SEO for accountants is no longer an optional marketing channel. Small businesses can shop around more than ever to find the right fit for their accounting needs. And for them to find your firm online, you need to rank above your competitors in the search engine results. 

The name of the game is offering value to the audience. And if you provide the best value, Google will reward that over competitors who might have a larger budget.

This article will cover SEO for accountants, by covering the following three steps:

  • Optimise your website
  • Creating content
  • Local SEO

What is SEO?

Simply put, Search Engine Optimisation is the process of making your website attractive to a search engine. The goal is to appear on the first page of the search results for specific queries. These can be phrases or individual words – called ‘keywords’ in SEO – that relate to your business. For an accountant, a good example of a keyword would be ‘accounting services’ or a phrase might be ‘accountancy firm for sole traders’. 

The higher your rank for these keywords, the more visitors your site could gain, and then your website content can convert these visitors into clients. 

Google tends to prioritise three qualities in a website:

  • Relevance: Your website should appear for keywords and keyword phrases that relate to your accounting business. This way search engines can understand what you’re offering and will show it to users who search with the intent to find accounting services.
  • Authority: The content on your site should display your expertise in your industry. Websites that demonstrate authority on a topic tend to rank better. 
  • Quality: If your website is slow or difficult to navigate around, then you will rank poorly because it provides a bad customer experience. 

Now let’s move on to the steps that will help you achieve relevance, authority and quality to boost your SEO.

Optimise your website

To attain the quality that Google is looking for, your website must load quickly on both website and mobile browsers. Load time should be under two seconds and if loading takes over four seconds, a quarter of visitors will abandon the site. This can often be due to large images, so use online tools to check your site speed.

Check any deleted or inactive pages. If a customer ends up on these pages it will show a 404 error (a missing page). You can use online tools to check if you have any 404s and remove any links that point to that page to stop it from affecting your customers’ journey on the site.

The next step should be to take a look at HTML (the way your text is presented on your site). You can do this through the website hosting platform (Content Management System, or CMS), such as Squarespace or WordPress. The HTML elements should contain relevant keywords for the firm, such as ‘accounting services’ or ‘best accountancy firm’ to show Google what your site is about. Look at:

  • Page text – the copy (text) on your site should contain keywords or phrases that are relevant to your business and potential clients. Don’t use them too often, this is called keyword stuffing and will be penalised by Google.
  • H1’s and H2’s – ensure the titles and headings on every page are relevant and contain a  keyword. Use H1’s once per page with the keyword included, and use H2’s to break up the rest of the text.
  • Meta descriptions – this is the text that appears in the search results. This is what searchers will see to decide if they want to visit your website or not. So make it compelling to encourage better click-through rates.
  • Imagery – a search engine can’t actually tell what an image on your site contains, so use the image descriptions and file name to describe it.

Creating content

In this step, you will need to carry out some keyword research. This is the process of finding out which are the most searched for terms and most valuable keywords that relate to your business that could bring the right customers to your website. 

There are many blogs out there from marketing experts explaining how to do this, but here is a quick and free way to get some keywords and terms to start you off.

Think of a common question your firm gets asked by new clients or customers looking for help. Google this question and then scroll down to the People Also Ask section. Google suggests several other questions related to this first search, and as you click through the other questions more will appear. Make a list of these questions from People Also Ask, and consider these as titles for blogs. By answering the question you are providing Google with content to rank.

You can use imagery, videos, infographics and case studies as well as written blogs, as long as the content is valuable to the consumer. Content should always be unique (Google will penalise plagiarism), posted regularly, and related to your business.

Local SEO

A local approach to SEO requires less time than a general SEO strategy but still allows you to point users looking for accounting services to your firm’s website. You do this by targeting location based searches, in the following ways:

  • Set up a Google my Business profile. This ensures that anyone looking on a map or searching for ‘accountants in X location’ will be able to find your details quickly.
  • Ask your clients to leave reviews on Google. Always respond to the reviews as Google favours companies that value customer feedback.
  • Build authority by gaining links to your site from local publications, industry websites or news sites. You can ask a site to link to you or request a link to a useful blog, but never pay for links.
  • Create ‘local’ content on the site if you have mostly regional businesses as clients. Use your location in headings, such as ‘Accounting services in Edinburgh’, or write blogs that can mention your area if possible.

How Countingup can help you as an accountant

Now that you have the basis of an effective SEO strategy for your accounting firm, you can consider how to streamline other facets of your work.

Save your practice time on manual admin and help your sole trader and self-employed clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. Our software is MTD-compatible and full of features for you to review and manage client accounts efficiently with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out more here.

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