This is SEO strategy for accountants, bookkeepers and financial firms who want more traffic from Google’s organic search results.
So you might be thinking about modernising your website or improving your existing site.
I’m sure you’ve seen a few of your competitors websites and thought “they look nice”.
Maybe you think their website is doing well for their business.
Before you leap to any decisions, design is just one part of the web equation.
Design alone is not enough.
Table of Contents
- How accountants makes money.
- Let’s focus on getting the accountant more enquiries
- How will get 1250 visitors a month ?
- Could paying for clicks be profitable ?
- SEO Calculator
- Fine is theory but the reality is
- Keyword Research and Search Intent
- Remember our earlier advertising scenario ?
- The Keyword Research Boston Matrix
- Advertising versus Organic Clicks
- SEO for an Accountant Website example
- SEO Friendly Web Design
- On Page SEO for Accountants
- Local Citations and Mentions
- Local Search Ranking Factors
- Google My Business
- Link Building
- Links boost rankings
- Summing Up
How accountants makes money.
You have a form on your website that collects enquiries.
That could be for a trial, for an appointment, a general question etc
After the enquiry is received it’s your job to turn that enquiry into a paying customer right ?
I have no idea how you handle that part.
I have some thoughts but maybe that’s for a later conversation.
So how much is an accountant charging his potential new clients ?
Let’s say a fellow accountant is charging a client £300 a month for doing a company’s salaries and monthly accounts.
I’m just guessing !
The annual income/revenue per year is £3600 right ?
(it’s actually £5550 over a 24 month period but I’ll explain later.)
And the accountancy practice has the capacity to service more prospectiveclients each month.
Let’s focus on getting the accountant more enquiries
Let’s focus on getting you more enquiries that the web design bit.
You want 5 new clients each month.
So let’s say for every enquiry you get from the website 1 in 5 become a customer.
5 clients divided by 20% conversion rate is 25 web enquiries needed each month.
Let’s say you convert 2% of your website visitors each month into enquiries.
That would mean the traffic you need is 25 enquiries divided by 2% which is 1250.
So you need 1250 visits each month to reach your enquiry and sales goal.
How will get 1250 visitors a month ?
If any business wants guaranteed website traffic they pay for it; they advertise.
- Google Ads
Google offer a pay per click service called Google Ads.
To be guaranteed to get targeted traffic you’d have to pay Google for the click by bidding on your main service keyword.
So, I’ve got a Chrome Extension called Keywords Everywhere which gives me the cost per click when I make a google search.
If you ran an advert when people searched “tax accountant” you’d pay £4.95 every time they clicked on your advert.
So to be guaranteed the traffic you need (1250) you need to pay Google £5633.50 a month.
That’s the market value of buying relevant traffic.
That’s what other accountants are paying to get traffic to their website.
Could paying for clicks be profitable ?
- £4.95 a click
- 2% website to enquiry conversion rate
- £246.50 per enquiry
- 20% enquiry to new customer conversion rate
- Cost of getting a new customer is £1237.50
Let’s assume you can retain that customer for a 24 month period.
Having spoken to a few accountants, they expect to retain a client for 60 months.
So I am under selling this strategy.
But the annual income per new customer isn’t (£300 x 12) it’s actually £1950.
And over a 24 month period the income per new customer is £5550.
Let’s assume 30% of that revenue is absorbed in costs such as staff etc
That leaves £3885.
Less cost of getting a customer of £1237.50.
Leaves a profit of £2647.50.
There are a few variables that will impact the customer acquisition cost and profit
- The cost per clicked visit to your website
- Your website conversion
- How well and how long it takes to convert enquiries into new customers.
- Your price
Changing any of those 4 factors will significantly impact his profit.
So I’ve made this SEO calculator for you to calculate the amount of traffic you need to reach your goal profitably.
It’s set up for businesses and people who charge clients on a monthly basis such as a subscription, retainer etc
Fine is theory but the reality is
A client spent £1080 on ads got 2 enquiries and then stopped advertising.
I’ve worked with a few financial companies and they chose to run Facebook Ads instead of Google Ads and gave up after spending £500 and £800 respectively.
It’s not their fault and it’s sure ain’t the ad manager’s fault.
The bottom line is that people hate to be sold to.
And the messages on adverts and Google Ads are 100% pure sales.
Look at the messages in these adverts
Keyword Research and Search Intent
There’s a thing in marketing called the consumer buying process.
It goes like this:
- Problem Recognition – you have a problem
- Informational Search – you search to find possible solutions or answers
- Evaluation of Alternatives – you compare alternative solutions
- Purchase Decision – you finally decide to buy or go ahead with a solution
So let’s say Tony has a large number of properties he owns and rents out.
And he’s not happy with how much money he’s earning from his property investments.
So he makes a Google search:
“How to avoid paying tax on rental income”
Just for the record you can’t avoid paying tax but you can reduce it.
There are 1300 searches a month for that query.
My research in the screenshot below tells me that those who click, 99% will click the organic results and 1% click on the ads.
So paying for clicks to reach Tony and others like him with the same query or question would be futile.
So you’d best served to create good content for a web page that helps answer Tony’s question.
Then I analysed the estimated traffic the top pages get in the organic search results.
They get 1303 visits a month on average.
So how come there’s 1300 searches for “How to avoid paying tax on rental income” and 8 top pages get 1303 visits each a month on average?
Well these top pages all rank for other similar search queries.
Different people type their question into the Google search box differently but they’re looking for the same answer.
In fact, the top pages rank for 562 search queries on average.
So the top pages are getting traffic from “How to avoid paying tax on rental income” then traffic from :
- how to minimise tax on rental income
- how to avoid landlord taxes
- less tax for landlords
- not paying tax on rental income
When you add up all the clicks from each of these search queries that’s how the top pages rank for 1303 visits on average.
Remember our earlier advertising scenario ?
Remember earlier with our traffic estimation tool that our example accountancy practice would need 1250 visits per month to reach your monthly goal ?
And I’ve just researched and found one organic opportunity where the top pages are earning 1303 visits per month on average.
So could creating one page potentially satisfy our traffic goal ?
In principle yes.
But you’re going to have to invest upfront in writing a better guide that the top results and it’s going to take 6-8 months until you start seeing rankings and traffic.
You’re going to need to heavily promote the article and earn some links to this page.
But once you get a top 10 ranking then it’s monthly residual traffic that could satisfy your traffic goal.
You also might want to target some smaller but easier and quicker to rank search queries.
Like “company van tax calculator”
So who’s going to search for company van tax calculator ?
The owner or financial person in a company with a fleet of vans right ?
There’s only 250 searches a month but the top pages earn 388 visits per month on average and rank for 211 search queries on average.
And “company van tax calculator” is fairly easy to rank for providing you create a better page result than the existing ones in Google.
I could do even more research using the search intent modifier keyword chart above.
For example: Sage versus Quickbooks.
Your potential customers will be searching for that and it’s an ideal way to get found and traffic.
So, we’d just need to find another 2 or 3 pages with the search and click estimations of this page to reach your traffic goal.
The Keyword Research Boston Matrix
The green and purple quadrants are used when doing continued keyword research to identify the best organic traffic opportunities.
Identifying the wrong keywords and topics and using useless free research tools (such as keyword planner) will result in creating content no one will find.
Advertising versus Organic Clicks
If we look at what people click on after they search, there’s really 3 options.
- Search and don’t click
- Click the advert and give Google their money
- They click the organic search results.
In the case of searches for “tax accountant”, there are 1000 searches a month.
72% search and do not click.
Of those that do click.
16% click on the advert.
84% click on the organic search result.
These no clicks, clicks on adverts, clicks on organic results vary for every search query.
So I’m generalising here.
Paid, organic and zero click searches
In a study by Jumpshot and SparkToro they revealed:
- 50% of searches result in no clicks
- 4% of searches result in ad clicks
- 45% of searches result in organic clicks
So organic clicks are 11 times greater than paid ad clicks.
And once you rank for organic search results, you don’t have to keep paying Google every month like you do with ads.
You still need to invest upfront in :
- quality content
- promotion and
- conversion to earn those organic rankings and clicks.
SEO for an Accountant Website example
So it took about 8 months to get a brand new accountants website earning around 400 visits a month.
He paid a one off fee for me to research what pages to create, write those pages and get them onto his website.
I researched and wrote pages about
- Capital Gains Tax
- Directors Loans
- Profit and Loss
- Corporation Tax
- Tax Relief
- Company Expenses
- Tax rebates
- Reclaiming VAT
And so on.
SEO Friendly Web Design
Now you know how important it is to generate enquiries and traffic.
The design and layout has a huge bearing on generating enquiries.
Here’s the key factor in SEO friendly web design for an accountant website
Home Page and Navigation
Articles, guides, posts
Call to action
More calls to action
Related Articles and Accreditations
On Page SEO for Accountants
Here are the main on page SEO elements you should have when you create a page in your content management system.
Research has shown that a short url helps to better rank a web page.
Start with your main keyword & use modifiers such as best, guide, review, price, quote. Use 55 characters.
The heading of the web page should be wrapped with an H1 tag.
Put the main keyword at the start of the meta descriptions field and be fairly persuasive to encourage users to click on your result in Google. Use 155 characters.
Page length & topic
The average top 10 result contains 1890 words and pages around a topic or multiple keywords rank better.
So far, I’ve written 2420 words is this article in order to make the content better and more useful that any other SEO article for accountants.
Your main keyword should be in the first paragraph of your page.
Your page should have an outbound link to an authority site to help Google understand your page & have 3 links on your page to other pages on your website.
Page speed is a small ranking factor so check and use a page speed tool.
Images are the biggest culprit in slowing down a page.
Use TinyPNG to optimise your images before uploading to your website or use image compression plugin with WordPress
Images & videos
Images and videos can add to page quality and keep people on the page longer.
Related (lsi) keywords
Related relevant keywords help to determine the page relevancy and help to rank for multiple keywords.
Call to action
Include a get in touch button or download on the page, on the right hand side bar of every single page.
Now let me explain some of the off site factors in search engine optimisation.
Local Citations and Mentions
Citations are mentions of your business on the web.
These mentions occur in directory websites, Yellow Pages and newspaper websites and display your business name, address, and telephone number—known as NAP (Name, Address, Phone).
According to Moz, citation signals are one of the top local ranking factors.
So you’ll want to be found for “accountant + name of city/town”.
You can read my full guide to earning citations.
Local Search Ranking Factors
So if you’re ranking locally for “accountants glasgow” or acccountants in liverpool” you will want to consider the following activities to rank better locally:
Check into your office using Facebook check-in.
Post photos of your office from inside your office to your Google My Business page
Post to Instagram and add your location
Ask customers for reviews on your Google My Business page
Use this tool from WhiteSpark to send a link to customers to your Google review page.
Ensure your home page title is optimised for company name, business category, location.
Make sure your contact page contains a Google Map embedded on it.
All your citations should be consistent with your company name, address, postcode, telephone number and website address.
Post from Google Post to your website articles.
Google My Business
GMB is a good place to start improving your rankings in Google for local search and place related searches.
- Name, Address, Postcode, Phone Number and Website Address
- Type of business and categories
- Photos inside and outside your office
And without doubt, using Google Post will help to promote your website content and offers.
Now let me explain some of the off site factors in search engine optimisation.
Link building is an off-page seo technique where most of the work isn’t carried out on your website.
Links from other websites are like votes.
And the more relevant votes from other websites in your industry are, according to Ahrefs and Backlinko, the most important ranking factors.
If you look at these search results, you can see that Google tend to favour websites with a high domain rating.
Domain rating is a metric between 0 and 100 that measures the quality and number of links to a website.
Google, the BBC and Facebook have DR scores of 91, 93 and 100 respectively.
I have a DR score of 35.
This accountant website has a DR score of 7.
They simply don’t have many links to their website.
With such a low domain rating they will struggle to rank their pages higher in Google.
The next logical question is
“how do I get more links?”
Well you don’t get them, you earn them.
You earn links by creating valuable resources and assets on your pages for people in the accountancy industry.
Here’s an online accounting firm called Crunch and they have 40 links to a sample balance sheet image.
Then they created a page containing freelancers contract samples.
23 other websites have linked to these contracts on that page.
These contracts are resources to freelancers who need a resource to sign a contract with clients and perhaps don’t have the resources to write or produce themselves.
Links boost rankings
Here’s how the links will help.
More links to any page on your website will boost the overall rating of your website.
Thus you’ll see an increase in the rankings of mostly all the keywords you rank for.
But if you link from the page that earns all these new links to your most important pages you’ll see these page rankings increase.
It looks like this
You need to know what you want and what your goal is before you do anything.
There are 2 ways to get to your destination/goal.
Going first class with Google Ads is the fastest but most expensive way.
The alternative is to invest in the longer term by earning organic traffic.
Researching what users search for, having a content strategy to answer their questions and converting organic search traffic into enquiries and customers.
This approach requires work every month.
I made an investment in SEO a couple of years ago.
Today I am sent organic search traffic every month that I don’t pay for but would cost me £2000 a month in Google Ads.