Category: Websites

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Quick and easy SEO tips for small firms

Inexperienced accounting firms often view SEO as a complicated and confusing online strategy. But this isn’t necessarily always the case.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It is an umbrella term used for all the methods and strategies accounting firms can use to ensure the visibility of their website on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Despite what some may think, there is quite a bit small accounting firms can do to improve their SEO, without needing any great understanding or knowledge of SEO and without having to spend too much money.

Here is a list of things accountants can do to improve their firm’s SEO.

Set up a Google My Business account
A My Business account on Google is free and enables firms to appear in local search results for queries that are specific to their area of expertise.

Fix your website download speed
Optimising your website to have a fast loading speed will help your firm stand out from the competition concerning online performance.

Understand your online audience
When accountants understand their online audience, only then will they understand what they need to do online to grab their attention i.e. if a firm’s audience spends most of their time on Facebook, that firm should focus effort there. Not having a thorough understanding of your audience means your firm won’t be able to make efficient use of the online channels at your disposal.

Look at how search engines display results in your niche
Too often, small firms have no idea who they are competing with on search engines e.g. firms wanting to focus on a keyword that has a lot of larger firms ranking on the first page need to realise that their expectations need to be tempered.

Claim your address on Google Maps
You firm has a physical location, so make sure you claim the address on Google Maps.

Launch a blog and create content
Content is what helps firms rank for their target terms. And while building a blog shouldn’t just be done for SEO reasons, it does present an opportunity for firms to talk about their services and the issues around them.

Blog regularly
If you do have a blog, make sure you update it regularly. This doesn’t mean updating it with five articles a day; as long as the content is regularly published, visitors and search engines have something to read.

Use internal linking to optimise your website
Effective internal linking is when firms link topics and themes together on their website in a more sensible way for visitors and search engines. For example, if your firm provides SMSF services, you’ll probably have lots of articles using that phrase. Since they’re not all going to rank for that term, choose the website page you’d most like to rank for SMSF, and point links to that.

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What your website needs to increase traffic and sales

It can be hard for accountants with little or no web experience to know if they have everything they need on their website for it to truly be successful.

A truly successful website is one that gets continual traffic, can grab visitors’ attention and convert visits to sales. Here are some features accounting firms need on their website to attract more traffic and bridge the gaps to achieve some returns from their online presence.

A mobile version
With the majority of people now accessing the internet on mobile devices than personal computers, firms need to ensure their clients’ mobile visits to the website are seamless. Google has expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal providing another reason for firms to ensure they have a mobile version of their site.

A fast loading time
Slow websites often result in potential clients leaving before they get to have a good look around. Many free sites provide the opportunity for accountants to test their website’s speed. If you discover an issue, find out what needs to be fixed and fix it.

An email signup form
Not having an email signup form means new visitors arriving to a firm’s website means the firm isn’t able to collect their email addresses to engage them with promotions, announcements or newsletters. Firms can easily embed a signup form on their website to collect email addresses and additional details from your customers.

Social media icons on the website
If your firm is having a hard time building your social media following, make it easy for clients to follow you by adding social media buttons and icons to your website. Having easy-to-spot social icons on your website may result in an increase in followers, likes or retweets.

A phone number and physical address
Firms should post their physical address and contact number on their Contact Us page or at the bottom of their homepage. Most people feel more comfortable if there’s a phone number they can call with questions or concerns.

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Seven reasons why every accountant needs a website

With 94 per cent of Australians now using the Internet daily to search for information and compare prices prior to contacting an accounting firm, having a professional website has become a key necessity for today’s accountant.

Most accountants are accustomed to building their business through referrals. But in today’s market, that network can only take you so far.

As more consumers turn to the Internet to gauge a company’s legitimacy, a website now provides one of the first chances accountants have to make a good impression on potential clients.

However, accountants must have a professional-looking site if they want to be taken seriously. A well-designed site will project the image and professionalism of an accounting firm. But a website that is visually unappealing and hard to navigate around will lose the firm’s chance at making that good first impression.

Having an online presence has become an important part of an accountant’s business. Here are the top seven reasons why:

  • It reaches potential and current clients

The emerging generation has never known life without a digital world of connection. Considering the rapid growth and popularity of social media and blogs, it is evident that without a credible web presence, accounting firms don’t exist for an expanding segment of their target market.

  • A website communicates with clients 24/7

Even during times when your office or practice is closed, your website remains open to the public. Online viewers can get to know your firm and the services it offers through the information provided on your website at their convenience – no need to set up a meeting or interview.

  • Improves firm marketing

Printed marketing material, such as business cards, newsletters and other stationery is static and often given to potential clients after a first impression has been made. A website is dynamic and can help firms make that good first impression on clients. It can also help reinforce the messages of a firm’s printed marketing material.

  • Increases a firm’s brand awareness and recognition

Websites can reveal a personal side of a firm that prospective and current clients won’t usually see through standard marketing techniques.

  • It expands your reach

People no longer have to travel to your office to access your services if you have a website. An accountant’s website provides access to the public from the comfort of their own space.

  • Increases a firm’s online visibility

A well–built website can increase its visibility to search engines, like Google, which people use to find information online. A firm with strong online visibility, therefore, can drive more traffic to their website.

  • Keeps firms ahead of the competition

With potential clients basing their decisions on the standard of a website, an engaging and usable site can help level out the competition between your firm and your competitors.

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How to blog better in less time

Blogging is one of the best ways accountants can improve their website’s SEO rankings, increase traffic to their website and regularly share high-quality content on social media.

However, the above results can only be achieved if accountants post content to their blog on a regular basis. While the idea of blogging regularly can seem daunting to the time-poor accountant, there are ways they can speed up the process and still see the same results.

  • Read other blogs

If time spent brainstorming or researching ideas is taking up too much time, have a look at what other industry professionals or your competitors are writing about. This can help accountants see what topics or subjects resonate with their target audience, and also help find new ideas or material that can be built on.

  • Write about what you know

Rather than wasting time researching a topic or subject that you don’t know much about, focus on your professional expertise to provide clients with information they can use. Sometimes the things that seem simple to you are far more interesting and valuable to those looking for more information on that subject.

  • Keep yourself accountable

When you have a firm to run and clients to attend to, ensuring that your firm’s blog is consistently updated doesn’t usually find its way to the top of an accountant’s to-do list. Nevertheless, maintaining a consistent blogging schedule is key to a firm’s online marketing strategy. Share your blogging deadlines with colleagues who can help contribute to the blog or edit posts when you don’t have time.

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Common keyword mistakes to avoid

Keyword research is an important activity in regards to search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing, as ranking for the appropriate and best keywords can make or break a website.

However, there are quite a few common mistakes online businesses make when engaging in keyword research.

Avoiding the below mistakes can help save time, re-think an online marketing strategy and drive the right clients to your firm’s website.

  • Choosing irrelevant keywords

Quite often, people make the mistake of picking keywords with high search volumes in their industry, instead of paying attention to the relevancy of keywords to their target audience. For example, targeting wealthy individuals who are searching for a good accountant in Sydney by using keywords like ‘low-cost accounting services Sydney’ or ‘affordable Sydney accounting firm’.

These people aren’t searching for those keywords. Instead, accountants should optimise for keywords like ‘best accountant Sydney’ or ‘quality accounting services Sydney’. Every client has different needs and concerns and therefore use different words when they search. Each online searcher is looking for something, and a firm’s website needs to provide the answer.

  • Focusing on too keywords that are specific

Accountants with a larger website and therefore lots of possible keywords combinations may be tempted to optimise every little combination in an attempt to cover them all. However, most lengthy combinations have low search volumes. Targeting too many keywords can also detract from the most important keywords. Accountants should focus on the keywords that have good search volumes instead of generic keywords, or keywords that are too specific. Keyword quality is far more important than keyword quantity.

  • Using the wrong keywords on the wrong pages

Once an accountant has chosen his or her keywords, they need to figure out where to place them on their firm’s website. A common mistake is to add irrelevant keywords to pages with content that doesn’t match the keywords or the search intent. It is not a simple case of putting keywords on a page; it involves matching each keyword with search intent and each website page’s copy.

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SEO proof blog posts

Optimising your blog posts helps to ensure your posts have the best chance of being found, read and shared by your target audience while improving your page’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Search engine optimisation (SEO) may sound complicated to beginners, however, grasping the basics of SEO is quite simple and easy to put into practice. Here are a few tips to improve your blog posts performance:

  • Keywords

Keywords are the words and/or phrases readers will search for to find information on specific topics. Aim to use keywords throughout your blog posts without compromising user readability. Although, adding relevant keywords to your text is helpful; it is more important to focus on the quality of the content rather than the targeted keywords. Adding too many keywords in an attempt to improve SEO is considered “keyword stuffing,” which will actually lower your rankings.

  • URL

URLs must be clear, simple and relevant. It is preferable to use a short URL that conveys all the necessary information about your content. SEO friendly URLs are typically between 50-80 characters and include your targeted keyword phrase.

  • Headline

The headline is the first point of attraction for the reader, if it isn’t appealing it will not generate a click. A headline needs to be concise, relevant and ideally keyword-optimised. Although, it is no longer necessary to use specific keywords in your title, it may be useful to include your main keyword phrase to provide readers with more context of the topic you are covering.

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Improve your blog with a writing checklist

Blogging is an essential feature of many firms’ digital marketing strategy. It can be an effective way to demonstrate expertise and interact with clients on a regular basis.

However, blogging is not always a straightforward task – the content may come easy but it’s the little details that can set share-worthy and sloppy blog posts apart.

Using a writing checklist is a great way to ensure your blog posts are consistent in quality, style and tone. Here are five things to consider before publishing each blog post:

– Check the category

Before publishing a blog post, be sure to choose an appropriate category as it will assist readers searching for specific content on your blog and, therefore, improve user experience.

– Include appropriate keywords

Ensure to include your primary keyword and keyword phrases where it fits naturally throughout your content. Incorporate variations of your primary keyword as well, such as synonyms Google associates with your primary keyword.

– Use an appealing headline and hook

The headline and first paragraphs of your post should be catchy and instantly appeal to the reader. If the headline is not relevant or interesting it won’t convert to a click. Make sure your headline is short but meaningful and makes use of emotional words and benefit statements.

– Double-check spelling and grammar

Spelling and grammar mistakes are not only unprofessional but they can be a surefire way to lose blog subscribers too. Be sure to proofread posts and get at least one other person to check for typos, grammar mistakes and consistent tone.

– Use links and meta tags

Adding relevant and reputable external links can add value to the reader and help build your online reputation. Internal links are important too, consider adding 2-3 links to relevant pages on your site. Check meta tags are present in the title, description, keywords and alt-tag for images.

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Repurposing your content

Creating new content for your blog or site can be challenging; not only does it involve a lot of time but it can require a great deal of creativity.

Fortunately, businesses do not need to write fresh content all the time – old content can be repurposed to make the most out of each of your ideas.

Repurposing content can help expand your reach to new audiences that might have missed it the first time and helps to reinforce key messages. Here are three ways to repurpose your content:

Create a presentation or video

Blog posts can be transformed into a presentation or video and promoted through various social media channels. A presentation or video can reach those audiences who prefer visual content instead of text. Using video content is especially good for refreshing those ‘how-to’ blog posts, checklists and step-by-step guides.

Turn it into an infographic

Visual images have been shown to generate more traffic and engagement than text alone. Consider turning your blog posts into infographics to help make information eye-catching and potentially shareable.

Reuse on social media

It may seem obvious, but reposting on social media can help to drive your key messages. Change a blog post’s heading or include new quotes or statistics to give the post a new edge. This strategy helps to give old, low performing posts another chance to capture your target audience’s attention.

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How to avoid running out of blog post ideas

A problem facing many accountants and financial planners who have chosen to embark on an online marketing strategy is coming up with ideas to blog about on a regular basis.

The ability to generate content consistently can be overwhelming, especially for those in the corporate world who also have to deal with the daily ins and outs of running a successful accounting firm.

However, successful blogs depend on the blogger consistently publishing and sharing fresh, new content that is relevant and engaging to readers. Here are three ways accountants can come up with more ideas, more quickly to share on their blogs:

Read what other people are publishing

Have a look at what other accounting firms are blogging about and what news sources and other online publications are publishing to their websites. This can give you an idea of topics, trends and issues in the industry that are quite popular and relevant to readers that you can also blog about. Accountants can then base their blog post on the latest topic or trend and add their own perspective to it or translate the information in such a way that would make it easy for their audience to understand.

Check social media

Accountants who stay on top of their social media feed can see what followers, customers and other users are discussing. See if there are questions that are being frequently asked or concerns commonly expressed that you could address or answer in a blog post.

Use old content

Don’t be afraid to reuse old content if it is still relevant in the future. Often, an accountant may have addressed a topic already i.e. salary-sacrificing arrangements, but if new legislation, strategies or rules are introduced, the topic can be addressed again with a different angle or it can even be expanded upon. Have a look through previous posts to find blog posts on topics that could revisited, reconstructed and republished.