What is the first step you take whenever you explore a new service or product? How do you find what options exist? And what do you do to determine who or what might be a good fit? One of your first actions will almost certainly be a simple internet search.
Your prospects are no different. Whenever a potential client is exploring their options for an accounting firm, they will usually turn to Google. Which means ensuring your firm's website is appearing at the top of Google search rankings is one of the most important components of your marketing strategy.
Achieving this is not as easy—it comes down to clever search engine optimization (SEO). This is probably a term you have heard plenty about before, but may not know a great deal about.
Here are the 5 best SEO practices your accounting practice should be using. They are not quick tricks (quick tricks do not work), but by paying attention to these, you will be able to get on the first page, and even the first few results, of your prospects' search results.
This is the first thing you should do when looking at your SEO strategy, as your keywords tell Google you are what searchers are looking for. It is important to have the right keywords, but it is also important you use them correctly, too.
First of all, look at what keywords you should be using. What can you offer to people searching online? Your SEO should be specific, which means that the keywords you use must boil down to exactly what you do.
This means that you may want keywords such as:
Depending on your niche and target market, you should get even more specific. For example, if you specialize in the hospitality industry, you might also consider keywords such as, "accounting for hotels".
With your keywords identified, you should try to use these throughout your website content. But be careful not to overdo it—search engines will actually penalize you for if you do not mention your keywords naturally in ways that make sense.
You are up against a lot of competition from other accounting firms, so you need to ensure that your existing SEO is up to scratch. This might include:
Optimizing internal links for your keywords, for example, "Accounting for hotels".
Creating unique optimized page titles and descriptions for each page. For example, one page could be titled "Tax accountants for [your local town] businesses".
Ensuring URLs contain your target keyword, where it makes sense
Good SEO is great if it is bringing people to your website. But it is not enough to just get them there—you need to keep them there. You achieve this by building a site that is built around their needs.
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client who is visiting your website for the first time. What have they come here for? What do they want to find easily? Put that information front and center.
Make your secondary information easy to find, too. This is achieved by well thought-out and clear menus and a good search function.
Finally, ensure that you are writing content that is useful to the type of people or businesses you want as your clients. Consistent posts that give readers information they can take away and use is critical to your success.
It is critical that all content on your firm's website is your own. Search engines have become so clever that they can identify plagiarized content. If search engines find that your site contains text that is taken from elsewhere, they will not index it.
The best way to avoid this is to check your site for existing content that appears elsewhere. There are a number of free plagiarism checkers like Plagium or Academized you can use to check your content for you.
It sounds obvious, but you need to list your contact details to make it as easy as possible for visitors to your website to contact you. The same goes for search engines—make sure you have details such as your phone number, email, and address listed on the page. Search engines will pick up this information, so if you are targeting people or businesses in your local area looking for accountants, then this will be the best way to get their attention.
These five tips will help you get your message across to more people online, and make it easier for the prospective clients you want to find you. Remember that good SEO is not about quick tricks, but about ongoing work and progress. Put these strategies to use and you will see a steady increase in your website visitor numbers.
Brenda Berg, a professional with over 15 years' experience in business management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. She is a consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs at Oxessays, a part-time educator, and Editor-in-Chief at Big Assignments. She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. You can visit her personal blog at Letsgoandlearn.com