Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yowza! Google Local Search Results Show Big Change!

Hi folks,

If you've Googled any local business in the last 3 days, you've seen a RADICALLY different results page on Google. This has all of us in the SEO & SEM (Search Engine Marketing) field in reaction mode, trying to figure out exactly how Google is figuring its new results, and what it means to our clients, both in terms of Organic rankings, as well as Google Adwords pay-per-click.

What I can tell you in the simplest terms is that Google has *combined* the old map results (known as the "7-pack" or "3-pack" depending on how dense an area you searched) with the organic search listings that were below the map.

This has a big impact on Adwords, too. Ads that are not in the top 3 results (showing in the lightly colored box on top), now get pushed down by the map, which is on the right side at the top of the screen now. Not only that, but the map stays in its place as you scroll down, blocking the view of ads on the right side of the screen. Google has, perhaps on purpose and in a not-very-nice way, made it so people will REALLY try to bid to be top 3 in the ads now.

I'll have more on this as my colleagues and I gauge the impacts on all of our efforts. In the meantime, fellow therapists, hold on to your hats!

Happy Halloween, Peter

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Folks, it is NOT Google calling you!

Hello fellow therapists,

So I was talking to a wonderful colleague in another state today, who told me that "Google called her to offer paid placement on page 1 for a particular phrase".

She seemed confused by my fervent reply, that it was certainly not Google calling her. Folks, there are a lot of not-so-ethical SEO companies out there who will drop Google's name as they explain who they are. But trust me - THEY ARE NOT GOOGLE.

How do I know? Well, first the ethical issue of Google selling results space (this was *not* Adwords, according to the caller) - sort of like the NY Times selling you the ability to get an article written about you. Secondly, our advertising budgets as therapists are not even a drop in Google's bucket (they took in $2.2 billion last quarter). Finally, this ones been known in my world for some time (we SEOs talk).

Anyways folks, if someone calls and offers you something to good to be true - it is. And if they say they are from Google, ask them to send you an email to prove it. They won't be able to.

Stay safe! Best, Peter

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Join Me @ PBC2010 - October 25th-30th


I'm excited to announce I'll be presenting at the Practice Building Virtual Conference 2010 - put on by The International Therapist Leadership Institute. It's virtual - so no travel costs - all done by teleconference and webinar.

It's humbling to be on faculty with the likes of Bill O'Hanlon & Lynn Grodzki! It all goes on between October 25th and the 30th. Prices varies (depending on student, pre-licensed, etc.) from $197 to $297.

My talk will be The State of Web Marketing Today & Predictions for 2011. I sure hope you can join me. I think it will be worth your while.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Seattle Class coming up on Friday 9/17


If you're around Seattle, you may want to drop in at the Seattle Counselors Associations monthly meeting - next Friday, 9/17/10, from 9 to noon.

I'll be presenting "Web Marketing for Therapists - in Plain English". The goal is to both increase real understanding of the aspects of web marketing, and to send therapists away with some concrete to-do's to increase the effectiveness of their web marketing efforts.

Hope to see you there! Best, Peter

PS - contact SCA to sign up -

Monday, August 9, 2010

So this is how the PT Phone # thing works....

Well, folks, the PT thing works.

Today, I saw someone had called and left a message. I was busy with something so I let it go to voicemail. A couple minutes later I get an email from PsychologyToday. It goes like this:

Hi Peter Hannah,

At 11:21 AM PDT you received a missed phone call. This caller found you on

Call to (206) 799-6566
Call from (206) xxx-xxxx/Seattle WA
(Note - The actual incoming number was listed here - nice for security.)
Date: August 9, 2010
Call Duration: 00:00:00 (missed call)

To view a record of this call, please log into your profile at
and click on the Contact History tab.



Psychology Today has recently introduced call tracking and call security
for your profile. People who find you on Psychology Today see a unique
local phone number for you that, when they call it, automatically
connects to your private number.


1: It's a simple way to tell who found your profile on the Therapy

2: You get a record of the people who have called you (Check 'Contact
History' when you log in).

3: Spam phone calls from telemarketers are filtered out - about 99% such
calls can be screened.

To opt out of receiving these call confirmation emails, log into your
account and click the option in 'Contact History'.

The folks at

*Don't reply to this email*

Pretty nice tracking, I have to say. I wouldn't have pegged this caller as coming from PT otherwise. Nice job, PT.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Psychology Today Directory's New Call Feature

Hi, if you're listed in the PT directory (I still am, though rather ambivalently), you have probably seen this email (here's the heart of it):

The phone number on your profile is replaced by a unique local number
that connects seamlessly to your existing line. Each time you receive a
phone call from a client who found your details in the Therapy
Directory, we'll send you an email that tells you who called and when.
The details are stored in your account member area.

This is an interesting move. I can guess some of the motivations of it. I've often brainstormed how I would run a different kind of therapist directory - one that ONLY charged per lead generated or per client who successfully comes in. This is in many ways a great idea, but the main problem is TRACKING where the lead comes from, that it comes from a certain directory.

I'd guess that 5 years ago, a majority of PT therapists did not have websites, so people would mainly be going off the PT listing, and using the PT form to contact the therapist. (You'll notice the stats they email you list searches, views of your profile, and emails to you.)

Now, I would guess that most potential clients who actually use PT go off to the therapist's website, from the link in the profile, before contacting the therapist directly. This can hide the true source of the referral.

From hearing other therapists complain that PT doesn't drive as much traffic as it used to, I think this is a way to prove their worth to the therapists in the directory. I once did some "napkin math" about the directory - $29.95/month x 10,000 members (guesstimate) = $300,000/month = $3,600,000 a year. The directory may make more $ than the magazine does! So, they have a pretty darn vested interest in keeping it up to date.

I'll be interested in hearing people's experiences with the new call feature (oh yes, you can opt out of it, too).

Best, Peter

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Will Adwords Spending Help My Organic Results?

I was just browsing Google's own Adwords blog, and came across this. Since this is a question (and a misconception) of a lot of the therapists I work with - I thought I'd post it as is.

Myth # 1: Spending money on Google AdWords will influence my website’s ranking in Google's free search results.

Fact: Google AdWords and Google’s free search results are entirely independent of one another. Spending money on AdWords won’t impact your ranking in Google's free search results. Similarly, cancelling your AdWords account won’t lead to your website being banned from Google’s search results

I usually try to explain this as the way the NY Times treats editorial (news) and advertisements - they keep a firewall between the two so they don't influence each other. While that may not be the way some local magazines and free weekly newspapers run (where the biggest advertisers mysteriously often are featured in stories, too) it is the gold standard for ethical publications. I should know, I was on my college newspaper :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Therapy Directory - Free Til 7/30!

Hey folks,

Hope you are having a good summer.

A new therapist directory has shown up - and it's free for a year if you get in before July 30th.

It's at - I signed up today. Not sure if it will be gangbusters, but every link helps your SEO a little bit, and the price is right!

Best, Peter

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Update to Google Search Results

You might have noticed today, a major update to Google's results pages.

Opinions and feedback varies, but Google is known for stringently (some would say obsessively) testing every small change to its core search engine page. So, I'd expect the usual discomfort with the changes will fade as users get used to them.

As far as how this impacts all of you out there, it looks to be more of an impact to you as a user of Google (in how the results *look*), rather than in how results are calculated (which is what impacts where your site shows up).

I personally don't like the look of it, but I too will likely just get used to it in a few weeks.

All the best, Peter

Friday, January 29, 2010

Something to Ponder If You're Trying Adwords Alone

Oh folks, Google changes so often. It gets more complex, and less transparent as we go along. Both on the Adwords and SEO side.

Right now, I am embroiled a handful of accounts where the people had tried (either alone or with another Google-Person) to do Adwords. And here's the rub - the results from the old campaigns are making trouble for the new campaigns I am creating. The problem stems from something called "Quality Score".

Now, Quality Score used to be rather straightforward, and it was about "relevance". Is *this* website and *this* ad really relevant to this search term? Makes sense, doesn't it! A good thing to weed out people who are mistakenly advertising at the wrong crowd, or whose ad doesn't really match the website's content.

But now it ALSO get's affected by the history of the account. Basically, if you start out crappy, it is an uphill battle to get back in Google's good graces. The end result is *much* higher click costs, and sometimes your ad not being seen for various keywords. It's a pain in the neck.

So, before you think "I'll try this first, THEN call Peter".....well, I'd really prefer you just call me first. Oh yeah, here's Google's official list of items that make up Quality Score....(the whole page can be seen here)


While we continue to refine our Quality Score formulas for Google and the Search Network, the core components remain more or less the same:

*The historical clickthrough rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on Google; note that *CTR on the Google Network only ever impacts Quality Score on the Google Network -- not on Google
*Your account history, which is measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
*The historical CTR of the display URLs in the ad group
*The quality of your landing page
*The relevance of the keyword to the ads in its ad group
*The relevance of the keyword and the matched ad to the search query
*Your account's performance in the geographical region where the ad will be shown
*Other relevance factors

Monday, January 18, 2010

About Facebook Ads - Part 1

Hi folks,

New Year, new energies! I downloaded a great new screen capture video software called Jing Pro that is allowing me to do some new videos , for this blog and my therapist friends.

So without further ado, here's some info on Facebook ads - part 1 (part 2 is already "in the can" and will be posted soon). Best, Peter

View the video at
(working to get it rightly sized inline right now)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The New Year's Spike

Folks, the New Year marks a time when people take action. It is especially true in our business. I just logged into Google Analytics and this year is no exception.

Yesterday, Tuesday January 4th showed the biggest number of visitors to my counseling website ever. I didn't do anything new - no big news out there on me. This day was about 3x a normal Tuesday.

The spike would have been sooner if New Years Day hadn't been on a Friday, I'm sure.

Just something to put into your mental bank for next year.

All the best, Peter

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jot Form, Something new I Like

Hi everyone,

Web forms can be tricky for even savvy coders to create - often because we do it infrequently enough that we forget all the in's and out's. I have found a new, free resource to do that and wanted to share it with you -

Simply, JotForm lets you create WYSIWIG forms simply and easily (and for free - always my favorite price). I've already created one that is integrated into my counseling site. It's something I've thought of for a long time - a contact form that includes the insurance info - so I can call and check benefits for them. It's already paid off, I've gotten one person filling it out within 24 hours of it being up.

Check it out for yourself! Best, Peter

New Year, New Copyright

Hi everyone,

It's the New Year, and one thing I do that is a subtle reminder to web visitors that the site is well-tended is to update the Copyright notice at the bottom of each page.

My private practice website sports the brand new 2010 date.

Just a little something I always like to suggest.

Best, Peter