An easy ‘how-to’ SEO guide for accountants and bookkeepers
It’s an anagram you have probably heard but do you know how to optimise your online presence for maximum impact?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the term used to describe a number techniques you can use to increase the visibility of your company online. SEO differs from SEM (search engine marketing) because it is free. It may involve some time invested, but it is worthwhile including SEO practises to market your firm.
Read on as we explain how SEO works and what you can do to give your practice the best chance of being found by prospective clients.
Why is SEO so important?
The internet is now the first port of call for most people when they are looking for a local business. In fact Google alone processes over 3.5 billion searches per day according to Internet Live Stats. So having prominence in search results is vital to increase traffic and enquiries through your website. Plus, you are far more likely to get visitors to your website if you are at the top of the results or at least on the first page. Ask yourself: How many times have you scrolled through to page 3 to choose a result?
Research carried out by Caphyon in 2014 found that the first page on Google received 71.33% of organic traffic, pages two and three a mere 5.59% and pages six to ten only 3.73%, with the top five rankings on page one accounting for 67.60% of all click traffic.
How does it work and what do search engines do?
When you type a search query into the search bar in your web browser, you are effectively sending ‘Search Engine Bots’ out into the world wide web looking for results that best match your request.
Search engines like Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go and others all want to deliver the most relevant or popular content possible for visitors using their services. Using algorithms, they rank websites based on a number of factors, such as how often the website is updated, whether other pages link to it, or how well it is written. The better you perform against these factors, the more likely you will be on the search engine result page (SERP).
There are over 200 factors that can affect how your website ranks but some matter more than others. Spend some time improving these and you will optimise your website for search.
- Performance: This is the bare essentials.Your website needs to be able to load properly and at high speed. Increasingly we are searching the net from our phones, so make sure your website is built to be mobile responsive.
- Quality: The search engine algorithms even analyse your written content. Give the bots a reason to post your site on the search engine results page by ensuring your website copy is well written and up to date.
- Tip 1: Quality is better than quantity – posting engaging blogs and updates will encourage visits and drive awareness.
- Tip 2: Interesting and unique content will perform better. What makes you different to your competitors? It might help to put yourself in the shoes of your clients. What do you offer that someone else doesn’t? The answer could be your firm’s special expertise or the fact that you listen well and anticipate clients’ needs in advance.
- Popularity: The amount of organic traffic your site experiences, along with your authority rating, is important. Authority is determined by factors such as links to other highly authoritative websites either as a reference or through information sharing. Reach out to industry organisations to link to you and ask clients for testimonials that you can share. Linking to your clients websites also helps their SEO.
- Relevance: The theme of your site and the text found on each page should match the keywords being searched for. Your website pages should deliver on the promise of their page titles and descriptions, so that your visitors can find what they are looking for.
Other factors: Ease of navigation is part of your ranking. Sometimes your site develops over time and the categories and subcategories no longer make logical sense. Anything that helps your visitors navigate the site is going to improve your SEO. In addition, Bounce Rates are taken into account. This is the number of visitors who leave a page immediately after selecting it. Give them a reason to stay and it’s win – win.
Creating a ‘Virtuous Circle’ with SEO
By improving your website you will get more traffic. And increasing your traffic, has a positive effect on your ranking by Search engines. And Yep, as your ranking goes up so do your visitor numbers!
The more you do to improve your site and keep your content current, the more likely people will visit it, and other sites will link to you using ‘backlinks’.Your website should be seen as a trusted source of information. (just as you are to your clients).
SEO is the long distance run not the 100m sprint but constant improvement to your site is worth the effort.