Last week, Google starting rolling out a new Panda update to its search algorithm. This update is supposed to help smaller tax accounting websites be more competitive.
First, some background.
Over the last year and half, Google has been making major changes to its search algorithm and the design of local search results that has resulted in many smaller tax accounting firms being pushed close to the bottom of Page 1. The search results real estate has gotten very crowded with Google adding its Google + map listings right in the middle of Page 1. You will also notice that directory review sites, like Yelp, have moved much higher in the results.
If you are in a market that is competitive, you can take several steps to combat and actually get rewarded by the Panda update.
#1 - Get more reviews: Statistics are telling us not to be afraid of reviews. Reviews are also driving hundreds of leads to tax accountants who have built a strong library of reviews. More importantly we know that the modern day word of mouth includes what people say about you on review sites, both the good and the bad.
#2 - Claim your Google + listing: While Google has not overtaken Facebook by any means, the Google + business profile is a huge part of Google’s search results. Many think it is almost 20% of the equation. Is your contact information correct? Do you have reviews? Do you post your blog articles regularly on Google +? If you answer “yes” to all three of these questions, you are probably sitting pretty.
#3 - Expand your social media presence: Experts believe that social signals make up over 10% of the Google ranking algorithm. Whether this is accurate or not we have seen the following benefits of having a strong social presence. First, think of social media as an extension of your email newsletters. Basically you are setting yourself up to engage with clients where they are spending their time online. Getting likes, comments and reviews helps build up your overall online reputation.
# 4 - Establish yourself as an expert with custom content: Content is really important when it comes to search rankings. When you are developing content there are few items to consider. Make sure what you are writing about fits with the rest of your content. Choose a topic that has a purpose. For example, are you looking for clients who have stock option plans? Than write a series of articles on the questions they may be asking or searching for. The more focused your article the better the quality of your leads.
#5 - The future is in mobile: Google has slowly been losing its audience to mobile apps. That is why making sure you have updated all of the major directory sites with your correct contact information is so important. Users now find you from their phones versus a desktop Google search. In addition, inbound links from these online profiles help your online reputation.
CountingWorks PRO (previously ClientWhys) has been analyzing these developments and has spent the entire summer and several hundred thousand dollars (and hours) building out the new TaxBuzz.com directory. We plan to launch this November. Think of it as Yelp on steroids…but we are on your side.
This will be free to all Connect clients and will include a robust, search engine-friendly profile, instant appointment scheduling and client review tools. Our customers will have a competitive advantage this tax season, and we are backing our directory up with a PR and online marketing effort.
So stay tuned for our launch date.
We have also introduced a full-service marketing program where we manage the five aforementioned best practices for you. We know what works and we know your time is limited. If you are interested, give us a call 1.800.442.2477 x3 to get more information.
Update: Since the date of this posting, we have launched both our TaxBuzz and CountingWorks marketplace sites, as well as transitioned our marketing and reputation management services to CountingWorks PRO.