SEO for accountants refers to a set of tactics that help your Web site’s rank in search engine results. When someone is looking for accounting services, they will likely start with Google or another search engine. Knowing how to use SEO will send your Web site to the coveted first page of search results.
A recent study done by Yankelovich found that 75% of people don’t believe that companies tell the truth in their advertisements. Consumers are looking for their own information and using the sources that they trust to make purchasing decisions. It’s imperative that you make your online positive online presence count, and SEO can help you achieve that.
Accounting is one of the fastest growing professionals in America. The AICPA study, Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits, showed a record 40,350 accounting graduates hired by public accounting firms in 2012 and 89 percent of those firms forecasting the same or increased hiring of graduates this year. An increase in the number of accountants means increased competition for accounting services. By understanding how to use SEO to promote your accounting services online, you can expect to earn more page views, which can lead to more sharing of your Web site, and ultimately, more clients.
SEO Tips and Strategies
The difficult thing about SEO is letting go of some of your old outbound marketing strategies. In this day and age, they simply don’t work as well as inbound strategies, like social media, virtual events and SEO. Reading user-generated content is something that many consumers yearn for in the financial services arena, such as accounting. In fact, a 2011 study by Kelton Research/Bazaarvoice found that 83% of consumers say that it would be important to read user-generated content before making a decision about banking or other financial services. Encouraging your current customers to leave positive reviews for you on various Web sites (like Yelp.com), will help you get noticed and boost your SEO.
It’s worth mentioning to stay away from the temptation of engaging in unethical SEO practices, like social media and blog comment spam, and article marketing. It’ll take some more work to engage in SEO the right way, but it will be worth it in regards to your online reputation in the long run.
So, what should you do? Below are some suggestions for SEO for accountants.
1. Make every word count. One of the easiest steps to take to optimize your Web site is to ensure relevant keywords are present. Make a list of keywords, like:
• Accountant, accounting
• Individual tax season
• Small business accounting
Then, think about those keywords in the way your potential client will use them. Adding your location will help:
• Accountant in New York (or Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc.)
• Tax help NYC
• Accounting for small businesses in Chicago
Having keywords isn’t enough; search engines will be looking at your page format, Web site structure, and headlines too. So use bold font, repeat the keywords in your headlines, and create a landing page and individual page for each of your accounting practice areas.
2. Start a blog. Blogging is instrumental in increasing your page views and SEO opportunities. Each time you blog, you are creating a new Web page, which will impact your SEO. According to a 2010 study by Hubspot, companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t blog. This will cause your Web site’s rank to soar past your non-blogging competitors.
Don’t rely on blogging for SEO; make sure you’re blogging because you have something smart to say about accounting practices. Offer tips on navigating new tax laws during tax season, or talk about tax breaks for small businesses. Making your words relevant to your clients (new and old) will make you an authority on the subject of accounting. Use your networking skills to have your blogs posted on other Web sites; this will create backlinks that will impact SEO as well.
3. Linkbuilding. Links to your Web site from other sources will help determine your Page Rank, which is a measurement of how important Google thinks your Web site is versus other sites. Your Page Rank will determine your rank for many search terms. The more quality links you have pointing to your Web site, the higher your Page Rank will be. Remember, it’s quality of links, not quantity, that will affect your Page Rank.
4. Hire the best SEO company. Just like you’re competing for accounting clients, there’s many SEO firms competing for your business. How should you choose one? Make sure that the SEO firm understands the regulations that accountants have to abide by in advertising their services, and make sure their marketing and writing experience is above average. Remember that you get what you pay for; some of the less expensive SEO companies outsource their content writing overseas, leaving accountants with confusing profiles, bios and practice area descriptions.