Search engine optimization should be an indispensable part of a successful digital marketing strategy for any accounting firm.
Having a strong online presence is a must, particularly after a massive digital shift accelerated by the pandemic. Both your potential clients and competitors moved online, and there’s no indication that this will change any time soon.
This practically means that the entire accounting niche has gone digital and that you have to find a way to distinguish yourself and make it easier for your potential clients to find you online. The fact that last year 90% of people used the internet to find a local business speaks volumes about the importance of putting your accounting business on the digital map.
And that’s exactly what SEO for accountants can help you with.
What Is SEO for Accountants?
SEO is the process of tweaking and improving your website in order to increase its visibility in the search results. It encompasses different tactics that will help your website appear more prominently in the search results when people are searching for accounting or related services in Google.
The better visibility your accounting has in the search results, the more organic traffic your website will attract.
For example, the first spot in Google search results gets almost 32% of all clicks. On the other hand, only 0.78% of searchers go to page 2 of Google.
And since search engine optimization doesn’t stop at only attracting visitors to your website, you can also use it to improve their entire buyer’s journey and successfully convert them into paying clients.
Based on these stats, it’s safe to conclude that SEO isn’t only a safe bet when it comes to the visibility of your website in search engines but also a powerful lead generation tactic.
While it’s true that many accounting firms heavily rely on referrals as one of their primary sources of new business, the thing is that you can’t control or scale these efforts, meaning that they’re unpredictable.
SEO has accurate metrics that allow you to identify what works and what doesn’t for your particular situation and focus on the tactics that perform best and bring you a lot of fresh, high-quality leads that you can engage, nurture, and turn into loyal clients.
As a result, you’ll be able to target and reach the people who need your services and keep your business top of mind with them.
1. Find the Right Keywords
Keyword research is the cornerstone of every effective SEO strategy.
If you want to attract a target audience looking for accounting services, financial advice, tax advisory services, or any other help with their personal and business finances, you need to know what keywords and phrases they are using.
By identifying the exact words and phrases they’re typing into the search box in Google, you’ll be able to implement these keywords and strategically place them across your website and content, thus ensuring your content and site will show up in relevant searches.
There are different parameters that you should take into consideration when researching your keywords. Volume and difficulty are some of them, and they’re crucial in determining whether a particular keyword is worth targeting. Volume refers to how many times the keyword was searched for on Google, while difficulty tells you how difficult it will be for your website to rank for that keyword using SEO.
Smaller accounting firms should avoid high-volume search terms because the more popular the keyword is, the more competitors will be trying to rank for them. And some of them will be big players with better domain authority, which means that they will outperform you.
This means that generic, exact-match keywords such as “accounting firm,” “accountancy,” “bookkeeping,” or “taxes” won’t help you improve your rankings and reach the top search results because they’re highly competitive.
Instead of that, you should focus on more descriptive long-tail keywords that are characterized by low search volumes. It’s true that they won’t bring you a lot of traffic, but they make up for that by pinpointing search intent and attracting purchase-ready clients.
Given that the keywords such as “accounting services in Dublin/London/Manchester” or “Best tax preparers near me” are so specific, they will land you searchers who clearly need those particular services in your area. And yes, these keywords are significantly less competitive.
2. Create Valuable Content
Now that you know what your potential clients are searching for, you can better understand their needs and issues.
And let’s be honest, many people, even those who run their own companies, usually aren’t exactly financial wizards. Not to mention that they don’t have time to keep up with the latest regulations regarding taxes and similar matters.
Hence, they need to be informed and educated in order to avoid getting penalized for filing their taxes late or making another similar mistake.
The best way to do this is through valuable content tailored to the needs of your target audience. To make it easier for your potential clients and Google to find your content, use the previously identified keywords and add them to your blog posts, landing pages, and other pieces of content on your websites.
Just make sure they’re relevant to the topic you’re discussing.
The content you create has to offer helpful answers to the questions from the search query, and that’s what Google pays close attention to.
In other words, if the search engine giant serves a particular result to its users, its main goal is to provide an exceptional user experience – searchers should get the best and most relevant answers quickly.
That’s why you should regularly research what your potential clients want to know and produce content that will make things easier for them. For example, educate them about tax returns, cash flow, founding a company, and running their books properly.
Apart from creating high-quality content that’s relevant to your accounting firm and your potential clients, you should also:
- Publish it regularly because consistency matters too. If your readers don’t know when they can expect a new piece of content, they will stop visiting your blog because they’ll forget to.
- Ensure your content is unique. Google will easily spot duplicate content that has already been published elsewhere and tank your rankings.
- Update your old content, remove any outdated information, and add new, more accurate facts and data so that it’s still relevant.
3. Optimize for Local SEO
The odds are that people and businesses from your area or city will be the ones looking for your accounting services. So, if you mainly serve your local geographic area, you should make sure your accounting business shows up in local and near me searches.
That’s why optimizing your website for local searches plays an important role in the entire SEO strategy.
List Your Business in Local Directories
Back in the day, having your business listed in web directories could improve your rankings. Google’s algorithm was much simpler, and the more directory links you scored, the better.
Now, links from these directories are significantly less influential, but they still provide a certain SEO value. You can think of them as a way to attract traffic and build trust.
But, if you want to see these benefits, you need to ask yourself whether:
- It’s a reputable directory
- Your audience visits that particular site.
Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google My Business, and your local chamber of commerce are among the directories in which you should definitely list your CPA firm.
Be very meticulous about these citations and update them regularly.
Get Your NAP right
Ensure that your NAP (your business Name, Address, and Phone) is featured across your website. It’s usually placed at the footer.
The consistency of NAP details across the web is what search engines expect, so it’s crucial for these details to be listed accurately and in the same manner everywhere. This means that no typos or different addresses or phone numbers are allowed because that way, you’ll only confuse Google and your potential clients.
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
If you want to improve the online presence of your accounting business and literally put it on the map, start by optimizing your Google My Business Page.
Create your profile, fill out all the necessary fields, write a full description of your business, provide the accurate address, phone number, and business hours, and upload some photos. In order to make the most of this powerful platform, collect reviews and respond to your customers’ feedback regularly. This will additionally improve the authenticity and credibility of your accounting firm and improve your engagement.
This way, when someone looks for a local accountant, your firm will pop up in their search results, especially if you have a lot of reviews and ratings.
4. Build Links
Having other relevant, authority sources linking back to your content is like obtaining a seal of approval.
These backlinks show Google that your website is credible and trustworthy, thus helping you improve your rankings.
There are different ways to build links, but guest posting is one of the most effective. As a seasoned accountant, you can create blog posts on the topics relevant to your audience and offer them to websites accepting pieces from CPA and financial experts.
Just make sure to vet these websites before your start pitching your topic – you want your efforts to be published only on high-quality sources that will allow you to establish yourself as an expert and build your reputation.
It’s a good idea to check whether there are some content gaps, do keyword research and think of three topics to pitch to them. If they accept, you’ll secure yourself some promotion and valuable backlinks.
Apart from improving your rankings and reputation, link building will also give your traffic a boost as it will send some visitors from other websites.
Avoid purchasing bulk links or posting on spammy, low-authority websites because these shady practices will only hurt your reputation, even though they might lead to a short-lived SEO boost.
5. Improve the Usability of Your Website
Besides having an informative and educative website that will help your potential clients learn more about managing their financial matters, it’s equally important to pay attention to its usability.
In a nutshell, your visitors expect an exceptional user experience. So does Google.
The factors that distinguish a website with great usability from the one that leaves much to be desired in that department include:
- Intuitive navigation. Your prospects should easily and quickly find what they’re looking for on your website. For example, adding a link to your homepage to your website logo will allow your visitors to easily find their way to the start of their search without clicking back and forth in case they’re not sure where they are.
- Loading speed. There’s no excuse for a slow website anymore. Your potential clients are busy people, and they don’t have time or patience to wait for more than 3 seconds until your site loads, so make sure to speed it up.
- Mobile-friendliness. More than 50% of your potential clients will access your website from their mobile devices. If your website isn’t responsive, many of them will bounce and go to your competitors.
- Structured data markup. This code helps search engines better crawl, read, understand, and index the content on your website. In other words, structured data markup is used to communicate, interpret, and explain to search engines what your data actually means.
- Check for broken links. Broken links get in the way of crawling and prevent Google from properly indexing your web pages. Besides, they lead to poor user experience and rankings. To avoid this common faux pas, identify and fix your broken links.
Your accounting firm will greatly benefit from having a well-planned and executed SEO strategy. Follow these tips to understand why optimizing your website is crucial not only for your company’s online presence but also for generating new leads and business opportunities. If you’re not sure how to create and implement an effective SEO strategy, hiring an SEO consultant is a good investment that will pay off through lots of new prospects and clients.