Managing your accounting firm’s marketing would be a lot easier if search engine optimization (SEO) was a “one-and-done” task. Unfortunately, it’s not. Your spot on a search results page is one you have to keep fighting for.
Getting your site built, filled with quality content, and properly optimized for today’s search engines is a noteworthy accomplishment, but you can’t stop there for two simple reasons: (1) search engines are continuously changing the way their algorithms work, and (2) your competitors will keep trying to get ahead of you in the rankings.
You’ll need to dedicate time to SEO maintenance weekly—or better yet daily--if you’re relying on your website content to attract prospects and stay visible in your market. How much time you devote and how far you go depends on your marketing strategy and the current state and size of your website, but here are some essential tips to consider.
1. Make checking your SEO metrics a daily (or at least weekly) activity
Whether you’re using an outside firm to track your website performance metrics or doing it yourself through Google Analytics, keep watching them for any indications of a drop in your position, organic traffic, or lead volume. Search Engine Journal recommends 17 metrics, but here are some of the more critical ones for accountants:
|What It Tells You
|Is your website investment paying off? ROI = (Organic Traffic x Conversion Rate x Average Order Value) / Cost of SEO
|Number of visitors to your page who leave without viewing other pages on your site
|Backlinks and Referring Domains
|The sites linking to yours (backlinks) and where they come from (referring domain)
|Whether keywords are driving the traffic you want to your site through organic (not paid through advertising) search
|Pages on your site have been indexed by Google (i.e., Google has seen it, analyzed it and added it to its database; unindexed pages hurt SEO)
|The number of times your website URL comes up in search results viewed by a user (not counting paid search impressions)
|How quickly your page loads - the goal is under 3 seconds
|Any traffic that comes to your site that isn't paid for through advertising.
|Shows how well the sales lead forms or other calls to action on your site are performing
|Top Exit Pages
|Shows you which pages users are exiting your website from
|See how your ranking compares to your competitors by using a tool like iSearchFrom.com
2. Stay on top of local SEO
In terms of generating leads, local search is a top priority for accounting firms in order to target customers in a specific region or city. If you haven’t already, set up Google My Business, and be sure you’re following Google’s guidelines for representing your business on Google.
As you probably know, no one outside Google knows exactly how Google’s search ranking algorithms work, but when it comes to local result rankings, they’re a bit more transparent. Google says the three main factors that determine local rankings are relevance, distance, and prominence.
The easiest of these three factors to tackle is distance—be sure your name, address, and phone number are accurate and consistent online. The relevance and prominence factors will take a bit more work. HubSpot offers these 12 local SEO tips.
3. Keep optimizing content—both new and existing
Creating valuable, relevant content that’s useful to your target audience not only increases your organic traffic, it attracts links, which boosts you even higher in search rankings. As you add new content to your site or revise existing content, remember to:
Update your keywords and remember to focus on long-tail keywords; document your changes
Backlinks from websites related to accounting and financial services tell search engines that your site is relevant in the industry. Encourage colleagues in related businesses, professional networking groups, or other organizations in accounting and financial services to link to your site content
Include links to relevant, trustworthy sites, which also shows search engines your content is credible
Keep tweaking your title tags to make sure they accurately describe what’s on the page, and be sure that keywords are close to the beginning
Search engines like reviews, so make sure you’re sending satisfied customers links to where they can leave feedback, such as on Google or Yelp
4. Keep improving your user experience
A bad user experience is like cancer on your SEO. If visitors to your site can’t open a page or find the information they need, they’ll “bounce” out quickly and hurt your SEO. Scroll through your site at least once a month to check for things like slow load times, broken links, or buttons that don’t work properly, particularly your call-to-action buttons.
Check out these tips for improving user experience on Hubspot.
5. Keep educating yourself and make use of free tools
It might seem daunting to keep up with SEO, but you don’t have to go it alone. An abundance of free SEO training, tools, and resources are available online. Search Engine Journal offers a free SEO 101 e-book that explains the technical side of SEO in non-technical language. The e-book also provides a comprehensive list of free tools to help you target keywords and better understand how people search online.
Of course, there’s always the option of hiring outside experts. If you choose this route, use one that specializes in accountants, like AdvisorProMarketer.