The days of quick tricks to get to the top of Google’s search results are over. Google continues to refine its search algorithm with the overarching goal of providing the best possible search experience to users. This means search results that point users to the websites with the most relevant, quality content.
Is getting to the top of Google really the best marketing strategy for your firm? A recent article by Matt Wilkinson in Accountants Daily, which serves Australian accountants, noted that getting to the top may not provide you with the results you desire. You may get a lot of traffic, but maybe not the kinds of clients you want to work with. Your time might be better spent on other marketing activities.
Many articles on search engine optimization (SEO) best practices focus on technical aspects that provide only incremental improvements. I’m not sure those technical fine-tunings are the best use of an accounting firm’s marketing resources. In addition, Google has a history of penalizing sites that resort to technical tricks at the expense of quality content, so such an approach may backfire.
Instead, I’d like to encourage accounting firms to focus on the same principles that appear to be guiding Google’s algorithm architects: namely, search results that provide useful information and answer questions.
1. Build a great website that focuses on the needs of visitors. Landing at or near the top of the search results is only part of your online marketing strategy. Should a prospect click through to your website, you’ve only got a few seconds to grab their attention while they determine if your website has the information they were looking for. If your website isn’t friendly and useful, they’ll be quick with the back button in their browser.
Include a headline that demonstrates the benefits of working with your firm. Instead of “Welcome to Smith and Company CPAs,” try something like “Your Partner for Success” or “Accounting, Tax, Business Advice – All in One Place.”
2. Update your website regularly with useful content. Google loves sites that regularly add new content, such as blog posts. This alone can improve your search rankings, although it may take several months to happen.
About Liz Farr
Liz Farr, CPA, spent 15 years in tax and accounting at small firms in Albuquerque, NM. Besides tax returns of all flavors, she worked on audits of governmental entities and not-for-profits, business valuations, and litigation support. Now she's a full-time freelance writer specializing in content marketing for accountants and bookkeepers around the world.