You’ve probably heard the term SEO being used by marketers, but how familiar are you with the practice? And do you have the knowledge to implement SEO into your accountancy firm?
First things first: SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It’s the art of making sure your website performs as well as possible on search engine results pages. SEO bolsters your chances of being noticed when prospective clients Google keywords that you want to rank for, eg “accountants in Bristol”.
Keep in mind that there are billions of web pages on the internet, all serving a different purpose. All the while, there’s a huge difference between how a person reads a webpage and how a search engine bot views and crawls (following links to discover the most important pages) the content of your website. Therefore, the structure of a website needs to be coded in such a way that a search engine bot can easily crawl and access the content.
If a search engine bot has trouble crawling or finding content within your website, this will affect your ranking in a very negative way and is one of the top ranking factors in Google.
If you want a search engine like Google to return your website in a search query, it’s vital to know what search engines are looking for, the standards, best practices and how to optimise your site content to rank highly.
Good SEO aims to optimise your website to make it easy for a search bot to crawl and index your website, while also giving your user the very best experience. Striking this balance is the foundation of a high ranking website.
It’s worth noting that this only applies to organic search results. SEM – search engine marketing – is where you pay for an advert to be displayed on the results page of relevant keywords.
Organic traffic is all the traffic that comes to your website from search queries done in search engines, which are completely free. There are a multitude of ranking factors that search engines take into account when deciding where a web page will appear in the results of a search engine query.
There are thousands of monthly searches online for accountants and being easily found on Google can bring an accountancy firm a lot of extra business and revenue. Having a website optimised for search engine discoverability is an important marketing strategy.
Is SEO important for accountants?
You’ve got a physical office. You send out letters and print ads in the local newspaper, so why do you need to focus on SEO? Well, the first step for most people, when looking for an accountant, is to use an online search engine. In fact, some prospective clients may see your printed ad or flyer, or even stroll past your office, and immediately Google your firm to check your legitimacy. If you don’t show up in the first few pages of results, you’ve got a credibility problem.
Search engines work by trawling through each page on the internet, finding information relevant to the searcher’s query, known as a keyword. They’ll consider the relevance and quality of your content, your website’s performance, and many other factors. These algorithms are used to make sure the search engine is delivering the best and most appropriate results, providing the ranking you’re used to seeing on the results page.
Know your ideal client
Knowing how and where to focus your attention is the first step to optimising your website. But where do you start when you have no idea? You start with your ideal customer. Who are they? Where are they? And what are they searching for? Then, you can focus on the keyword niches that’ll get you in front of them.
Our free Beginner’s guide to SEO for accountants is a great resource to start with.
Don’t forget about local SEO
If you’d love to rank for the keyword “cloud-based accountant in Norwich”, check over your website to see if you’ve actually used that keyphrase within the important parts of your website and relevant web pages. This will also help if people in your area search for “accountants near me”, as search engines automatically track where a user is searching from. Remember that “local” will mean different things to people around the country, so it’s best for everyone if you’re specific.
Setting up Google My Business will also help with this and is an important local ranking factor. The free-to-use tool not only adds credibility to your firm, but makes it far easier for prospective clients to find you.
Regularly update your website
Creating a website and leaving it to ‘do its thing’ won’t get you anywhere. To show search engines that you’re active, you need regular updates. That could be amending the copy on your website, improving the overall experience, or even adding a new section to your site.
Blogs, like this one, are great for answering users’ questions. And when you answer their questions, you’ll rank better for their keywords – a SEO and user experience double whammy!
Make sure you’re clear about the subject of your blog, though and that there is search intent behind your topic. Mention the phrase or question in prominent places, like titles and headings, so both the search engine and your user know exactly what to expect early on.
Creating regular articles not only proves to a search engine that you’re active, but also helps to build a useful resource for your clients.
Get an SEO audit
An SEO audit will help to identify areas for improvement in your website and ultimately provide the basis of your SEO strategy. By analysing your current performance and checking for any technical, on-page or crawlability issues, you’re better able to begin improvements. In fact, we’ve written a whole blog on SEO audits.
How long does it take to work?
SEO is a long-term solution, and you shouldn’t expect immediate, incredible results. Be wary of anyone offering such. Google updates its algorithms and requirements very regularly to ensure the SEO used is ethical, and it may take a few months before you start to see your changes take effect.
Of course, there’s always the exception to the rule. Checking for any penalties – the result of an algorithm update or black-hat SEO tactics, for example, may not be an easy fix, but once they’re sorted the effects take hold quickly. Our blog all about why you can’t hurry SEO covers this in more detail.
To find out more about how to make SEO work for you, check out our free Beginner’s guide to SEO for accountants. With detailed answers to your questions, plus a few myth-busters, it’s a great way to get your head around the art of SEO.
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