Most accountancy firms now recognise the importance of SEO in helping to improve their website's online visibility. But many people mistakenly believe it's a one-off task that's done and then forgotten – if only it were that simple!
Here we explore why SEO is actually an ongoing process that requires continual monitoring to keep up with the changing demands of the online world.
Google updates… here we go again
It's thought that Google uses 200+ criteria when ranking a webpage, and the weighting of each of these factors changes frequently. In fact, research shows that in 2018 Google changed its search algorithm an average of 9 times a day. This amounted to a staggering 2,234 changes throughout the year!
So why does this happen? Google's updates are intended to improve the quality of the search results and also to combat “black-hat” techniques that aim to bend the rules to get pages ranking higher in the results.
Although not every change will affect the search results – at least not in a major way – some will. In 2019 Google made 11 major updates to its search algorithm, one or two of which are believed to have affected up to 10% of all global searches.
It is possible, however, for some updates to only impact a single industry or market sector. For example, in 2018 Google made what it described as a 'broad core algorithm update'. But the now infamous change caused health and medical websites worldwide to drop suddenly in the rankings (so much so that it was later dubbed the 'medic update').
It's also worth noting that a lot of the minor updates may be changed later the same day or within a few days. It's not uncommon for a page to drop by, say 17 places on Monday, only to regain 17 places the following day. This is why we do not immediately react to movements and do not check search results on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, history shows us that Google updates can have a significant impact on your site's search engine performance, which is why it's essential that SEO forms an ongoing part of your marketing strategy.
Battling against the competition
Unsurprisingly, you're not the only firm vying for the coveted top spot on Google. Every accountancy related page that ranks in the search results faces competition, usually from other local firms of accountants.
While your firm might be conducting a carefully-executed SEO campaign, there's every chance your competitors are too (or they're employing someone to do it for them). Sometimes these competing pages manage to match one (or more) of the criteria better and they will gain some places in the rankings.
Assuming you've got a website with us, it's our job to look at what that competitor is doing and then match or, better still, improve the SEO on your firm's website pages. It's just another reason why SEO is an ongoing and finely balanced process that shouldn't be underestimated.
Making changes to your site
It's inevitable that you'll want or need to make changes to your website from time to time. But bear in mind that some amends can affect your site's SEO ranking, for example, if the content on the page changes or the page moves in the structure of your site. Typical 'problematic' content changes may be merging two or more pages into a single one or removing mentions of a particular service.
Many of our clients are also keen to include a 'chat to us now' form on their site. Of course, this is possible but it can sometimes slow down a site's page load time. Since July 2018 Google has been using page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches. Essentially, if your site takes too long to load, it could rank lower in relevant searches.
Don't have time to focus on SEO?
It's clear that SEO is an essential part of maintaining a website – after all, what's the point of having a great site if no one can find it?
But keeping up with the constantly changing online landscape means SEO can be challenging, not to mention time-consuming. That's why hundreds of accountancy firms trust us to look after their website and their SEO.
As experts in websites for accountants, we understand how to get the best SEO performance from your site. We regularly monitor our sites to try and match as many of Google's ranking factors as possible, making any adjustments and improvements where necessary.
With SEO included as standard on our websites, why not sit back and let us do the hard work for you? Find out more about our website offering.