When searching for a particular product or service online, do you find it annoying when you're directed to a site's homepage, rather than the specific section you were looking for? If yes, then you're not alone.
Research shows that most website users have a very short attention span, with estimates varying between 5 and 11 seconds. So when people enter an enquiry into a search engine, they expect to land on the relevant product or service page almost immediately. The majority of people will scan the page for key information and, if they can't find it quickly, they'll navigate back to the search results.
And that's why your firm's internal web pages are so important. If your site has individual pages for key information, for example, a separate page for each of your services, it's much easier for users to skim the page and find the details they're looking for. As Steve Krug, author of Don't Make Me Think, explains, “making every page or screen self-evident is like having good lighting in a store: it just makes everything seem better.”
But internal pages don't just improve a user's browsing experience – they're essential for SEO (search engine optimisation) too.
How do internal pages affect SEO?
SEO is the work that needs to be done to boost your website's visibility on search engines such as Google. If your site appears higher up in the search results for relevant enquiries, it'll be easier for people to find and you'll have a better chance of attracting new business.
The internal pages on your website can have a significant impact on your firm's SEO performance, and here's why…
1. Internal pages increase your site footprint
Adding internal pages increases the footprint of your website and creates multiple entry points into the site. Again, having separate pages for each of your services is a great way to achieve this.
Remember, not everyone will come to your website via the homepage (and neither do you want them to if they are looking for a particular service), so it's important to provide a variety of ways for users to access the content on your site.
Crucially, adding internal pages to your website will increase your firm's presence in the search engine results, creating more opportunities for people to land on your site.
2. They're great for building internal links
When used strategically, internal links (those that link from one page to another page on the same site) can improve your firm's ranking position in relevant Google searches. However, a good internal link strategy relies on the site having plenty of internal pages. That's because the more pages a site has, the more scope there is to link to other relevant internal pages, which is vital for SEO success.
What's more, when you link to another internal page on your website, you're effectively increasing the 'importance' of that page in the eyes of Google. By sending link authority in this way, you can help that page rank better in Google searches. This is why it can be important to include all your service pages in the main navigation on the website (by doing so you both increase the number of internal links to the page and make it easier for visitors to the site to find the pages).
3. Internal pages give external links somewhere else to navigate to
External or inbound links (those that originate from an outside source) can have a significant effect on your SEO performance. When ranking a page on a website, Google looks at the volume and quality of a page's inbound links to help determine its 'authority'. If you have a high number of relevant and credible links (internal and external) linking back to your page, you're likely to achieve a higher position in the search results.
In most cases, external links will direct users to your accountancy site's homepage. But it's useful if external links can point users to other pages within your site. This helps to raise the profile of your site's lesser-known internal pages and show Google that they're worth looking at.
4. Internal pages help to create 'sitelinks' in Google
Google uses special software to read, or 'crawl', your site's internal pages to understand the structure of your website. It then uses this information to produce meaningful 'sitelinks' in the search results.
Sitelinks are additional links that sometimes appear immediately below your website's main search result listing. They're designed to help users navigate the site quickly by providing direct links to relevant pages deeper in the site.
Sitelinks can increase your firm's visibility in Google search results, so they're an effective way of driving traffic to your website. Although you can't add or edit sitelinks yourself (Google's algorithms do this automatically), there are steps you can take to increase the likelihood of Google showing sitelinks for your website.
Crucially, your site needs to have a clear navigation structure, plenty of internal pages and lots of good quality internal links – without these key features Google will struggle to read your website. And if it can't understand your website then it won't display sitelinks in the search results. In Google's own words: “If the structure of your site doesn't allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don't think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user's query, we won't show them”.
5. Internal pages improve conversion rates
As we've already discussed, website users expect to be able to scan a page and pinpoint the key information quickly. However, they can't do this if different topics and sections of text are combined into a single page.
Think about it from the user's point of view. Someone looking to read about your inheritance tax service, for example, won't want to scroll through reams of text on accounting, payroll, corporation tax etc. If visitors are bombarded with too much information that's not relevant to their search, they'll simply end their visit and go elsewhere.
This is one of the reasons why we recommend devoting a separate page to each of your services. It allows you to display shorter and more manageable chunks of text, while delivering a targeted message that's relevant to the user's enquiry. As a result, prospects are more likely to make an enquiry that you can then convert into a paying client.
Too busy to worry about your website? Leave it to the experts…
We understand that website management and SEO are just one of many things you need to do as a busy accountancy firm. So why not concentrate on what you do best (serving your clients) and leave your website in the hands of the experts?
As part of our accWEBSITE offering, we can design and build a responsive site that reflects your firm's individual brand and identity. Plus, as our content is produced by writers specialising in the accountancy market, you can be confident that your pages will strike the right tone and showcase your firm to its full potential.
And with SEO work included as standard, you really can sit back and leave the hard work to us.
Read more about our accWEBSITE service and discover how we can help your firm.