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While having an online presence is not the only tool in your bag for promoting your services as a doula, it is an integral part of the whole advertising picture, and if done right, is a fairly inexpensive return on your investment. You can also employ your website to improve the effectiveness of your other marketing efforts.  Do not expect your website to do all of the marketing for you. You must be willing to talk to others and present yourself and your services to others. However, many a client will come to your website first, before they reach out to contact you for services. Your website can also make it easier for clients to contact you, providing there are online contact forms and links to other forms of contact.  Assuming you’re looking for more information on building a website, let’s take a look at some of the key factors for consideration in doing Search Engine Optimization or SEO for doulas.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the first things to consider in how you want to approach the building of your website is to determine if the tool or service you are using will actually allow people to find your website. This is what is called “search engine friendly” or “search engine optimization”.  The idea is that if a search engine can easily find your website and determine what it is about, then your website will perform better in search engine results. The more detailed and relevant information about a given topic, the more information those search engines have to direct traffic to.

So how do search engines work? Basically, there are these little web robots that crawl all over the Internet. They originate from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. Their job is to index the Internet, and process the available information is such a way that users of their services are presented with useful results. It is in their best interest to provide the most relevant, unbiased results. This is important because it gives a clear expectation of what we can do to present our services correctly.

Hence, there is no secret formula for how to make a website search engine friendly. It’s not rocket science. In fact, the standard that I consistently use to determine if my website is search engine friendly is this: if a person with a disability visiting my website can find what they need to find, then so can a search engine robot (also called search bots/spiders/crawlers/etc. ). Think of search robot as a person with a disability. When they come to your website they cannot visually “see” your website, but they can read it all. So if your website is set up in such a way that they can make sense of the information on the site up front, then they will know where to send visitors who search for what you have to offer.

Excerpted from our new E-book, Websites for Doulas.  Download for free to get more information on planning an SEO strategy, blogging, design, and more.

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Rachel has worked as a register nurse (BSN from University of Utah) since 2004 with a work history in Labor and Delivery, NICU and Postpartum Care. She is also the founder of New Beginnings Doula Training which she organized in 2011. When she's not busy being a mother and grandmother, she can be found reading research papers related to some aspect of childbirth.

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