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What Fishing and Website Strategy for Accountants has in Common

In our last post, we looked at common SEO mistakes in websites for accounting firms and discovered many of the pitfalls that those who are new to SEO can easily make.

In this post, we are going to look in more detail at some examples of where your SEO strategy can go wrong. But let’s start with a story….

A young lad is looking for a new hobby and decides to take up fishing. He spends a great deal of money getting set up; buying rods, reels, and accessories. Despite the hole this has made in his budget he feels pretty good about his chances. Yet, regardless of his investment and effort he continually comes home empty-handed after fishing for hours. His disappointment deepens as he watches others being successful in the same fishing area. He can’t work out why the fish aren’t biting?

This is a great analogy for websites for accountants. Keep reading and you will see why….

After a couple of days, his uncle recommends that he talks to one of the other fishermen and ask for advice on what bait to use. The more experienced fisherman eagerly shared information on the best bait to use for the species of fish he was trying to catch. Not only that but he also shared his experience and provided advice on the type and size of hooks to use, the up of his fishing rig – the best knots to tie, swivels, sinkers, etc. and the most productive fishing times according to the tides and the moon.

The young novice had been previously unaware of all these facets of fishing.

The young lad took the new knowledge, made a much smaller investment in more appropriate hooks and sinkers and the results were immediate; on his next trip out, he caught not just one fish, but a bucketful.

What had started out as a frustrating experience, in which he was rapidly losing hope, turned into a lifelong passion – all because he was able to now see the art and science behind it.

How does this relate to websites for accounting firms?

Accountants and their sparkly new websites

This is something we see an awful lot at FRESHVIEW. Accounting firms come to use after investing a great deal of finance in a striking new website and seemingly having all ‘the gear’ in terms of website tech—and yet, ‘the fish’ aren’t biting. Their sparkly new website just isn’t attracting new leads and therefore isn’t generating a return on their investment. Just as with our novice fisherman, it is now an expensive and seemingly hopeless frustration.

What fish types do they want to attract?

Many firms will grab anything that’s biting. “Anyone with a heartbeat and a bank account,” is a phrase I’ve heard more than once. Not only is that bad strategy, but it is also strong evidence no strategy at all. And, that is one of the key reasons why we cover strategy in the first Module of our Marketing Academy. The starting point must always be strategy.

What ‘type of bait’ are they using?

Our little story showed that bait choice makes a huge difference to the outcome. The young lad needed the right bait for the fish he was trying to catch. And, it is just the same with your website.

Strategic SEO keywords – The right bait

In terms of your website, your bait is your SEO keywords. The words and phrases you choose determine the types of visitors that you will attract via organic searches.

Your choice of SEO keywords must be based on:

  1. your strategy, and
  2. keyword research.

Once you have completed your research, you need to engage an SEO expert to ‘optimise’ your specific pages of your website – not just your home page. This optimisation should result in your webpages ranking well on search engines – for example, ranking in the Top 3 on Page 1 of Google for your specific SEO keyword phrases.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of the most important ROI actions you can invest in for your business, as long as your website converts visitors. The effectiveness of your website conversion addressed by what is known as CRO: Conversion Rate Optimisation. Our Preferred Network has specialist SEO and CRO providers who we can put you in touch with. Just contact us to get started.

Choosing the SEO keywords to target – where do you start?

Attract more ideal clients. Click for your FREE SEO Audit and Competitive Rank Snapshot and get a strategic review of your Google rankings and your website as well as your Creative Harmony Team detailed analysis. Our team will take you through how to shift your website to the next level and how to attract and win more ideal clients!

Tips for selecting your website’s SEO keywords

Let’s start with what NOT to do – Do Not Target:

  1. single words such as only “accountant”
  2. phrases that do not receive a high enough volumeof searches
  3. phrases that are highly competitive(unless investing large amounts on SEO services to rank well is something you want to do)

But what do volume and competitiveness mean in this context? How do you determine the volume and competitiveness of specific search terms? These are both great questions.

Google Keyword Planner and the Google Suggest feature in Google Chrome are great free tools that are very simple to use and useful. Both can be used to find phrases that individuals are searching. Our member-only webinars and Masterclasses in our Marketing Academy and upcoming Marketing MENTOR platform teach the skills needed to effectively use tools like these.

Our FREE SEO Audit tool can be used to explore how well a specific page on your website is optimised for the SEO phrases you have chosen. You can enter any website address into the form; this allows you to check everything from an exact blog post to your home page, and even a competitor’s website.

Note: We scrutinise your website and create strategic phrases to find those competitors that are outranking you in Google.  The form does not request the SEO keyword phrases or competitors. If you want to provide us with your SEO phrases, this can be done through email and we will then include the key phrases you have chosen in your report.

The report you receive lists the aspects that are working to your advantage and details the elements that need to be improved on the specific webpage as well as more generally across your website. This is very valuable information – but it is most valuable when you use strategic keywords in the keyword field. If you enter an un-strategic phrase, then the value of the work plummets.

Clumsy efforts at specifying SEO keywords

Analysis of the many SEO keywords submitted to our SEO Report tool make for worrying reading:

  • 71% were un-strategic and useless
  • 18% were mildly useful
  • 11% were strategic and useful

Prior to looking at some examples, consider an individual with an issue, they are using a search engine to search for information, services, or resources to help solve that issue. Now consider that the individual is an ideal prospect for your accounting business. What might they enter into the search engine? Is it likely to include any of the following examples – which have all been pulled from our auditing tool:

The un-strategic and useless

  • Accountants
  • accountant
  • accountancy
  • medical
  • builders
  • profit
  • outsourced
  • strategy
  • SMSF
  • superannuation
  • xero

How likely is it that anyone is going to enter one word into a search engine – particularly any of these single terms. People do not just look for ‘accountant’ they look for an accountant that provides a specific service or is situated in a specific location.

Similarly, ‘strategy’ could apply just as easily to a board game as it does to accountancy. And even more specific terms, like ‘superannuation’ or ‘SMSF’, are too broad and are unlikely to be used by searchers without clarifying terms such as – advice, set up, strategies, or investments.

And, as for using ‘xero’ as an SEO keyword; who are you looking to attract to your website? People looking for reviews, comparisons, a Xero bookkeeper, training, or addons – the possibilities are pretty much endless.

One-word SEO keywords are very clearly far too vague and far too broad and vague. This makes them pointless.

Fed up with attracting low-quality searchers? Start winning more ideal clients with a strategic review of your Google rankings and website. Click here for your SEO Report Card and Competitive Rank Snapshot.

The mildly useful

Just 18% of the SEO keywords entered are deemed ‘mildly useful’, examples of these include:

  • business advisory [location]
  • automate accounting
  • xero [location]
  • business coach

While these are better than the totally pointless keywords, they are still very vague. Mentioning a specific location does help, but nearly enough to make the phrase useful to your rankings or to attracting ideal clients.

The useful

Only 11% of SEO keywords entered into our SEO Report Card tool over the same time period were deemed useful; these included:

  • accountant [suburb location]
  • small business accountant [town location]
  • medical tax accountant
  • SMSF property [regional location]

The ‘accountant [suburb location]’ phrase is only useful if the suburb:

  1. Is large enough to mean that enough monthly searches for it take place each month
  2. Is not so large—e.g. a capital city— that thousands of businesses are vying to rank well for the same phrase.

Ideally, you need to target SEO keywords with moderate to high search volumes each month and moderate to low competition.

The phrase ‘medical tax accountants’ heading in the right direction. It is very specific, which is great, but it has a low search volume. By using Google Keyword Planner, you can see that ‘accountants for doctors’ receives 17 times as many searches as ‘medical tax accountants’. This makes it a much better SEO option for your website if one of your target markets is doctors.

The phrase ‘small business accountant [town location]’ preferable to ‘accountant [suburb location]’, in terms of SEO because the accountant type is specified. Given the numerous types of accountants that are available, specifying type helps to narrow down the field. However, the same stipulation applies to town location as applied to suburb location previously: it should be not too small (tiny regional town for example) or too large (such as a major capital city).

Why are specific terms, like ‘small business accountant’ preferable to broader terms like ‘accountant’ which, at least in theory, should get a higher search volume? The answer is Targeting. If you’re targeting businesses, particularly, small and medium-sized one, then you don’t want to attract queries related to individual tax returns.

Too often accounting firms consider online marketing to be a waste of time. Their reasoning for this is that it only attracts ‘price-sensitive tyre kickers’ that are a waste of their time.

And that reminds me of a well-known phrase – shit attracts flies

It is not online marketing that is attracting low-value, un-targeted enquiries.

It is poor online marketing that is attracting low-value, un-targeted enquiries.

To stop attracting flies look at the contents of your website and your SEO.

And it all starts with:

  • strategy
  • keyword research
  • SEO-savvy content across your website including landing pages and blog posts and landing pages that target specific SEO keywords
  • off-page SEO including directory listings, social media, and host of additional activities that improve your website’s rankings for your SEO target keywords.

Take your website to the next level to attract and win more ideal clients.  Click here to get your FREE SEO Report and Competitive Rank Snapshot, and benefit from a strategic review of your Google rankings and website, as well as an analysis by the Creative Harmony Team.

Share your experiences of getting your website to generate targeted leads for you. Comment below and don’t be shy about asking questions.

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 SEOPPC to Website Development, Social Media Management and Content Marketing. Give our friendly team a call on 0203 773 9137.

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