Having your accounting or tax website rank on the first page of Google is crucial if you want to grow your practice. The higher you rank, the more traffic you’ll receive. In fact, the first result on Google gets 31.7% of all clicks. Meanwhile, results on the second page receive just 0.78% of clicks. It might not seem like a huge difference to come in at #11 vs. #9, but it drastically hurts your chances of earning those coveted clicks from high intent prospects. And if you really want to guarantee clicks vs. your competitors, you need to aim for ranking #1. This can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t know much about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Not to fear: in this article, we’ll walk you through 12 secrets to getting your accountant website to rank high on Google.
1. Audit your current Google footprint
To know where you need to improve, you have to know where your website stands. Start by checking how you rank for important keywords like “[city, state] accountant” or “tax help near [city]”. Tools such as Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, and Semrush are good for checking keywords. If you’re a CountingWorks PRO client with a Spotlight or Premier package, we take care of this for you. Next, check your site speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. The speed of your site is even more important now, following Google’s page experience update (more on that later).
2. Make sure your site looks good on mobile
These days, more than half of all website traffic comes from a mobile device, so your site needs to be mobile-friendly to ensure you’re providing a good user experience. Using an accountant website provider like CountingWorks PRO that is built to be mobile-responsive will make this simple (and your site visitors will appreciate it).
3. Claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing and build up reviews
If you haven’t claimed your GMB profile yet, go do this right now. GMB is one of the most crucial pieces to helping your web properties rank higher on Google. It should come as no surprise that Google likes to see its own products being utilized (e.g. GMB), so having an accurate, optimized, and active GMB profile will help you rank higher overall. While there are many factors that affect your search rankings, customer reviews are some of the most important. Building up lots of 5-star reviews on your GMB profile is a good signal to search engines that you are trustworthy and authoritative. Plus, it helps differentiate you in the eyes of prospects when they’re searching for tax or accounting help online.
4. Optimize for local search
Those “accountant near me” searches are becoming more and more common, so it’s important to optimize your online presence for local search as well. This means improving your GMB listing, creating consistent Google Posts, ensuring your business information is accurately listed in directories, and getting plenty of 5-star reviews. All of these factors are signals to Google that you are a high-quality business in your locale and will boost the search ranking of your website and other properties (social media, guest posts, TaxBuzz & CountingWorks profiles, etc).
5. Write valuable, SEO-optimized content
Written content like blogs and white papers are a great way to bring leads into your site, and they also help you rank for valuable keywords. You should be posting content consistently on topics your prospects and clients care about. For example:
- SMB issues
- IRS tax problems
- Important events in the life of a business
- Personal finance tips
- Tax & accounting advice
- Key legislation and regulatory updates
Don’t try to fake it here. Make sure your content is high-value, keyword-rich, accurate, timely, and interesting to the reader. (These tips hold true for the general copy on your website pages as well.)
6. Aim for featured snippets
Even if you’ve never heard of featured snippets, you’ve probably seen them. Also called “zero-click searches,” these are those answers that Google features at the top of the results page so users can get an answer right away. Oftentimes, this means they will just exit the search results without clicking on any link (hence the “zero-click” name). Capturing the top spot for these featured snippets comes down to the content on your site. To increase your chances, think of common questions or likely searches related to your business, and write clear, authoritative answers for them on your site. Listicles, glossary pages, and FAQ are great ways to optimize for zero-click search.
7. Fix broken links
If links on your website pages or blogs are broken (i.e. they lead to a page that no longer exists or give viewers a 404 error), that can hurt your SEO and your user experience. Tools like BrokenLinkCheck.com can help you find and fix these problems quickly.
8. Optimize for voice search
Voice search is becoming increasingly common, and there are several reasons you’ll want to spend some time on this:
- You need to be optimized for voice search in order to be accessible to leads online
- Voice search improves the client experience during the acquisition stage
- If you arent showing up in voice search, you are missing out on web traffic
In fact, Google has reported that “____ near me now” searches have increased by 150% over the last two years.We wrote a full, in-depth blog on optimizing your website for voice search. Check it out here.
9. Fix your H1 and H2 header tags
Having headers on your pages will make them easier to read for users, but it also makes your content easier for search engines to understand. Be sure to separate your content into chunks with H1 and H2 tags, and include the keywords you’re trying to target in the headers when applicable.
10. Optimize your site images
Having images on your site is a great way to make it more aesthetically pleasing and interesting to visitors, but it’s important that you do these three things for each image:
- Compress the file so it doesn’t slow down your site
- Write a descriptive file name
- Include alt text for accessibility or in case someone’s browser doesn’t show your image
Following these rules will ensure that including images helps your search ranking instead of hurting it.
11. Keep an eye on Google algorithm changes
According to Moz, there are an estimated 500 - 600 Google algorithm changes per year. Obviously, it’s impossible for anyone to keep track of every update – but there are less frequent, major algorithm changes that you should be aware of. Most of these will call for some adjustments to your SEO strategy. Keep in mind that most information on the content of the algorithm and any changes that occur comes down to speculation from industry professionals. Marketing expert Neil Patel explained this well: “The best knowledge we have of Google’s algorithm comes in the form of major algorithm updates like:
- Mobile-first update (July 2019): Googlebot now looks at all websites as a smartphone, prioritizing sites that work well on mobile devices.
- Mobile-friendly update (April 2015): Favoring websites with mobile-friendly versions and setting the stage for future penalties if sites don’t comply.
- Pigeon (July 2014): Worked to integrate local search results like Google Maps.
- Hummingbird (August 2013): Aimed to understand the context and intent behind a user’s search instead of just looking at the literal words they typed.
- Penguin (April 2012): Targeted spammers and sites that buy unnatural links to boost their rankings.”
One such algorithm change that we have more information on is the page experience update, which started rolling out on June 15, 2021. In this update:
- The importance of speed, performance, and aesthetics increased
- Three new metrics for user friendliness were added
- Visuals became more crucial
- And much more
All in all, most experts sum it up by saying that customer-centric websites (those that focus on user experience) will perform better on Google.
12. Get active on social media
Adjacent properties to your website, such as social media profiles, can also boost your SEO. While social media isn’t a ranking factor (so it won’t directly help your rankings), “the benefits of social media do feed into SEO.” There are several ways this can happen:
- Bring more traffic to your content
- Gain backlinks
- Earn search rankings with your social profiles themselves
- Build social trust and topical authority
- Bring more traffic to your website
As Search Engine Journal puts it, “Everything you do to build your business online should work together. SEO and social media both have their own benefits for businesses, but they’re even more effective when they support one another.” Another of our blogs – “5 Reasons Why Social Media Is Imperative for Tax and Accounting Practices” – dives deeper into this topic.
How to get your accountant website to rank on Google
Following these 12 tips will set your accountant or tax website on the right path to improve your search ranking on Google. If this seems overwhelming to you, don’t worry. CountingWorks PRO can help you boost your search rankings in the markets that matter most to you – and most of it is automated right within our platform. Learn more about our packages and SEO features here, or set up a demo to see it in action.