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SEO for Accountants: Get New Clients Without Relying on Referrals

Doug Haines

Literally thousands of people search online for accounting services each month. But few accountants put much effort into ranking in Google search results.

This creates an exciting opportunity for accountants to use search engine optimization (SEO) to generate leads and gain an edge over their competitors.

This article explains what SEO is and how it can help your accounting firm. We’ll also explain step-by-step how you can use it for your business.

What Is SEO For Accountants?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art of creating content and optimising your existing pages to rank your website on platforms like Google.

To understand SEO, you need to understand how search engines work. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. When you type something into a search engine, it scans millions of pages across the internet to provide you with a list of websites it thinks you’ll find helpful. Next time you search on Google, look at the top of the search results. You’ll see this:


That’s how many pages it has scanned and how quickly. Impressive, right?

  1. So what are search engines looking for when they scan these websites?One of the most important things is words in the content that are relevant to the user’s search query. These are called keywords or key terms.If a page has a high number of keywords, then the search engine is more likely to rank it higher on the results pages.For example, try searching for “SEO for accountants” on Google. You’ll see the term appears in all the top results.

The people who created these pages knew that using this keyword in the title would help it rank for that term on Google.

It’s important to note that keywords are one of many relevance signals that search engines consider when ranking websites.

  1. Once Google has found enough relevant web pages, it ranks them on its search engine results pages based on which one is giving off the best signals.Ideally, the top result will be the most relevant and trustworthy, although this isn’t always true as Google doesn’t judge whether something is necessarily correct.The higher your website ranks, the more people will likely click on it.

At its simplest, SEO involves optimising your content and the signals Google uses rank pages. Typical SEO optimisation strategies include:

  • Adding keywords
  • Adding images
  • Adding metadata
  • Linking to useful resources
  • Providing multimedia content

💡What is metadata?

Metadata is information added to a website’s back-end that provides context about the content of a page.It includes meta titles, which are the page titles displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs), meta descriptions that provide brief descriptions of the page, and meta tags that define specific attributes or keywords relevant to the content.

However, simply ranking on Google isn’t the end of a successful SEO strategy.

Let’s say people click on your webpage and find the content useful. You’ve not achieved much if they then leave and don’t return to your website.

Instead, you need to compel them to engage with your company further. This could include asking them to:

  • Read or watch something else useful
  • Sign up to your newsletter
  • Follow you on social media
  • Attend an event online or in-person
  • Buy your product or service
Why is SEO Valuable for Accounting Firms?

So why don’t many accountants use SEO? Most likely it’s because they rely on word of mouth to get new clients.

This means they don’t need to invest as much in marketing to keep busy. But there are several downsides to doing this:

  • It leads to an inconsistent workload
  • They can’t target the right types of clients
  • It limits their growth
  • Competitors that invest in marketing gain a larger market share

Often accountants avoid SEO because they think it will be expensive, time-consuming and won’t yield results.

But the truth is SEO offers great returns for relatively little cost. The tools are relatively cheap and you can produce content yourself if you want.

In fact, 49% all marketers say that organic search has the highest ROI of any of their marketing channels.

And research shows that it drives 1,000% more traffic than organic social media.

The best thing about SEO is once you have made that initial investment, it will continue to generate leads with almost no effort from you.

How to Use SEO to Gain More Accounting Clients

The biggest SEO challenge facing small accounting firms is competition. Established websites for well-known brands are more likely to rank for popular search terms.

Nonetheless, there are still plenty of opportunities for accounting firms to target low-competition keywords.

These are keywords that established websites don’t target. They often have lower traffic volumes but are usually easier for newer websites to rank for.

This section explains step-by-step how you can find the right keywords and turn it into content that drives leads to your business.

  1. Choose which keywords to target

The first part of an SEO strategy is to find good keywords.

A good key keyword is one that has:

  • High volume: Lots of people type it into search engines.
  • Low difficulty: Few established websites target the term.
  • Good conversion expectation: The search term implies that people want to buy accounting services.

There are tools you can use to find these keywords. At Kalium, we use Ahrefs, but other platforms like Moz or SEMRush are also good.

Type a keyword into Ahref’s Keyword Explorer and you’ll get a wealth of useful information for the term.

For example, we typed in “tax accounting”.

Here’s what we found out about it:

  • Its Keyword Difficulty rating is 30: This is medium. It won’t be easy to rank for, but it’s also doable even for new websites.
  • Its search volume is 400: This is the average number of people who type in the search term each month.
  • Other relevant search terms: Ahrefs provides other relevant keyword ideas. To find these, click “view all” in the “keyword ideas” section.

💡What is keyword difficulty?

Keyword difficulty measures how much competition is associated with ranking for a specific keyword. The higher the keyword difficulty, the more difficult it will be to rank for a term. Keyword difficulty is calculated based on the number of websites targeting the keyword, the quality of their content and how authoritative the website is. We’ll explain what makes an authoritative website later in this article.
  1. Research the type of content that ranks

Once you have an idea of which keywords you want to target, type them into Google search results to see the pages that rank for them. This will show you the kind of content you need to create. These are the top five results for the term “property accountant” on page one of Google in the UK:

All results are service pages from accounting firms. The top page is the property accounting services page from firm Provestor. You can see it in the screenshot below.

The content describes the property accounting services the firm offers and gives readers information about how to contact the business.

The four other pages from accounting firms in the top five results include similar content. This suggests Google’s algorithm has calculated that these pages match the intent of the person searching.

If the content in ranking pages isn’t relevant to your business then you can either look for a different search term or be more specific.

For example, if you work with commercial property landlords and not residential ones then you may wish to use the term “commercial property accountants”.

  1. Create your content and optimise it for search engines

Your best chance of ranking is to create a page that matches search intent, like the websites that already appear for the term.

This may mean including information about your services and how website visitors can contact you.

To have the best chance of ranking, your content needs to be valuable, high quality and offer a compelling user experience.

You should also ensure that your page reads well, loads quickly, includes relevant media or diagrams, and is an appropriate length.

Of course, it should also be a persuasive sales page that is likely to convert people from visitors to customers. Consider including:

  • Testimonials from current or past customers explaining how great your service is.
  • A compelling offer that encourages visitors to inquire about your service.
  • A call-to-action that clearly shows how visitors can take up your offer.

Information about previous results your firm has achieved for clients.

Increase your authority with backlinks

Your website receives a backlink when another site links to a piece of your content.

The theory is that people link to useful content, so the more referrals a page or website has, the better the content should be.

When ranking a website, Google considers the number of backlinks it has, how relevant the referring page is to the content, and how authoritative the site giving the backlink is.

For example, a backlink from the Financial Times has significantly more ranking power for an accounting website than one from a relatively unknown cooking blog.

Ahrefs provides a lot of insight into the backlink profile of sites that rank on Google.

The image below shows the top-ranking pages for the term “property tax accountant.” You can see that the site ranked number one has 490 backlinks from 134 domains.

The key things to look for on this page are the:

  • Domain Rating (DR): A score that ranks the strength of the domain’s backlink profile from 1 to 100, with 100 being a strong website.
  • URL Rating (UR): A score that ranks the strength of the exact URL’s backlink profile from 1 to 100, with 100 being the strongest.
  • Traffic: The estimated number of monthly unique visitors to the website.
  • Value: The estimated value of this traffic based on advertising revenue for this search term.

To rank for the keyword, your website’s DR and UR should be similar to the sites on the first page. This isn’t set in stone, though, as Google takes over 200 factors into account when ranking content.

Search intent

Google always tries to ensure its organic search results show content that matches what the searcher wants to find.

While we can guess what a user may be looking for, our idea of user intent may differ to Google’s.

As Google controls the algorithm, you should make sure your content matches what Google

thinks a useful page is.

The best way to find out what Google considers a good match is to look at the pages that are already ranking for your target term.

You should consider:

  • Type of page: Is it a blog post, article, webpage, etc?
  • Content on the page: Is it a list, an opinion piece, a news article, a how-to guide, a helpful tool, an ‘about’ page?
  • How long is the page? Does Google think a long in-depth article is required to help the user? Or is a short, snappy, article enough?
  • What content and information does the article provide? Try to cover similar topics in your content.

Looking at the results page for “property tax accountant,” you can see that most of the ranking pages are either web domains for property accountants or pages for general accountants that also offer property tax as a service.

The pages are typically short and contain information about the service. For example, this one below is from Evans & Partners.

To rank for this keyword, your best bet would be to create a page on your website that has details about your property tax accounting service and how it can help.

Site experience

Google considers the experience of using a site when deciding which websites rank. Here are some factors that affect the site experience:

  • Does your page load quickly? Site speed has become an increasingly important ranking factor in recent years. Use Google Page Speed Insights to discover how quickly your page loads and get suggestions for what to do if it is slow.
  • Is your website secure? Enable SSL on your website so people can connect securely via HTTPS. Speak to your site hosting company for more information on how to do this.
  • Does your site perform well on both mobile and desktop? Your website should be responsive so that it works equally well on both mobile and desktop. Make sure images and fonts are easy to view and that all menus and content are accessible on both platforms.
  • Is your website well-organised and easy to navigate? Think about how you structure your content to make it easy for users to find what they are looking for. This actually helps Google to find your content too. Organising your website into categories and ensuring there are lots of internal links between relevant articles can help.

Site experience is hard to define but you can get a good idea of whether people enjoy your page through Google Analytics.

This measures user engagement factors like:

  • Number of visitors
  • Number of clicks
  • Average SERP position
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Time on page
  • Traffic value

For example, if the time on a page is high, it shows people spend a long time on a page, which suggests they enjoy your content.

If they bounce straight away, it suggests it’s not what they need or they don’t like it.

Search Engine Optimization Opportunities for Accountants

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, SEO is relatively untapped in the accounting sector.

Opportunities exist for accountants to rank on Google for terms that can lead to more customers. For example:

  • Property accountant: This term has fairly low competition, a decent amount of traffic and high search intent. Most of the ranking pages are for accounting firms. There are opportunities for more specific key terms like “buy to let accountants”.
  • Personal tax accountant: While the broad term “tax accountant” is quite competitive, there are opportunities to rank for more specific services like “personal tax accountant” or “self-employed tax accountant.”
  • Ecommerce accountants: There are opportunities to rank for specific types of business accounting. The term “ecommerce accountants” gets 50 searches a month.
  • Property accountant Birmingham: Location-based terms are perfect for firms that operate out of a single area. They don’t have as much traffic as more general terms, but the specificity of the searches means they are good opportunities.
SEO for Accountants Takes Time, But the Rewards Can Be Huge

There are plenty of search terms accounting firms could rank for if they implement a good strategy.

Consider your area of expertise and perform Google searches to see what the competition looks like.

If the websites that rank are small firms rather than large publishing companies, there is every chance that you could rank too.

You should remember that SEO is not an exact science and it can take time to get good results, especially if you’re trying it out for the first time.

You also need to create high-quality, targeted content consistently for several months before you are likely to begin to rank.

Once you start to gain traction, the benefits are huge as you will receive a steady stream of potential clients visiting your site.

If your accountancy firm wants to win at SEO then get in touch with Doug today.

He’ll arrange a free SEO audit of your website and advise how you can start getting leads from Google search.

Article by:

Doug Haines

Meet Doug, the mastermind behind Kalium’s success. Learn how Doug applies SEO strategies to turn this SA travel site into a million-dollar company.

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