A crucial aspect of any accountant’s marketing is making their website more visible to search engines. This makes it easier for your target audience to find you when looking for your services online.
Here at AccountantLift, for instance, we use Google search marketing to attract enquiries about our own services. It’s a hugely powerful channel because, in our experience (and that of our clients as well), leads who come in via organic search tend to be higher quality than paid channels, such as Display.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is free in the sense that you do not need to pay each time someone clicks on your link in Google’s search results (which is the case for Google AdWords). SEO is the practice of making your website more “readable” to search engine “bots”, which crawl over your web pages to find out what your accountant website is all about.
Once they have determined the nature and value of your content, these “bots” will report to the Google database. From here, the Google algorithm will determine whether your website appears 1st, 2nd or 100th when a user types in a query you want to appear for.
Common Problems Affecting Accountant SEO
In our experience of providing marketing services in this industry, accountant websites are generally quite out of date when it comes to their suitability for search engine marketing.
Here are some of the common mistakes we’ve seen by accountants, which your website might be making:
- Duplicate content. This is when you have identical content on different web pages. Google really doesn’t like it when websites do this. Google will especially punish you if you lift content from another website and try and pass it off as your own on your website.
- Code blocking problems. Google will not find or read certain pages on an accountant’s website if your robots.txt file explicitly mentions that Google should not index them. Sometimes this can happen with an accountant’s blog. You might have spent months or even years blogging, hoping that this will increase your search engine rankings. If your robots.txt file is telling Google not to index your blog posts, however, then we’re afraid you’ve been wasting a lot of time.
- Content which is non-text. Don’t get us wrong, it’s great to have content such as videos, images and infographics on an accountant’s website. In fact, the more of this the better! However, from a search engine’s perspective it is very difficult to “read” this content. Unless you explicilty provide a text description of the non-text content on your website, Google will have trouble understanding what the content is about in order to place it appropriately in your users’ search engine results.
- Poor location targeting. If your accountant website is meant to target people in the UK but your Google Search Console settings are actually targeting people in Vietnam, this probably will not do you much good!
- Conflicting content signals. Suppose you have titled your blog “Best UK Tax Return Advice”, but the post itself is about a conference you attended about tax in the EU. This sends mixed signals to Google which will wonder what the post is actually about.
How to Make Sure Your Content Gets Viewed
Getting your web pages to appear in Google is all about following best practice for SEO. That involves creating great and original content for your website on a regular basis, which your target audience will find relevant and valuable. It also involves getting some technical details right on your website:
- Writing appropriate meta tags for your page title and description.
- Assigning alt tags to any imagery on your web pages.
- Using your target keyword(s) authentically in your page H1 (i.e. your main title).
- Using your target keyword(s) naturally within the first 100 words of your body content.
- Inserting appropriate outbound links to other relevant, authoritative websites in your copy.
- Using correct schema markup, to signal the meaning of your content to Google’s bots.
- Link to your main landing page or other relevant content on your website. For instance, the landing page assigned to this article is our landing page about digital marketing for accountants.
Future Developments in Accoutant SEO
As in many field, SEO is an ever-changing landscape where the rules change. Google is constantly testing its algorithm in order to improve the user-experience. That means some of the best practices which are commonly accepted right now could turn out to be irrelevant, even next month.
Indeed, it isn’t uncommon for Google to make a dramatic change to its algorithm overnight, causing accountant websites to plummet down the search engine results the following day.
This isn’t intended to scare you or make you think that accountant SEO is a lost cause. The lead generation results that organic channels can produce can be very impressive. So it is worth being aware that search engines often change their goalposts, and that it is worth keeping up with these changes.
For busy, time-poor accountants this is where working with a specialist accountant SEO agency can really help. It is their job to keep up with developments in the SEO world and to make necessary adjustments to accountants’ websites on their behalf – allowing them to get on with their main jobs.
Whilst it is an ongoing investment when you work with an accountant marketing agency, it can also help you save precious time and money by avoiding costly mistakes (think of the example above, regarding the blogger and the robots.txt file blocking the posts over years!).
If you are interested in discussing whether SEO might be right for your accounting firm, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch today for a free, no-commitment marketing consultation over the phone with one of our friendly specialists.