Content Marketing for Accountants
Accounting firms get most of their work from:
These are profitable avenues which generate loyal customers, but there are other complimentary tactics to add more revenue. This report looks at a much-overlooked marketing approach for accounting firms – content-driven search engine optimisation.
Search engine optimisation (or SEO) has a horrendous reputation and conjures images of teenagers in basements trying to con Google into getting top page rankings. This wasn’t too far from the truth ten years ago, but as Google has become more sophisticated, the tactics required to appear on searches have become less clandestine and more accessible.
Broadly, Google uses three factors to decide how well to rank your website:
- Content – do you give the reader what they want?
- Links – do other reputable websites link to you?
- RankBrain – A Google algorithm which uses machine learning to detect relevant results.
Because the lifetime value for one new client is so high, making even a small percentage increase in relevant search traffic can have a big impact on website enquiries and revenue. Let’s take a look at the opportunity in more detail.
In content marketing we first need to decide who to target; we can do this by focusing on specific search terms – these terms give us an idea of the searcher’s intent. There are thousands of search terms, and we want to target ones that will generate the most profitable search traffic.
Here are some term categories which have good potential:
- Search for services by geography (e.g. accountant in London)
- Search for services by specialism (e.g. tax accountant)
- Search for services by geography and specialism (e.g. charity accountant in Cheshire)
- Search for advice (e.g. set up a limited company)
These key terms will be rated according to relevancy (are they going to get you actual clients?), difficulty (how hard will it be to rank on page #1?) and volume (how much search traffic is there?). We want keywords which are:
- High relevancy
- Low difficulty
- High traffic
In other words, key terms which will get you lots of clients that no-one else is searching for; let’s take a look at a few good options.
Key term #1 – Accountant in London
(difficulty: hard, traffic: 900 per month, relevancy: very high)
This is a great term for an accounting firm in London; users are looking for an accountant so are very qualified. 900 searches per month is ok – it means if you can get onto the first page of Google you can have multiple visitors per month. It’s worth noting that there will be lots of derivative search terms that you will likely get traffic from (e.g. London accountants). A number one listing here is probably worth tens of new clients per month; even a first-page listing would see new clients in the pipeline every month. The downside is that the competition is tough to rank for this term.
Key Term #2 – Charity Accountants
(difficulty: easy, traffic: 150 per month, relevancy: very high)
If working with charities is a service you offer, this keyword is a no-brainer. It’s pretty easy to rank for it – there isn’t a lot of traffic but the traffic you get will be highly targeted and as with the London search term there will be some variations you will rank for as well. A number one ranking here will be valuable and anywhere on the first page should add new clients.
Key Term #3 – R&D Tax Credits
(difficulty: medium, traffic: 3400 per month, relevancy: some)
This is an interesting term which has great potential. As you can see the search traffic for the term is pretty high (certainly a lot higher than the more specific searches we’ve already covered). It’s also relatively easy to rank for (it’s low/medium difficulty), so the key question is on relevancy – how many people searching this term are looking for someone to help with their R&D tax credits and are willing to pay for it. Let’s run some rough calculations.
- Around £3 billion is claimed in R&D tax credits per year.
- Let’s say the average claim is £100,000.
- That’s around 30,000 businesses claiming.
- Let’s say 50% do it themselves and 35% use their current accountant.
- That leaves 15% actively looking for someone to help them.
- That’s 4,500 businesses searching for help.
- Let’s assume an average R&D tax claim fee is 15% of £100,000 = £15,000.
- The market to be won every year for R&D tax accountants is £67.5m
- That sounds about right and is probably conservative.
- Let’s say 10% of the new business won starts with a Google search – that’s £6.7m up for grabs through Google organic search.
- Getting a ranking on page one for the R&D key terms could be worth millions in fees. Position three or four could conservatively be worth 10% of that figure so the yearly value may be as high as £675.000.
How to Rank
There are millions of words written on the internet about how to perform SEO and it’s hard to work out the best approach. Here are the main points:
Make your website a user-friendly place to visit. Give users what they want, whether it’s advice, services information, how to contact key employees or to download a paper. Make the experience simple and easy. Google evaluates how long people stay on your site when they visit so making it a great place to visit is the first step. This includes easy navigation, excellent content and a great design.
Give the search engines what they need. Search engines are pretty clever, but they are still engines. The site needs to be laid out in a way so that Google can crawl your site quickly and easily to find what it needs. This will include boring technical stuff like on-page optimisation, sitemaps and load times.
Get other people to recommend you with links. One of the key ways Google will determine your site’s reputation is by who links to you. If the Financial Times, Economist and Oxford University cite you in articles on new accounting principles, that tells Google you’re credible and will push you up the rankings.
There is a lot more nuance to search engine optimisation than this but these underlying principles will form the bedrock of a good campaign.
For a free consultation with Kalium to look at how to grow your organic traffic please e-mail Doug on firstname.lastname@example.org