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I want to improve my website’s SEO, but I’ve been burnt before. Is there anything I can do myself?

Jun 7, 2019

SEOFor some reason, as soon as you’ve said you’re an accountancy firm, many SEO agencies are quick to take your money, leaving you wondering what results their supposed SEO tactics are generating you. No transparency. No clue. Nothing.

That’s not what you want. But there are things you can do to give your website a little SEO boost, and these are all things you can do yourself to give you a solid foundation for when you’re eventually ready for high level SEO support.

1. Set up Google My Business and other local listings

You know when you’re searching for something locally, and Google searches show different businesses on the right with their address and reviews?

That’s Google My Business, and  it’s extremely powerful for giving you an SEO boost in your local area.

People still search for local results. If they were searching for “Accountants Manchester” for example, and you didn’t have Google My Business setup, you wouldn’t appear!

This is even more powerful when you’re browsing on mobile, because Google will use your location services to recommend businesses closest to you based on what you’ve searched.

So, if you haven’t already, make sure you have a Google My Business profile set up for your firm. Be sure to include the following:

  • Your physical address and a link to your website – When you add your website, Google recognises your website is connected to that business, which helps you appear in local searches more frequently.
  • Manage and respond to reviews – Google favours profiles who regularly respond to reviews left by clients. It shows  you value your clients and high-quality, positive reviews improve your business’ visibility over time.
  • Photos of your offices – Your prospective clients want to see before they buy. Add photos to tell the story of your business, showcase your team and what you have to offer.

MAP

Once your profile is set up, you can move onto other local directories like Yelp, Bing Places for Business, Yellow Pages, and so on. Make sure they all match with the same address and same website, as inconsistency is favoured upon by Google!

You’ll be surprised how quickly this generates traffic for you as well. We had one client who had Google My Business set up, and in February, they were telling us how they were getting a handful of leads a day from people searching “Accountants near me” and being right outside their offices!

2. Make sure you have an SSL certificate installed

SSL certificates are effectively your website’s electronic passport. It’s an added layer of security to help protect your website and eliminate hacking, whilst making sure any data submitted on your site remains private.

You’ll notice the difference between your site if you do or don’t have this in place. Sites without an SSL certificate will be “http” whereas those with SSL certificates will be “https.”

You might think this isn’t important, but it really is, because now Google and browsers  inform people the website is not secure.

Google

And to add more salt to the wound, Google has officially gone on record and said any sites without an SSL certificate will slowly disappear from search results, which you don’t want.

But not only that, think about the user experience. If you come to a site that says “Not secure”, you immediately begin to doubt that company. You’ve lost trust even before the prospective client has got in touch.

To get an SSL certificate installed, all you have to do is talk to your hosting company. Most of them will give you the option to add an SSL certificate to your existing package. If not, consider moving hosting company.

We have a lot of clients using WPEngine who include an SSL as standard, and many of our clients have seen night and day differences in site speed and more when they’ve switched. We have an affiliate link that gets you 3 month free on annual plans. If you want that, let us know.

3. Make sure your page titles and descriptions are completed with keywords

This is the final piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve got your site and your content, it’s important to make sure you tell Google what those pages and blog posts are about.

With most website builders, particularly WordPress and Rocketspark, you have the ability to edit the meta-title and meta-description of your site’s content.

Yoast is the go-to plugin for WordPress sites that allows you to do this, and Rocketspark have a built-in feature also.

SEO

When writing your titles and descriptions, make sure to:

  • Choose a keyword or key phrase that is relevant and unique to that content – Include this in both the title, description and slug (the URL after “.com/”). The more times your keyword or key phrase appears, the better. Aim to have it earlier in the title and description too.
  • Make sure every page title and description is unique – Google favours  this, and will recognise you’re publishing unique and original content.
  • Keep your titles and descriptions within the character limit – You’ll be able to see in Google searches if someone is over the character limit with their titles and descriptions, as they’ll end with “…”. Yoast has a traffic light system to show you when you’re nearing and over the character limit. Think about the user experience: The description ought to tell them what’s on the page and how it’s of use to them.

If you don’t complete page titles and descriptions,  it’s just guess work in the eyes of Google, and what they’ll do to fill the missing information is pull through the first wording it can find, which is what we’ll appear as your page description.

This could prove unhelpful for your prospective client, as they won’t be able to determine what your content is about on first glance.

Your DIY SEO to-do list: 3 tasks to do immediately

So to recap, there are a lot of foundational things you can do to position your website in the best possible light when it comes to search engine optimisation. Those are:

  1. Make sure you have a Google My Business profile set up (and then other local listings such as Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.)
  2. Check your site has an SSL certificate installed (and get one immediately if you haven’t!)
  3. Create unique page titles and descriptions which include keywords or phrases relevant to the page or blog post.

Once you’ve done that, it’s over to the content game. It’s still king, and your next step is to create original content around the “They ask, you answer” concept, and continue to share it.

Bonus point: If you want to get a thorough understanding of your website’s current SEO position, you can ask for our free SEO healthcheck via the PF Marketing Community. It’s a high level report of your website to help you see what things you need to fix or work on in the short-term, and it’s a great first step if you’re also considering our paid, more detailed SEO healthcheck.