Search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential for every accountancy firm aiming to reach and connect with potential clients online. Let’s take a closer look at how SEO can help you to boost your search rankings and, in turn, grow your practice over both the short and long term.
The importance of effective SEO for accountancy firms
Without a comprehensive SEO strategy, your digital marketing efforts will struggle to deliver a solid return on investment (ROI) and simply won’t be best placed to help your accountancy firm to increase your reach online and expand your client base.
Well, you don’t need us to tell you that the accountancy landscape is competitive and with more firms than ever before vying for the attention of your potential clients, you need to effectively differentiate yourself from the crowd for the right reasons.
If your search engine optimisation strategy effectively helps your firm to rank above your competitors for key search terms and phrases, you will immediately make it easier for your potential clients to find you online. So, for many accountants, SEO can play a significant role in the overall level of growth your business can sustain.
Now, if you have already pursued a conventional approach to marketing and experienced disappointing results, you may be wary about investing time and resources into SEO. The good news, however, is that you don’t need to be because you don’t need a large budget to start generating positive results. For accountants SEO levels the playing field in myriad ways. Sophisticated search engine algorithms mean that rankings cannot be bought and, instead, you will be ranked on your ability to deliver value to your audience online.
Yes, you will need to invest both time and effort into the development of a successful SEO strategy. Additionally, you will also need to commit to the creation and publication of regular on-site content, and actively analyse and respond to the metrics collated by your analytics tools in order to drive the best possible results. But this, along with a little bit of patience and our professional knowledge and insight, will pay off over the long term and help you to secure the long-term success of your accountancy business.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the SEO world
What exactly is SEO?
Each step in the SEO process is designed to make your website look as appealing as possible in the eyes of both Google and other search engines.
Your primary objective will naturally be to secure one of the top ranking positions in search engine results pages (SERPs), which are displayed when someone searches for keywords or a phrase which relates in some way to your specialist services. The higher your site ranks in SERPs, the more visible you will be and the more visitors you are likely to secure. This will, in turn, provide you with additional opportunities to successfully convert more visitors into clients.
Search engines are undeniably complex. Search bots known as ‘spiders’ or ‘crawlers’ collect information from every accessible website that exists on the web in a process that is known as ‘indexing’. When a person searches for a specific keyword, term or phrase, search engines will process all indexed information and curate a page of results featuring what it believes to be the most trustworthy and relevant sites.
What does effective SEO for accountancy firms look like?
At a time when the accountancy landscape is extremely competitive, maintaining maximum visibility is key to securing new clients and striving to achieve meaningful growth. In response to this, your SEO strategy should be highly personalised and effectively target a range of relevant keywords that relate closely to the specialist services your firm offers, such as VAT, Self Assessments, and Tax Credits.
Let’s look a little more closely at some of the specific elements that will lead to an increase in enquiries, additional clients, and a positive impact on your revenue.
Great SEO and valuable content go hand in hand. Your on-site content should showcase the benefits of working with your firm and highlight the services you specialise in.
Content is a broad term that covers everything from landing page text to blog posts, case studies, infographics, articles and videos. But essentially, content is everything that is accessible to search engines and delivers value to your audience.
Your content strategy will need to be tailored to the unique goals and objectives of your firm but should always:
1. Be fresh
Frequent updates will communicate to Google that your site is still active and that your business is eager to deliver the most accurate, up-to-date information to your visitors. Most content can become stale relatively quickly and the digital world moves fast, but refreshing your content frequently will help you to stay relevant and consistently engage both new and returning visitors.
2. Showcase your expertise
Straying too far from your core areas of expertise will confuse both search engines and your audience. Writing for your audience is imperative and you need to ensure that the content you are creating delivers the value they’re looking for.
3. Be unique
Just as your accountancy firm and the services you provide are unique, your content should be tailored to your business and never simply copied and pasted from another site.
Inbound links, pointing from an external website to your site, are a core component of effective SEO. Search engines view the internet as a place that facilitates the exchange of valuable and accurate information. Links enable this exchange and so when one website links to another, it is essentially communicating that this is a website containing high-quality information about a specific topic that is worth engaging with.
It might be helpful to view links as a vote of confidence from one site to another. Building a profile of inbound links will always be beneficial, however, securing a single link from a highly authoritative website can deliver even more value. Remember, search engines understand that offerings from different websites will always vary in terms of authority, relevance and quality. As such, greater emphasis is placed upon links from high-quality, high traffic and widely-respected sites.
It’s one thing to have an informative website, but it is another thing entirely to ensure that every visitor also has a positive experience. If your website is difficult to navigate or hard to read, most of your visitors will opt to leave and look elsewhere for the information they are searching for.
Search engines understand visitors’ need for a seamless experience, which is why their algorithms take certain usability factors into account, including:
- Site speed
- Navigation menus
- 404 errors/missing pages
It is important to remember that Local SEO doesn’t solely take place on your website. Maintaining a presence on external websites will provide search engines will additional information about your firm. An example of a highly valuable external site that you might choose to target is Google My Business.
As your brand name, contact information, URL, and business address will be displayed in both Google search and Maps with a Google My Business Profile, your presence here can help you to secure additional online enquiries and in-person visits from clients looking to discuss their requirements with you. Encouraging contact from potential clients is a core part of successfully increasing your client base and demonstrating that you are a legitimate, highly visible firm can give your potential clients the confidence to trust your services and make an enquiry.
Optimising every aspect of your website for search will maximise your visibility by demonstrating to search engines that your site offers comprehensive and highly valuable content that is presented in an engaging and accessible format.
1. On-page copy
Each piece of text on every page of your site should have a clear purpose and relate to your business. Integrating keywords is an important part of optimising your copy but equally, it is important not to overdo it and compromise the integrity of the information you want to convey.
2. Title tags
These pieces of HTML code will appear as clickable links in search results. With a character limit, ensuring this text is concise and contains important keywords relevant to your specialist services is vital.
3. H1 tags
There are six heading tags in total and the H1 tag is the most powerful of all. H1 tags essentially act as a headline for a webpage and will tell both search engines and visitors what they can expect to find if they were to continue engaging with the content a page contains.
4. H2 tags
It may be helpful to think of H2 tags as subheadings. A single webpage can contain multiple H2 tags and although they carry less weight than H1 tags in the eyes of search engines, they perform an integral role in the organisation and presentation of the information a webpage contains. This will further enhance the experience your site is delivering to your audience by actively helping them to locate the specific pieces of information they are seeking.
5. Meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are the lines of text that appear beneath clickable links in SERPs. Well-written meta descriptions encourage additional clicks from searchers by providing them with a glimpse of what they can expect to find when they arrive on your site. Meta descriptions are a key component in your site generating clicks. It is one thing to rank prominently, but unless people are clicking on your listings you will never unlock the full potential your website has in relation to generating new clients.
If you’re feeling somewhat overwhelmed by everything we have covered here, we’re on hand to work with you and walk you through every step that will help you to secure growth for your accountancy firm. It might be extremely competitive out there but there is no reason why your accountancy practice can’t rise to the top and ensure that every one of your potential clients knows who you are and where they can find you.