Essential SEO Tips for CPAs and Accounting Firms
Accounting services are in high demand thanks to a growing U.S. economy, globalization, and a complex tax environment. Employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 10 percent from now until 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. With an ever-expanding crowd of competitors, your accounting firm needs to stand out from the crowd in the online marketplace. For potential customers to find you online you need a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Here are just a few tips that accounting firms can use to bring their SEO strategy up to speed to ensure that their website shows up on Page One of the search engines.
Know your Keywords
Keywords drive the search process. Does the client search for “accountant” or “CPA?” For “CPA in Suffolk County” or for “best CPAs in NYC for international tax?” You need to know which keywords and key phrases best describe your business, as well as what keywords people are actually using in searches.
Google Trends allows you to compare keywords depending on the region and type of searcher, giving you some insights into what keywords might drive people to your website. Make a list of keywords and compare them to see which are the most frequently searched-but consider choosing to go after several of the mid-tier ones, which are easier to win, rather than competing for the most popular and potentially missing out on the top spot.
97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else. (Source: SEO Tribunal)
Geo searches are a new revelation in the SEO landscape, thanks mainly to mobile users. Searches initiated on cellphones or tablets consider the user’s location and search for businesses directly in that area. If you’re hoping to snag locally based clients, local SEO is a strategy that you should get in on asap. Make sure that when you’re choosing keywords for your website, you include your state, city, township or general region (depending on what reach you’re looking for.) Get your business listed on Google Maps, and make sure that it’s been done correctly. In general, for local searches, only the top three results on the map will matter, so you’ll need to keep up on your game to make sure that your accounting firm is showing up first for potential clients.
In terms of local search, reviews are essential to your SEO strategy. If your website is already full of SEO-friendly content, it’s likely to pop up on a map or local search. Once you start appearing on these searches, it’s the reviews that may sway potential clients to choose your firm over another.
To capitalize on these local searches, claim your Google My Business listing via https://www.google.com/business and, once claimed, advise your clients that you’re listed on the service if they would like to review you. Much like TripAdvisor is to hotels, Google MyBusiness can make all the difference in connecting your business to customers looking for accounting services in your area.
But just having reviews isn’t enough. You need Google organic stars, the recognizable rich snippets that help your website stand out in search listings. According to Search Engine Land, these stars have been proven to increase click-through rate (CTR) by up to 30%.
To achieve that seal of Google approval when hosting third-party reviews on your website, it must be marked-up appropriately with the correct code that helps algorithms return more informative results about websites. This is known as schema markup code. If your schema markup is not right on your site, you won’t show those stars. This is where you may benefit from hiring an SEO expert to create the proper schema markup for your site.
“88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations” (Source: Search Engine Land)
Start blogging – but remember to use a language that your clients can understand. The type of chat that works between colleagues will fly over the heads of your customers, and unfortunately, search crawlers as well.
Most internet users perform searches using simple keywords, and your content needs to reflect layman’s terms. Focus on keywords that a non-accountant user would type into a search box. Use those keywords to create content. If you’re not sure where to start, keep a list of the kinds of questions your customers ask, then create blog content around the questions that most frequently come up. For example, a client might have questions on how to save for their child’s education so you may want to write an article about the advantages of a 529 college savings plan.
Google has been stressing the importance of having a secure website for a very long time – it’s as important to users’ peace of mind as it is to the security of information on the internet. On the Chrome browser, for example, a “Not Secure” warning appears on all pages using the HTTP protocol, which does not provide a secure connection. Historically, this has been the primary protocol used for internet communication but recently websites have been transitioning to HTTPS, which does provide security to protect a consumer’s information while browsing, logging in, and making purchases. In order to have a secure website, you need to purchase an SSL certificate and install it on your site. Because accountants are expected to maintain a high degree of confidentiality and security for their clients’ financial records, a site that shows as not secure will turn off many potential clients even if it’s just a site about your services.
Get Your Accounting Firm to Page One of the Search Engines
If you want to make the most of your business’s online presence, you must also make sure your website is well-designed. UnReal Web Marketing has skilled website developers to ensure your accounting firm’s website delivers a visually-compelling design, a fast load speed and a user-friendly mobile experience. With an attractive website and effective SEO, you’ll be able to keep your firm at the top of the search results.
Hire an SEO Company
An effective SEO strategy is a long-term process, and you may not have the bandwidth to carry out it out on your own. An SEO company can help you put into action effective SEO methods that are essential for improving your search visibility and increasing your chances for reaching potential clients while reducing your marketing costs. When you partner with an experienced SEO company like Unreal Web Markreting, you can feel confident knowing that we will smoothly and quickly handle unexpected changes, like algorithm updates or even penalties.
When search engine optimization is done right, the major search engines are going to reward your website with a higher ranking in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), more traffic, more visitors and of course, a greater return on investment.