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SEO Accounting Perspective

     -     Sep 15th, 2011   -     Accounting Marketing   -     0 Comments

As Search Engine Optimizations (SEO) continues to grow in popularity among accounting marketers, there is a great deal of dicussion around whether a firm should manage a SEO campaign effort in-house or turn to an outsourced vendor for assistance. What risks does a marketing manager take by bringing it in-house? How difficult is it to get results? How much will it cost to outsource? How do I know which vendor is best for my firm.

To help provide perspective on this topic, Flashpoint Marketing spoke with Jennifer Hertzig, Marketing Manager at BCG & Company, in Akron, Ohio. She is responsible for managing her firm’s SEO efforts. She provided a great deal of interesting insight from her experience on the topic, which we think will help our readers as they address SEO in their own firm.

Do you outsource your SEO efforts or conduct them in-house?

I do them in-house.

If in-house, please  explain how you came to this decision.

Much to my demise I have an “I can do that myself” kind of attitude when it comes to in-house vs. outsourcing. Since much of web marketing was not taught when I was in college, I have been convinced that I can teach myself and learn through other thought leaders. I had some outside vendors quote me on some SEO services, but none of them seemed worth the price. So since our website tools allow for me to input my own meta-tags and keywords I decided to do that myself and noticed significant increases a few months later.

Please share your thoughts on what are the benefits/drawbacks of outsourcing SEO?  What do you think are the benefits/drawbacks of in-house SEO?

A benefit to outsourcing would be you have a dedicated team keeping on top of the latest SEO strategies and it would save you time, which is a valuable commodity for accounting marketers. However, outsourcing means losing a personal touch. We know our readers, clients and prospects better than an SEO company. I had someone from Yellowpages.com call to ask if I wanted an enhanced listing to increase my search engine rankings. When I told her I wasn’t interested she told me she had plugged in some words for 1040 services in Rocky River, Ohio and we didn’t come up as a provider. I told her we are located in Akron, Ohio and we don’t go after the everyday 1040 type of work. Outside vendors just don’t always understand our business.

How does your firm measure the ROI of SEO efforts?

I check the analytics of our site on a regular basis to evaluate where our links are coming from, what keywords have been used to find our site and what pages or articles are being read most frequently. That helps me understand what people are looking for when they come to our site. I check our sites searches, i.e. what people type in the search box on our website. If I see a trend for a certain topic I might make sure to promote a relevant blog or article. I can check the power of incoming links as well to evaluate what other sites people are coming from. I think the true indicator is going out to the search engines and thinking like a prospect and type in some key phrases and see if we come up. If we don’t I see who does and compare key words. I read a quote in a blog post once that says, “…just because you can measure something more effectively, does not make it more effective.”

Do you think that SEO is the next big thing for accounting firms? What role do you think SEO should play in a firm’s marketing program?

No. Creating quality content should be the number one focus. If you build it they will come, is the approach I like to take. SEO tricks won’t work against the smarter search engines. Prospects become clients because they view you as a thought leader, a real person and an expert. If you want the search engines to like you give them something to like – fresh, relevant, timely content. SEO should take a back seat to preparing good content.

Any other comments or thoughts you would like to share?

At least in our market selling professional services is all about building relationships. Sure we hope that someone will come across our blog one day and decide to be a client. Has that happened? I don’t know. But our blogs are among the highest ranked pages on our website and those are driven by good content, not good keywords. If you write good content that people want you won’t have to worry about optimizing it, it will optimize itself.

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