Make Your Website a 24/7 Business Development Tool

Is your website generating revenue for your firm? If not, you are missing a huge opportunity.

Consumer behavior has changed. In the past, when someone was looking to hire a CPA, they would talk to people they trust for suggestions. And while that is still true, you should realize that more people now turn to the Internet for referrals or to research the names received from a human.

There are over three billion Web users worldwide and 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. Very few searchers look beyond the first page of search results. When they do not find something quickly, they move on and tweak their search. Those sites that come up in the first page of results get more traffic and more leads.

By implementing a search engine optimization (SEO) program, you can increase the amount and quality of the traffic that comes to your site. You can make sure your visitors are people who are searching for the help you provide. You can convert visitors to leads and, ultimately, new revenue. It’s your 24/7 business development tool.

Some firms elect to hire an outside firm that specializes in SEO to assist with their efforts. If that is not in your budget, you can work to increase your own rankings.

Getting Started

Before launching a SEO effort, make sure you have clearly defined goals. Are you looking to increase traffic and develop your brand? Or are you focusing on generating leads? The strategy for each will be different. SEO is not a one-time deal and results are not immediate. A solid plan that looks at driving the most relevant and qualified traffic to your site will keep you focused.

Selecting Keywords

Think of the words that you type into a search engine when you are conducting a search. Those are keywords, and the sites returned in your search engine results have those words somewhere on the page. If you want to be found online, you need to have the keywords on your page that people are using in their search. They shouldn’t be forced. If you are writing about things your prospects care about, they should appear on the page naturally.

Developing Content

Fresh content is the best way to increase your search engine ranking. Be careful not to force any keywords into your content or you may be penalized by the search engines. Focus on developing content that is consistent with your keywords and offers valuable information to your visitors. Avoid the stereotypical marketing or “brochure” language that dilutes what you are talking about on that page.

Avoiding Pitfalls

Recognize there are common errors that might prevent search engines from finding you. Too many firms do not customize title tags (the title at the top of each page) to focus on what the page is about. You are missing great opportunity here. Also, search engines love site maps, so having one helps in your search engine ranking. Be careful when using animation (avoid flash), and don’t duplicate content that appears elsewhere on your site. And make sure any files on your site have keyword rich names.

Reaping Rewards

SEO is an ongoing process, but one that will pay off. Firms that have optimized their websites are getting multiple leads per month and closing six figures of new revenue each year.

As traffic on the information superhighway continues to increase, it is imperative that businesses derive the most benefit from search engines. SEO should be part of your regular marketing strategy. Making a single investment in optimizing your site is a great start. But the key to success will be allotting resources on a regular basis to optimize new content and tweak existing strategy.

Put your site to work for you. Use it to be found online. Then convince visitors you can solve their problems. The result will be more revenue to your top line!

This is abbreviated from an article that first appeared in CPA Practice Management Forum.


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