As a result of the crisis of the past few months, we’ve all been relying on digital tools and online communications more than usual.
Even a digital firm like PracticeWeb, which has been building websites for accountants for 20 years and lives and breathes digital marketing, has had to up its online game.
For example, we’ve had to learn in double-quick time how to deliver our brand strategy and content workshops over Google Hangouts or Zoom.
And do you know what? It’s working, thanks to a canny use of online brainstorming tools such as Miro (highly recommended) and some smart tweaks to the process.
As recently as March, though, we’d have told you face-to-face was always best for these things – that sitting our marketing experts down with your partners and staff was all but vital to achieving a good result.
Our website has become more important than ever, too. Of course it’s always been the jewel in our crown but without opportunities to network at conferences or present at events, we need it to work that bit harder to bring in leads.
And the same goes for our clients.
The good news is that traffic and conversions are up across all the accountancy websites we host.
Data covering all the accounting firms currently on our website platform Horizon shows:
- conversion rates have grown by 17% in May 2020
- an average of 17% increase in email subscribers across our client sites
- a staggering 46% increase in direct emails to firms via the details provided on the website.
If you want to get your website doing more to generate leads for you, there are some quick changes you can make that should immediately help.
And when you’re ready to seriously level-up, with a brand new, distinctive, up-to-date website, get in touch.
Check for mobile responsiveness
This March, Google announced it will be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites starting from September 2020, saying 70% of sites in its search results have shifted over already.
If your website is hosted by PracticeWeb you’ll have nothing to worry about, because all of our websites for accountants are mobile-responsive and designed to perform seamlessly on every device.
If not, it’s worth checking whether your website is easy to use on mobile.
There’s a quick and easy way to do this, provided by Google – just run your website through this mobile-friendly testing tool to see how well it performs.
This should only take a couple of seconds, and it’ll tell you whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, and whether there are any immediate issues you can fix.
Get set up on Google My Business
Google My Business is Google’s free tool for managing the listings that come up for your business in search results.
If you haven’t claimed your listing already, this is a really easy way to get your website found by people searching near you.
Go to google.com/business/ and click ‘Manage now’ in the top right corner to get started. From there, you can enter your address and contact details, and add other useful information.
Make sure all of the details on your listing match those on your website exactly, down to the last letter. Google looks at these to check that your business is trustworthy, and any inconsistencies could affect your search rankings.
Set up a short name
Reviews are another helpful part of Google My Business.
When it comes to choosing a service provider in your area, an average of four-plus stars and lots of detailed client testimonials is quite the convincer.
We’ve just conducted research with Insight101 which – sneak peek! – shows that almost 50% of SMEs surveyed chose their current accountant based on a recommendation.
Online reviews aren’t quite the same as a tip from a personal acquaintance but they serve the same purpose – they provide reassuring ‘social proof’.
That’s why it’s always worth encouraging your clients to leave an honest review at Google and on other directory and rating sites.
Short names make this easier. They’re condensed, friendly versions of the long, ugly web addresses that Google normally generates.
Ours is g.page/PracticeWeb, for example.
They’re easier to share and can be added to your email signature, business cards, and so on.
Check out our detailed guide on how to claim your short name via Google My Business.
Show reviews on your website
Once you’ve got some reviews, it’s really easy to display them on your website using a simple ‘widget’.
This is a good idea because:
- It shows confidence – you’ve nothing to hide.
- It moves users closer to making a purchase by providing that social proof mentioned above.
If you’ve already got a PracticeWeb Horizon website, optimised for accountancy practices, it’s easy to get this feature activated. Contact our technical support team or your account manager to find out more.
Refresh old content
It’s been a busy, stressful few months for many, and there might not be much fuel left in the tank for producing new content.
But content is vital for generating traffic, getting seen in search rankings and engaging potential new clients.
Fortunately, there’s a quick, easy way to keep your accountancy firm’s blog fresh: go back and refresh old blog posts and resources, republishing with today’s date.
Update all the figures, add new information if need be, and perhaps include a topical introduction.
Change the date but be sure to keep the same web address, or URL. That way, you’ll maintain any existing authority the page has already built up over months or years.
There’s another benefit to doing this, too. Google’s most recent core update is likely to push out-of-date website content on important topics such as tax further down the search engine results page (SERP).
Updating it should help reduce the risk of this happening.
And, of course, up-to-date advice is useful for both clients and prospects.
Being first when the next crisis comes
The above fixes are all important and worthwhile but, let’s face it, digital marketing is a long game.
Building a brand takes time. Succeeding at SEO can take months. Building a body of credible, authoritative, engaging content might take years.
There’s a strong correlation between a high website domain authority and the ability to rank quickly for new topics or subjects as they emerge.
For example, during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, websites with a higher domain authority were able to achieve high rankings for content relating to Coronavirus more quickly than those that had a lower authority.
There isn’t any solid evidence to prove that Google prioritises websites with high domain authority, or that they definitely include it in their ranking factors, but pundits have observed a strong correlation.
If you want to rank when the next big issues emerges, start posting regular content and linking internally now, to lay the foundations.