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Within the accounting industry there is fierce competition. There are lots of firms that at a glance seem to offer the same range of services. You could almost lift the copy from one website and place it onto another and not see any change. The usual USP’s such as price won’t be explicit. And, therefore getting ahead through clever digital marketing is vital.

Getting ahead doesn’t necessarily require a big budget either. While those larger firms, may have larger pots to spend on PPC advertising, they may find it difficult to quickly make their moves in digital spaces due to sign-off processes. In contrast, boutique practice’s are much more agile and open to new experimental ideas but can lack the budget.

This makes it quite a level playing field where search engine optimisation (SEO) is concerned. And getting ahead in SEO can give you huge gains for brand awareness and more importantly new business. And with that, here are some of the key SEO tactics for accounting firms:

Marrying good Web Design with structured Search Engine Optimisation

The website design of your accountancy practice should ideally provide a balance of impressive, sleek design and branding as well as a lot of informative copy.

It can be a difficult balancing act: having lots of information can often clash with the sleek design. And, there is a tendency to “keep things simple” and have minimal amounts of copy. But this can be very risky.

From an SEO perspective “keeping things simple” and using only a few words per page can hold back the chance of a page ranking. This is even more an important point for smaller firms who will tend to have a lower domain score and less impressive backlink profile compared to bigger firms. This means that getting words on the page is an important foundation of your page and site ranking.

Generally speaking adding at least 400 words per page will generally help that page to rank for particular keywords. The impressive design of the site and its user experience will help that user to enquire once they are on the site, but those words on the page will help them get there in the first place.

Aim for the fastest experience on all devices

Fast site speed is becoming increasingly important particularly with Google’s latest update on both site speed and separate mobile rankings. Building a site that’s slow will only halt your progress in climbing the rankings. Using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool will give you a good starting point to understand your page speed. But bear in mind this tool only looks at one page and not your entire site, where your speed could be different.

Turn location pages into homepages

Whether you have a couple of offices or a couple of hundred, making sure there is a page for each location on your site is invaluable. These pages can get found for local search terms in google like “Accountants in [location]”. Because of that you shouldn’t just treat your location page as a place for people just to get contact details. Sure, that’s OK if the user has already browsed through your site and is looking for a telephone number, but these users could be coming from a Google search to your site for the very first time – just having some basic contact details isn’t going to be the warmest of welcomes. Therefore it’s good practice to treat these location pages like a homepage. Here are a few tips on how to get the best out of these pages:

  • Start with a heading that contains both the word, “accountants” and your location.
  • Include contact details such as address and telephone number above the fold.
  • Then further down the page include details like:
    • What services you provide at this location
    • Case studies
    • Latest blog posts
    • Contact form
    • Local images
    • Local telephone number

One of the trickiest parts of creating these location pages is ensuring you still have unique content. It’s no good copying and pasting the text only to insert location [here]. Here’s what you can include to make your content unique

  • How long have you been in the area
  • Any local press coverage in that area
  • Directions to your location

Also, make sure you have a Google My Business listing for each of your offices and link back to your new location page.

Sponsor local events

To help get the most out of you local SEO even more, one of the best ways to get ahead is sponsoring local events. While some of these events might seem small-game compared to the rest of your marketing activity, they’re actually great at boosting your local SEO. Things like local music festivals, food festivals, schools and colleges are great ways to get a link back from a local site, even if it’s just an image link on their website. Of course, there’s also the added benefit of getting your brand seen by the local community.

Turn your news posts into evergreen content

Evergreen content posts are typically those with a longer shelf life as they take a look at the topic on a wider, but also detailed scale.

While reporting on a new piece of legislation and sending an email out to your clients is OK, the chances are they may have been already come across this news anyway. As well as that, your post isn’t going to be very unique compared to every other publication reporting on that new piece of legislation.

One way to change that is to produce an article that takes a reflective look at recent news once the dust has settled. For example rather than reporting on a new piece of legislation, you could instead provide an outlook of what might this mean over the next six months. E.g. “15 ways in which [new legislation] will affect businesses going forward”.

Doing this will not only give you an extra few days to produce that article for your audience, but also provide you with much more unique and carefully crafted content with a longer shelf life. And it’s this longer shelf-life that now makes your content evergreen and let’s it continue to potentially gain new visitors from search engines.

You don’t just have to look at recent news though. You can also provide answers to common questions that don’t necessarily go out of date. Questions like, “what is the difference between a merger and acquisition?” or “what does corporation tax entail?”. The answers to these might not change within a few months and therefore it can pick up new visitors months after it was published.

Sometimes these topics don’t need to be so common – finding a niche area that no one else has provided information on is one of the best ways to get numbers to your well produced article. A quick Google of your potential topic (or question) will reveal how widely covered it is. The good thing with these questions is that they are aimed at generating new site visitors (and therefore potentially new clients) through getting found in Google.

Producing well-written un-rushed evergreen content is the way to go. As a guideline you’ll need at least around 800 words to make it be seen as a quality article, both in the eyes of Google and users. You might think that’s a tough task, but it’s far better to produce three high quality articles a month than thirty poor ones.

If you have any questions about this post or need some help with your digital marketing, you can get in touch with me here.

Ryan is a Freelance Digital Marketing & SEO Consultant based in Cambridge & Hertfordshire.

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