The importance of local SEO to your accounting firm

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an invaluable part of modern business, especially if you’re trying to grow your accounting firm’s client base. 

The discussion around SEO best practice can be a bit overwhelming; it can seem like a maze of impenetrable jargon and confusing techniques. But having good SEO basics for your firm doesn’t need to be complicated. There are a few quick actions you can take to ensure your website gets the traffic it deserves.

Ryan Lazanis from Future Firm partnered with Karbon to deliver a private podcast series, The 7 Quick Win Marketing Tactics for Accounting Firms to provide quick and impactful tactics you can implement today to grow your firm. In the first episode, Ryan uncovers some SEO tips your accounting firm should be using to generate local traffic.

But first, it’s important to understand what SEO is, and why you should care.

The value of SEO

Google services over four billion users every day, with over 100,000 searches per second. The average user spends almost 18 minutes per day on Google. These are staggering numbers. 

SEO is about maximizing the attention your online presence gets. 

Every search resulting in your firm’s website being accessed, or an article you wrote being read, is another opportunity to bring in a new client. 

Thankfully, it’s easy to set up quickly, so you can focus on your priorities: client conversion and providing a premium service.

Understanding local vs traditional SEO

Within SEO, there is a distinction between local and traditional—understanding that difference is key to making informed business decisions and allocating resources correctly. 

Traditional SEO

Traditional SEO is most effective when searchers are looking for an answer to a question. These searches and their results are more content focused than service driven. 

When you’re trying to grow your accounting firm’s client base quickly, a traditional SEO focus often isn’t the right strategy; it requires a larger investment of time and energy to cast such a wide net. Aiming for the attention of your local community is a quicker approach—those are the people who will become clients and supporters of your firm. 

Results ranking can be increased in a variety of ways, but one of the easiest and most effective techniques is to improve your accounting firm’s local SEO profile. 

Local SEO

Local SEO is centered around one of the most common filters people add to their search: results that are close to them, for example, ‘Tax CPA near me’, or ‘Accountants near me’. 

Once this is added to a search, Google will pull results from the area local to that searcher—usually displaying a map of the area, with pins dropped to indicate options near them.

Local SEO profiles (tax CPA near me)

The list of company names with star ratings and other details on the left are local SEO profiles.

If your local SEO profile is high quality, it’s much more likely to appear on that first page of results. In order for web traffic to be a valuable part of your business’ growth model, it’s important to get your firm among those first listed, because 75% of all Google traffic comes from Google’s first page.

Why local SEO matters to your accounting firm

When you’re trying to grow a client base, having high visibility is important; a good local SEO profile shows your community you’re there. After all, almost 50% of Google searches are users seeking local information.

Good local SEO also lets you field common questions without sacrificing your staff’s time, such as: 

  • Requests for opening hours

  • The services you provide

  • The areas you operate in

Giving as much information as possible on Google’s first page lets prospective clients make decisions quickly—saving time for you and your clients.

When they see you’re the right firm for them, they’ll stop searching and get in touch.

Practical steps to improve your firm’s local SEO profile

There are two quick and effective ways to improve your local SEO, so you’re free to focus on the high-value tasks that make your accounting firm great.

1. Build a Google My Business profile 

Make sure to include as many details as possible to help Google understand your business. This will make them more likely to recommend you to prospective clients. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your own Google My Business profile.

2. Source positive Google reviews 

With a collection of positive reviews, Google will favor your accounting firm in its results; they want to give users the best solution to their search. On the other hand, not having many Google reviews—or even worse, having negative reviews—can be damaging to both your SEO and attracting new clients. So when it makes sense, ask your clients to review you on Google

If you come across negative reviews on your profile, try your best to respond to them politely and offer a way for the unhappy clients to further discuss the issue with you. This will show potential customers that you care about your clients and their experiences, and are proactive with complaints.

Here’s an example of a well-curated local SEO profile for an accounting firm

Compere Robinette CPAs (CRC)'s Google Business Profile — it's a great example of an accounting firm maximizing their online presence to get new leads.

From this Compere Robinette CPAs company card in Google’s search results, you can see a great deal of clear, useful information:

  • Name of firm

  • Rating and positive reviews to look through

  • Service options

  • Location and hours

  • Contact details

  • A one-line summary of who they are and what they do: ‘Certified public accountant in Ozark, Missouri’

This kind of information is exactly what a prospective client needs to take the next step and make contact. 

Optimizing your local SEO doesn’t need to be complicated

Unlike other SEO practices, these tips can be implemented in just a few minutes. They’re free and you’ll be surprised at the positive effect they have on your firm. 

So, before you spend a fortune paying someone else to optimize your SEO, try completing your Google My Business profile—the platform already has the fields, they just need to be filled out with as much detail as possible. (And as your firm changes, it is important your Google My Business profile does too, so it stays a current, accurate reflection of your accounting firm.)

Be careful with marketing agencies or web developers who offer you ongoing monthly SEO services. Not all are bad, but many of them are ineffective and produce little returns.

Ryan Lazanis, Future Firm

Putting your accounting firm first

When you’re trying to get onto the first page of Google’s results, the difference between local and traditional SEO shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Spending a little bit of time maximizing your local SEO now will see your accounting firm growing healthily and steadily—well into the future.