In the first two parts of this series we looked at what SEO is, how important it is to your accounting firm’s website, and the importance of choosing the SEO company for support. In this article we are looking more closely at the mistakes that made in websites for accountants and how best to avoid these mistakes.
One of these reasons we see these mistakes is because providers of SEO services do not understand the specific needs of accounting firms; and accounting firms, their principles, and partners do not know enough about marketing to recognise these mistakes until it is too late.
Of course, this is completely understandable, after all your experience is in accounting, not marketing.
Unfortunately, the advice being given to accountants is too often superficial; it paints a pretty picture but fails to provide the strategic, pragmatic processes and information that produces positive outcomes.
I’m not suggesting that providers are acting unscrupulously (not all of them anyway), rather they are incompetent or purely behind the times when it comes to the specific needs of accountants.
Accounting firms are spending thousands on websites that are not an integrated part of a complete marketing approach.
For the most part, accounting firms end up with websites that are little more than electronic brochures.
Why marketing instruction for accountants is important
The deficiency in marketing knowledge and experience within accounting as a profession is key to why we are so obsessive about educating business advisors and accountants marketing strategy. This is achieved through our online Marketing Academy as well as our upcoming Marketing MENTOR platform. We know our focus on education works and works well.
In today’s ever-changing marketing and business climate, all entrepreneurs and business owners need a clear marketing strategy and to know which marketing tools and tactics to use.
If you are not clear on your own marketing strategy, then how do you hope to effectively delegate to website developers, copywriters, and graphic designers? You need to understand modern digital marketing agendas and how to properly measure your marketing strategy’s effectiveness if you are to get the most from your marketing provider.
Without this knowledge and understanding you may as well be searching for a black cat in a dark room while wearing a blindfold. It is tantamount to ‘Signing the cheque’ and wishing for the best.
This is far too risky an approach when it relates to your business website. Your website has great potential to play a decisive role in the online marketing and lead generation of your business. But first you need to ask yourself some very serious questions:
What is the role of and reason for your accounting firm’s website?
- To get you out there?
- To make you and your business look good?
- To compete with everyone else – they’ve got one, so we need one?
- To generate leads?
- To position your brand?
- Not sure?
Learning the key strengths and weaknesses of your business website helps you understand how to improve visitor numbers and get more ideal clients.
Determining your website’s main KPI
You can accomplish countless things with an effective website, but what do you need to measure and keep track of? What should your principal KPI (Key Performance Indicator) be?
I can almost hear you shouting, “Number of leads, of course”.
Great idea, but not where you need to start. While, ‘number of leads’ is important in relation to the ROI (return on investment) your website delivers your business, it is result of getting everything else right. To get to this measure, you need a clear focus on other lead measures first.
Website traffic – visitor numbers and more specifically the number that find your site through ‘organic search’ is a good place to start.
Organic search simply means the individuals who found your site by searching specific words and phrases in a search engine, rather than those who entered your web address into their browser or clicked on a link in an email. These visitors are most likely to be fresh customers, who are browsing for a service and have happened across your site.
Organic visitors are very valuable traffic, depending on…
- The words and phrases they searched with,
- This in turn hints at their likely fit for your business, and
- Whether your website converted them into social media connections and/or email subscribers.
This final point is so important because it allows you to continue communication with them. You can add value with useful, relevant, and educational information that aids them in relation to their business or financial life.
Website conversion is crucial, without good conversion rates you may as well use a sieve to collect water, you will have just as much luck. However, and is a subject that we will consider in more detail in future posts.
When you create website that has:
- Healthy traffic from organic searches, which is
- Targeted traffic(ideal prospects for your firm), and that
- Converts that targeted traffic into social media connections and subscribers
An expanding marketing database, which is much better than any marketing list you could potential buy from a broker.
It’s simple; these individuals have asked for you to continue communication. They have given permission – it is a warm list. Over time they will start to know, like, and trust you as you add value to them through your marketing machine.
Growing your business’ marketing database organically is akin to modern-day alchemy—you are creating gold for your business.
But this is not where your marketing focus stops. You need to keep moving up stream.
Evaluating your website and seeing how you are doing is important. Take in the factors you are excelling at and discover those that need more work to advance your website to make it more appealing to a greater number of visitors and more importantly to improve its focus on ideal clients.
Organic search is all about appealing to individuals who are searching using specific terms. You should, from previous parts of this series, know what this means!
That’s right – defining the search words and phrases that you want your website to rank well for. As you know, these words and phrases are known as ‘SEO keywords’. Keyword research needs to be based on the categories of businesses and people you want to entice in order to be successful. Focus on the phrases they are searching that relate to problems your services can help with and questions that you can answer.
Use your intranet or wiki to record these SEO key phrases and pass them on to your SEO provider. (One area that where we can support you is in SEO Implementation. Subscribers to our service are attaining some great goals.) You can then track the search engine rankings for your website and that of your competitors for these exact search terms.
Our Marketing MENTOR platform automatically tracks your website’s SEO keyword rankings for you and does this across a range of terms and variations of these terms. Additionally, it emails you automatically with a report each month. And, as an accountant, you already know the link between measuring, managing, and improving – and this relates just as easily to your SEO.
A critical modern marketing skill
The ability to comprehend SEO keyword strategy; to be able to undertake research keywords and have your SEO providers then focus on achieving the Top 3 in Google for each target term, is at the pinnacle of tree when it comes to modern marketing skills.
So much else is reliant on you getting this right. Failing to take this step results in an un-strategic approach to the remainder of your digital marketing.
This is an area of unconscious incompetence for around 99% of accountants in public practice—they lack knowledge that it even exists; It simply is not on their radar as entrepreneurs.
Follow the data to see where accountants are still getting it wrong
This isn’t based on hearsay and conjecture, rather it is based in data. Data lifted from our free SEO Audit tool shows the SEO target phrases that have been entered for analysis by accountants. The data highlights a strategic incompetence that is a substantial weakness for a business owner in the modern world.
This is stuff that you MUST know if you are going to out-compete your rivals.
Just how far off were the SEO target phrases for the accountants that used the tool? You can be the judge of that. In our next post we explore several real-life examples of strategically inept SEO key phrases and words that should be avoided by accounting businesses. I will also share some examples from accountants whose SEO is on point.
Learning the vital strengths and weaknesses of your website is key to learning how to get more visitors and more ideal clients.
Attract ideal clients in greater numbers. Click here to get your FREE SEO Audit and Competitive Rank Snapshot, for a strategic review of your business website and your current Google rankings; including a detailed analysis by the Creative Harmony Team. We will guide you through how to develop your website, taking it to the next level so that it attracts and wins more ideal clients!
Need some advice on your SEO performance? Creative Harmony is an established London based digital marketing agency with expertise in helping businesses to grow their online presence, providing a range of online marketing services from SEO, PPC to Website Development, Social Media Management and Content Marketing. Give our friendly team a call on 0203 773 9137.