Accountancy Practices can reap high rewards for being highly visible in the search engines. For example, Tax Assist Accountants with their 300 plus locations throughout the UK and high levels of local marketing, according to similarweb.com drive over 55% of their website traffic from search. This shows that search engine optimisation (or SEO) is an extremely important marketing activity for accountancy practices.
A small amount of research shows that many people are regularly searching in Google for highly relevant terms, for example monthly searches in Google.co.uk for:
- “accountant london” – 3,600 searches
- “accountants near me” – 1,600 searches
- “forensic accountant” – 1,000 searches
- “accountant croydon” – 480 searches
So as an accountancy practice, how can you optimise your website to drive more high-quality sales leads from the search engines?
1. Hire an SEO Agency
In 2019 search engine optimisation is a highly in-depth and complex discipline, which includes:
- speed of the website and technical set-up
- site user experience and calls to action
- site content and how it is displayed
- links to the website from other websites
- and much more
For most practices who are busy dealing with clients, learning a new discipline such as SEO is not an efficient use of time. In the same way that most business hire an accountant to offer expert advice on tax and accounting matters, you should consider an SEO expert relating to marketing and the search engines. For tips on how to do this see Google’s video: How to hire an SEO.
However, there are some things that you can do and will help with search engine performance and the agency you are working with.
2. Set Up Google My Business (GMB)
Immediately increase your exposure in Google by claiming, or setting up your Google My Business listings for all office locations. Whilst this article list the detailed steps to fully optimising a GMB listing, see our tips for getting started:
- Business name to be as it appears on your offices and marketing materials, for example XY & X Accountants LLP.
- Choose a category, or categories that effectively describe your services, such as Accountant, Financial Consultant, Financial Planner etc. Only choose accurate categories and include your primary category first.
- Include accurate name, address and phone number details. Please note at a later date your SEO agency will be building directory listings, so the address you include here needs to be accurate, and exactly match any future directory listing created.
- Include a good quality description, which introduces your business and why you are different. For more details see this guide on how to write GMB descriptions.
- Include good quality photos showing your offices and staff. Most accountants are shy and do not want to do this, so if you have friendly professional images of your staff and premises, this should make you stand you out from your competition.
Note, if you have more than one location, please set up a GMB listing for each location, and add unique photos and descriptions which accurately present each office.
3. Define Your Target Market
It is amazing how many businesses do not accurately define their target market, and this also includes accountants. Consider the following:
- Type of company you are targeting, e.g. SME’s
- Industries and markets, e.g. Technology and Software
- Size of businesses, e.g. £5m, £10m turnover
- Target person within the business, e.g. FD, MD, owner etc.
- Geographic location, e.g. Guildford, London, South East, UK etc.
- Specialist services, e.g. R&D Tax Credits etc.
The greater the detail to which you can define the above, the better your SEO agency will be able to ensure your website targets the right areas. To expand on what an SEO agency will do with this information:
- Find Google search queries that match your targets, for example “forensic accountant in London”, “r&d tax credit specialists”
- Identify pages on your website that will target these ‘key words’.
- Inform the content, copywriting, images etc. that need to be on each website page.
- Inform calls to action on the website
- Inform the websites from which links are built to your website
- and more
If the wrong keywords are targeted, your campaign could prove costly and not return profitable leads.
4. Get Client Reviews
90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations; so, reviews are great as helping to convert a websites visitors into customers. In addition, regular reviews added to a website provide fresh new content which Google loves.
You will greatly enhance your online exposure and performance if your business regularly asks all customers for reviews. I would recommend regularly adding reviews to your website, but also on trusted third party platforms, such as Google My Business, Trust Pilot, Feefo etc. For futher reading on why you should get reviews, see this article.
5. Write a Blog
Google looks for relevant fresh new content on websites, and the best way to do this is to regularly publish good quality blog articles. These need to be interesting and useful to your clients and website visitors. It is often most efficient for the business themselves to write the blog as they no more about their industry and clients than a third-party writer. Many businesses do not commit to this activity, and as a result will have a pay a third-party writer to do this, or struggle with achieving good search engine rankings. For more information on why you should write a blog see this article.
6. Get Photos
I touched on this in the GMB section, but one area that most practices websites lack, is good imagery of their staff and offices; showing the human side to their business. Accountancy is a people business and potential client want to see the people that they will be dealing with.
Images will help build trust, will keep people on the website longer, will convert more visitors into enquirers, which in turn will also help your Googles rankings.
Also, if you visit 100 accountants’ websites, you will see that most have very poor images, so stand out from the crowd and help rankings and conversions and get some great images to showcase your business.
The above list does not replace what your SEO agency will be doing but are high value activities that will greatly enhance their work, and your relationship with them.