SEO guide For Accountants & Bookkeepers. 5 Tips.
SEO, one of the top millennial marketing strategies for all businesses today. What is it you may ask, how do I rank in search engines like google for my accounting or bookkeeping business? Well, there are a variety of ways with SEO being a big one however with SEO it is a longer game than your popular Google Adwords or Facebook ads which can give you results almost straight away, but with SEO comes a longer strategy but can produce more solid and long-term results. Although SEO is such a huge topic that can be discussed for hours on end, I have included what SEO techniques we have used in the past and still use with our Accounting & Bookkeeping clients that works well. Luckily for you reading this, there is also a good chance you are ahead of the game as there are still so many Accountants & Bookkeepers who are reluctant to do any online marketing that they are leaving money on the table. I don't blame them entirely as it can sound quite intimidating, even the word S-E-O sounds technical and complicated, well it did to me when I first started all those years ago! Now the below guide is on how you can start implementing SEO today and don't necessarily have to use any complicated metric systems or software, I hope you find this guide useful.
SEO content that should be on every Accounting & Bookkeeping firms Websites.
So let's start with the fundamentals. What is SEO and how does it work? In a nutshell SEO or 'Search Engine Optimisation' is basically the algorithm in which websites are ranked in search engines. Let's say for example you are ranked on page 3 for 'Accountant In Southampton' and you are wondering why you are so low. Well .. your website hasn't been properly optimised for those keywords and you do not have good enough content for it to rank well and quite frankly Google doesn't see you as a good fit. Google will rank the sites with the best and most valuable content and the most optimised. I mean it is just common when you think about it right? Google is simply a service provider for the audience ‘you’, they want to make sure that you are receiving the best and most valuable information you can get when searching for things and in doing so they rank sites by using their site crawlers to check over your website. With the content being the most important there are also other golden nuggets I like to call them that will take your site to the next level which I have included below. This guide is split into 5 different tips I highly recommend so that you can implement them easily to your site and are easy to understand. If you do implement these tips I am about to show you, I am very confident you will rank a lot higher than you currently are for your chosen keywords! Ready to start? Okay great.
1. Produce High Quality Website Content Regularly (Blog)
This is still the most important factor for ranking any website. How do you go about writing high quality content for your website? How do you know what to write about? First things first, you need to figure out who your ideal clients are, think about where they live, are they all local? Are they in a specific industry, do they ask the same sort of questions often? Identifying who your exact clients are is crucial as you will need to write high quality content that is valuable for them. Many people still think of marketing as the endless chasing, the countless networking and the sales techniques in order to attract new clients. Yes there is a time and a place for outbound marketing as that is what it is more commonly known as but you can also attract clients with inbound marketing. In simple terms, marketing that draws your ideal clients to you instead of you going to them. Now how in the world will you find out what they would be looking for? Keyword research. First you need to identity who your audience is, are they local businesses, do you specialise in the hospitality industry or are you a specialist in tax for retailers? Once you identify your target you then want to start doing keyword research. We recommend a programme called kwfinder.com which I have mentioned in one of my previous blogs. It is a keyword finder tool that gives you stats and numbers on how many times people search for specific keywords. It can do into depth and tell you stats such as which country people are searching for keywords, the volume and also stats on whether you could rank well for those keywords! The ideal situation is to find keywords relating to your specific audience that has a good chance of ranking well. I could go into depth on how to do this all but that would be for an entire post all together! Luckily one person has an amazing tutorial on how to do this step by step which I have linked below, you may have seen these videos before in one of my other blog posts here. Now I must point out that it is a paid software however you do get 5 free searches a day if you sign up which is also free. Once you have identified some great keywords and have identified that ranking for it should be achievable it's time to get writing!
Write Valuable Content
Let’s say you are a tax specialist for retailers and you have found the keywords ‘taxation for retail shops‘ which you have identified has a good search volume and a good chance for ranking. I tend to focus on keywords with 100+ searches a month just as a note. Next you need to figure out how to write content on the subject. Hopefully you already have some knowledge on the subject but if you get stuck there is always lots of information online that can help you fill in gaps or get inspiration. The key to this is to make it original though and never copy and paste! Not only will this potentially offend the person who wrote the original article but Google can also penalise you for doing this. Below is an amazing video on how to write valuable pieces of content step by step making it easy for search engines to understand what it is about and how to structure them. I recommend starting with a blog that acts as a helpful resource for your ideal audience. Follow these two videos and you will see a good increase in organic traffic to your website within 3-6 months.
2. Sitle Title & Tag Line
As the name suggests the site title is the name given to your website or how it appears in the search engines. Don't get this confused with your domain name as this never changes and has little effect on SEO nowadays so do not worry about this. The site title is the blue text you see in Google that basically represents your website. Pic below. There are still so many websites out there who have no site titles which to me personally can be quite surprising especially for businesses looking to attract clients online! If you do not change your site title it usually just states the name of your site. This can be confusing to your audience as you don’t state who you are or what you do.
Let’s say you have published great content and that you ranking well for specific keywords but you have not changed your site title. Well you will be potentially losing more traffic as there is no explanation as to what you do. An example below is an accounting firm called ‘Pie Partnership’. Let’s say they are are ranking on page 1 for the terms ‘Tax Accountant In Leicester’. You can see that the site has no information on what they do so to the audience looking at that list they would probably not be the first choice despite being ranked quite highly, quite far from it actually. People don’t want to waste time and will click on which ever site describes what they are looking for. Here from the list you can see a pattern emerging and this is how most well optimised sites should look. They have their business name in there and a few words to describe exactly what they do. You can see below some have put 'Personal Tax Accountant’ or ‘Self Assessment Tax Returns’ It's very specific and will help the audience pick a site fairly accurately and quickly when scanning the list. That is of course if you describe your site accurately! The rules I like for naming site titles are as follows: name - services - location.
If you are a accounting firm who specialises in say taxation and general accounting and you are called 'JB Accounting' and are based in Luton where most of your clients are. A good title could be ( JB Accounting - Taxation & Accounting in Luton, Bedfordshire ). Here you are letting people and Google know exactly who you are, what you do and where you are located.
Next we move on to the 'Tag Line' which is placed underneath the website title in grey writing. This where you can go into a bit more depth about exactly what you do and offer and to be specific. As mentioned above depending on which platform you are using to build your site there will be an option to include a 'Tag Line'. It is usually located with the 'Site Title' option.
A Tag Line as you can see below shouldn't be long and Google can only display a few lines. The rules I follow and one I recommend for writing a tag line is 'Who you are, how you can help and where you are located. Similar to the site title only you are being more specific. Using the example above you could say something like: JB Accounting is an accountancy firm specialising in Taxation and general Accounting for small to medium sized businesses in Luton, Bedfordshire. It's important to keep it the point and making sure you include the right keywords you want to rank for so 'Taxation' 'Accounting' 'Luton' 'Bedfordshire'. That is about it for site titles and tag lines. It doesn't need to complicated but the most important factor to this is implementing those keywords you want to be found for and letting people know exactly what you do and who you are, this is vital.
3. Image Labelling
Image labelling as the name suggests is naming your images. Now Google actually crawls Images by what they are called not what they look like so just like written content, Google crawls the text of your image. This means any image you place on your website needs to be labelled correctly so Google knows exactly what that image is so it helps in identifying your site better. Labelling your images is another perfect opportunity to include those magic keywords you want to rank for. The way I label my images are quite simple and follow a specific order. First I use the words to describe the actual image itself, then the keywords I want to rank for followed by the name of my business. Here is an example of how I label them below. I have used the image below as an example of a button which will take you to charity page which their accounting firm has. I have used the same business mentioned above who are JB Accounting who specialise in Taxation & Accounting for businesses in Luton. Now here is one vital thing you must remember before doing this and that is not to keyword stuff! Do not go labelling every image with the same keywords over and over again or more than 3 times on the same image. Google can actually penalise you for doing this so try and use different keywords for images if possible. Of course you struggle finding new keywords over time but try and use different types of words that mean the same thing i.e. Accounting, Accountancy, Accountants, you see where I am going.
4. Mobile Responsive
Also a must for any website in today's age is that your website is mobile responsive. With nearly 80% of people now viewing websites on their mobiles or tablet devices this is vital if you want to attract more clients online and also rank well in the search engines. Google revealed that they do rank sites that are responsive on multiple platforms higher than those that aren't. Again this goes back to that Google is a service provider and want's to give you the best possible experience when searching their engine. They don't want you having a hard time navigating through a site that is not responsive on mobile. Not only will your audience have a very hard to time reading your site and taking a lot longer to get around but it will increase their likelihood of looking for someone else by an enormous amount. An unresponsive site is potentially leaving money on the table to be quite frank. Make sure your site is responsive by checking the three main platforms, desktop, tablet and mobile!
5. Website URL’s.
Website URL’s are also another important factor for search engines to understand your website correctly. Not only does it help people with reading your links easier but has also been shown to slightly increase your ranking. URL’s are also best kept as short as possible and to include keywords in the URL. URL’s also help when sharing your page on social media or through email marketing. Sometimes link’s will not include a thumbnail so for people to read what the actual link is will also help your click through rate. Always write your links with hyphens like this for example (www.JPbookkeepingsolutions.co.uk/payroll-tipss-for-building-firms between each word.
There you have it! There are hundreds if not more ranking factors that Google uses and changes yearly, unfortunately they keep a lot of it a secret but we are confident in 2018 to say content is still king. I like to think about it like in fitness. An exercise like the dead-lift hits every muscle in the body and you can build a pretty good physique with just that exercise alone but without the added tweaks such as a bicep curl you won’t be winning a bodybuilding show anytime soon. Content is the all round most important strategy for SEO but without the little tweaks and added techniques it will hurt you in the long run if you are looking to increase your website traffic for a long time.
If you need a hand with branding or marketing your accounting or bookkeeping business, feel free to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, we have been fortunate to have branded and marketed many businesses in this industry.
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Thanks for reading.