on the writing process. And again, I understand I’m a professional writer. I run into writer’s block. I get it. But just knowing that you creating content mostly on your blog or if you do a podcast, whatever, that kind of content makes your practice more accessible. So especially if you’re private pay and people can’t necessarily afford your rates. Be like, “I have a ton of resources on my blog specifically for people like you.” So, it helps make your practice more accessible. But again, you never know what you write could really change someone’s lives. So, I always say that the goal of the content that you create, make it bookmarkable, make it something where people come back and read again, or they share with their friends. That’s really the standard that. We should hold ourselves to anyways, but now Google is even more, is this some kind of puff piece that you paid someone $50 to write? Or is this the real deal? Is this person the real deal when it comes to content creation?

Spending Your Time or Your Money

Kayla: Yeah, I really appreciate that because I know that many listeners will say they either don’t have the time and/or they’re worried about putting themselves out there, but I can tell you that since I’ve started my blogs– and I experienced self-doubt, I experienced imposter syndrome with putting stuff out there and I’m not going to say my first blog or my second blog or even my third blog was great because they were not but you start building on that. And I’ve had so many people come to me and thank me for the content that I put out, whether it’s my podcast or my blogs, because it has helped them in some way. And that’s really what we are looking for. And that fear that someone is going to be on the other side being like, “How dare you put this out”? I can tell you that I updated my very first blog a few times, but my second blog I’ve never updated, and I will not take it down as much it is probably the worst blog I wrote. But I won’t take it down because I want to show myself where I got. But no one has ever come to me and said, “Kayla, how dare you put this out in the world.”

So, the fear that we have for ourselves really doesn’t exist and really you can change people’s lives. And if you’re saying to yourself, “You know what, I just don’t have time to be creating these articles or these blogs.” Like you mentioned, this is a strategy that can help you long-term and grow your practice for years and years to come. My very first blog that I have updated a few times, it still gets traction today, even three years later, it is still getting the traction. So, the work you’re putting in now is really going to help you moving forward.

Kristie: Yeah, the assets last for years. So, I know it feels tough to prioritize it sometimes. And again, I advise you if you’re going to do this stuff, consult with a professional, purchase some resources. You’re not putting all this time and it’s not really getting anywhere. Make sure you at least like know what you’re doing. Get a little education first. But they really can last you for years to come. I have a similar blog where I read it. And I’m like, that’s not my best work, but it’s been spot number one on Google for the app three and a half years or something. So, it’s really worth that effort. And I think especially when therapists are starting out, I see a lot of like the panic on, “I just have to do everything. So how could I have time?” And then maybe do a little audit and ask yourself what’s actually really worth doing with my time for marketing. Because again, just the time spent to the output. There are a few things that have that kind of output over years than content on Google. If you keep it updated and make sure that it’s still very relevant, talked about search intent, revisiting it, stuff like that.

But, you know, an Instagram story, that’s 24 hours, 24 hours for something that you designed a graphic or you put on makeup to post something like, I don’t know, but with the content that you have on your website, it really does serve you for so long. Even a few blog posts on your site, just getting that kind of traffic can be super, super valuable and I’m convinced that really any therapist could do it if they really wanted to.

Kayla: Yeah, and you don’t have to be putting it out every single week, unless you want to, like me. But when I first started out, I did it once every two months, then once every month, and then once every two weeks, now I do it every week. But I built up to that, it’s not that you have to compare yourself to all these people that are putting it out every week or even daily. Because truthfully, I’m thinking the people who put it out daily are probably hiring or outsourcing some marketing team to create that because– I’m not going to say there’s no way, but it’s definitely very difficult to be writing an article every single day if you’re a therapist working with clients. So, you don’t have to be that person or that company if you don’t want to be.

Kristie: Yeah. And also, if someone’s putting stuff out every day, it’s probably shitty content. There’s just no way we talk about bookmarkable and shareable content. There’s no way. And again, unless you have a professional of well-paid content creators. Yeah, but again, like who has that? I mean, I recommend my clients one good one a month, quality over quantity every single time. Because you can put out a bunch of stuff but if you’re not educated in how to create content, that’s actually going to rank on Google, then just don’t do it. But if you do spend the time to learn a bit more about it, put three to five hours once a month. into creating something really good, totally worth it.

AI and SEO

Kayla: Agree a hundred percent. So now let’s get into the AI piece of this. So how does AI play a role in growing private practices’ SEO. And also, are there any consideration that listeners should be aware of when it comes to AI and SEO?

Kristie: Yeah, I think about this a lot, and we can’t know for sure because it’s still pretty new, but I think more so how it’s really going to affect things and then we’ll be able to make more definite conclusions strategically, we’re already seeing some of that. AI, I think is going to change the expectations of how people use search engines. So, the way that ChatGPT, for example, works is it works on feedback. It’s not this, you know, all knowing robot. It learned because they have human people training it, right?

Google has used AI since like mid 2010s or something. Bing now is more investing in it. Bill Gates is an investor in OpenAI, they’re the ones who made ChatGPT. So you can see it a little bit more in action in Bing. But essentially, these search engines are going to get much better at delivering customized results because you’re going to tell them what you’re liking and what you’re not liking. And so, it becomes even more important to really step into the mind of users, potential clients, potential readers, whoever, and think, what do they want to see from this? Because as soon as Google, the AI components or Bing, whatever, as soon as they understand. what this person is really searching for, they are absolutely going to prioritize the person who is doing that best.

And a lot of times it’s just making things a little bit more snippety. So instead of five paragraphs on a thing and you make a table and you make a list. And you answer that in one sentence, even if it might be reductionistic, you know, depending on the topic. But things that are very easily picked up by search engines, so they can be more featured at the top. But again, also just really, really nailing in on that intent of what people want to see, because like we were saying, Google’s a good business. They want to serve whoever uses their platform the best. And whoever does that, you know, whoever is going to come out on top AI is just one of those things you have to think about and at the same time you’re speaking to people, you’re kind of speaking to a robot a little bit. So, how do you balance those two audiences?

The goal obviously is to, I think for most tech companies, is how can we bring the robot and the person together more and more because the internet, as we all know, is a fake place. It’s not necessarily representative of the real world. But with AI, they’re trying to just get everything more aligned in that way.

So, I don’t know if that entirely makes sense. We’re experimenting with things to try to basically satisfy the AI side of Google and Bing. And we’ve noticed that content strategies, some do better, like the lists and the tables, we’re noticing that those are performing way better than a 2000-word article even. So that’s what I would have people consider. Definitely mess around with ChatGPT. Check out Bing just to see how that’s kind of working, because that’s going to be the prediction on what’s working. Even though things are changing so quickly, I think we still have a good sense of how maybe it’s going to go very generally.

Kayla: Yeah. And I think AI is here to stay. Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean we want to remove the human aspect of things. And I think this even goes back to what we’re talking about earlier. It’s you don’t necessarily want an AI software to just create your blog post for you. But it’s about how can we utilize AI and its existence to support our marketing initiatives? We still need to be a part of that process, but we also want to understand the processes, like you said, through Bing, or through Google, or through any of those search engines, on how they find that content. Or how they are sifting through that content. Or how they’re changing their algorithm. Not that anyone could keep up with their algorithm changes all the time. But if we’re looking at how they are doing that, We, as therapists or as business owners, can really work within that. We don’t have to know every little bit of it, but we just need to understand that AI is here to stay, so how can we work with it as its friend?

Kristie: Yeah, I think that’s a great analogy. Do try to befriend it. You know, my dad is a professor. He’s a retired professor now. And he’s very much of the technology is ruining everything and no one’s thinking anymore and all that kind of stuff. I agree sometimes, but I think those who use AI to support the things that machines can do totally fine are the ones that are going to come out on top. Delegate what you can to ChatGPT, so then you can kind of access this higher level of thought and function is basically how I see people coming out on top with AI the best.

So, if you’re writing a blog, you don’t have to write out the symptoms of anxiety, go to ChatGPT and be like, “Hey, according to the DSM, how do you get diagnosed with anxiety or whatever?” Let ChatGPT take care of the stuff that you don’t have to think about. Like if it’s public information, obviously, you probably have to reword anything they’ve put out because it sounds like a robot wrote it. So you definitely want to customize it put your own. And on it, like we talked about the experience of EAT but for those who can befriend ChatGPT we use it all the time just to automate stuff. They can just do a faster than us or it just frees us up to do other things. So, I think just get curious, get creative about, “Huh, I wonder if ChatGPT can do that?” Just have it open in your browser and when you’re creating content or whatever. And yeah, it’s kind of interesting to hear AI used for practice notes and all that kind of stuff. It opens up a lot of like, “Huh, what are we doing here?” so.

Kayla: Yeah, and I think AI has its place. But I think when it comes to obviously the therapeutic relationships that we have with clients, I think there are some considerations, specifically ethical considerations with respect to still using it for practice notes. And of course, in today’s episode, we are not endorsing it for practice notes. We are saying how it can be supportive of marketing initiatives and supporting us with other sides of things. Because I think there’s so little that we know about AI when it comes to say the clinical or clerical aspect of it versus say like the marketing and business side of it.

Kristie: Yeah, that’s the thing. I think waiting it out with some of that other stuff would be wise. Again, it sounds really great to offload some of that stuff. And if they can find a way to do that ethically in the future, and people are comfortable using it, great. But with marketing, I really don’t think there’s any ethical concerns. The only thing I would caution people against is, and even when this this episode airs, like that’s the kind of timelines we’re working with that even what we’re saying now might not even be entirely true. But ChatGPT 4, I believe, can actually crawl the Internet. So ChatGPT 3.5, I think the information they have is up to date through 2021. But ChatGPT 4, I’m pretty sure can crawl the web which seems like a good thing, but then it’s more likely that content is going to be plagiarized, essentially, so that’s something to keep in mind, too, in terms of just being a good person to, like don’t rip off someone else’s content. That’s not cool. And Google can also properly tell that you did that because they don’t like duplicate content. They can tell who publish it first. But that’s just something to think about too.

Ethical Considerations with AI for SEO

But in terms of other ethical considerations, as long as you’re assessing it for clinical accuracy, which you should review every single thing you get from ChatGPT, don’t say, write me a blog post and then put it on your site. When we talk about valuable content, that is the opposite of valuable content. So just make sure you’re reviewing everything, rewording everything. But other than that, for marketing, I’m like, yeah, do it.

Kayla: Yeah, and I love that you said that, and I know we talked about it earlier, but really going back to that this should be used as a tool to help you, not to take your work away. And I have outsourced some of my blogs in the past to content creators who then created it for me. But what I do afterwards is I go back and I add additional content in. I change words if it doesn’t necessarily align with my ideal client, if it doesn’t seem like what they’re saying actually is accurate, I will then switch that. And I think it’s really important to know that whether you’re using AI, whether you’re having a content creator help you with your content. It doesn’t mean that you just step away and do nothing because this is your reputation on the line, this is your business. There are ways to support yourself with your growth. But it’s not just to be like, “Oh AI create a blog for me.” “Oh, some content creator create a blog for me,” even though that they may not necessarily be therapists. It’s, “Okay, create something for me or give me some information about a specific topic that then I can take and make it my own.” Right? Then I can create the content that I think is important with that.

But even then, you still need to go back to that Double EAT. You still need to show your experience, your expertise, your authority, and then finally trustworthiness. And that’s a big piece of this part, right? If you’re, even accidentally, say plagiarizing of somebody else because AI is giving you somebody else’s blog. That is going to decrease your trustworthiness substantially because now you’re taking other people’s content. It’s how can I use some of this information to better support my own writing or content creation?

Kristie: Yeah. And I think, there’s just no easy way out anymore. ChatGPT, AI, like last December, January was the huge kind of, “Oh my gosh, it’s here.” Like AI is in everything. Like everyone’s just doing it now. But I knew, again, I’ve worked with so many therapists, I was like, I know that some therapists are thinking, “Oh, great. I don’t have to do that anymore because AI is here.” And right away I came in. “Sorry to crush your dreams, but absolutely not.” Because again, anything you can do in a couple clicks on your computer, someone else could do too, therefore it becomes meaningless. And Google knows that. There are no shortcuts. But again, I understand if people don’t want to put in that effort. I get it. But then you’re probably just going to have to do other forms of marketing, Google Ads, I’m a huge proponent of. It’s just more expensive like you can put in a little time and put up a good blog post or you can spend some money on Google ads and get clients that way. It’s just more expensive. You know, directories is another good way.

I think obviously all directories have different benefits and stuff. The one that we started specifically for private pay therapists that has its own benefits as well. But if you’re going to do this stuff, if you’re going to do SEO, digital PR, build your reputation online, there are no shortcuts. ChatGPT can assist you, absolutely. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. But, just remember, like, if you think there’s an easy way out, someone’s already thought of that easy way out, so it’s not working anymore.

Kayla: Yeah, and there’s really no easy way to business. You have two options. You can either put up your time. Or put up your money. And that’s exactly what you just said, right? If creating this content is not necessarily something that works for you, or you don’t have time for, it’s not something that you feel that really best fits your business vision, that is totally okay. However, there’s going to need to be some other strategies. It’s probably going to cost you more to be able to do that, like Google ads, Facebook ads. Ads in newspapers, whatever it is, but you’re going to end up having to pay for that because the free stuff takes time.

Kristie: Yeah. And that’s the thing. It’s totally up to you. There are amazing marketing professionals out there who can help you with everything under the sun. And that is absolutely worth the investment, I think. If it’s a trusted source, like a trusted company. But yeah, I don’t know. I encourage therapists to just step into that subject matter expert identity and believe that you have something really valuable to contribute to the online dialogue.

Again, it’s like if I’m going to read mental health content online, I want it to be from a therapist. I don’t want it to be from some writer that paid a hundred bucks to create something mediocre. I want to hear from a therapist. So, yeah, time or money. Or you can also do a combination of time and money depending on the company that you work with. But it’s just good to be honest with yourself and don’t do something you hate. Like don’t force yourself to do something that you really, really don’t like to do, but just be aware of the costs and benefits of each option.

Best Therapists Therapist Directory

Kayla: I agree. A hundred percent. So, Kristie, I know that you are the founder of an up-and-coming therapist directory called Best Therapists. How does Best Therapists benefit listeners and how have you and your team used AI and the changes on Google when growing your therapist directory?

Kristie: Yeah, so it was kind of interesting coming up with this idea because we, my team and I, we probably talk about how Google’s changing every week, some weeks every day. We’re just kind of peering into the future and thinking about what’s going to be working in the future. And so one of the things that we anticipate is that Google for therapists is going to become much more competitive because more people are doing it, but also mental health start-ups, you know, they’re going to be doing some SEO too. So, we’re kind of looking into the future thinking, how can we still use our skillsets, like the jobs side of things for sure. Not going to lie about it. Thinking about job security for myself and my team.

But also, how can we still offer the same benefits of being on page one to therapists who don’t necessarily have the thousands of dollars per month and a retainer to make a dent on Google in the future. And that’s definitely not how it is now. But yeah, maybe like a few years down the line I do anticipate budgets having to be higher. So, I want to serve all the therapists that I can. And so, I was like, “Well, how am I going to provide the benefits to therapists of page one?” And we realize we’re talking about a therapist directory, but what we do differently is we limit our results pages to five to six therapists per page. So, if someone lands on the page, they are seeing your picture, for sure. So, you are getting the exposure when with some of the other directories, there are thousands of people for a result, so it’s just not a guarantee that you’re getting seen. You can’t optimize for these algorithms. So, it’s just kind of a crapshoot. So, we knew that we wanted the set amount of people. So, therapists not only got the value out of it, but we’re also meeting this need of people who are looking for high quality therapists, people who is searching best therapists Vancouver. Because those keywords are higher value. People searching best therapists in whatever city or whatever niche, they’re willing to invest in good therapists.

So, we kind of came up with this idea, but how are we going to fill this other niche? So, we’ve essentially become this like private pay directory. We don’t offer insurance filters. We have an out-of-network mental health benefits checker on the site. So, people can use that. That’s at least relevant in the States. I’m not sure about Canada. So, we wanted to take this kind of quality over quantity approach.

And so, we’re honing in on this idea and then we decided if we want to really feature these five or six therapists, we want to make sure that when we’re saying best therapists, they are some of the best. So, we have a verification process that our therapists must complete to even be listed on the directory. No one else is doing anything like it which I get because it’s a lot of work, on our end to facilitate all of that and make sure that they have it so peer reviews. We check your online reputation. We limit the amount of people that therapists see per week. So if you’re seeing over this amount, then you’re not really going to get approved, and that’s kind of our burnout check.

So that, in terms of meeting what AI is looking for, and we’re talking about lists of therapists, you know, Best Therapist is a list style content strategy. But the difference is we’re always adding little bits of things that we know that Google wants to see based on how people are searching. So, we add little features or filters or matching quizzes or tables comparing the therapist. We’re always experimenting with what is Google liking right now? And what’s cool is that we could take that information and then do it for our therapist, you know, our clients at TherapieSEO. But yeah, honestly, we’re just having fun with it. We’re growing, we’re new. We are accepting therapists from Canada for the Canadian listeners as well. Our goal is to obviously one day rank above Psychology Today, but then also have the Best Therapist verified badge really means something to people that this therapist is so committed to their craft that they passed this verification process. So that’s the goal. So it’s a combination of idealism, plus Google, plus AI, all that kind of stuff.

Kayla: Well, I think you’re on the right track because you are using the current strategies for SEO to rank high, right? And I think that you being an SEO expert and having your team is really going to help like, new or not. I actually have heard of your therapist directory prior to you even reaching out to me.

Kristie: Really? Oh, that’s cool.

Free SEO Starter Pack

Kayla: Yeah, so you are getting around in a good way. So that’s positive. But I also know you have a free resource to help bring the concepts we talked about today a little further. Can you share a little bit about your freebie and how it can help listeners with their SEO?

Kristie: Yeah, so it’s our free, we call it our SEO starter pack. It’s a little kind of PDF. Hand out with a webinar I’ve done very bite size should be pretty, easier to comprehend because there’s not too much time, we’re going to have to spend on it. But it’s basically just an introduction to some of these concepts why SEO might be a good fit. And I think it’s really worth checking out obviously it’s free. It’s worth checking out. If you’re curious at all about SEO. If maybe some of the things I’m saying are exciting you and you’re like, I want to make a name for myself and I’m willing to put in the time. You are welcome in the SEO world; however, we can assist you. It’s a great just a starting off point because SEO is like a pretty big field, just like therapists are specialized in certain things. People in the SEO field are specialized in certain things. So, just dipping your toes in the water. I think that’s a really, really good place to start our blog obviously has a ton of Resources as well. We have online shop for some more affordable resources too. But that’s a great place to start. Just the SEO starter pack.

Kayla: Love it. So, to check out either Best Therapist therapist directory or SEO Starter Pack for DIYers. You can either scroll down to the show notes and click on the links.

Or you can head to kayladas.com/besttherapistsdirectory for the Best Therapist directory

Or kayladas.com/kristieplantingafreebie. And like I said, you can also scroll down to the show notes and click on the links.


Kristie, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today and giving us some great tips about how to use AI to help build SEO in our private practices.

Kristie: Yeah. Thank you for the great conversation and having me.

Kayla: Yeah, it’s been wonderful.

Thank you everyone for tuning into today’s episode, and I hope you join me again soon on the Designer Practice Podcast.

Until next time, bye for now.

Podcast Links

Kristie’s Free SEO Starter Park: kayladas.com/kristieplantingafreebie

Kristie’s Best Therapist Directory: kayladas.com/besttherapistsdirectory

Free Boosting Business Community: facebook.com/groups/exclusiveprivatepracticecommunity

Online Legal Essentials Legal Templates: kayladas.com/onlinelegalessentials

Descript: kayladas.com/descript

Credits & Disclaimers

Music by ItsWatR from Pixabay

The Designer Practice Podcast and Evaspare Inc. has an affiliate and/or sponsorship relationship for advertisements in our podcast episodes. We receive commission or monetary compensation, at no extra cost to you, when you use our promotional codes and/or check out advertisement links.

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