Recently, accounting firms gained a variety of ways to change the display of their listings on search engines. While search engines were once solely a list of uniform links, the evolving Internet has forced Google, Bing, and other search engines to create richer media experiences. These richer media experiences can help accountants to grab the eyes of those searching, even if they’re not the #1 result. On-page techniques tend to be easier to implement, but integration with local search and social media can provide a wealth of striking listings.
The following five techniques can elevate your site’s search traffic, regardless of rank, making your site seem more professional to visitors. Meta descriptions ensure optimal text copy on search engines, meaningful image descriptions allow your pictures to be seen, places pages make you a “red dot” on the map, review markup displays ratings under your listing, and social media gives a human face to your company. All these techniques can expand your search presence, bringing more potential customers to your site.
The meta description, though not a ranking factor, is the accountant’s first weapon for grabbing a searcher’s attention. If they are too unrelated to the query, meta descriptions are often overwritten by the search engine, but following these best practices is the main way to ensure that your handcrafted description is left as-is. Though the number is a bit fuzzy, search engines tend to cut off around 150 characters. Creating eye-catching content in around 30 words can be tough, but a CPA can find luck if they include three things: a keyword to display in bold, a call to action to drive the visitor to a goal, and unique facts that set your firm apart from your competitors. Descriptions should answer the search query, summarizing the answer on the page.
The other meta tag that displays prominently in the snippet is the title. The title, showing the title bar of the browser when you visit the page, is the number one on-page ranking factor, and its value for organic click-through is imperative. The title is also the introduction to the site for a visitor, letting them know if the page will answer their query at first glance. For most pages, simply having the keyword should suffice, but some pages are better led with a more inventive, clickable title. In all, revamping the metadata of your page can double organic traffic week-over-week.
As social networks have become ubiquitous, metadata for their sites have become important as well. While social media sites will usually find your standard metadata, often that copy is not friendly for sharing. Keywords are less important, but calls to action become even more important, as your audience is more passively viewing your content.
Pictures in Less than 5 words
Image search is a powerfully visual change of pace from the purely text world of traditional search, but results pages will now often show a small gallery of images related to the query. There is a type of small metadata for images, allowing you the opportunity to show up on the main search page. Alt and title attributes are like page titles and descriptions. Alt attributes should be extremely succinct but descriptive, while title attributes can be longer to allow for full explanation. Title attributes will also show if you hover over an image, and alt attributes are displayed instead of the image for text-only browsers. Various search engines display images with different content, such as the images below.
Images are a vital organic source of traffic, especially if unique images are used. For tax and accounting professionals, stock photos should be avoided. Though many businesses use these images, they can be too formulaic, too similar to competing sites, or too unrealistic to connect with a searcher. Keep in mind that a potential customer searching for your practice’s name can be shown a cohesive brand image. Ensure that as many images as logical are tagged with these attributes. Focus on the keyword, but accurately describe the photo. Image seekers tend to be looking for something specific.