Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a hot topic in the accounting profession. Firms have realized the benefits of having a well optimized website as it can help with branding, public relations and lead generation opportunities. Having a high rank on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines offers a number of benefits that can add bottom line value to almost any accounting firm. The challenge with SEO is that there is so much information available on the topic it is difficult to know where to focus your efforts. To make the issue even more complex, most of the material available is written for those professionals in the SEO industry and not accounting professionals. To help address this problem I have outlined a few secrets that any accounting professional can implement to help their firm’s SEO efforts.
How Can You Help?
First, don’t feel that just because you are not a webmaster or SEO professional that there is nothing you can do to help. This is simply not true. While you will not be editing lines of code or conducting extensive server side analytics, there are still things you can do to help the effort. Remember, everyone in the firm has a unique role to play in the process. Client service professionals can contribute to effective SEO implementation in many ways. To provide you with insight into what you can do to help, below is a list of secrets that will drive traffic to your website. These include:
- Focus on Link Building. Link building in an essential part of any SEO strategy. Search engines determine website rank in part based on the number of “inbound links” directed to your website. These links are viewed as a vote for your site, and tell the search engine in what areas your firm has expertise and knowledge. If you site did not have something to offer on a topic, then why else would another site link to you? The more votes the higher your website will be positioned on search engine result pages. Link building is a strategy that you can help develop. The next time your firm sponsors an event, purchases online advertising or writes an article for a publication, be sure to ask for a link to your website. The more inbound links you have the more you will drive traffic to your site.
- Develop & Update Your Sitemap. A sitemap is a page (html and xml – types of website code) on your site that provides an organized list of links to every page on your site. The purpose of a sitemap is to provide users with easy access to pages of interest to them. For search engines sitemaps help search engines quickly find and index your website. If you don’t have a sitemap on your website then contact your webmaster and have one made. If you already have a sitemap be sure to continually update it so as new pages are added both users and search engines can find them. The easier it is for search engines to find every page in your website the more traffic you will be able to drive to your website.
- Help Create Dynamic Content. Working with your website profession to create content is really not difficult. I am not suggesting you forsake several billable hours to write marketing copy. That is nonsense! However, there are things you can do to help with this process. First, anytime you or other members of the firm have a speaking engagement, attend an association event, or participate in a civic event, take several photos. While every picture from every event is not going to be relevant you will start to develop a collection that will make great content for your website and social media outlets. The same can be done with video. If you have a speaking engagement for a professional, networking or civic group then have it recorded. Pictures and videos make great content which can be used on several web platforms to engage your prospects, clients and referral partners.
- Invest Time in SEO. The best advice I can offer is to keep thinking about ways you can improve your website. The days of having an online brochure as a website are gone. So spend an hour a week on the areas outlined above.
Where possible engage others in the firm to help out and make it a team effort! in a few months you will have significantly increased your websites visibility with search engines and helped your firm’s SEO efforts. In addition, work with your web designer or internal marketing professional to brainstorm new ways that you can help with SEO. Remember, just because you are an accounting professional doesn’t mean that you can’t be a valuable contributor to the process.