SEO for Accountants

Written by Fraser McCulloch.

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Accountancy Firm Objectives : Attract Potential Target Clients

According to Accounting Today, over 50% of accounting practice clients have been with them for 8 or more years.

Either a client is looking for an accountant professional for the first time or they are dissatisfied with their current one.

Useful web pages can help build trust between you and the reader by showing your expertise and experience in accounting.

If you can give them helpful information, they are likely to become a paying client.

A phone call or website enquiry

There are only 2 positive website outcomes after a user visits a site.

  • The visitor telephones you.
  • or completes an enquiry or website form.

You want 5 new clients each month.

Let’s say for every inquiry you get from the website, 1 in 5 will be a customer.

5 customers 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.

Over 7 billion searches are performed each day on the largest search engine in the world.

The world’s largest buyer research tool, Google, is used by people to search for answers to their questions or problems.

Nearly 50% of those searches don’t result in a click to a search result.

And the majority of the searches that are clicked probably won’t be relevant.

If you want this business growth, you need a strategy to identify the relevant searches.

Download SEO Guide for accountants

Keyword Strategy

There are a number of keyword research strategies that you can use in order to identify what your potential clients are looking for.

I use the consumer buying process as my framework for keyword research.

The framework can be summarised as follows:

  • 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

Keyword Research Example

So let’s say Tony owns a large number of properties that he 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 the number of clicks, 99% will click the organic results and 1% click on the ads.

To answer Tony’s question, you need good content for a web page.

I looked at traffic estimates for the top pages 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?

Top pages all rank for other similar search queries.

Some people type their question into the box differently than others.

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
  • etc

The top pages rank for 1303 visits on average, if you add up all the clicks from each search query.

But this is just one example

Identify more relevant search queries

You need to identify what your potential customers are searching for.

Accountancy is a very broad industry covering :

  • Tax
  • Property
  • Book keeping
  • Company formation and structure

And accountants serve different types of clients including :

  • Freelancers
  • Start ups
  • Small businesses
  • Contractors
  • Limited Companies

The buying funnel, customer types and these services can help identify what people are searching for.

What is Google Search Console ?

If you want to check, maintain, and fix your website presence in the search results, you should use the free Google Search Console tool.

Improve existing rankings with Search Console

Google Search Console can give you insight into your pages that rank in the search results, as well as your clicks on them.

It is possible with Google Search Console to compare the rankings of 2 search queries with the same impressions but vastly different clicks and positions.

You can now diagnose the reason for the high position query.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides you with broader overview of your website.

  • See your overall traffic
  • View your top performing pages
  • Your total, organic and paid search conversion rates

For example, I can see the top search queries this personal tax page is ranking for, the clicks and the conversions.

There are 338 monthly impressions (that’s similar to searches) and the page ranks at position 46 for “personal tax service”.

Thus the pages isn’t getting any clicks for this query or others.

There are 3 main reasons the page isn’t ranking on page one.

  • User Intent – the page doesn’t give Google and the user what they are looking for
  • Content – the page content isn’t answering the search question and user intent
  • Links and authority – there are other pages with more domain and link authority that Google favours.
Download SEO Guide for accountants

User Intent

Search intent is what people search for eg: personal tax service whereas as user intent is what the user is looking for when they arrive on the page result.

So, for example, if the user searched “how to set up a limited company” they would be looking for a step by step guide to doing this themselves.

But if the user searches “set up limited company service” they would be looking for an accountant to provide details of their service on their page.

Content marketing to drive organic traffic

Content marketing is a term that covers words, articles, videos, case studies, guides, white papers and graphics on a web page or blog post.

People use the search engines to get answers to questions they type.

And those answers are either read or watched; content.

Without serving up content to match the search query you won’t get ranked or earn qualified traffic.

Content is vital because it is the asset that brings visitors and prospective customers to your website.

Your content must be better than anyone else’s if you want to compete with millions of other web pages.

Here’s my tips for accountants to write high quality content and copy for higher rankings and traffic.

  • Search Intent – Find what people search for
  • User Intent – find out what they want
  • Write Page Title
  • Write introduction
  • Map out sub headlines
  • Write for one ideal prospect
  • Use facts and data
  • Write for people scanning page copy
  • Add call to action

Content to earn relevant inbound links

Link building is an off-page seo technique where most of the work isn’t carried out on your website.

Inbound 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.

So how do you earn links ?

  • Buy Now – not approved by Google
  • Earn them

There are companies who are match makers for links.

They will connect you with accounting industry websites where you pay to place a page of content (including a link to your website) on the other website.

This tactic is strictly against Google’s guidelines but difficult for them to detect.

However it’s one of the few guaranteed ways to earn a high quality relevant backlink.

The best link building strategy to earn links:

  • Producing a unique data study or survey and promoting it to industry experts.
  • Producing checklists, contract samples, how to guides

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 contract templates are for freelancers who don’t have the time to write or produce their own contracts, but still need a resource to sign a contract.

Download SEO Guide for accountants

Local SEO for Accountants

Half of all searches have local intent so if your business can be found by looking for accountants near me then you will get more traffic.

The main local SEO ranking factors are:

  • Where a searcher is searching from
  • NAP – your company name, address, postcode
  • Signals from your GMB account
  • Keywords you use in GMB
  • Online reviews
  • Check-ins at your location
  • Google Maps star ratings

NAP

The name, address and phone number of your business are referred to as NAP.

To be sure you are who you say you are, search engines look for consistent signals across the web from trusted business listing source or citation.

Citations and Business Listings

According to Moz, one of the top local factors is citation signals.

So you’ll want to be found for “accountant + name of city/town”.

You can read my full guide to earning citations

Google My Business

GMB is a property that helps a searcher find a company on Google search results and Google Maps.

This of it like a modern Yellow Pages entry.

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

The use of the Google Post feature will help to promote your content and offers.

Reviews

Websites such as Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp and so on allow clients to review businesses.

Customer reviews send signals to the search engines about your business.

They also influence potential clients during the buying journey.

Potential clients can be influenced by positive reviews of your practice.

To procure more customer reviews, log into your GMB account and click the Share Review Form link.

Then copy the link and share via email or your social accounts.

Download SEO Guide for accountants

On-Page Search Engine Optimisation Tips

Here are the main on page SEO elements you should have when you create a page in your content management system.

Short URL

Research has shown that a short url helps to better rank a web page.

Title Tag

Start with your main keyword & use modifiers such as best, guide, review, price, quote. Use 55 characters.

Meta description

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.

I’ve written 2420 words so far in order to improve the content and make it more useful for accountants.

Links

You should have an outbound link to an authority site on your page, as well as three other links on your page to other pages.

Page speed

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.

Download SEO Guide for accountants

User Experience – Usability for Accountancy Websites

Here are a number of usability (UX) tips to create more user friendly websites for accountants and their clients.

Mobile

Mobile searches now form the majority of the 7 billion daily searches.

Between 30% and 45% of website traffic comes from mobile devices for the accountants I work with.

Above the Fold

The fold is the bottom of your web browser.

It’s the content you see when you first arrive on a web page.

You don’t really have a lot of space on a mobile device so you need to make the most of it.

Some guides and case studies were released by Google to help web designers provide a better web experiences.

The main UX guidelines Google offered were as follows :

  • Clear CTA above the fold
  • Descriptive CTA
  • Use click to call if phone call important
  • Clear benefit above the fold
  • Remove carousels and revolving images
  • Use legible fonts
  • Add urgency
  • Provide answers to questions users might have before they’d feel comfortable filling out a form

Site Structure

A good structure provides the foundation of your website and how all the pages are connected to each other via links.

Ranking and traffic can be impacted by the structure, layout and web design.

Let’s run through the key elements of the website.

Home Page

The home page explains your accountancy practice, who you are and links to services you provide.

Service Pages

Ideally you want to have a separate page for each service you provide.

If your accountancy practice provides a vast array of services then you may want to have different service categories.

Articles

As per the keyword strategies above, an accountancy website will have a blend of service pages and articles tackling different topics.

If you look at Crunch you can see they have categorised articles into different sections:

  • Tax
  • IR35
  • Self Employed
  • Expenses
  • Contracts
  • Law etc

Photography

You’ve heard the expression people buy from people they know and trust.

Trust and professionalism are of the utmost importance in the accountancy and finance industry.

Your website should contain professional portrait shots of the key practice and department heads.

In addition, photographs and images added to your website can found by people using Google Image search when you apply ALT Tags to your images.

Accreditations

You should display the logos of accreditations and professional bodies on your website.

You should link from the accreditation logos to your professional bodies website to build trust and domain authority.

Download SEO Guide for accountants

Traffic Conversion

Converting traffic into phone calls or web inquiries is the goal of each web page.

You simply cannot rely on a contact form.

Non-service pages such as articles and guides should have an offer for people to take action.

This could be a download guide or checklist you offer in exchange for the user’s email address and name.

The user may not be ready to use your services today but you can nurture them over a series of emails to turn them into customers.

Retargeting

Statistics prove over 90% of visitors leave your website without taking any action.

You can add tracking code to your site that enables you to “retarget” those people who previously visited and took no action.

Retargeting or re-marketing using Facebook or Google is probably the cheapest advertising tactics.

Google Ads

From the screenshot below there are 2400 searches a month for tax accountant with a cost per click of £4.95.

Google Ads typically appear at the top of the search results; above the organic results.

You’ll get traffic very quickly but you will pay heavily.

Could paying for clicks be profitable ?

Let’s run through this ad campaign scenario.

  • £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 seo 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.

Changing any of the factors in this scenario will significantly impact his profit.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads enables you to run a campaign aimed at your target audience based on interests and demographics as opposed to the keywords they type.

So, for example, you could target small business owners within 5 miles of your town.

Or if you wanted to target IT contractors you might target people interested in Oracle, SAP or Microsoft.

Email Marketing

According to MailChimp , the average open rate for email marketing is 21.56% and click through rate is 2.72%.

Whilst these numbers seem low email marketing is still a very effective and low cost tactic for accountants.

Your message gets right to the heart and hand of prospects and customers who check their email frequently.

Social Media

It’s important that you, as an accountancy practice, focus on attracting and serving your clients as an accountant.

I recommend an automated approach to using social media because it can distract from your billable hours.

Use a tool such as BufferApp to schedule posts and article sharing.

Download SEO Guide for accountants

Common Mistakes and Fixes for Accountancy Websites

Your website may appear to be low priority because you have clients to service, staff to train, manage and maintain and you have a staff.

The main mistakes accountants make related to internet marketing and seo are:

You don’t provide content people are search for

Over 90% of web pages earn no traffic because the website owner doesn’t research what potential customers are searching for

Out of date content

The most relevant content is what users want from a Google search engine result.

If you want to maintain or improve your rankings, your website content needs to be updated on a regular basis because, in the accountancy and tax profession, the government changes taxes and policies regularly.

Too focused on local queries and results

There’s only a few top spots in the local search results so your chances of enhancing your online presence aren’t high.

That’s why you need a research and content strategy to target who problems and questions are looking for.

Domain authority

To get your website to rank higher, you need to invest in boosting your domain authority.

  • Get citation links
  • Get industry and accreditation body links
  • Customer review sites
  • Create content such as industry statistics for others in your accountancy and finance industry

SEO Reports and Qualified Leads

Key performance indicators like total traffic, paid traffic, organic traffic and qualified leads can be easily obtained from these channels.

Do It Yourself SEO

If you don’t allow experts to work with you on research, content, conversion, and digital strategies, you will lose focus on your business and clients.

Download SEO Strategy for Accountants, Bookkeepers and Financial Firms

Or to enquire about my seo services for accountants, click here.