Jessica Tappana On How To Rank On Google And Level Up Beyond Your Private Practice | PoP 426

Jessica Tappana On How To Rank In Google And Level Up Beyond Your Private Practice | PoP 426

How do you successfully rank on Google? How did you get into understanding SEO? What are 5 key tips to help with SEO?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Jessica Tappana about how to rank on Google and how to level up your private practice.

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Meet Jessica

Jessica Tappana

Jessica Tappana opened her private practice in May 2017 and began expanding to a group practice in December 2018 with the help of Alison’s first “Start a Group Practice Mastermind.” She overcame her fear of technology and spent countless late nights tirelessly working to get her website to the first page of Google so she could fill her new clinicians’ caseloads. Jessica attended last year’s Slow Down School leaving feeling refreshed and inspired for the year ahead.  Since last year, her group practice has grown to include 6 therapists and a VA. Jessica‘s practice prides itself on every clinician offering evidence-based treatment in a comforting, client-centred environment.  Shortly after SDS last year, Jessica began teaching other group practice owners to do their own SEO & started Simplified SEO Consulting.  She now offers both SEO training & “done for you” SEO. In less than a year, Jessica has helped many practice owners around the country get in front of more potential clients.  With both businesses, Jessica is passionate about providing high-quality service, making a difference for as many people as possible & putting the needs of her family first.

In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Jessica Tappana about how to rank on Google and how to really level up your private practice.

How did you get into helping people rank on Google?

When Jessica’s practice kept growing, she decided to add clinicians. The only problem was that everyone was asking to speak to her and not her clinicians. She then realised that she needed to get referrals to the practice and not from her.

That’s when she started diving into SEO. Jessica enjoyed it because it didn’t require more of her during the day. Very gradually she got her website ranking really well. Then when she attended Slow Down School, she spent a lot of time helping others with their SEO and realised that she was good at it. After Slow Down School people started telling her that she should be doing this full time.

How did you realise that this could be a business?

It was life-changing. She reached out to a couple of people from Slow Down School and got her first few clients. Jessica was honest in her business approach saying “I’m new at this and I’m going to do my best.”

Fast forward a few months and some of those clients referred three clients to her, and one person described it as the best decision she’s ever made.

How did you talk to your existing clients to create the next steps for them?

By reaching out to those on the weekend workshops and 12-week course she was able to ask what would help them and gain real insight. By also reaching out and asking the same questions in her email list too. She asked what they would like about an online course and what they would pay and then she found somewhere in the middle.

Listening to what people want and then going one place above it.

5 tips around SEO

  1. Add content to your site. At least 500 words per main pages, but you can write more. More pages for each specialities.
  2. Add sub-headings to your pages. You’re naturally use keywords. It will make it easier for your audience to read the page too.
  3. Specify meta-descriptions for every page and use keywords.
  4. Add internal links throughout your site to stay on your site and it helps Google move through your site better. Every page should link to your homepage and contact page.
  5. Work on your backlinks by working on other people’s site, write a guest post. Get other websites pointing to your sites.

How did you level up?

The biggest thing was listening to what people wanted and trying to provide that. Word of mouth has been everything. Doing her own website SEO definitely helped too. Having an emailing mailing list also that gives real value with a CTA at every email.

It’s okay to dream big and be flexible.

The biggest advantage is to be willing to be flexible and it’s okay for your dreams to change.


Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]: Everyone loves payday or loving a payroll provider. That’s a little weird. Still, private practices across the country love running payroll with Gusto. Gusto automatically files and pays your taxes. It’s super easy to use and you can add benefits and management tools to help take care of your team and keep the business safe. It’s loyal, it’s modern, you might fall in love yourself. Listeners get three months free when they run their first payroll. Try a demo and test it out at It’s what I use. That’s
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 426.
I’m Joe Sanok, your host and I am so dang excited for this new year, the year to find your vision, 2020. You’re going to hear that all year long from me and lots of other people. You know, my brother-in-law’s an ophthalmologist and this is the year he’s been waiting for. I know that 2020 is going to be awesome for us. We’re already, we sold early bird tickets to Killin’It Camp, specifically only to the founders. So, founders or people that came the very first year. Our founders got access to volunteer and super early bird ticket prices, the 30th and 31st of December. And it’s so awesome to see how Killin’It Camp already has some crazy, awesome momentum behind it. We’ve got some fun things coming up, but that’s in October 4th through 7th. So, we got some time. We’re making sure that our founders get very first access, that we treat the people right that go out on a limb that first year.
But, don’t want to get ahead of myself because Slow Down School, that’s the next big event and the plan for 2021 is to not do Slow Down School. So Slow Down School is this amazing event that we do up here on the beaches of Northern Michigan. And you know, probably one of the most common, just things that I hear from people is this area is so beautiful. The water is so clear and blue and you can’t see Wisconsin. It’s more like an ocean. It’s just really amazing. A bunch of people that are Slow Down Schoolers have started vacationing here with their families or they come back throughout the year and then we go get coffee or go out to dinner together. And so, it’s really special to have this random part of the country in Northern Michigan that’s hard to get to and to have a small group of people that come every year to Slow Down School.
I think part of it is how hard it is to get here. At first, I was like, nobody’s going to fly here, but part of the magic of it is that no matter where you live, unless you live in Detroit or Chicago, and some are maybe in maybe New York, there aren’t very many direct flights here. And so, you that live in large cities have to change flights and see the stress that I deal with every single time I go somewhere. So, you fly into this little Traverse City airport in the summertime, it has two terminals, not two terminals. Two Gates; has two Gates, maybe three, and then, we’re going to pick you up in a big yellow school bus and we take you out to the Leelanau School, which is a 45-minute drive or so.
So, we get to know each other on the bus ride, we talk about our goals for the week, but then we genuinely slow down. We go for hikes, we have a massage therapist come in, we’ve got yoga, we drink on the beach and play spike ball and skip stones. And then on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we work full tilt towards your business. And a lot of people will say, “I can’t take a week off.” And that’s kind of the point. As we’ve surveyed our Slow Down Schoolers, a lot of them have said, “I thought you were crazy to ask me to take one of my vacation weeks, one of my weeks away from the office and come here to work on my business,” but when they talk about the game-changing decisions that they made in that one week, they say that it was one of the things that really leveled them up; being around high achievers, really thinking big, it’s just insane.
And you know, Jessica, who’s on the show today, she’s one of our Slow Down Schoolers. She’s come twice and, I still remember her sitting on the couch in the evenings just helping people with their SEO. She just loves search engine optimization. She’s a self-described technophobe and you know what, she has realized that having that down to earth approach is just so awesome. She was one of our speakers at Killin’It Camp and so many people came to her breakout session. We had to move her into the larger speaking room. And so, you know, these are the kinds of people that I love to spotlight, and not just because she did the mastermind group and came to Slow Down School, but because they are people just like you and me that had a private practice, it was kind of going along and they said, “I want to do something bigger and better. I want to really get to that next level.” And so now Jessica makes more off of her SEO company that is for therapists than she does on her clinical practice. How crazy is that? And so, without any further ado, I want to introduce you to Jessica Tappana.
Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Jessica Tappana. Jessica is a clinical social worker in a group practice that she owns in Columbia, Missouri as well. She has been growing her business through helping counseling websites rank higher in Google. She got really into this when she was at Slow Down School. Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. How you doing?

[JESSICA]: Pretty good. Happy to be here Joe.

[JOE]: Oh man, I, so what I love is seeing people that I have worked with grow into being equal colleagues beyond just kind of the group practice thing, but with their big ideas too. There’s nothing better for me than to stand with someone and see them kind of where you’re at now and just say, “Man, like two, three years ago, these things weren’t even ideas or on your map.” So, let’s reverse before we kind of talk about what you’re up to now. Take us back a couple of years when you started to get into ranking and Google and all of that.

[JESSICA]: Yes, so very quickly, when I started my practice, it just grew and grew and grew and I decided to start adding clinicians. But I had the same problem that I think a lot of people have when they start adding clinicians. And that is everybody that was calling from my referral sources were asking to speak to me. They didn’t necessarily want to see my clinicians and those are kind of a hard sell to convince them to go to these other therapists. And so, I realized I needed to get referrals directly to my practice instead of to me personally. At the time I was in Alison starter group mastermind, which is totally awesome and we were talking about different options. And I started to get on this idea of SEO. What I loved about SEO is it didn’t require more time of me during the day.
I wasn’t having to try to attend networking events or go to doctor’s offices, which were great for other people. But I just, I wanted to spend every minute I could with my kids and so I could do SEO after they went to bed. And I spent countless months just every podcast I could find about SEO, every book I can find, every YouTube video, every website and blog. I just consumed it all and just spent, you know, very gradually got my website ranking well. And then like you mentioned, at Slow Down School, we were, actually it was right before Slow Down School. We had a mastermind group where somebody had asked a question. You had answered it. it was related to meta descriptions and then I go, “Oh, and Joe this too. Do you mind if I add a little bit?”
At Slow Down School that came up again and I spent several nights helping people work on their websites and just teaching other people some of what I found, what I had learned, and I found it was so much fun. We had people and in a matter of a week, we’d moved up several pages for some of their services in Google. And people started telling me, “Well, you should do this. You should help us with this after we leave here.” And I was like, “Well, I don’t know. Like is that a thing? Would people actually do that?” And they said, Yes.” And so that’s how Simplified SEO Consulting was born, just sitting on the couch in the evenings at Slow Down School.

[JOE]: You know, that’s one of the things I love about Slow Down School. It’s, there’s this sense of, you know, I plan out kind of the basic core building blocks of it, but the magic happens when those random little conversations or longer conversations happen where it’s like, “We’re headed down to go watch the sunset,” and you guys are like, “No, we’re going to hang out here and work on SEO.” I mean you just don’t know whose skills are going to come out and how it’s going to impact other people, and then for you to realize, “Whoa, this is something that for me felt just normal.” And like, of course you work on SEO, it’s super easy and other people saying, “This is mind-blowing. Why don’t you have a business that does this?” Maybe talk about moving from it being just for your business and kind of helping people with it to realizing this is an expertise that might actually have some legs for a business, business.

[JESSICA]: Yes, it was life changing really. So, after I left Slow Down School, I reached out to, there were a couple of people who said they might be interested in working with me and then, also, you interviewed me on the next level mastermind and a couple of people reached out to me from there. And so, I got like my first three or four clients, I charged them, I mean, almost nothing, because I just, and I gave them, you know, full disclosure, like, “I’m very new to this.” And I became amazed because applying the same techniques I used on my website worked in much larger studies. I am in —

[JOE]: Let me pause you there because I think that’s really smart that, to say to people, “This is where I’m at. I’m brand new at this,” you know, like when we started Next Level Practice, we said, “We’re giving our best stab at what people that are starting a practice need, you know, with these e-courses and live events and small groups and webinars and we’re going to screw it up a lot. And that’s why you’re getting in for $55 a month instead of our future, 77, 88 or $99 a month.” And it was awesome because we went through, I think four webinar platforms in the first month and a half and people would sign up for a webinar and then that platform wouldn’t support an iPad. And it’s like, “Are you kidding me? Why doesn’t this support an iPad?”
I mean, it’s not like they’re picking some random, you know, like new tablet. And so because we had framed it out from the beginning that way, people felt like they were part of the co-creation, they felt like, “We got through the grit of this kind of building of Next Level Practice,” and they were more excited and more invested and then they got rewarded. You know, when they stick around, they get to be at the lowest rate that we offer. And so, I love that you started there because it’s just kind of that, “Here’s where I’m at and if you don’t like that, that’s okay. If you want a fancy SEO person, then go find one. But I’m going to own the, I’m new at this and I’m going to do my best and I’m going to try to charge you something that’s maybe below what I think I’m worth. But now I have all these people that are talking about my amazing services.”

[JESSICA]: Yes. And some of those first people have referred, you know, three clients to, you know, three people since then. And recently I had somebody, one of those first clients that I had hardly charged anything, but it had so much fun. She was in a major metropolitan area and so I was so excited to watch her website take off. And I think it was like three to four months that it took to get her to the first page for just tons and tons of keywords. And somebody recently said they were referred by her and said that she had described it as the best business decision she’d ever made. And I’m like, “Wow.” I’ve learned so much since then like I think about it and I’m like, ‘Now we do things that get people to the top even faster.”
And I have this team and so now they’re, you have at least two, if not three eyes on every page. You know, there’s so much more we’re doing now and somebody from the very beginning describes it, a year and a half later is the best business decision they made. You know, that’s a huge feeling. But she definitely, you know, those early people totally get credit for being the adventures with me as I was still figuring out a lot of different things, figuring out our systems. We have better tools now. I mean there’s just, you know how it is. You come so far as you move through the business building process.

[JOE]: Well, and unlike a lot of things, it’s constantly changing. And so, you know, when I teach people how to podcast, yes, there’s little tools that change and things like that, but you know, you’re still doing good storytelling, doing good interviews. The basic core of a podcast doesn’t change that much. Whereas SEO, I mean, I just heard from a client this morning, a change in YouTube, how they’re saying like if a certain video isn’t monetizing or ranking, that they have the right to just remove it. I’m like, “What?” If you built your whole business on YouTube and monetizing it differently than YouTube says, like your whole business could die. And so SEO feels like one of those things that if you don’t have someone that’s keeping up with it either on your team or that you’re outsourcing to someone like you, Jessica, like how would you ever know these things unless you’re trying to keep up with it through, I don’t know, Apple News or something like that? And that’s not even going to report out trends and SEO in the same way that maybe someone has eyes on it every day is seeing it.

[JESSICA]: Yes. Every day we look, I have, so Google, you know, you can kind of pick what topics they show you and Google now shows me the SEO titles every day. I think it’s funny. Google also has decided I really want to hear about the Royals in Britain and so I get information about those as well. But right up there with stories about Kate Middleton and also stories about SEO, I’m like, “Wow, I look really random. These two things, every day listed at the top.” But I really, the SEO stuff, you know, it is always changing. And also figuring out how we adapt to that because people that will come to us, we’ll help them get ranking really well, then they don’t need same intensity, level of services. They’re on the first page.
But we do, a lot of talking about how to continue monitoring your results and what you’re going to do because Google will inevitably change their algorithm and it’s a super-secret algorithm. They don’t have to tell us when they make some of these changes. But luckily, in the past year and a half, some of the changes have been like they changed Google search console and how we request indexing for pages. And they were very open about that and we knew a long time before that was coming and so we stayed on top of it. But part of my growth and my business has figured out what do I do with clients when they’ve already gotten to the top of Google so they can help maintain it and so we can catch any time that they do need modifications to their site? And so, we’ve come up with smaller, what we call alumni packages. I have packages now that are just for people who have already had our services, are already ranking well. It’s very minimal. You know they pay to stay in our Facebook groups so that they get updates and pay for our tracking tool and once a month I go in and take a look at their data and make sure it’s doing okay. Or other people, we do some minor changes every single month, but —

[JOE]: I’m wondering if an annual audit for people that are a year out, like, “It’s your one-year anniversary since you stopped services. For $300 we’ll do an audit and give you a bullet point of things that you can work on,” and then they might say, “I don’t want to work on those. Jessica will you just take care of them?”

[JESSICA]: I love that idea. You just gave me a new business idea. I need to write that down. I’m always trying to look for the, maybe I should just email people that are a year or a year and a half out and say like, “Would you be interested in less?” Because that’s usually how I’ve been. Lately, we just added a weekend workshop and an online course and both of those were completely born out of just what you tell people to do all the time, which is just listening to our audience and people that we were either working with or who we spoke to and decided not to work with us. Both of those, we just listened to what they were saying they were interested in and we’re like, “Okay, we need to create two different options for this SEO training.” And both, you know, so far are just launching. But we’ve had great success with —

[JOE]: Well, I mean if you could in your email, a segment, the audience, so that after, I don’t know, like after they stopped becoming a client, they can move to a different list and then you know, nine months later saying, “In a couple months it’s probably smart to have your annual audit. Click here to schedule it with one of our folks and you can pay through that.” I mean, Calendly can make it so that you have people pay and schedule all in one spot. So, it could just be something that’s automated so that once they get switched off, the client list onto the alumni list, that then it just automatically gets pitched to them after nine months or so.

[JESSICA]: I love automation.

[JOE]: Yes, for sure. For sure. Well, I think I want to talk a little bit more about that idea of listening to your clients as they grow because I really screwed up when I launched the How to Become a Consultant Podcast where I didn’t survey the audience at all. I did 80 episodes of this podcast and I thought that, you know, by interviewing big names like Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas and Chris Ducker that would bring in the audience, but it didn’t help at all. It was that my audience was like, “That’s so far ahead of where I’m at. That’s not my next step.” And so, I sort of like jumped over them by a long shot. Take us through how you talk to the people that you were working with that were already your customers to create e-courses and things that were natural next steps for them.

[JESSICA]: Yes, I hope that we’ve kind of done that each step of the way, but the most recent, I think, so, would be the weekend workshop and the e-course. The weekend workshop happened because a lot of people that were doing my 12-week training course, I mean one thing is I’ve gotten a huge wait list for that because I only take a handful of people at a time that I’m meeting with every week, every other week for 12 weeks.

[JOE]: And you need to raise your prices just like in counseling, if you have a wait list that long.

[JESSICA]: I definitely do, but I wanted to keep it affordable because a lot of people that do that are just at that point where they’re just transitioning from solo to group practice. So, I think I’m going to, so we raised the price for the 12 weeks, but then what we did was we started serving people too and we’re like, “Well what’s helpful about this? What’s not helpful?” People liked the accountability but they struggled with when halfway through they’re now ranking on the first page for some keywords and they’re now getting a lot of calls, now they don’t have time to work on their SEO anymore. And so, they wouldn’t be doing their homework. Like I asked the people to devote about two hours per week during that 12-week period and people were just really having troubles by the end keeping up with that because they were already ranking pretty well.
Now we’re trying to get from the second page to the first page and they were full. They were leaving their full-time jobs to go into full time solo practice or they were adding clinicians or moving to bigger offices. And so, I said, “Okay, well what would help with this?” And so, what we’re doing was born out of that. Was, “Well, if I just had a dedicated time to work on it, if I can just sit down and do it all and knock it all out in the beginning when I’m so excited and need it so badly,” and so we’re like, “Okay, well what if we had two days where people just came in and all day they worked with us one-on-one?” And so, we’re doing a very, very small group, max of six people this time. I think we’re going to max it at eight next time with two of us there to just walk around and, “Here’s how you write a meta-description. Now go write it on as many pages as you can in the next hour while we’re walking around to help.”
And I pitched that idea to a couple of people who had been through the 12 weeks and they’re like, “Oh yes, that would’ve been great.” And I’m like, “Okay then that’s what we’re going with.” And same with the online course. I sent an email out, kind of like you said that you had done with Next Level Practice where I just sent an email to my email list and I said, “Look, I’m interested in this. Here are a few questions and I’ll pick a couple of people that I’ll really reduce price. I will optimize a page for your website and record it.” So I have a couple people that I’ve optimized their page onscreen in the course, but I had I think 20 or 30 respond, I think around 20 to 25 responses of people telling me what they’d want included, what they would like about an online course and what they would pay for it. And price wise, I kind of chose something in the middle of that and said, “Well let’s go and let’s go for it. And had quite fun last week holding up in a hotel room, creating all the content for it.

[JOE]: Well yes. Talk a little bit about that, about the actual creation of the e-course because you hear your audience, you say, “Yes, this is their problems. They want to overcome the price point that they’re willing to pay,” and then how did you decide your content? And I love when you texted me you were like, “I’d cut it on …” or I think you posted it in the Killin’It Camp Facebook group that you had got in a hotel room and just recorded 40 hours. Like, wow, I knew you are a machine, but I didn’t realize it was that level. So, you took the sprint to a whole new level, the 40-hour sprint.

[JESSICA]: I listened to Joe Sanok’s advice. At Killin’It Camp you were like, talking about that there are times in your life where you sprint really hard and times where you don’t, where you slow down. And I had decided at Slow Down School that I was interested in the e-course immediately, I think like the next week. So, this was back in July, I sent out an email and said, “What do people want?” And I got that feedback, which was great. And so, I’ve been carrying that around for months. And then when I was at Killin’It Camp, you were talking about, “What do you need to do to move the needle?” And I told my friend Whitney, I said, “Whitney, this is what I need to do to move the needle. I just need to create this course I’ve known for months.” And she goes, “Well, set a date.”
So, I got out my calendar, I wrote and I go, well I can just go two nights and just do it here. I have no clients scheduled usually on Thursdays and Fridays. I’ll just do it this Thursday and Friday. I knew that I had a deadline. Saturday morning, we had to leave town, so I had to be done super early by Saturday morning and rented a hotel room. My friend works there and so you know, talking about it was like, good, I can take a break and go say hello to her. And for 40 hours, I just recorded videos. I hate seeing myself on screen, so a few of them I had to record a few times, you know, but, I just, I had a few things going in and a rough sketch and I sat there and just did, and I had some of the worksheets pre-done.
I, in fact I’d taken one of them to Killin’It Camp and had people beta test for me but most of it, most of the content was just recorded right there, back to back to back, and, maybe I didn’t sleep a lot, but here we are. By the end of 40 hours I’m like, “Okay, it’s done. I really don’t have to worry about that much except for getting a couple of videos edited.” Teachable, I had Teachable. I’d signed up. And so as I create, you know, as I tweaked a worksheet that had been beta tested, I dropped it right in, as I made a demo video, I dropped it right into Teachable, and now we have all the content that people asked for in those lists and some others that I decided that people needed as well.

[JOE]: Oh, you follow directions so well. Like, I’m thinking about as we’re launching Podcast Launch School, which probably by the time this goes live, we’re probably going to be pretty close to launching. So, we’ve had over a hundred people opt in saying, “I want this course as soon as it launches.” And so, we’ve started with the Done For You Podcasting. It’s really expensive. You know, it’s around 20 grand per person, but they then get 26 episodes, we do all the show notes, they get their own individual sound engineer. So, it’s for the people like you have your done for you services that they’re saying, it’s not worth my time to learn how to do show notes. But then there’s other people that are like, “I’m not going to drop 20 grand no matter how important it is to launch a podcast. I want to learn to do this myself and bootstrap it.”
And so that’s where Podcasts Launch School comes in. And those first hundred people to me are so important to pick their brains, and so we have five different modules that we’re kind of working through or we have ideas of doing, but I haven’t started recording. So, I sent out a survey to those people and it just goes through the five modules that I’m planning. So, it’s like, “What questions do you have about, should I start or not start a podcast? And what questions do you have about the best structures, a podcast? What questions do you have about monetizing a podcast? What questions do you have about how to plan, record and launch a podcast? And what questions do you have about the ongoing marketing of a podcast?”
So that’s kind of the five phases that we walk people through with this e-course or we’re planning to. And then, you know, I sat in there, “Do you plan to buy Podcast Launch School at the discounted rate of $597 compared to the 997 when it first launches?” So then if one person says, “Yes, I’m going to buy it,” and the 99 others don’t, then I know, “Oh, I probably shouldn’t put as much time into this till I get some people that are ready to buy.” So, I’m saving myself a bunch of time. And then I also have just some kind of open-ended questions of like, “How do you feel about podcasting? What else would you want to know? What do you want to make sure is covered?” If this one thing was in the course, it would totally make it worth the cost of the course. So, then I’m getting the very people that are going to be the first people to buy it, to say, “This is what I want in this.”
And to me that just is better customer service because instead of me just guessing at it, now I have people that want to start a podcast saying, “Oh my gosh, if you covered these things, that would be insane. That would be so awesome.” And then in addition to that, we’re, as we develop tools for our higher-end clients, we’re saving those PDFs and we’re going to put that into Podcast Launch School so that if they want to put in the effort to build it, then they’re using the same thing. So, if they ever want to upgrade, we don’t have any difference between our Done For You people and the people that went through Podcast Launch School.

[JESSICA]: It’s, listening to what people want and then going one step above, I love it. That’s exactly, I think, you know we were talking earlier about the, this is a way to serve a larger audience and I think that being able to offer things at different price point is so important but if I’m going to do anything, I want it to do it right. And so people that go through the online course, yes, it’s at a lot lower price point, but figuring out, or in your case, you know, the Podcast Launch School, being able to figure out like even when we’re giving things to people at the lower price, like how do we do it in such a way that they get real value out of it and that it’s really answering their questions. One thing that came up, that’s how the demo videos came up as people said that, “Okay, it’s great that in you know, your other material, you talk about how to do these or what to do, but how can you actually show us how to do it?” And that’s how we decided, we settled on, we demo things in or I demo things in WordPress and in Squarespace, because those seem to be the two most popular platforms. And so, but I realized I didn’t have to demo it in every single platform that we do. I mean that would take forever, but just choosing the two most popular and then providing some guidance on, you know, if you have a different platform, this is how you can apply some of these same concepts.
[JOE]: And I think people get worried that if they have this big idea and they show other people how to do it in a lower priced e-course, that somehow that’s going to take away from their business. If people have that tool versus really seeing that when people are doing done-for-you services, it’s not that they don’t want to it or don’t want to enact things. It’s more that they’re just saying it’s not worth my time to do that. And that the time savings is really what they’re buying in the same way that you can buy, I don’t know, some famous chain of hot wings in the freezer section. It’s not that you, when you go out to eat, it’s saving the time and the cleanup and the pressure of making all that food yourself, even if you can buy the exact same thing in the frozen section of your grocery store.

[JESSICA]: Yes. It’s all about figuring out, and the same person, even at different points in time can need something different. And so, you know, I’ve had multiple people that paid for us to do a couple of months done-for-you services and got them ranking really well and given them a good basis. And then they’ve gone through my 12-week course or we or our smaller SEO training package. And I suspect in the future this will be like the people that will go through our online course. They’re like, “Okay, how can I maintain it? How can I keep it going now that you’ve given us a good base?” And so, it certainly —

[JOE]: Yes, almost the course for their assistant to go through.

[JESSICA]: Yes. Assistance, we have to talk to people because they’re like, “Okay, I want my assistant to do all my SEO,” and I’ll be like, “Okay, a huge part of SEO is adding content and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want my assistant to touch the content.” “Okay then, here are the things your assistant can do, but know that adding content is usually part of really creating a good SEO strategy. And so, we have to talk a little bit about that. Now some people are like, “No, my assistant can write blogs for me all day long. And I’m like, “Okay, cool. Then your assistant really can go through it.”

[JOE]: Maybe give us like five bullet points around SEO and then I want to talk about how you were able to level up so quickly and maybe some of those tips after that. So, for people that are just starting out, they want to do some of their own SEO, like what are five quick tips? Like do these five things right now and it’s going to help you. What would those be?

[JESSICA]: Number one is add content to your site. I almost guarantee if you’re trying to improve your SEO that you don’t have as much content on your website as you need. Usually I recommend at least 500 words per your main pages of your site, but that often, but you can write more. You know, there was one study that showed that a lot of the pages that rank on the first page of Google actually have about 1800 words of content. So, the more content on your pages, the merrier, but also more pages. Oh, my goodness. Most people have like this lovely, I do individual counseling for and have this huge bullet pointed list and Google says, “Okay, you are competent to write the word anxiety on this page, but I don’t know if you actually know much about it because it’s part of a bullet list of 20 specialties, and so create a page for each of your specialties.”
So, tip number one, I could talk about that one all day, but tip number one, have lots of content to your page. Tip number two, add subheadings to those pages. People say to me, “Okay Jessica, I’ll write 500 words, but nobody’s going to read 500 words,” and you’re kind of right, but if you add subheadings throughout the page, you’ll naturally use, use some keywords in those subheadings and Google assumes that those subheadings are like the main points of your page and it will make it easier for people looking at your page to scan it quickly and find the information they actually will read. Okay, now I got to the part about outcomes. You know, it says, “Why come to counseling yet? That’s the question I’m asking. I’m going to read that sub heading.”
So, add subheadings, or add content, add sub headings, specified meta descriptions. That is the part that shows up when you do a Google search, the part that shows up on the Google search result, the blue part is your meta title and the couple of sentences underneath are your meta descriptions. I don’t like to leave it to chance for Google to decide what to pull out of my page and put in a meta-description. So, I recommend every single page of your website. I even do it for like my rates page and stuff. Go through and tell Google what the page is about. And if you summarize it and you’re using some keywords in it, that automatically will help. If your page isn’t ranking well, go back and tweak your meta descriptions every couple months if you need to until it’s ranking well.
So that’s three. You said I get five, right?

[JOE]: Sure, yes. Keep going.

[JESSICA]: Okay. So then, and these are fast, like these are bullet points, but most of these, we have blog posts on our website. I think maybe wants to read more in depth. So number four would definitely be to add internal links throughout your page, throughout your site so that people will, A stay on your page longer because they’re going to more pages but B, it helps Google when they come, when it sends its little bots out to crawl your page, it’s going to move throughout your site better. And so, add links to several other pages from each page. Now there are people that overdo this and like every other sentence has a link to another page, but in general, every page links back to your homepage. Every page should link to your content page or to your Contact Us page and usually you can link to several other service pages as well. So, help Google and users move throughout your site with internal links.
Then tip number five is work on your backlinks. Write some guests blog posts for people, use Help A Reporter out to get quoted in new sources, get on some directories. Psychology Today does not give you a backlink, but most others do. And so, do those, get out there, get your name out there and get other websites pointing to your site. It’s Google’s kind of a popularity contest, and so, get out the vote, get the most influential sites out there. Practice of the Practice is a great backlink for people that write blog posts for you. And so, lots of other places out there, you can write guest posts as well and just try to get as many other websites as possible pointing to yours.

[JOE]: Man. So awesome. All right, let’s talk about how you quickly leveled up. So, part of it was you’re at Slow Down School, you’re showing people your skills, it grows. Now, I mean, and then you know, this past fall you are on the main stage speaking with Perry from Brighter Vision about SEO and websites. And I mean, your breakout session was so well attended. We had to move you from a small breakout room that sat 55 people to the large breakout room, and not even breakout room. The main stage. We had to move you guys. So how did that happen? How did you level up so quickly? What were things that you’re like, “This totally was how I got here?”

[JESSICA]: Oh, there were so many little things. I think that the big thing is just listening to people, knowing what, like we’ve been kind of talking about is just kind of listening to what people want and trying to provide that. Another, because I’ve also found with this business in particular, like word of mouth has been everything. And so that’s helped. I do think we’re at a point where we are getting some people from our own SEO and so we definitely are getting some people from Google, and I did, I honestly, I didn’t have a website for this business for like a long time. It’s been less, it’s less than a year old. And I realized it was pretty odd to be talking about websites and not have my own website. But that was when we were getting all, word of mouth. So, doing our own SEO definitely helped and then a big thing is, well I was going to say something else, but also having good relationships with people who know the quality of my work. You —.

[JOE]: All right. So, Jessica, you were just saying something and from my side I heard you being, being, being, being and, zoom went crazy for a moment there. I want to jump back in.

[JESSICA]: Oh, my goodness. You’ve got to love technology, right? It can be all kinds of fun stuff, but yes, especially we’re both in like lots of lovely weather today. It’s snowing out here but we, but yes, so definitely I was saying you’re one of those people that just getting to know people in the field and a really genuine way and communicating what we do and having opportunities to have conversations where people have been able to see, you know, “Oh, okay, I do know something about SEO,” or having other people, you know, I remember you said, “Oh, I’ve heard so many people say that they had good experiences.” I think that that speaks for itself. And then the next thing that I was really, really scared to do, but I did; and that’s having a mailing list. Building that has done wonders for scaling this particular business. And there are people who will follow me for months and months and months and then reach out and say, “Okay, now I’m ready to start. I’ve followed you for a long time.” And it’s just wonderful. I, —

[JOE]: And just to clarify, an email list, not a physical mailing list.

[JESSICA]: Oh, good point. Yes, definitely.

[JOE]: And what’s, so in your email sequence, what are things that help build that trust before people work with you?

[JESSICA]: Yes, so at the very beginning, the first thing that happens when somebody signs up is, they get a seven-day email series, I know you talk about a nine day one and mine doesn’t quite follow that. Mine’s seven days. But I have a seven-day email series where the first day is kind of a welcome and what is SEO, and then from there, I like to think of it as, it’s explaining what you can do for SEO. Now I can’t go over every single thing in seven days, but I give like some of my best, like these are the big things that if you do these, you’ll get real results. And a lot of people have told me just from that they have been able to go and make some significant changes. So, I’m providing real value from day one.
Then from there I try to send out tips a couple of times a month. A lot of times these tips are, you know, blog posts that we’ve written or there’ve been a couple times where I’ve just been like, “I keep seeing this wrong with therapists’ website. I’m just going to send out just as a tip.” And I’m like, “Oh, I could have created a whole blog post. Okay. I think I will.” But just trying to send out real value and then at the bottom of most emails, all, you know, have a little PS. If you’re ready to get serious about SEO, you can learn about our services here and sign up for a free consultation. We offer 30-minute free consultations over Zoom for people that are interested in it, but by the time people, you know, it might be that they sit around for several months just, you know, enjoying all of the free advice that we send out each month.
The real help, I even allow my current clients continue to read all of those emails and respond with questions and be like, “Hey, on our next training call, I want to make sure we hit on this subject.” And I’m like, “Great,” but that’s really been the focus of my email list; is just trying to provide real value tempered in with opportunities for if you’re ready to level up. And when we’ve released new services, we’ll send out a separate email and “Okay, now we’re going to offer this online course and you can get it at the pre-sale price here.” That sort of thing.

[JOE]: Oh, so awesome. Jessica, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?

[JESSICA]: I would want them to know that it’s okay to dream big. It’s okay to be flexible. Just because you picture that, you know, I certainly pictured that I was going to go into this nice little solo practice and see 30 clients a week. That’s actually what I wanted. Actually, I didn’t want 30 a week when I first started, but I thought that’s where I would get to eventually. That was the big dream. And as I’ve had these other dreams, I think that the biggest advantage I’ve had business wise has been being willing to be flexible and being willing to be flexible with myself too, that it’s okay for my dreams to change and it’s okay for my direction that I want to go to change.

[JOE]: Yes. You know, before we got started, you were saying how an emergency in your private practice looks way different than an emergency in your SEO business and I said, “Wait, pause. I want to make sure we cover that.” And so, what does that mean?

[JESSICA]: That means that I did DBT for many years. In fact, I started my practice at the state hospital and I love DBT. And I remember in a mastermind group when I was thinking about pulling out of the consultation team, how sad I was with you. But it, but I’ve had a lot of emergencies happen and my mental health career that are true emergencies like the life or death emergencies. And I’m okay with that and I love that, but it’s intense and I’m in a stage in my life where I have two young kids and I love that right now, no matter how much of an emergency somebody feels like they have on their website, you know, we totally messed something up and it looks absolutely terrible and they send me an email about it. That’s not life or death. I can still put my kids to bed and I can still, you know, I can still go about my day and then, you know, I might stay up super late fixing it because it is a mess, a mistake and we want to fix it quickly. But no matter how difficult things, no matter what kind of emergency we have with websites, at the end of the day it’s not life or death like it sometimes is with my counseling clients. And I really have enjoyed that, having that balance of it just a different kind of stress. A very, very different kind of stress.

[JOE]: No, that’s so awesome. Well, Jessica, if people want to connect with you, if they want to take that seven-part course, if they want SEO services, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?

[JESSICA]: Our website is and at the top, on each page is a button. There’s a button you can push to start the seven day email series and there’s a button you can push to schedule a consultation if you’re interested in hearing about our other services or you can always email me directly at but usually a great place to start is just to browse around on our site, look at our services, read some of our blogs. We have a ton of great information in our blog posts as well.

[JOE]: Oh, so awesome. And you’ve keynoted Slow Down School, you’ve keynoted and spoke at Killin’It Camp. I mean, I guess I just have to start another conference for you to speak at or something.

[JESSICA]: Perfect. I love it. It’s so much fun. That’s the other thing, I didn’t know how much I would enjoy the public speaking thing. I don’t think of myself as a public speaker, but now I’m beginning to because it’s just that, that’s another great surprise.

[JOE]: Oh, the survey results are coming back and people loved your talk. So, really looking forward to seeing where your businesses continue to go. And thanks, so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[JESSICA]: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.

[JOE]: I just love all the value Jessica always brings and you know, even a Killin’It Camp, it was so cool to see her sitting down with people helping them with their SEO. Whether or not they became clients of simplified SEO, she is such a giver and a helper. In fact, this one night she was helping someone with their SEO and a bunch of the speakers and Slow Down Schoolers, I wanted to just connect with them before kind of the conference really took off. And so Christina and I hosted a bunch of them in our room and I texted everybody and texted Jessica that we were going to meet up in our room and have some drinks and hang out and realized that I texted our director of details, Jessica, not that Jessica, I just thought that she was so into the SEO that she, you know, didn’t want to hang out, but little did I know I had totally excluded her.
So, I’m publicly apologizing to Jessica for that at Killin’It Camp. Sorry, and I know you’re going to be back at Killin’It Camp, so we’ll make it up to you. Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Super huge thanks to Gusto. forward slash Joe for three months free. Gusto is amazing at payroll solutions. If you do any payroll, if you pay yourself, if you want to have your taxes automatically taken out, Gusto is the place to go. Thank you so much. Have an awesome week.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.



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