As an accountant or bookkeeper, chances are that you rely on finding local clients to sustain and grow your practice. While traditional marketing methods such as word-of-mouth recommendations and print ads can still be effective ways to advertise in your local area, the digital age often requires a new approach.
In this article, we'll explore some local SEO tactics that can help you boost your practice’s presence in search engines and attract more clients.
What is SEO?
‘SEO’ stands for search engine optimisation. It’s the process of improving your online presence so that people are more likely to find information about your practice when they’re searching online using search engines.
Search engines like Google and Bing use hundreds of factors to determine how and where they display the pages of your website. The job of an SEO professional is to improve a business’s website according to these factors so that it gets more visitors.
Many larger businesses have a dedicated team working on an SEO marketing strategy or a digital marketing agency that provides SEO services, but if you don’t have these resources at your disposal, don’t worry - you can still take advantage of ‘local SEO’.
What is local SEO?
A local SEO strategy involves targeting search queries (the words people type into search engines) with a location-based focus.
For example, if you run a bookkeeping practice in Stevenage, your strategy would focus on making sure you appear in search results when someone searches for ‘bookkeepers in Stevenage’ or another similar query using a search engine.
A local approach to SEO requires less time and resource than a full-blown SEO strategy, but it still helps you to drive relevant traffic to your practice’s website.
Local SEO tips for practices
Ready to get going? We’ve outlined five things below that you can do to improve the visibility of your practice in local search results. As Google and Bing currently account for over 90% of searches in the UK, our tips are focused on these search engines.
1. Put your practice on the map
When you look at the search engine results page (SERP) for a local search query, you’ll notice that the page often displays a map along with the details of local businesses.
This is called the ‘local pack’ and it’s relatively simple to get listed on it. Simply fill out a Google Business Profile and Bing Places directory listing as fully as possible and anyone searching nearby for local terms will stand a chance of seeing your business listing.
2. Encourage clients to leave reviews
Online reviews can determine where search engines place your business in their search results. For example, Google rewards business owners who respond promptly to reviews as it’s a clear signal that the business values customer feedback, so make sure you check the reviews on your business listings regularly.
High-quality positive reviews are likely to increase the visibility of your listing, so it’s a good idea to send a link to your reviews page in your emails to clients or post it on social media to encourage clients to write a review.
3. Build links and mentions
The more quality and trustworthy information that search engines can find online about your practice, the more visible your website will be in the search results.
Search engines like Google and Bing will look for links coming to your website from other quality websites in the accountancy industry. They’ll also look for mentions of your practice in local news sites and listings in directories to determine how well known your practice is and how prominently they should display the website in their search results.
It’s well worth spending a bit of time to see if you can get a link to your website from the partners you work with and local news websites, as well as listing your practice in online directories.
4. Take NAPs seriously
Sleep is important, but we’re not talking about getting 40 winks here! NAPs in local SEO refer to your business’s name, address and phone number.
Search engines look for consistency in these details across the web, so you should ensure that they are accurate and up to date everywhere your practice is listed.
The Local Business Listings Scanner from Yell can help you find every location where your practice is listed and highlight what you need to fix. The tool will also help you to find quality directories to list your practice with.
5. Optimise the pages of your website to target local search queries
To further improve your website’s ability to rank for local queries, simply adding your location to the title and wording on your homepage could help. You should also add your practice’s name, address and phone number to help search engines verify these details.
If your practice targets a few different geographical locations, you should ensure your website has separate pages for each. You should also add all these separate locations to your Google My Business listing to ensure all locations stand a chance of appearing for local searches in their immediate area.
Get your practice listed on our directory
Accredited FreeAgent Partners can also get their practice listed on our practice directory, which is visited by thousands of people looking for accountants and bookkeepers every year.
Find out more about FreeAgent and discover the benefits it can bring to your practice.