Google is stealing your practice website traffic. Here’s what to do about it.

The trend of zero-click search means a large amount of search traffic is funneling through Google My Business listings rather than your website.

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Practice Marketing

Google is stealing your practice website traffic. Here’s what to do about it.

July 8, 2022
min read
Lee Reams
CEO | CountingWorks PRO

More than 50% of all of Google’s queries end up being what are called “zero-click searches."“What are they?” I hear you ask.Zero-click searches happen when you Google something and the answer you’re looking for appears in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Instead of Google serving as a matchmaker, matching searchers to your business website, Google is taking all the glory and answering people’s queries for you. Don’t believe me?Pick a word, any word. Ask Google to define it. At the top of the results, you’ll see the definition right there. Dictionary.com doesn’t even get a look in. That is the work of The Google Knowledge Graph. It presents to you the information it deems to be the most relevant based on the query you put in.

Similarly, if you search for business services, you won’t get a list of websites anymore. You’ll get your local business listings. For example, if you type in ‘tax accountant’ the Google Assistant will show you top-rated local providers. This is happening to countless websites across different industries, tax and accounting included.This now means that relying on your practice website and organic traffic isn’t an optimal marketing strategy. As Google siphons off more and more of that traffic every day, it’s vital that practices optimize their entire web presence – including their website but also beyond it – in order to earn the attention they want from searchers.So what should you do about it?

Google My Business Listings

If the Google Knowledge Graph and Google My Business (GMB) listings are funneling off more and more of the overall search traffic, it makes sense to play Google at their own game.With a GMB listing, searchers, without leaving Google, can now be connected straight to your business without landing on your website.This brings us to the most important takeaway of this post. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get your Google My Business listing looking great.

Why bother with Google My Business?

1. They convert traffic… for free

Pay-per-click ads have been used by local businesses for a long time, but depending on the keyword, this can be a costly way to generate conversions. With a GMB listing, that is not necessary. If you appear at the top of those results, customers simply need to click a link to contact your practice.The likelihood is that a good chunk of those customers are ready to spend money and you didn’t have to fund a pay-per-click campaign to reach them.

2. Your organic web traffic is in jeopardy

As we’ve already discussed, Google has become more intelligent and more aware of how to give searchers what they need right away. Traditional organic search results are taking a hit as a direct result of this. This is because of the Google mobile-first directive; increasingly, the internet is being built on the basis of how we use our smartphones. Less screen real estate means fewer spots for your tax and accounting practice to show in the SERP results. If you aren’t at the top of that screen, the chances of people clicking onto your website drop dramatically. As a local business, you’ve got to get on this train quickly to regain that lost organic traffic and get your practice in front of customers.

3. A general search produces local results

There are around 200 million active websites on the internet right now. The odds of being found online can feel quite overwhelming when you look at that figure. But for local businesses, being found is easier now if you know what to do.Google figured out that 46% of searches for services like accountants, restaurants, and hairdressers are looking for search results in the local area. You aren’t competing with the accounting practices in Nepal. You’re competing with the other tax and accounting practice down the street. So, with Google featuring local business listings like an online phonebook, if your practice is not well ranked in your local GMB results, you’re missing out on the majority of your potential web traffic.

How do you optimize your GMB listing?

1. Claim and Optimize Your Listing

It’s free to be in control of your listing, so there’s no reason not to be.The amount of unclaimed GMB listings on the internet is truly shocking. Many accounting and tax practices don't even claim their listing, and others who do claim it leave it completely bare.This is a wasted opportunity.Make sure that all the details are up to date and include all of those little things that people look for, such as opening times, correct contact numbers, and pictures of where your office is located. These are all important details to help convey that you are a legitimate (and active) practice. A completed profile will help you outrank your peers and appear at the top of those Google search results.

2. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

According to Bright Local, 90% of consumers read reviews of local businesses. 52% of those consumers always do this. Only 50% of consumers would consider using a business that has less than a 4-star overall rating.The long and short of it? Reviews matter.When people are deciding whether or not to do business with your practice, they’re going to be looking at what others think of your brand – and they won’t necessarily be looking for that information on your website.Reviews from trusted third party sites like GMB, TaxBuzz, and CountingWorks will influence where people choose to spend their money. New prospects aren’t going to trust your splashy ad copy right off the bat. They want to see what others are saying about you on sites they trust. So, make sure you prioritize getting your existing customers to leave a review of their experiences. These reviews are going to be one of your key marketing assets as a local business and should not be overlooked. Make sure that “fresh” reviews are being added consistently as well; three reviews from five years ago are better than nothing, but they don't necessarily inspire confidence in newer prospects.

3. Update your GMB with a constant flow of content

Google has recently added the ability to share content via your GMB profiles. Google uses this activity to help rank which profiles are going to add the most value for search engine users.We use this to our advantage with our GMB automated posting services, included in all Growth level marketing packages. Now more than ever with the COVID-19 emergency, taxpayers and business owners are in need of tax and financial advice. Having a steady stream of informative content on your GMB will help lift your CPA, EA, bookkeeping, or tax pro activity in search rankings, and more importantly, showcase your expertise with web browsers. The beauty of investing a little bit of time in this, is the fact that a fully optimized GMB profile brings you closer to your customers. Visitors no longer need to visit your website to call you, find directions, send you messages, ask questions, schedule an appointment, or find special offers. In addition to this, any content you’ve produced isn’t wasted and it can be shared as well. Everything is loaded onto your GMB profile and it’s ready to go. Essentially you’re just following Google’s lead and cutting out the middleman.[caption id="attachment_3487" align="aligncenter" width="388"]

Example of GMB posting[/caption]

Don’t have time?

It can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. The nature of SEO is that the goal posts are constantly shifting. Organic traffic today could still lead to no traffic tomorrow. More and more it feels like staying updated on these changes is a full time job.That’s where we come in. CountingWorks PRO has years of experience working with top-performing practices. Combined with our data-driven research, we’ve cracked the code for Google My Business optimization and are offering it to our Growth level marketing subscribers – at no additional cost.This means our clients will have industry-leading GMB profiles with social posting, proven to bring more clients, more revenue, and greater visibility so customers can find you.Lots of tax and accounting practices are still behind the times with their marketing. You can stand out by using this limited time window to be ahead of the curve and get your online reputation up to scratch.No matter how you choose to go about it, an optimized Google My Business listing – including posts – can get your practice found by more prospective clients. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how this works, contact us today at 1-800-442-2477 x3 or set up some time to speak with one of our digital marketing experts. We’re here to help!

Lee Reams
CEO | CountingWorks PRO

As the founder and CEO of CountingWorks, Inc, Lee is passionate about helping independent tax and accounting professionals compete in the modern age. From time-saving digital onboarding tools, world-class websites, and outbound marketing campaigns, lee has been developing best-in-class marketing solutions for over twenty years.

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