Massage Your Website

By Esther Pearson
[What's on the Web]

You’ve heard the spiel about massage websites and getting in touch with those tech-savvy, search-happy clients. Maybe you’ve got your website already up and running. Maybe it has even brought in a few new clients. But overall, the effort and investment doesn’t seem to be paying off. Maybe it’s time to take a second look at your website. With a little more effort and guidance, you may be surprised to find that it is a worthwhile endeavor after all.

Let me introduce you to two massage therapists who can more than vouch for the marketing success of a massage website.

First, meet Amy Morgan, a licensed massage therapist in Faribault, Minnesota. Sixty-three percent of traffic to her website comes from the search engines. As far as reaching new clients, Morgan says, “My website has been very effective. I would say I average two to three new clients a week who find me through my website.” And it’s not only local clients who find her. “I have sold numerous gift certificates to people from out of state for their loved ones in my area,” she says. “I have also been contacted from people that will be coming into town and are looking to have a massage while they are here.”

Andrea Porter, a licensed massage therapist and yoga teacher at Santosha LLC, in Omaha, Nebraska, also raves about her website traffic. When asked about its effectiveness, she replies without hesitation, “Very effective! We get not only local people shopping around for massage therapy services, but people all over the country shopping for gift certificates, as well. Fortunately, we rank high on Google pretty consistently, so people are able to find us quickly. Also, people who have heard of, or have experienced, some of the specialty services we offer (such as Thai massage, Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, and pregnancy massage) search for those services by name, and find us very easily.”

Along with a high rank on Google comes a steady stream of new clients. And the numbers keep growing. In 2007, 11 percent of Porter’s client base consisted of Internet referrals. “In 2008, 27 percent of my new clients were direct referrals from the website, and so far in 2009, that goes up to 31 percent,” Porter says. “I’d say we’ve had some growth!”

How did these two massage therapists reach a healthy return on investment for their websites? They optimized their websites for higher rankings in the search engines. When people search online for a massage therapist in the Omaha area, Santosha shows up in the first few results. For the Faribault area, Morgan shows up in the top results.

Get Friendly with the Search Engines

Getting your website to rank well in the search engines involves a number of different factors. It’s a complex process. As Morgan knows, it’s not all about how pretty the site looks. It has to do with the content and using keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). That’s why it’s important for you as a massage therapist to have a basic understanding of how to write for the Web. The Web content you write can directly impact your search engine rankings.

There are a lot of similarities between writing for print publications, like brochures, and writing for the Web. Both should be engaging, informative, and creative. But with Web content, things get a little more complicated. What you write for your website not only needs to appeal to the reader, but it should also work to boost your site’s rankings in the search engines.

Here’s how it works. Search engines like Google and Yahoo pick up on certain keywords used throughout your site (such as massage therapy and Omaha). How effectively you use those keywords throughout your site helps determine how well you rank in the search engines when someone searches for “massage therapy in Omaha.”

For the most part, using these keywords will come naturally as you write the content for your website. The more content you add, the more keywords your website will include and the better your search engine rankings will be. The trick is to include enough content to satisfy the search engines without overwhelming your website visitors.

Keyword-Rich Content

One way to make sure your site is well optimized for keywords is to include a minimum of 10 pages of informational content. Not only will this help you in the search engines, but it will also give your visitors the opportunity to find out more about your business just by browsing your website.

Along with the typical Web pages for services, pricing, and business hours, add pages that include a short description of each service you offer and a personal profile for each therapist at your business. Address common questions on a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page. Add another Web page for client testimonials and one for special offers, news, and events.

For each Web page, use two to three related keywords, such as therapeutic massage and Swedish massage. Use each keyword several times and spread them out throughout the page. Think of synonyms that people might use to search for your business—for example, office massage, corporate massage, and mobile massage—and use these keywords where applicable.

Besides the general keywords related to massage, focus on several niche keywords that describe your business. If you specialize in pregnancy massage or aromatherapy, use these keywords several times throughout a page on your website. Also, make sure that you include keywords to attract local searches. Your business name and contact information should be located on every single page. This not only helps your rankings in local searches, but it gives your website visitors quick and easy access to your contact information. You can also include a separate Web page with directions to your office.

As you write, keep your copy short and to the point. It should be just long enough to deliver quality information without losing the interest of your readers. The average reader has a much shorter attention span when reading on the Internet than when reading printed information.

Most importantly, never lose sight of the fact that the quality and readability of your content is the most important factor. Excessively overusing keywords (known as keyword stuffing) can hurt you rather than help you—not to mention irritate your readers. The text should sound natural when read aloud and not like it was written for the search engines.

Fresh Content

Another factor that determines your search engine rankings is how regularly your site provides new or updated content. A high-ranking site includes a mix of static content (content that makes up the backbone of your site) and fresh content (new or regularly updated content).

Let’s compare it to something more familiar—food. Most likely you have in your pantry a mix of perishable foods (like fresh fruits and veggies) and nonperishable foods (like flour and salt). In order to achieve a balanced diet, you need some of both. Search engines are the same way. They favor websites that include a balanced diet of fresh content (perishables) and static content (nonperishables).

One way to infuse your site with fresh content is to host a blog on your website. Blog posts are a quick and easy way to add new content to your site and keep your clients up to date on what’s happening at your business. Your blog posts can be as long or short as you need them to be. If you’re running short on time, keep it brief, but try to post at least once a week.

Let your personality shine through as you write for the blog. Let your clients get to know you as a person, as well as a professional. You can blog about anything—from your upcoming massage events in the community to the latest massage news and research to new modalities or services that you plan to offer. Your blog is also an excellent place to share self-care and wellness tips with your clients and to pass on information that has enriched your own lifestyle. What are you learning about in your profession and personal life? Share it with your clients. If you have a passion for nutrition, share tips on healthy eating choices. If you come across information in your continuing education classes that you wish your clients knew, share it in a blog post.

Morgan uses the blog on her website to connect with her regular clients. “Anyone can subscribe to my blog,” she says. “They get an email telling them I have made a new post. I post specials I am running or events I will be at, along with some information about massage and [its] various benefits.” Notifying her subscribers of new blog posts allows Morgan to keep in touch with her clients and encourages client retention by serving as a reminder of her services and of the importance of massage therapy.

Even if you don’t have a blog, you can still keep your website fresh with a current specials or a news page. Include information on limited time specials, new services offered, on-site massage events, and business announcements and awards.

Your static content (business hours, FAQ page, description of services, etc.) generally stays the same, but keep in mind that even staple foods can go bad over time. Take a look at your static content every so often and make any necessary changes to keep it accurate. Update your business hours, add recent testimonials, and freshen your therapist profiles as needed.

Be the Client

What’s the best way to improve your website content? Look at it from a visitor’s point of view. If you were a potential client, would your site convince you to call for an appointment? Porter explains it this way: “Advice I’ve heard (and followed) when setting up a massage room is ‘think like a client.’ Ask a colleague to give you a massage in your room so you can see, hear, smell, and feel everything about that room from a client’s perspective, rather than just from the therapist’s. Same thing with the website: go through it as though you want to find information about your place for the very first time. Is the text free of errors? Is it easy to find contact information? Do all the links work? Can someone from another city or state immediately tell what city or state you are located in?”

If you get frustrated trying to find information on your website, so will your visitors. Don’t let errors or omissions on your website drive potential clients away. Make the effort to make your site as user-friendly and professional as possible. The quality of your website reflects the quality of your business.

Final Words of Wisdom

Whether you have the skills to optimize your website on your own, as Porter did, or you hire an experienced Internet marketer to work with you, as Morgan did, your massage website can provide a valuable return on investment and become a dependable source for reaching new clients. The time spent in developing quality content for your website will be worth the effort. “In the long run,” Morgan says, “your website will pay for itself.”


Esther Pearson is an SEO copywriter and blogger for OneTouch Massage, a manufacturer of professional massage tables and accessories. For more information, visit or contact