Today, even a beautiful, informative website is not enough to attract new leads. Right now your potential clients are searching the internet for quality content in the form of timely, authoritative accounting advice and industry news.
So how do CPAs establish their firm as a local voice of authority? Inbound marketing—a content-driven internet marketing strategy—gives you several platforms to showcase your expertise and improves your search engine ranking (SEO).
One crucial element of effective inbound marketing is blogging. However, your blog should not be a place where you post a few articles and then hope the content ranks in search engines. Blogging is an on-going marketing tool to help meet your firm’s objectives.
Internet marketing for CPAs means meeting company objectives that include
- delighting your current customers with ongoing, quality accounting advice, which will cause them to endorse your services to friends and family;
- becoming an invaluable resource for taxpayers in your town;
- establishing your reputation as an expert; and
- attracting new customers.
To help accomplish these goals, CPAs must include weekly blogging in their marketing strategy. In this article, you will learn why you must publish high-quality posts every week and how to optimize each post for search engines.
Why CPAs Must Blog
It’s simple: Regular blogging means you are creating new content for search engines to “crawl”. And if you optimize your articles with keywords, you will see not only an increase in traffic but also in qualified visitors.
Content marketing is the solution for today’s marketers, and if your competition isn’t already blogging, they soon will be. So, let’s get started.
Create a List of Keywords
Keywords are words and phrases that people will type into a search engine to find accounting advice in your area. The most effective keywords are long-tailed ones that are two to four words long. Create a hierarchical list of long-tailed keywords that best represent your services or those that will be popular blog topics. Be sure to include your town name, state, or county in some of them.
Here is a sample list to help you get started:
- 2015 tax preparation
- North Carolina tax tips
- Dare County accountants
- 2015 income tax tips
- small business accounting advice
- Nags Head tax consulting
- NC income tax tips
- federal income tax preparation
Over time, you will likely revise your list after you study which keywords generate the most web traffic. Install a tracking analytics service, such as Google’s. Google offers a basic analytics service that is free, plus an option for more in-depth features for a fee.
Use your long-tailed keywords in the following ways:
- Article URLs: For example, instead of publishing a blog post URL such as “www.cpacompany.com/tax-tips,” use specific titles like “www.cpacompany.com/2015-nc-tax-tips.” Separate keyword terms with hyphens, not spaces or underscores.
- Article Titles: Title your posts with specific terms. For example, use “2015 NC Tax Tips for Small Businesses” instead of “Tax Tips.” Never use obscure, vague, or “clever” titles for the sake of creativity—it is important to be clear, not only for your users but also for search engines.
- Article Text: Place your keywords in the first or second sentence of each article. Then use the same phrase a couple more times within the page. Be sure that you do not stuff a post with key terms as your content might be identified as “spammy” by search engines.
- Image Titles: Title image file names with keywords. For example, instead of using the default image title automatically created by your camera, such as “IMG12345.jpg,” name it “income-tax-tips.jpg.” Also, never leave spaces in your image titles, always separate words with hyphens.
- Image Tags: If you have a content management website such as WordPress™, make sure that you fill in the “alt” tag option with keywords (up to four words). Alternate tags not only help improve your site’s SEO, these tags describe images to blind users.
- Meta Data: WordPress makes it easy to insert keywords into your posts’ “meta titles” and “meta descriptions.” The meta description is the descriptive paragraph that appears under individual blog article meta titles in a search query results listing. However, never populate the “meta keywords” field as this meta data is now considered obsolete by Google.
Craft SEO-Friendly Titles
Professionals who blog regularly know that dreaming up new titles can be a challenge. But you not only need a catchy title, you need a search-engine-friendly one. You must ask yourself what your potential clients are looking for on the internet. They are often searching for advice, so title your article accordingly. Here are a few examples:
- “How to…”
- “2015 Tax Laws on…”
- “10 Accounting Tips for…”
Format Articles for the Readers
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs.
- Always include relevant images that are neatly aligned with the text.
- Avoid using industry-specific jargon. Some people will leave your site if your articles are too technical. Plus, most potential clients will not be typing jargon into a search engine.
- Break up long pages of text with subtitles, horizontal rules, bulleted and numbered lists, images, and/or subtle graphics.
- Studies show that web users struggle while reading long lines of text. So, instead of stretching text across the full length of a blog page where there is no built-in sidebar, use columns of text like those in a newspaper.
- Use text bolding for emphasis only. If you bold large sections of an article, you will lose the power to highlight a particular idea.
- Unless you are formatting poetry or short quotes, never center-align large sections of text.
- Limit text colors and font sizes. Stick with your site’s predefined formatting theme.
More Blogging Tips
- Promote one keyword phrase in each article. Don’t attempt to stuff an article with three different long-tailed keywords.
- Make sure that your blog articles contain 500 to 600 words.
- Use unique, relevant images and graphics.
- Include a call-to-action link in each article that takes visitors to a page on your website where they supply their contact information in exchange for a valuable content download such as a free whitepaper, eBook, or training video.
- Share your articles through your social media accounts.
- Encourage comments and always post timely replies.
With time, CPA firms will witness an increase in web traffic and lead conversions when they combine blogging with other inbound marketing efforts, such as social media interaction, email newsletters, and content offers.
Need help getting started with inbound marketing for CPAs? Contact the experts at 855-372-8392.
We look forward to helping our customers CREATE leads, CONNECT with customers, and GROW their business.