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CPA Firm SEO Success

     -     Aug 20th, 2009   -     Accounting Marketing, Changing Trends   -     4 Comments

In an effort to understand how CPA and accounting firm are using search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) to promote their business, we are interviewing various firms currently deploying the strategy. One firm that has been active in using SEO, SEM and SMM is Rea & Associates. To learn more about the methodologies, processes, investment and results of these efforts, we spoke with Ms. Katie Tolin, Director of Marketing for Rea & Associates.

FP: What have been the results of your firm’s SEO efforts?
“We have made tremendous leaps in placement and are now of the first page of the major search engines for many of our identified keywords. Initially, we saw a large jump in traffic with a lot of fluctuation. That has now leveled off a bit, but we are seeing a lot more conversions. Those visitors completing the contact us form on our site has increased dramatically and that has lead to increased revenue. More than half of leads we received through the Website the past six months have made it onto our pipeline, and we’ve had enough wins to put us well into positive ROI.”

FP: What type of clients are you attracting via the web?
“We do get a number of individual leads, but the majority of the leads generated are tied to a business. Probably most surprising is the number of international business leads – those looking to come to the area or still relatively new to the area. And the services are across the board from monthly accounting to audit to tax. “

FP: Where did you obtain your skill set?
KT: “I’ve attended a heck of a lot of seminars and have read a lot of material on SEO. When I first starting looking into SEO a few years ago, it wasn’t as popular as it is now. I spoke to numerous companies that provided the service and realized many of them didn’t even know what they were talking about and many of their suggestions contradicted one another. However, there were common best practices that came to the top even then.”

FP: What are you doing to optimize your website?
“We’ve optimized the site as a whole and are in the process of optimizing the individual pages. We’ve spent time link building, especially local links. We’ve even purchased a few links on other sites that rank high to help increase our placement. We’ve submitted articles to online resources and optimize our press releases. Next up is a blog and other social media to help us take it even further.”

FP:How do you use social media to enhance your overall SEO strategy?
“We are in development stages for a blog that we plan to launch this fall. It will be automatically tied to Facebook and Twitter. We’re putting the finishing touches on our social media plan that will spell out specifically how else we will use those mediums. In addition, I’ve presented to our partners why social media fits into our marketing plan. During that presentation, I gave them a LinkedIn demo and provided step-by-step instructions on how to build their profile. We’ll be auditing those profiles in the months to come and making suggestions on how to improve them. The presentation will also be made to the rest of the firm in October. All of these tactics will improve our SEO efforts. It will help with placement as well as links into the site. While I’m doing this primarily to assist in our SEO strategy, it’s just good marketing strategy, as well.”

FP:How much time do you spend on SEO?
“I only spend an hour or so a week, but I do outsource the bulk of our SEO efforts. I’ve found that you have to dedicate time on a regular basis to be successful. I wasn’t sure I had that time to dedicate and document what worked and what didn’t – and I wanted to make sure this didn’t fall through the cracks. Even though we allocate dollars monthly for our SEO efforts, we have a positive ROI. Last quarter alone revenue generated was 10 times dollars spent.”

FP: Why is it that more firm’s aren’t using SEO?
“I believe it comes from the mindset that we are a relationship business. A prospective client gets you’re your name from someone they trust, they come and meet you, they like you and hire you. While that’s true, online relationships are built every day, and people are turning to the Web to decide who they want to build relationships with. Plus, people turn to the Web to do research. They find hotels online and check them out before they make reservations. They search for are restaurants and read reviews before heading out to dinner. Why wouldn’t they find their CPA the same way? Why wouldn’t they turn to the Web to read about you? It’s a fact that more and more people are turning to the Web for help in their decision making process, and not every CPA firm our there truly believes this behavior transfers to professional services.:

“If firms were to look at the number of times a certain keyword is entered into a search engine any given day, they would be floored. As they figure this out and recognize that consumer behavior is changing, I know we will see more firms focusing on SEO.”

What is one thing you find most surprising about the results Rea & Associates are experiencing?

There are 4 comments

  • 9 years ago

    John   /  

    Interesting read, I particularly agree with the last point. We have found that many firms of accountants are not only oblivious to SEO and its benefits but it’s fine for them not to have a website!

    They think that they wouldn’t benefit from one.

    This might have been true 15 years ago but nowadays, even if they get a face to face referral from someone, the first thing they are going to do is check the practice website.


  • 9 years ago

    John   /  

    One other thing, sorry.

    Firms of accountants should pay particular attention to local listing / searches and the likes of Google Maps. As Ms Katie Tolin said, some of the leads came from companies willing to move to the area, so local listing are vital.

  • 9 years ago

    Brian O'Connell   /  

    Great Blog. I’ll be back from time to time to see if you’ve posted any more ideas worth stealing.

    John is spot on about local search. I have no idea why but local search doesn’t seem to be getting the respect it deserves from the SEM community. Get listed RIGHT NOW and get as many reviews as you can as fast as you can. Eventually people will wake up and this gaping opportunity will narrow very quickly.

    There are still plenty of opportunities for SEO as well. The author is exactly right. The trick is to focus hard on your local market. There are some areas where you’re going to have a harder time than others. Tampa, Atlanta, Phoenix, and pretty much all of Coastal Cali are pretty tough markets for SEO, but for the most part there are still plenty of openings if you’re willing to do the work.

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