With outbound marketing campaigns becoming less effective, proactive accounting firms are turning their attention toward strategic inbound campaigns. In a nutshell, your inbound campaign encompasses all the techniques you employ to allow your firm to “get found”. Many of your prospects are already researching accounting services online. Put your firm in a position to attract those prospects naturally. To get you started, I’m going to list some basic search engine optimization tips for CPA firms:
Write good content – Write your pages primarily for your prospects, not the search engines. Create a useful, information-rich site. If you have a blog, update it often. Not only will you garner good SEO value, a stale blog sends the wrong message to prospects who visit your site. Content drives visibility, but you can’t sacrifice your message to attract visitors.
Use appropriate <title> elements and ALT attributes – Search engines consider your title to be among the most important elements when associating your page with a particular topic. Use unique, keyword-rich titles for each page. 70 characters or less is ideal.
Avoid duplicate content – If your site has identical content to 20 other sites on the web, or even on your own website, your page has nothing to contribute in the eyes of the search engine. Your site will likely be penalized.
Include all your important text in HTML format – Flash files, images, photos, video, audio & plug-in content are inherently invisible to search engines. Video, on the other hand can be a critical element of your SEO strategy, if done correctly.
Don’t employ deceptive techniques – Don’t try to trick the search engines by presenting different content to search engines than you display to your readers. Be careful when selecting an SEO vendor, just ask JCPenney.
Create a sitemap – Your sitemap will allow easier indexing of your site. It’s a simple step, but absent a sitemap, it can take a search engine months to crawl your entire site.
Run a crawl on your site to find problems and errors – There are a number of tools available to help you, or you can contact a marketing firm for assistance. Having a good foundation that doesn’t cripple your site before you get started is essential.
This is only the tip of a very daunting iceberg, but using this list to shore up your CPA firm’s SEO strategy will get you off to the right start. Beyond that, employing a search engine expert to do advanced optimization should not be expensive.