Accountants: Five Tips to Improve Your Online Profile

Jun 15, 2012   //   by Helen   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Have you googled your name or your practice name recently? If so, do you like what you see? More importantly, would a client like what they see? The importance of your online profile has never been higher, as now even phone numbers are googled.

Clients do search for accountants online, in the same way as they research other suppliers, customers and even employees. The need to manage your online reputation has never been greater, as your clients now increasingly turn to the online world for business intelligence.
Over the next few weeks, I am speaking at the Chartered Accountants Technology Seminars for Practitioners 2012  in Dublin, Cork and Belfast on the subject of “Social Media for Accountants”. Social Media are only a tool, and of course any successful practice will focus on developing niches, on client relationships and on relevant services as part of their practice development. Social Media can be used to augment other marketing initiatives, but needs to be integrated into a complete practice development plan to be of value.
Online marketing offers so many alternatives, that it is easy to overlook the basics. Here are five basic tips to improve your online profile:


What you Can Do

1.  Get Placed on Google Places  Have you registered your practice on Google Places? If somebody searches for an accountant, they most often include a place name with the search, as they would seek an accountant in a specific location which is close to their business. For example, the average monthly search volume on Google for the phrase “Accountants Dublin” is 4,400. Registering on Google Places is free and the Places results always appear somewhere on the first page of a local search, often outranking other results. Of course, if a lot of your competitors have also registered on Google Places, your practice may be buried in a long list of results that runs to several pages. Make sure your Google Places listing is complete to improve your ranking within the Google Places results. You don’t even need to have a website to register on Google Places and therefore it is the quickest and cheapest way to get online for the first time.
2.  Update Your LinkedIn Profile  A LinkedIn profile often appears in the first five results for a person’s name. Most people put up their profile but don’t update it regularly, sometimes leaving their profile static for years. Take the plunge, ignore your inner cringing, and update your LinkedIn profile. A profile that doesn’t have a photo is like a ghost town with the tumbleweed blowing through the streets! The LinkedIn website will helpfully show you how complete your profile is. The more complete your profile is, the better chance you have of appearing in search results.  You will find some tips on improving your LinkedIn profile in this presentation that I did for a Chartered Accountants Business Networking Group.
3. Become a Blogger  A blog is a great way to showcase your expertise in relation to a niche areas. It’s also a way to improve your results in the search engines. A blog will also allow your readers a glimpse into your personality and ethos and will allow them to imagine what it would be like to work with you. A blog can help to build a positive online reputation and allows you to become known as the “go to” person for specific issues. You don’t have to be a writer of journalistic calibre to write a blog; stick to the facts, add some insight, be topical, encourage comments and the rest will follow. Building a brand and an online, (or indeed an offline), reputation takes a long time, so be patient while waiting for results. In the meantime, focus on providing quality content to your readers.
4.  Website Wonders Have you looked at your website from the perspective of being found by the search engines such as Google for relevant searches? If you don’t appear on the first page of relevant search results, your website will not be delivering optimal new business to your practice. The process of improving your search results is called Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO and you can read more about improving your SEO here on this blog.
5. Mind your Ps and Qs Spelling and punctuation matter. Typos on your website undermine your credibility. Your website should be proof read in the same way as client documents. I have had a peek at quite a few accountants’ websites this week, and suffice to say, this tip isn’t randomly thrown in to make up the five tips. For example, one of you has actually spelled “Chartered” as “Charted”, and that word appears in the company name on the “About Us” page!

If you would like to ask us a question or would like to be notified of forthcoming training in relation to Practice Development, Reputation Management, Online Marketing or Social Media, you can contact us.

Here is the presentation that I delivered at the Technology Seminars for Practitioners 2012, for Chartered Accountants Ireland.

What works for you to promote your practice? Please let us know in the comments below!

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