The race to market leadership is increasingly won online.
Businesses in every industry have made sizable investments in digital strategies and online marketing. And while the average deal size of an online won prospect is about $20,000 for CPA firms, these deals can range from a $3,500 project to a $500,000 PCAOB Audit.
Shifting consumer behavior demands it:
- 21% of U.S. consumers search online for a local business on a daily basis
- 35% use the internet to find businesses on a weekly basis
A company’s website is not only its digital front door but also an appreciable asset, and optimizing it for search is a task that enhances its value. If your firm’s website generates just 10 qualified leads each month (120 per year), it’s a tangible asset that adds to the overall value of your firm.
Should Your Accounting Firm Have an SEO Strategy?
Several points drive home the importance of accounting firms having an SEO strategy:
- The keyphrase, “accounting firms near me” is typed or spoken into a search engine 13,300 times a month. Variations (such as accounting for “industry”) of that and similar high-intent search phrases number in the hundreds of thousands.
- 25% of people using a search engine click on the first result. First place is best, first page is ideal, and second page is no man’s land. How often do you go to page two?
- Firms are generating well over $1 Million in revenue from their website on an annual basis. This is projected to increase to over $5 Million in the next three years.
- The average American spends over 8 hours online every day. That’s more time than most people spend at a full-time job.
This data can produce only one conclusion: modern businesses that hope to compete in the online arena need an SEO strategy that increases search engine results ranking.
For any firm with a sizable presence or ambition, this requires a skilled specialist.
The SEO Manager
SEO is a new field. Google has only been in existence for 24 years, which means that SEO analysts have had about two decades to master their craft. While young, the industry does have best practices, lengthy research protocols, leading talent, and ongoing process building.
What Does an SEO Manager do?
Because they are so highly specialized, SEO managers are usually outsourced. These individuals should be able to audit, analyze, and report on the current state of a firm’s site.
Then, they should deliver a strategy that addresses the three areas of SEO:
- Technical SEO — This relates to the coding and technical components of the site itself. You may hear words about schema markup, sitemaps, metadata, and more. For SEO Managers, the firm’s website is their full time job – and they should make every and any technical improvement possible to improve their rankings.
- On-Page SEO — On-page elements refer to the content on a website. The text and media on a site directly impact SEO, and a comprehensive strategy should be evident in the writing, design, and formatting of core pages as well as blogs and ongoing production efforts.
- Off-Page SEO — Off-page elements refer to anything not on the owned digital property that impacts SEO. For accounting firm SEO, this may primarily relate to backlinks, press placements, and other off-page traffic drivers.
The biggest criteria to evaluate the skill of an SEO professional is proven experience. While there is some “textbook knowledge” to be had, their chops are proven in the real world.
What is their track record of strategically leveraging on-page, off-page, and technical SEO to improve the ranking of a site and pages? There should be clear, verifiable examples of these successes and transparency into progress as the strategy moves into implementation.
Two Key Functions: SEO Strategy and SEO Management
An SEO strategist will lay out a plan that addresses the three areas delineated above. If they are employed by your firm, that strategist may also be able to manage ongoing SEO efforts.
SEO management includes the following:
- Coordination with marketing to research new keywords, keep an eye on the competitive landscape, and create the right volume of perfectly optimized content for the website.
- Working with PR to pursue backlink placement, brand mentions, and strategic partnerships with high domain authority sites that will strengthen the off-page SEO signals.
- Syncing up with IT and web developers to perform monthly SEO audits, monitoring site performance, cleaning up toxic backlinks, stewarding the sitemap development/URL structure, and more.
Firms that perform at the highest level have practices in place to ensure ongoing growth in the volume and quality of keyword rankings.
The Vital Role of SEO for Accounting Firms Today
Unlike pay per click or ad efforts, SEO builds momentum over time. It’s a long-term play that can yield dividends for years, even decades, to come. There are innumerable factors that will impact how SEO will work for your specific firm.
The right SEO expert can learn about your business, your current processes, your current site, and factor in your goals as they shape a custom strategy for growth in search engine rankings and results. They’ll partner with your content marketers to produce fresh, relevant content that builds a connection with your target audience while improving your rankings on Google.
SEO is a precision activity with immense complexities. With the right SEO management processes, optimizing your site can build an ever-expanding moat between your firm and other firms online.
The sooner you start SEO work, the better chance you have to become untouchable.
At Winding River Consulting, we are the only firm serving the accounting industry with proven, world class expertise in SEO. Our technical and on-page SEO experts have more than 15 years of in-depth experience in search engine research and results. If you are ready to deploy an ambitious, laser-focused SEO strategy, connect with us.